Freedom and Obesity

fat manSo I was at the grocery store in the frozen food aisle picking up some vegetables. I catch a glimpse of this grossly obese man down the aisle a ways, with ridiculously over-sized sweats hugging his mammoth torso. He was over 400 pounds for sure. He was holding the the door open (pet peeve of mine) to the freezer section in front of him… just staring into it. I stopped and watched to see how long he was going to just hold the door open staring. After about twelve seconds he reached in and pulled out a HUGE tub of ice cream. It looked like a whole gallon of full-fat ice cream. Shocker! :-)

My wife, the nurse-type, has taught me to initially give grossly obese humans the benefit of the doubt… because it is conceivably possible, however unlikely, that their condition is from a freak “gland” issue or some other medical condition that they either did or did not bring upon themselves. The aforementioned fellow definitely appeared to be a self-infliction.

But I also believe in freedom. I think everyone is free to eat however they choose to within their means. I say “within their means” because I think there is something fundamentally flawed with being obese AND collecting public assistance. I’ve covered this before including the sometimes non-usefulness of WIC.

For instance, does it make any sense to give food stamps to obese people? Okay, there could be the extreme exception for medical reasons, loss of a provider, natural disaster or other misfortune. But I mean, really… on the whole is someone who is obese really in need of assistance getting food? Aren’t those people’s layers of lipo-love-flesh a testament to the fact that they have a ready supply and are indeed eating very well, thank you?

So if you have your own money then you should be able to use it to buy whatever food you like (healthy or unhealthy) and eat it in whatever quantities you like (dainty or super-sized) however often you like (first breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, and so on). My communist state of New York has already banned trans-fats from restaurant use in some areas – even though this has problems of its own.

And recently we find that misguided (read authoritarian) politicians in Mississippi want to ban fat people from restaurants!? How insane is that? Granted, I’ve seen some of the largest people anywhere at the local Chinese buffet squatting in a booth and scarfing down every fried morsel they can get their greasy, stubby fingers on. But so what? It’s a free country, right? Or at least it WAS.

Here’s the rub… to be a FREE country you have to enforce two very important principles. First, people must have free choice. Second, people must bear the consequences of their choices (both good and bad) . This is tremendously important. Consequences to one’s own actions is a feedback mechanism that must not be tampered with or the delicate balance that allows for free choice will be disrupted.

If people want to eat gluttonously, that this their free choice. Then, if they want to fly somewhere, and their large torso won’t fit into a normal airplane seat, then they can buy two tickets for adjacent seats or choose another form of travel. If their morbid obesity causes severe medical problems, they need to figure out how to pay the upcoming medical bills or go without medical attention. If they are wealthy and can pay medical bills without batting an eyelash, good for them. If they used their free choice to acquire health insurance, good for them. If they used their free choice to blow their money on non-essentials, then they should rely on family and friends to help pay their bills (NOT the government).

If the government stepped in and “cushioned” everyone whose gluttonous lifestyle caused huge medical bills, then that combined with finite resources would create the need to start dictating to people what they can and cannot eat. This is bad, but is necessary in a socialist state where health care is “provided”. The UK is already projecting huge costs to the public over the next few decades due to the terrible obesity “problem”. Who knows what further behavioral restrictions will be put in place there. That is exactly why I’m 100% opposed to ANY form of universal healthcare.

u comment i follow 31 Comments

  1. John3Sobieski
    Posted February 18, 2008 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    ditto. The War Axe of Steve’s whit bites deep into the flesh of the big fat leftists once again

  2. capo
    Posted February 20, 2008 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    I read recently in the Boston Globe that we, your neighbors in the commonwealth (a misnomer if ever there was one, but I digress) of MA are going to be paying at least an extra 400M this year to cover the unexpected popularity of “free” government health insurance, so generously offered by former governor “Mitt” Romney and supported and celebrated by current governor “together we can” Deval Patrick. Mr. Patrick seems to think some of the shortfall should be paid for by federal funds, so you may be supporting universal healthcare through the backdoor, as it were. Personal responsibility is not a popular concept these days, and politicians do much better for themselves by offering the populace ways they can pursue unhealthy and dangerous lifestyles and share the burden of the consequences. Welcome to the war.

  3. Heather
    Posted February 20, 2008 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Totally agree. I had one observation in the supermarket: a young woman, respectably dressed, with a bath and body works bag in her cart, wearing sandals with her toes separated after getting a pedicure, and paying for her groceries with FOOD STAMPS. If she had enough money to get her toes done, and to go shopping at over priced toiletry shops, why is she getting government assistance?

  4. drewr
    Posted February 20, 2008 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    Just give it some time and the UK will ban fat people from living in the UK…..then they’ll move here and sign up for food stamps and WIC….and government assisted health care which they will get for free or relatively little expense, all at the taxpayer’s expense.

    i can be such a downer. but at least i’m not fat damnit!

  5. John3Sobieski
    Posted February 21, 2008 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    This actually ties in handily with something I’m learning in my Sociology class. American culture seems to be changing from one of individualism to a more “the group is responsibe” type of culture. The book calls the culture the “culture of victimization.” For examples, it talked of how a man gunned down two men he never met with an M-1 rifle. Then he sued his psychiatrist for not doing enough to prevent his actions. A politician gunned down the San Francisco mayor (not recently, this book was published circa 1998). Then the politician blamed insanity originating from his eating junk food. No one is any longer responsible for what they do, everyone is responsible. Or, thats the way people behave today. Just another way how the world is going down the drain.

  6. gladiator
    Posted March 5, 2008 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    im skinny when i saw the book “Never trust a skinny chef.” I agree, but im one of the few who say “go to the gym once in a while DAMNIT!”
    i may not be the most atletic but a least im fit!

  7. Jack
    Posted May 9, 2008 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    I agree that obesity is a huge problem in this country, but I believe it’s merely a symptom of a bigger (no pun intended) problem. Many obese people also suffer from depression, anxiety and other mental issues which is why a lot of individuals who lose substantial weight usually gain it back and then some. Whether they lose it the old fashioned way or through surgery, sometimes it’s like taking an aspirin for a brain tumor. The disease needs to be treated in order for them to see permanent results. So the next time you see an obese person holding the freezer door open and buying ice cream, try to have some compassion and look beyond the obvious symptoms to see a REAL human being who may be suffering from more than you know! Lack of compassion is another huge problem in this world, but that’s another topic….

  8. Posted May 9, 2008 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    @Jack
    There is indeed a percentage of people who suffer mental medical conditions. Some of these people abuse food (or drugs, or other people, etc). But many people like to throw around the word “disease” to excuse behavior. Oh, I’m abusing children… I must have a “disease”, because it couldn’t be that I made my own evil choices. All I do is sit around and watch TV and I don’t like to work… *I* must have a disease, too.

    I’d wager that a lack of compassion (as a “huge problem in this world”) is immeasurably dwarfed by irresponsibility.

  9. Jack
    Posted May 9, 2008 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    True compassion and genuine love is unconditional. It’s also the first sign of a legitimate Christ-follower. Following Christ’s example means loving and having compassion for everyone, even if we feel they don’t measure up to our ideals. Even if we deem them as “irresponsible” or “grossly obese” and even if we disagree with their lifestyle. Christ loved and showed compassion to prostitutes, thieves, dishonest politicians and tax collectors, traitors, liars, and I would wager that He’d show the same to the obese (and the uncompassionate) people of today. So who are we to decide who is worthy of our compassion? Where would we be without the love and compassion of Christ and our families and friends? People who suffer from obesity, whether it’s “self-inflicted” or due to circumstances beyond their control, need much more than a diet and exercise regimen. The last thing they need is our criticism, judgmental attitudes, or to hear repugnant phrases with an obnoxious attitude like: grossly obese, mammoth torso, greasy stubby fingers.

    I get what you’re trying to say about freedom of choice and the universal healthcare idea. This type of opposition would also have to include the irresponsible individuals who choose to smoke and drink excessively, among other things. Where does it end and who decides which ones are “self-inflicted”? Most importantly, would Christ consider a lack of compassion self-inflicted too?

  10. Posted May 9, 2008 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    @Jack
    Hmmm… by your seeming definition of “true compassion” and “genuine love” you are a bit hypocritical, because you ascribe to my post as using “repugnant phrases with an obnoxious attitude like: grossly obese, mammoth torso, greasy stubby fingers” without any semblance of showing this supposed compassion yourself to me (by your standard). See, you should have assumed that I had some factors beyond your knowledge that put me in the mental state to make “repugnant phrases” with an “obnoxious attitude”. Quite frankly, your statements seem far worse than anything I implied about the “grossly obese”.

    So let’s take a look at my “repugnant phrases”. If you Google “grossly obese” you’ll get mostly medical hits, because the phrase is a clinical description of extreme obesity and does NOT denote gross as meaning ‘disgusting’. And mammoth (if you check Webster’s) when used as an adjective means ‘huge’ or ‘extremely large’, and would aptly describe the torso of someone grossly obese. And again, Webster tells us that stubby means ‘short’ or ‘thick’, and greasy means ‘smeared, covered, or soiled with grease’.

    I can only guess by your seemingly emotionally-charged irrationale that either you or someone you love has greasy, stubby fingers. That may make it difficult for you to use Google or Webster’s, and I want to be compassionate towards that. So I’ll help you out a bit…

    You are applying unconditional absolutes to “true” compassion and “genuine” love. This is a logical fallacy. You are extrapolating ‘judge not, lest ye be judged’ out of its context to where wisdom and discernment must always be silent in the name of “compassion”. This was decidedly NOT Christ’s example. Compassion doesn’t equal silence. There is a much greater lack of compassion in today’s world caused by silence than by calling a spade a spade… which Christ frequently did.

    Indeed, by applying “compassion” and “love” without condition you are saying that everyone’s actions must be tolerated by any Christ-followers. Christ-followers would ALWAYS have to turn the other cheek (but didn’t He say that?). Christ-followers would ALWAYS have to give up their cloak when asked for it (but didn’t Christ say that?). In effect, you wouldn’t be able to justify any form of judgment of another’s actions – no courts, no police, no punishment, no brains, no discernment… and ultimately no self-defense, no self-interest, no self-preservation. Christ-followers could not withhold any of their money or possessions from anyone for any reason, otherwise they weren’t UNCONDITIONALLY compassionate toward them. And just forget about going to war or killing evil people (VERY UNcompassionate and judging).

    Fortunately Christ showed us better, and gave us what the corporate world calls “full-spectrum leadership”, easily debunking this falsely pious notion of what I’ll call blindly-infinite-compassion. He showed us how to be compassionate to the prostitute, and how to be compassionate to the money-changers in the temple. :-) Compassion can take many forms, I guess… nurse, drill instructor, school teacher, repo man, and of course – blogger.

  11. Jack
    Posted May 10, 2008 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Following Christ’s examples of compassion does NOT include justification or judgement. What good is compassion if we excuse or rationalize destructive behaviors? And who are we to judge anyone? Judgement from you or I would require a level of narcissism that is NOT Christ-like.

    You wrote the following: “I can only guess by your seemingly emotionally-charged irrationale that either you or someone you love has greasy, stubby fingers. That may make it difficult for you to use Google or Webster’s, and I want to be compassionate towards that. So I’ll help you out a bit…” (btw, thanks for the vocabulary lesson!)

    You obviously enjoy this type of bantering and quite possibly love to hear yourself talk (or in this case blog), and you’re the farthest thing from a compassionate “Christ-follower”. How’s that for calling a spade a spade?

  12. Posted May 10, 2008 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    You said:

    You obviously enjoy this type of bantering and quite possibly love to hear yourself talk [...]

    :-) I burst out laughing when I read your response. You are so much more worked up about this than I am. To be that worked up and still come back for more demonstrates an enjoyment with this banter that I won’t ever know this side of Glory. :-)

    But alas, the compassion is dripping me off me like the chilly morning dewdrops… so let me help you again…

    First of all, you should go to the Apologetics.com’s Radio Archive and listen to as much as possible, especially the recent show series titled Apologetics 101. It will help you better present a cogent, rational argument.

    In fact, the brilliant folks at Apologetics.com were just recently (within the last 5 shows) talking about people who claim a Christ-follower cannot rightly make judgments. For example, you said:

    Following Christ’s examples of compassion does NOT include justification or judgement[sic].

    Judgement[sic] from you or I would require a level of narcissism that is NOT Christ-like.

    [You are] the farthest thing from a compassionate “Christ-follower”.

    So, I guess those are your judgments, huh? :-) So by your own three brief statements above you have established yourself to be an un-Christ-like, narcissistic, non-Christ-follower. Ouch!

    Your logical fallacy comes from saying that no Christ-follower can judge, because by merely saying that you’ve made a judgment. You’ve, in a single sentence, contradicted yourself and plummeted your argument into a deep fat fryer. It’s the classic violation of the Law of Non-Contradiction. It’s the “Fool’s Mate” of discourse. It’s like saying “there is no absolute truth”, to which I would ask, “well then, is what you just said true?”

    And yeah, while you’re at it read Kenneth Samples’ book A World of Difference which has a wonderful section about forming a cohesive, internally congruent worldview.

  13. John3Sobieski
    Posted May 12, 2008 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Well, I have a few bits to put in. One, I like this kind of bantering and love to hear myself talk. It’s one of my faults and I admit it, but hey, everyone likes to seem smart from time to time, right? Number two, Christ is compassionate to all humans. Three, at the same time he tells it as it is. Four, there is a difference between tolerance (allowing good goings on that, despite their being good, get on your nerves) and permissiveness (permitting without protest ANY action one does), freedom (the ability to do as you ought, i.e. protest immoral practices in the US) and liscence (the ability to do as you please, i.e stealing a car). I’ll have to get back to you on this part to clean it up a little bit, my brain is farting from exhuastion as I worked a 12-hour shift yesterday, stayed up lated, and woke up at 5:30 in the morning. Don’t you hate those days?

  14. Botox Chicago
    Posted May 20, 2008 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    It’s funny how many of these people blame a “gland issue” or whatever. But most simply cannot figure out the fact that they simply need to diet and exercise…

  15. Posted September 3, 2008 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Discrimination against anybody for any reason is just wrong.

    What people do with their own body and their own lives is and should always be their sole decision to make. No government body should ever get involved with our personal decisions. Programs to help, if people want and choose to take advantage of them. Great. Educational campaigns and programs Great. But forcing people to act a certain way or restricting their rights in any way is just simply wrong.

  16. Posted October 6, 2008 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    I like this: “to be a FREE country you have to enforce two very important principles. First, people must have free choice. Second, people must bear the consequences of their choices (both good and bad)”
    Daily work out is important to maintain good health.

  17. Posted November 10, 2008 at 1:06 am | Permalink

    I think everybody should watch Super Size Me, that should be the first step to stop people from eating and being unhealthy.

  18. Posted June 1, 2009 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    I have a hunch that the cost of “governing” obese people will be tremendous, so much so that it’s probably not worth it as far as our government is concerned. Besides, there will be an uproar if the government tried to interfere with someone’s life in that way. And rightly so. First, the government tries to dictate how much you should weight…what’s next?

  19. Posted July 16, 2009 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I think food stamps were made to serve as a first-line defense to kill hunger, it would be ridiculous if food stamps were associated with America’s obesity problem. Plus it had been considered this way in the past but i don’t think this concept appears to hold today. Not just does the program increase food expenditures beyond what households would spend without the strategy, households spend much more extra on food as compared with what they would if the same amount of incentive was given as cash. To solve the issue, first we need to find answer to the question: Does the monthly food stamp cycle, in which incentives are given every thirty days, add to sporadic consumption of food?

  20. Paullette
    Posted January 9, 2010 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Hello, I am obese and yes, I am trying to loose weight for my own health…not because I don’t want to “offend” your eyes because I really don’t care what you think of me. What matters is what I think of me.

    You may very well see me with the door open purchasing ice cream-chocolate to be exact I also buy full fat milk- again full fat…but not for me…for my skinny-ass boyfriend!

    There are a lot of medical reasons for being fat and they do not all involve “glandular problems” If your going to gripe at least educate yourself. Many drugs cause huge amounts of gain in a small amount of time. P.C.O (which I have)Which also causes type 2 Diabetes (which I also have) can make weight loss very difficult. So can thyroid problems- mine caused by a drug I must take for the rest of my life- (lithium)

    Obesity is not just a matter of calories in and calories burned- especially for women. Female bodies are more complex where weight issues are concerned. The point being that it is a more complex issue than you seem to know.

    I don’t have stubby greasy fingers any more than you do- or maybe you do- I can’t see you after all…

    Some ignorant people actually think all fat people are stupid and or lazy. I happen to be neither. I have an IQ that puts me in the top 5% of the populace- not mesa but good enough to be proud. I have a clean house. I garden and scuba dive and paint in oil. I have a rigorous job as a nurse taking care of others. The laziest people I know are all normal sized individuals!(and some of the most stupid)

    Now, I am not going to automatically assume that your as ignorant as you appear to be by your post. Instead I prefer to think that you just like to rile people up and be a bit of a #@$ disturber. I am not going to assume anything about you by how you write or look or even by what I see you put in your grocery cart should I ever have the chance to observe such a thing.

    Second point: if you saw me at the store buying the ice cream you would be making way to many assumptions that are wrong about me. Next you’ll be telling me that all red-necks make moon-shine behind their house and all blacks are lazy, chicken stealing, watermelon eating losers because you noticed their skin color.

    As for food stamps and fat people. The facts exist to back me up when I say poor people are usually the fattest. You however have things ass-backwards. They are fat because they are poor and not poor because they are fat.The poor have generally speaking bad diets because the cheapest foods that fill you up are the worse ones to be consuming if you want to be healthy and of normal size. I mean bread, potatoes, hot dogs, pop verses Lean meats, fruit, milk. It is sad but true.

    You know what I love about the USA? The fact that I can walk into ANY store and buy cloths of the rack. Your a nation of fatties! Never mind pound per pound the obese outnumber the normal sized people one on one there!

    Oh, and your wife? I don’t think you have one (but I could be wrong.)

  21. Jamie Apple
    Posted March 1, 2010 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Obesity is really an epidemic these days. People have become very lazy and does not want to exercise anymore. I do a lot of jogging and brisk walking everyday just to be fit and healthy.

  22. Posted March 11, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Nice article.. I like it, one should bear the consequences of their choices (both good and bad)..

  23. Posted January 2, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    [...] Freedom and Obesity » Negative99 [...]

  24. Eliiii
    Posted February 19, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    “Here’s the rub… to be a FREE country you have to enforce two very important principles. First, people must have free choice. Second, people must bear the consequences of their choices (both good and bad) . This is tremendously important. Consequences to one’s own actions is a feedback mechanism that must not be tampered with or the delicate balance that allows for free choice will be disrupted.”

    Yes! I love this defenition, God gave us free will, who are we, simply humans, to take it away?? We need to fall so we can rely on Jesus to pick us right back up(:

    My opinion on the correlation, or better said relation between obesity and Food Stamps is whats cheaper a bag of chips, or fruits? Whats more filling? What do little kids scream for? So, what is a poor person most prone to buy? Just saying.
    God Bless You(:

  25. Dave
    Posted May 7, 2011 at 1:27 am | Permalink

    One day I woke up and realized I was seriously obese. I had known but never let it bother me. I believe the fast food industry and the fast pace of life in the USA are the contributing factors to the national obesity crisis. I don’t care what they try to tell us, fast foods are the cause of the problem. The pharmaceutical industry works right along with the junk food industry to keep us all fat and sick and make us stay that way for ever. That’s where the profits are for them. One day Americans will realize this is happening to them and they will stop putting their faith and trust in for profit industries. It’s our own responsibility to eat right no matter if it’s inconvenient or more expensive. Otherwise count on daily prescription pills and constant doctor visits. It’s really a shame they abuse us guinea pigs like this but we let them.

  26. wasserfilter freak
    Posted June 12, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    “…to be a FREE country you have to enforce two very important principles. First, people must have free choice. Second, people must bear the consequences of their choices (both good and bad).”

    Freedom has always been an ideal value. In real life very few people (compared against the world population) can enjoy a status of freedom. Both principles – free choice and bearing the consequence of my choice – fall far behind reality, because the way we are being brainwashed you don’t have a free choice anymore and we get daily demonstrations of the fact that leaders worldwide don’t have to bear the consequences of their choices (decisions). The system of values has changed tremendously and responsibility for yourself, for your neighbor, for mother earth is no longer part of the system of values.
    The person who is obese didn’t choose on his free will to become obese. No one in his right mind would ever choose to become like that.
    Believing in freedom is believing in some ideal value and often we think this is reality, but for most of us it’s a fiction.

  27. Posted October 2, 2012 at 8:06 am | Permalink

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  28. Posted February 27, 2014 at 4:46 am | Permalink

    im skinny when i saw the book “Never trust a skinny chef.” I agree, but im one of the few who say “go to the gym once in a while DAMNIT!”
    i may not be the most atletic but a least im fit!

  29. Posted March 5, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    this is very helpful article, thanks for sharing

  30. Ednah Allen
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I find your post important and of value. I think, freedom and obesity may have been related because it points out to a one’s right and choice when it comes to what individual preferences to food. However, the good about the freedom of what we really want for ourselves here, might have a negative impact especially when it resulted to obesity. Am I right to say, that all we need is discipline for ourselves to prevent other huge problems that might affect a person’s health. I guess, with this topic, we need to know the advantages and its disadvantages of having too much freedom in relation to obesity. You may read about it

  31. Posted September 18, 2014 at 3:45 am | Permalink

    Hello,

    I think that the obesity is a very big issue of the world and this must be solved. If in America is an old issue, in my country it becomes more visible and I hate it.

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