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.

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