"Nanny-State" Takes On "Big-Fannies"
Category: Seeing Clearly Now
Walter Olson at Overlawyered fires his shot at what he calls the nanny-state in the United Kingdom.
The British Medical Journal, already well established as a source of policy recommendations noxious to individual liberty, is at it again:
Clothes made in larger sizes should carry a tag with an obesity helpline number, health specialists have suggested. Sweets and snacks should not be permitted near checkouts, new roads should not be built unless they include cycle lanes and food likely to make people fat should be taxed, they say in a checklist of what we might "reasonably do" to deal with obesity.
(Nigel Hawkes, "Larger-size clothes should come with warning to lose weight, say experts", Times Online (UK), Dec. 15).
The report referenced by Walter was put together by Laurence Gruer, director of public health science at NHS Health Scotland, and Sir George, who is emeritus professor of medicine at Newcastle University. The recommendation regarding clothing is actually Printing helpline numbers for advice with all clothes sold with a waist of more than 40in for men and 37in for boys, women's garments with a waist of more than 35in or size 16 or above, and more than 31in for girls.
British citizens live in a society which provides a universal health care plan that must deal with the many diseases associated with obesity. In the United States, where our continued reverence for individual liberty has resulted in over 40 million uninsured citizens and the most costly health care system in the world, we look at obesity and its causes as just a "living big" lifestyle choice. Walter apparently feels freedom-loving Americans would be repulsed by an effort by our government to inform its obese citizens of available help for a condition that is killing them and costing the rest of us billions of dollars a year.
Next week, Walter may be putting the spotlight on those ridiculous warnings on cigarette packs, the overly wordy package inserts provided with prescription drugs, the stupid warning labels about alcohol consumption during pregnancy, the nagging "buckle up" buzzer in our automobiles, the nutritional information on food product packaging, the flame-retardant effort in children's sleepware, the choking hazard labeling of children's toys, the annual flu-vaccine programs and the child immunization vaccines.
Thank God, someone is going to crusade against the Made In China labels. [Talk about the ultimate nanny-state infringement upon individual liberty.]
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Hey GTL: just so you know, "fanny" means "vagina" in the UK, instead of "butt" as it does in the States. So your headline implies that the UK government is cracking down on large vaginas. (I believe that Italy is the only EU country with that issue on its public health agenda.)
Also, I agree with your take on the post: I don't see how the democratically-run entity charged with maintaining public infrastructure and public health is acting like a "nanny" by pointing out that inattention to your eating and exercise habits creates serious social costs that screw everybody else around you. How about the "drill sergeant state" or the "personal trainer state"? Oh, but I see: it's bad, so it must be femininized; hence, "nanny".
Posted by: Matt Norwood at December 15, 2006 01:35 PM