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Keep the lawyers and the doctors away.

April 27, 2010

For Pete’s sake.

Two lawyers wrote an “analysis” piece for the Canadian Medical Association Journal — “Roadblocks to laws for healthy eating and activity“.  (I can’t link to the actual article.  Sorry.)  One of their key points is “legal measures are one policy tool that can be used to promote healthier eating and more physical activity.”  Seriously?

I’ll tell you what the roadblock is … it’s none of their damn business.  The government has no business passing laws about what I eat or how much exercise that I get or don’t get.

When I read something like this it makes me want to completely rebel.  If you see me riding down the street on my bike without a helmet, smoking a cigarette, and eating french fries cooked in trans fat vegetable shortening, you’ll know that they’ve finally pushed me over the edge.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. crazybengal permalink*
    April 30, 2010 7:10 am

    and not wearing any sunscreen

  2. Scott Down permalink
    May 2, 2010 8:01 pm

    I read a neat article somewhere (I’ll let you Google it, I can’t find it) about how obese people and smokers cost the health care system less than healthy people because they die quicker (lung cancer, for example, is a ‘cheap kill’ – barely treatable once detected).

    The ‘soft communitarian’ (which should not be confused for ‘communism’!) in me thinks that soft laws which make being safe simpler than being dangerous are important and helpful; but the libertarian in me agrees with you.

    At some point, we have to acknowledge that our health affects other people, and that the health of other people affect us… and in that sense we all have a responsibility to maintain our health and a responsibility to help ensure the health of others – and the easiest way to do that is through ‘governance’ – which, of course, is facilitated by the government.

    I will support your rebellion only if you are willing to accept the penalty – which in this case is not only a potential fine, but also the personal costs of failing health.

  3. Scott Down permalink
    May 2, 2010 8:05 pm

    Incidentally – I’m with you on keeping the lawyers out! Any time we can get by without a law, we ought to. Far too many people are bent on making laws out of every little thing it seems…

  4. Michele permalink*
    May 2, 2010 9:07 pm

    How can you advocate for government involvement in individual health and say that we should keep the lawyers out?

    Other than infectious diseases, one’s health doesn’t affect other people and shouldn’t be subject to legislation.

  5. Scott Down permalink
    May 6, 2010 11:12 pm

    We can keep the lawyers out simply by agreeing not to sue one another. That’s pretty simple.

    And every part of our lives are intrinsically linked… Healthy people, for example, treat each other more kindly and respectfully, are more likely to get along, are more pleasant, are harder working and more productive, cost the health care system less over time (with caveats) and are more capable and willing to help create a nice place to live. Healthy people are less likely to get diseases and more likely to fight off diseases that they do get, making a stronger and healthier populace.

    That is only one place where the libertarian argument breaks down – try as you might to deny it, you are forever and immeasurably responsible for your neighbours and their well being, and they are forever and immeasurably responsible for you and your well being. And regardless of the systems we create to acknowledge or deny these responsibilities, and regardless of the names we give them (governments, companies, churches, banks, casinos, churches, families, neighbourhood clubs, country clubs, lobby groups, corporations…. …… etc), every aspect of our life affects and is affected by every aspect of the lives of the people around us.

    Bringing this back from flowery poetics to practicality, your life will improve in every measurable way if you help to ensure that those around you are healthier and better cared for. One of the easiest and most effective ways to do this immediately is through the body that we call the ‘government’. No one should argue that the government as it exists should be the resting place or is in any way an ideal system – but it is the best we have available in most respects… The most obvious and simplest way to help our neighbour, and to help ourselves and our families and our communities in the process is, perhaps sadly – but certainly practically, through the existing systems – most notably the government.

    Laws restricting certain problem-causing substances or requiring clarity regarding their dosage and effect should never be the end point, but they are a reasonable starting point.

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