Magazine article USA TODAY

The Obesity Police Are on the Way

Magazine article USA TODAY

The Obesity Police Are on the Way

Article excerpt

Lawmakers in Mississippi have proposed a bill that would revoke the business license of any restaurant that serves food to fat people, as measured by state health standards. "Proponents of the paternalistic nanny-state are intent on transforming obesity into a public health issue, but obesity is a private health matter, of no legitimate concern to the government," asserts Thomas Bowden, an analyst at the Ayn Rand Institute, Irvine, Calif.

"Each individual has a right to life, which includes the right to eat as one sees fit. A rational judgment about what to eat takes into account many individual factors--nutritional needs, metabolism, genetics, medical history, and a doctor's advice--as well as the pleasure of eating and one's personal views on body shape. The fact that some people may irrationally maintain an unhealthy weight by overeating cannot justify government control over food intake.

"Legitimate public health measures, such as quarantining persons with infectious diseases or outlawing disease-spreading cesspools, involve shielding innocent victims from physical force, but fat people do not emit physical forces that impede other people's freedom of action. …

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