When the World Health Organization (WHO) released its proposed “global strategy on diet, physical activity and health” calling for “fat taxes,” the Bush administration noticed something conspicuously missing from the report — any notion of personal responsibility. Thankfully, the former Director of Communications for WHO’s European Office, Franklin Apfel, provides insight into this obvious omission. He recently told a conference in Dublin (as reported in The Irish Times):
[W]e are all influenced by ‘hazard merchants’ selling us a false view of things like tobacco, alcohol and high density foodstuffs — we’re given the impression that these things represent personal choice, autonomy and freedom.
And there you have it folks. Such is the mentality of the Euro-crats at the World Health Organization. According to Apfel, what folks eat and drink isn’t a personal choice, nor is it a freedom. With these two misconceived notions out of the way, it’s much easier for governments to police the diets of their citizens.
Food cops here at home are keen to this strategy. Margo Wootan of the Center for Science in the Public Interest has declared the need to “move beyond personal responsibility” when it comes to regulating our diets. And the father of the fat tax, Kelly Brownell, has noted that nutrition zealots should focus on children because “then you get away from these arguments about personal responsibility.”
Despite their ongoing efforts, diet scolds have had little success convincing the American public that what we eat and drink is somebody else’s decision and not our own. The global health police haven’t fared too well either, considering a group of 77 developing nations have denounced the WHO report as unscientific and “not worthy of serious consideration.” It seems that personal responsibility and freedom aren’t easily swept under the rug — or off the plate.