Amidst all the the 24 hour coverage of the debt ceiling crisis, with graphics depicting the billions of dollars in government borrowing piling up by the second, and apocalyptic predictions of our fiscal future, I was amazed to read a story in the Minneapolis Tribune last Wednesday, August 10, entitled “Food makers face the big squeeze.” Its subject is the multimillion dollar efforts being made by companies like Cargill, General Mills and Hormel Foods to reformulate their products to contain less salt and sugar at the behest of “Regulators, nutritionists and even the first lady...”
According to a report by an outfit called the Institute of Medicine, authorized by Congress, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should set mandatory salt and sodium standards for food makers, and thus the scramble to stay ahead of the government regulators by food companies.
Of course, by the time these staunch guardians of the public health and welfare have completed the task of setting standards and forcing food makers and public to comply, the standards will have been found to be mere fads, or perhaps nonsense, to be replaced by new, equally frivolous ones. The question thus cries out – would it not be more sensible to lay off the bureaucrats promulgating these standards, save the tax dollars, and perhaps more important, leave nutritional decisions in the hands of the people whose health they affect? Of course, many of them will make bad decisions, but probably not so nonsensical as the government sponsored ones, and at least it won’t require borrowing money from Red China to pay for the whole process.
The nanny state’s meddling in our diet so as to force us to eat what it considers healthy is mostly obnoxious and senseless, but the never-ending project of the modern welfare state to replace with government programs what free people should and can do best for themselves, leads inevitably down to ruin. From the Milwaukee and Philadelphia riots and rampages by young people, to the far more frightening breakdown of civil order all over Great Britain, there is a frightening pattern of brutish, senseless, and indiscriminate violence that comes, not from want, deprivation, or political grievance, but is simply the predictable behavior of young people who have not been civilized or socialized by any effective institutions.
In his book from the 1950’s, Lord of the Flies, the British novelist William Golding postulated the effect on young people marooned on a desert island without the benefit of adult supervision or any other instruments of moral authority. They descended rapidly into the state of murderous barbarism we now see on the streets of London.
The common thread you read about in all of the groups committing this mayhem, is that they are overwhelmingly members of an underclass created by a welfare state whose policies and programs have destroyed social and family structure by providing incentives for young women to have children by fathers who do not stick around to help rear them. Then, with laughable ineptitude, the state attempts through its schools and other public institutions, to provide for child rearing and socialization. Alas – these can only be managed effectively by the institution government has busily gone about destroying, the family.
So insisting that the state do and tax less while growing smaller is not just a righteous desire to be left alone with what is yours. It is actually more important as a moral drive demanding that government cease making universal mischief by usurping authority to do what it cannot, while destroying the institutions that can.