Obesity, Public Places, & Weapons of Mass Destruction
Author: Bill Brown
Article Published: 2011/05/15
Obesity, Public Places, and Weapons of Mass Destruction.
What do these things have in common? They have all been re-defined.
Lets start with obesity:
It has become routine to hear that there is an obesity epidemic in America. It’s no secret that Americans love to eat, and we eat a lot of things that aren’t necessarily all that healthy for us. So what?
But, before June 1998, there was no epidemic of fat people in the US. The National Institute of Health, after nearly 3 years of debate, decided to adopt a new formula for determining who was fat, and who was not. Under the new “BMI guidelines", 97 million, or nearly 55% of the population at the time was “overweight” and stunningly, 37 million Americans were now suddenly, not just overweight, but obese, and 3 million of them, morbidly so.
The total US weight loss market for 1998 was nearly 12 Billion dollars. It’s more than 50 Billion dollars today.
Need to convince a nation that their sedentary lifestyle is killing them, and maybe give a little boost to the economy at the same time? Redefine what it means to be overweight.
What about “Public Places”?
Redefining ‘Public Places”, like Obesity, resulted in an explosion of new “public” places that didn’t exist before. Regardless of private ownership, under the new and improved, socialistic definition of “Public Places”, if the public is allowed or invited inside, then it’s not really private property after all, and is therefore subject to whatever the “public” wants over what the owner prefers. The property rights of the actual property owners are now a secondary concern, or completely non-existent when it comes to the public's personal comfort in privately owned, “Public Places”. With choice being the only logical, liberty-preserving solution, the only option is to redefine the problem and, thereby, change the solution. Redefining the problem means making the problem about something else entirely, and in this case it's harming workers, regardless of their choice to work where they want. Choice it seems, is the underlying problem, and thus choice remains an inconvenient liberty.
Weapons of Mass Destruction…seriously?
Remember when the US and its allies were combing the country of Iraq looking for those “WMDs? We all assumed they were searching for bombs and missiles that would inflict what most would consider to be "mass destruction" through radiological, biological, or even conventional explosive detonations. Alas, the weapons we were specifically looking for were not to be found. But, in the 20 years since the first Gulf War, we have undergone a basic transformation in our understanding, or more specifically, more recently, our willingness to redefine the problem. Redefining the problem in this instance simply requires that we broaden our scope of reason and be willing to accept the potential deadly nature of more common objects that could be used in a WMD. What do we get? Gym shoes and underwear filled with plastic explosives. An SUV full of Propane canisters, gasoline cans, and fireworks are the WMDs that we apparently routinely overlooked back in the nineties, before all of that unpleasantness transpired.
Not a single firecracker found anywhere in the entire country of Iraq….seriously? Of course if we had used our new definition of a WMD then, we would have been laughed out of the world court. Not so funny now is it?
These “problems” have been redefined to fit the available solution; pre-conceived causes, and/or likely outcomes for the manufactured problems at hand. In the same way, smoking studies are designed to demonstrate the pre-determined conclusions of tobacco control organizations. These things have all been redefined as a matter of convenience to fit the new, expertly scripted reality.
The obesity “epidemic” is exaggerated beyond credibility to the point that obesity is routinely referred to as the “new tobacco”.“Public place” has become a catch phrase, and the ostensible reason for the recission of property rights is "public health". In no uncertain terms, "public health" is cited as a legitimate way to extend government influence over all of us. “Weapons of Mass Destruction” now range from nuclear weapons, all the way down to bottle rockets, and firecrackers as a matter of government policy, in building a case against the terrorist of your choice.
As a nation, we no longer look for appropriate answers to address our toughest problems and continuously settle for second best. Not because we set out to deliberately be less than the best, but because redefining the problem, whatever that problem may be, requires less effort, and is certain to capture a larger segment of the population in agreement. The result is the dumbing down of everyone, across-the-board. Don't confuse this with democracy, it's not the same. It's laziness ..it's mob rule.
Democracy requires personal sacrifice, and there is so much less of that today. Redefining the problem keeps us from making the hard choices, and simply postpones the inevitable.
Bill Brown is an Ohio restarauteur. He blogs at An Inconvenient Liberty.