Cultural Revolutions

The War on Fat

The war on fat rages on, and—wouldn’t you know it—one of the leaders in the crusade against fat is, well, on the heavy side.  Jacob Sullum of Reason writes that Kelly Brownell, “a Twinkie tax advocate who never tires of comparing Ronald McDonald to Joe Camel,” actually sports “an extra chin and an ample gut.”  Apparently, Brownell has seen the enemy, and it is him.

But, he would presumably add, it’s not his fault.  People can’t help overeating.  They are victims of evil profit-minded fast-food restaurants and soft-drink manufacturers.  Even Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson has joined the ranks of the victims, announcing that Medicare will treat obesity as a disease, fully covered by the government’s health “insurance” program for the elderly.

There was a time when Americans would have dismissed such victim-mongering with a laugh.  Today, however, someone somewhere—preferably with a deep pocket—can always be blamed.  Observes John Banzhaf, who believes in social engineering via lawsuit: “Never underestimate the tenacity of a lawyer working on a contingency fee.”

Equally bad, however, is how government increasingly is captured by the social engineers of all stripes, including the Health Nazis.  Surgeon General Richard Carmona, a minor functionary...

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