"Mistrust those in whom the urge to punish is strong." Friedrich Nietzche

"Any and all non-violent, non-coercive, non-larcenous, consensual adult behavior that does not physically harm other people or their property or directly and immediately endangers same, that does not disturb the peace or create a public nuisance, and that is done in private, especially on private property, is the inalienable right of all adults. In a truly free and liberty-loving society, ruled by a secular government, no laws should be passed to prohibit such behavior. Any laws now existing that are contrary to the above definition of inalienable rights are violations of the rights of adults and should be made null and void." D. M. Mitchell (from The Myth of Inalienable Rights, at: http://dowehaverights.blogspot.com/)

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Moral Question

The A.M.A. has estimated that at least 400,000 people a year in the U.S. are dying prematurely due to poor diet and lack of exercise. Let us, arbitrarily, assume that half are dying from lack of exercise and the other half from poor diet, although it doesn't work that way. That would mean that 200,000 people a year are dying due to not eating in a healthy manner.

Scientists in the field of food and nutrition (honest ones) will tell you that white flour and refined sugar are two of the worse things that you can eat. The white flour acts (is digested) like a simple sugar, and the refined sugar is a simple sugar. This means that the energy pours into your bloodstream, rather than dripping in, like it would if you were to eat complex carbohydrates, which takes more energy and time for your body to digest. (Also, those same scientists, if they are actually honest and well-read in the studies in their specialty, and even if they are on the payroll of some company in the refined food industry, will tell you that besides complex carbohydrates, humans need meat and saturated fats to be as strong and healthy as we possibly can be.)

When the simple sugars floods into your blood your body simply cannot handle it and all sorts of emergency actions are taken to store it as ready energy, or as fat if the energy storage areas are already full--or if they are too few and too small, which is a result of lack of exercise. Also, all that sugar upsets delicate enzyme and fluid balances. If you do this once or twice a month, it's not a big deal. It's like putting the body under a bad stress, but it will recover and everything will be alright. If you do this every day, that's when the slow breakdown of your finely tuned internal systems begin, systems that took hundreds of thousand of years to perfect.

Poor diets, especially high in white flour and sugar, as well as the refined vegetable oils that are in every processed food too, lead to diabetes, liver disease, heart attacks, plaque build up in the arteries, strokes, pancreatic cancer and a whole host of other cancers. Eventually, and usually years before you would had you eaten a healthy diet, you will die . . . but not before you suffer pain and discomfort, maybe have an operation or two, and depend upon expensive prescription medicines. (Note: Americans aren't living longer because they are healthier. They are living longer because of modern medical intervention.)

All the above is well documented. So what's the "moral question?" I want to single out one component of a poor diet, the high sugar content soft drink industry. All processed foods and highly refined foods are just as culpable, but so many people drink soft drinks, especially children, that most Americans can't imagine a world without them. So here is the question: Are the owners of the companies that produce the soft drinks, the board of directors of those companies, as well as the workers who actually produce those products, moral people?

Is it moral to produce a product that is intrinsically harmful to the human body and contributes to, if not causes, the premature deaths of thousands of your fellow citizens? And then I also wonder, are those people stupid, ignorant, or uncaring?

Finally, my position as a Libertarian says that adults can make bad choices for their lives, as long as they don't violate the rights of others without good cause. So eating a poor diet and suffering from it and dying early is their right. But children don't have the ability to understand the realities of which I am speaking. Many, if not most of the high sugar products are marketed to children. Parents play a major part in this. To me, allowing children to consume mass quantities (even small quantities) of these high sugar products daily is tantamount to child abuse.

Mind you, I'm not on a band wagon to get Congress to ban these quasi-drugs. People should not ask the government to do for them what they can do for themselves. I just want people to pay attention, get educated about truly good-for-you foods, and to be lovingly consistent, and consistently firm, with their children and do not allow them to get started on these . . . poisons or, in the alternative, limit their consumption drastically.

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