Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 5, 2008 / 28 Adar I 5768

Liberty versus socialism

By Walter Williams


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A fortnight ago, I wrote about Mississippi Legislature House Bill 282 that would have imposed fines or revoked licenses of food establishments that served obese people. Fortunately, the measure died in committee. State Rep. Ted Mayhall, one of the bill's sponsors, justified it by saying that he wanted to bring attention to the fact that "Obesity makes people more susceptible to diabetes, which puts a further strain on the state's financially-challenged Medicaid program."


His sentiments were expressed by quite a few readers who didn't necessarily support such a measure but opined that if a particular behavior or lifestyle imposed costs on others through tax-supported health care, the government had a right to intercede.


Similar justification was used for laws requiring helmets for motorcyclists and bicyclists. After all, if one exercises his liberty to ride without a helmet, and has an accident and becomes a vegetable, society has to bear the expense of taking care of him. The fact that an obese person becomes ill, or a cyclist has an accident, and becomes a burden on taxpayers who must bear the expense of taking care of him, is not a problem of liberty. It's a problem of socialism where one person is forced to take care of another. There is no moral argument that justifies using the coercive powers of government to force one person to bear the expense of taking care of another. If that person is too resolute in his refusal to do so, what is the case for imposing fines, imprisonment or death?


You say, "Death! Aren't you exaggerating, Williams?" Say he tells the agents of Congress that he'll pay his share of the constitutionally mandated functions of government but refuse to pay the health costs of a sick obese person or a cyclist who becomes a vegetable, what do you think the likely course of events will be? First, he'd be threatened with fines, imprisonment or property confiscation. Refusal to give in to these government sanctions would ultimately lead to his being shot by the agents of Congress.


Forcing one person to bear the burden of health care costs for another is not only a moral question but a major threat to personal liberty. Think about all the behaviors and lifestyles that can lead to illness and increase the burden on taxpayers. A daily salt intake exceeding 6 grams can lead to hypertension. A high-fat diet and high alcohol intake can also lead to diabetes. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to several costly diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and heart failure.


There are many other behaviors that lead to a greater health care burden, but my question is how much control over your life you are willing to give government in the name of reducing these costs? Would you want government to regulate how much salt you use? What about government deciding how much fat and alcohol you consume? There are immense beneficial health effects of a daily 30-minute aerobic exercise. Would you support government-mandated exercise?


You might argue that it's none of government's business how much fat, salt or alcohol a person consumes, even if it has adverse health care cost implications. I'd ask: Wouldn't the same reasoning apply to helmet laws and proposed obesity laws? Last year, The Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act was introduced in Congress. It's a measure to prevent schools from serving "junk foods" such as pizza, burgers and French fries. If the government protects children from "unhealthy" meals at school, would you want government to also protect them from unhealthy meals at home?


When I was 14 or 15 years old, smelling myself, I thought I could take over the house. My mother told me that as long as she was paying the bills, I was going to do what she said. That's great for a parent/child relationship, but do we want the same relationship between government and its citizens?

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Walter Williams Archives


© 2006, Creators Syndicate.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles