Our good friend Amanda Marcotte has an interesting post up in which she tells us what we already knew, that fast food isn’t particularly good for you, and, she argues really isn’t faster:
People who ride the extreme “fast food only sells because it’s easy” argument tend to oversell how hard it is to cook and undersell what a pain in the ass it is to go to McDonald’s. I used to eat out at fast food places (albeit, locally owned ones based in Austin that emphasized healthier choices than the major chains—but they will never get any bigger than they are because of this choice) a lot more because I bought the whole line about how eating out is easier. But gradually it dawned on me that it really wasn’t.
OK, fine, I have absolutely no problem with Amanda telling us that fast food isn’t all that fast, or in her telling us that it’s a superior choice to cook for yourself. Through dozens of comments, the mostly liberal Ppandagonistae discussed that, with some agreeing while others claimed that fast food was simply a much better option for them (sometimes) than the author believed. The respondents were discussing their choices.
Almost unnoticed was her final sentence:
We have to think of the problem as more complex than that, even if doing so brings up uncomfortable solutions, like demanding a redistribution of agricultural subsidies and taxing fast food so that it’s not so much a cheap pleasure as it used to be.
Now we come to it. People’s food choices are not just their choices, but a “problem.” Not only does Amanda believe that many people are taking the wrong choices when it comes to food, but she also wants to use the power of government to punish such choices, to try to use economic pressure to compel people to take the choices of which she approves.
Now, I’ll be the first to say that we shouldn’t be subsidizing agricultural products at all. Such subsidies ought not to be redistributed, but ended. But Amanda wasn’t only for “a redistribution of agricultural subsidies,” but for increasing taxes on a perfectly legal choice that many people take, but of which she disapproves, to push changes in their behavior, to get other people to do what she believes is for their own good, and to punish them if they do not comply.
Me, I don’t like cheese very much; I call it what it is, rotten, sour, clabbered milk. Nor do I think that that high-cholesterol (supposedly) food-like substance is very healthy for you. But I am absolutely not offended if someone wants to put cheese on a sandwich, or even if Hoagie wants to open up (another) Italian restaurant with everything smothered in the stuff. If Perry wants to go into that restaurant and literally swim in that stuff, I do not care. It tramples on no one else’s rights — though it might mean that I would have more difficulty in finding an item there that I can eat — and that makes it absolutely none of my business.
That is what the late 1960s/early 1970s liberalism that I remember actually stood for: if something is none of your business, then it’s none of your business; if something doesn’t trample on someone else’s rights, then no one else has anything to say about it.
What the heck happened to the 1960s/1970s liberals? Where are the people from the left who thought that government simply had no business sticking its collective nose into their lives? Where are the liberals who thought that ever-increasing government control of people’s lives was fascism?