February 19, 2015

Single Best Argument for Libertarianism

If I could sell one single idea, I would think it might be: "Government has no valid role in diet and nutrition."

You can attack it with consequentialist arguments: "they suck!" Or you can attack it with first principles: there is a very vibrant market in literature and ideas in the nutrition and exercise space; government is not needed.

But the Feds have fallen on their face, repeatedly, from the Four Best Lobbyists 4 Food Groups , the Food Pyramid. MyPlate.gov. Once again. Emily Litella style, they say "nevermind." This time on cholesterol. But rather than humility (I do kid myself sometimes), the new guidelines just airbrush out all the b******t they told you last time, while hectoring you on several new and very dubious fronts.

But the broadminded approach extends a little too far; now everything from environmental sustainability to helping immigrants adjust to a new food culture falls under the DGAC's purview. And the committee hasn't really abandoned its tendency to single out specific nutrients as special diet dangers, suggesting that drinks with added sugars are a good candidate for targeted taxation:

For all those who did not DIE (all caps and ****-ed out swear words, damn, this is a rant) from the previous Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) recommendations, you now have to be hectored on environmental concerns as well:
In addition to recommending particularly dietary patterns based on their ability to promote health, the report for the first time notes the advantages of "sustainable diets"

All this for an industry with a most vibrant private-sector discussion. Walmart* does not wait ten years -- they offer low-carb dieters a marvelous bucket of meat and cheese and cheese wrapped with meat. Capitalism rules!

Food and Wine Rant We're from the government, and here to help. Posted by John Kranz at February 19, 2015 6:02 PM

I suspect all of us grew up with the Four Basic Food Groups* being drummed into us. The USDA has always been unduly influenced by parties seeking to tilt the scales to increase their industry's share of the shopping cart, and more recently, parties bound and determined to stigmatize meat. The way I hear it, meat is to the rest of the menu what fossil fuels are to wind and solar - the energy-density champion.

I'd sooner do away with the USDA entirely, its welfare programs and its bad regulations, and trust my family doctor, my high school health sciences teacher, and private experts whose opinion I value, and let me buy as I see fit**. When you all vote me into office, it'll happen.

*(I was once asked by a friend to name the Four Basic Food Groups in the REAL American diet as practiced, and to name one common dish that had it all. I quickly came up with lasagna, but I was wrong. The four food groups in the REAL American diet center around alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat -- and therefore Irish Coffee represents a balanced diet.)

** We'll see what the free market does with Little Caesar's latest concoction, linked here. I'm torn; Little Caesar's is the second-worst pizza chain around after Pizza Hut, but it's wrapped in three and a half feet of bacon. http://www.usatoday.com/…/little-caesars-fast-foo…/23565411/

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 19, 2015 11:08 PM

Errrr, let's try that again... http://usat.ly/1BrbuRW

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 19, 2015 11:10 PM

Cholesterol, Cholesterol! Good thing it's okay now.

Posted by: jk at February 20, 2015 10:27 AM | What do you think? [3]