I’m STILL reeling from an episode a couple of YEARS ago in a meeting when I suggested a possible way to approach an amorphous social problem and a fellow opinionista hurled the phrase “NANNY STATE” at me. Yes, this stung like the middle-school taunt that it actually resembled. It resembled it because there was no thought expressed, just a put-down that was simply assumed to be something the assembled would tacitly accept.
So I slunk away, to fume and brood and spin scenarios of witty comebacks that would turn the tables and win the day. And of course you know as well as I do how useful such brooding is. And yet! And yet I was right!
The amorphous problem in question was childhood obesity. Amorphous may be the wrong word for this problem, because its shape is all too apparent. A lot more apparent than the explanation for an attitude that there’s nothing anybody can do about the problem, if the anybody works for the government. The attitude that if the ‘free market’ created it, it by definition can’t be a problem.
I was thinking about it today on the Metro reading in the Express a story about how kids can’t run anywhere near as fast as kids used to. (I can’t link to it because I have a one-link-per-day rule and I’m coming up to one). This isn’t just a case of distorted reminiscence, it’s documented. Kids now huff and puff and just can’t get there at the same speed when under their own power. Obesity caused? Maybe. Caused by related factors? What do you think?
But NANNY TO THE RESCUE! A story I read on Sunday!
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/16/to-fight-obesity-a-carrot-and-a-stick/?_r=0 Why, yes indeed, government can do something right. It could do a lot more right if certain people didn’t spend all their waking energy trying to make sure it DOESN’T work. Here, I’ll coin a thought for you. Effective government is like justice. It can’t exist unless people believe it can.