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2/1/2008
THE OBESITY CRUSADE
CATEGORY: The Law

I make no bones about the fact that I am obese. I could lose 50 lbs and just barely get below the standard BMI (Body Mass Index) indicator for obesity. According to this chart, I am “severely obese” which is just a hairsbreadth from me being “morbidly obese.”

My “ideal weight” ranges from an impossibly thin 149 pounds to a reasonable 183 pounds. I spent most of my 20’s in the 160-170’s, most of my 30’s in the 180-190’s and since I was about 42 I have been over 200 pounds.

So yes, I am a enemy of the state - a borderline morbidly obese American who greedily uses health care resources that would be put to better use by thin people. (Haven’t been to a hospital for illness since I was 6 months old.) To make my crime even more heinous, I am a smoker, a couch potato (thus not contributing to the gross domestic product by purchasing all that useless exercise equipment), and a red meat eating, potato chomping, cold cut binging, mayonnaise slathering, coca cola swigging criminal mastermind who wants to overturn the established order in America and corrupt the young.

Fortunately for you, I am not contagious:

It has actually happened. Lawmakers have proposed legislation that forbids restaurants and food establishments from serving food to anyone who is obese (as defined by the State). Under this bill, food establishments are to be monitored for compliance under the State Department of Health and violators will have their business permits revoked.

House Bill 282 was introduced in the 2008 Mississippi legislative session on Friday by Representative W.T. Mayhall, Jr., a retired pharmaceutical salesman with DuPont-Merk. Its co-authors are Bobby Shows, a businessman, and John Read, a pharmacist.

This is a joke, right? In America? How could this happen in the land of the free and the home of the busy-bodying, do-gooding, well meaning health Nazis?

Is this a tongue-in-cheek bill, meant to point out how absurd the war on obesity has become? Or do lawmakers actually believe the myths that gluttony is the cause for obesity and that it is the government’s role to force people to eat and live how it deems best?

I called lead author, Rep. Mayhall, and asked if this was serious legislation or tongue-in-cheek to make a point. He kindly took a moment to answer my question while the legislature was in session. He said that while, regrettably, he doesn’t believe his bill will pass, this is serious. He wrote it, he said, because of the “urgency of the obesity crisis and need for government action.” He hopes it will “call attention to the serious problem of obesity and what it is costing the Medicare system.”

Ah, yes. What it is costing the government run health care system. Let’s get a peek of where this kind of deep thinking will lead. Let’s go to Great Britain and look in on their version of Hillarycare or Obamamedicine:

Doctors are calling for NHS treatment to be withheld from patients who are too old or who lead unhealthy lives.

Smokers, heavy drinkers, the obese and the elderly should be barred from receiving some operations, according to doctors, with most saying the health service cannot afford to provide free care to everyone.

Fertility treatment and “social” abortions are also on the list of procedures that many doctors say should not be funded by the state.

The findings of a survey conducted by Doctor magazine sparked a fierce row last night, with the British Medical Association and campaign groups describing the recommendations from family and hospital doctors as “out­rageous” and “disgraceful”.

It may be “out­rageous” and “disgraceful” to contemplate withholding treatment from the obese, the old, those “undeserving” of help in order to allocate resources to the pretty people but that doesn’t mean that Great Britain’s national health care program isn’t headed toward a day when those kind of decisions won’t be necessary.

But the issue here is not so much sticking it to the obese as it is forcing private businesses to enforce the government’s disapproval of obesity.

Should this pass, scales will appear at the door of restaurants, people with BMIs of 30 or higher won’t be allowed to be served. And to comply with government regulations, restaurants will have to keep records of patrons’ BMIs.

The Crusaders who believe they have the absolute right to tell us what we can eat, drink, ingest, or smear on our bodies will never stop. It is not about “health.” Nor is it about “the children.” For them, it has always been about control - the ability to tell others what to do and get the emotional satisfaction of being, in their own mind morally superior to the rest of us.

Their current target is the obese. And as long as they target one minority after another - smokers, fast food overeaters, sugar addicts - they can continue with impunity.

One day, they will come after you - probably for something you can’t imagine being harmful or anti-social. But their need for control knows no logic nor no bounds.

And then where will you be, my friends? Where will you be?

UPDATE

Pretty much of a first. James Joyner is at a loss for words.

And from Misha’s “You just can’t make this sh*t up” file, his highness has some high quality photos of a gaggle of BBW’s doing their best imitation of “piling on.”

Talk about meat on the hoof…

By: Rick Moran at 6:05 pm
20 Responses to “THE OBESITY CRUSADE”
  1. 1
    SimplyKimberly Said:
    7:01 pm 

    When I first read about this I thought it was surely a parody from The Onion or some such site.

    Unbelievable!

  2. 2
    No Runny Eggs » Blog Archive » The bipartisan nanny state of Mississippi wants to banish the fat folks from the restaurants Pinged With:
    7:17 pm 

    [...] (H/T - Jon Ham, more discussion from Rick Moran and the Imperial Torturer) [...]

  3. 3
    syn Said:
    7:28 pm 

    Speaking of Body Mass Index, around my area there are a lot of people whose thigh size is thiner than their wrist size not use how ‘healthy such size is and it looks kind of creepy however, remarkably it is judged as fashionably healthy.

  4. 4
    Raven Said:
    7:54 pm 

    Hey Rick want to see your BP go up even more?? Read this…
    another example of the NHS’s priorities.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/health/healthmain.html?in_article_id=511480&in_page_id=1774

    While they sit around and debate providing health care to obese, smoking drinking people, they are willing to fork out millions to this non health care related issue.

    Makes me ILL. And to think, we are heading there.

  5. 5
    SJ Reidhead Said:
    7:57 pm 

    I agree with you. I have been overweight my entire life. I’m in decent health (problems not related to weight, but genetics - inner ear- and several broken bones). I’ve had an allergy to sunflower seeds for years. Now that it had been decreed that sunflower and cottonseed oil is “healthy”, I am having terrible problems. I’ve ended up in the ER twice for what I thought was a heart-attack, but was a food allergy - due to the fact that those two products are politically correct. But - sunflower oil and cottonseed oil are healthy. So, I no longer eat at any fast food places. I must ask what oils are being used (oh, we’re heart healthy). I may end up being “healthy” because so many products now have those two heart-healthy products in them that the only things I know I can consume safely are all fresh veggies.

    Don’t you realize people like us are stupid, mindless, vile, disgusting maggots on the back of humanity?

    Funny how they never bother mentioning the cost of all those eating disorders.

    SJR
    The Pink Flamingo

  6. 6
    What are you giving up for Lent? | The Anchoress Pinged With:
    9:29 pm 

    [...] Of course, I could give up chocolate and make the nanny state happy. [...]

  7. 7
    Pius A. Said:
    10:02 pm 

    I wonder what the BMI police would have to say about someone who is 5′7″ and 220lbs. Morbidly obese, I suppose? Any accounting for muscle or body type? All I know is that in the past two days at work, I’ve physically moved around seven tons of merchandise and felt the better for it. My 6′1″, 175lb coworker can’t even come close. So who’s the healthier? And does ethnic origin play a role? I’m Portuguese/Italian, and just about everyone in my family is built like a fire hydrant. Are we inherently less healthy than people of English and Northern European descent? Our practical abilities might suggest otherwise.

  8. 8
    Bridey Said:
    2:30 am 

    I’m a fat broad, and I’ve been talking about the war on fat people for years, saying exactly what you just said: It’s about control. And that is all it has ever been about.

    It started with the demonization of smokers, of course. Smoking is an easy target — it’s often ugly and it can be intrusive, even if nine-tenths of the stuff that’s spread around about “secondhand smoke” is crap. And when the nannies started reaching into private businesses and workplaces, and, in my fine home state, automobiles, everybody’d been so nicely indoctrinated — “Smokers don’t care about their children!” “Smokers use up too much health care!” — that the program moved along just fine.

    In fact, the anti-smoking campaign had gone over so fabulously well that it was time to pick a new target. Fat people are, obviously, highly visible, and many people (even fat people) find us at least as ugly and intrusive as smoking. And the concept of “secondhand fat” has been floated already. So who was going to protest when the government declared war on us, and launched a vast and expensive campaign of propaganda against us? A few already-marginalized fat people?

    So now the state has concluded that, just as it has a compelling interest in controlling smokers, it has a compelling interest in every damn thing you put in your mouth. “Fat people don’t care about their children!” (Heard what’s happening lately to fat people who try to adopt? Or about fat kids being taken out of their parents’ homes?) “Fat people use up too much health care!”

    And as the nannies settle in to monitoring, and harassing, and denying health care — and who knows what else? — to fat people, it’ll be time to pick a new target.

    Who do you think it will be? Will they decide alcohol is the new most evil thing in the whole world? Surely people who drink cost the health care system something extra. And how about people who keep having babies? Surely they’re going to get way too much state-funded health care.

    Or promiscuous people! Sexual behavior is sacrosanct and above criticism now, of course, but things do change, and we — or, rather, you, since fat people will live sex-free for fear that we may reproduce — may someday have to regularly prove yourself disease-free and duly provided with contraceptives before you can have sex with your (properly registered) partner.

    Oh, yes, I’m just exaggerating, and the smokers can all just quit, and the fat people can all get skinny! Then, problem solved, the whole driving force for state interference in individuals’ lives will vanish, since it’s no longer needed! Because that’s exactly how politicians work!

    Right.

  9. 9
    A Stoic Said:
    6:20 am 

    Read this on Overlawyered.

    I got the impression it was also being proffered to minimize tort cases by the heavies.

    An alternative to prohibition would be a signed liability waiver!!

  10. 10
    Melanie Said:
    9:02 am 

    Interesting you point to Hillary and Obama’s health care plans, and Great Britians NHS, as where such a policy will lead, when this legislation was penned by a Republican…

    I’m sure he gets lots of $$$ from private insurance companies.

    Health “Nazi” indeed…

  11. 11
    Rick Moran Said:
    9:32 am 

    The politics or ideology of the lawmaker is not the point. It is his contention that obese people are costing government taxpayer monies that is the issue.

    By his standard, anorexic people should also be targeted - perhaps by placing someone in the restaurant restroom to make sure they don’t binge and purge.

    It is this mindset that leads to the NHS rationing care based not on need but on but on a subjective criteria having to do with lifestyle or viability.

  12. 12
    syn Said:
    11:01 am 

    The odd thing about what is considered ‘healthy’ is that people who are under normal weight have a higher mortality rate than people just over normal weight.

    I learned this a couple of years ago when my health-nut father (bless his soul) died at the age of 69; he exercised heavily, kept his body mass under the norm, didn’t smoke(hated smokers in fact), ate all the correct foods, moderate wine drinker yet he ended up with stage four lung cancer and regretfully died three months after diagnosis.

    My mother(bless her soul) on the other hand smoked, was a little over the norm weight, took walks but not into heavy duty exercise, didn’t worry about the correct type of food yet she managed to live 7 years longer than my father; she regretgully died from ovarian cancer at the age of 76.

    What I know is that there is no way the government can prevent me from disease or death and that taking a thirty minute walk every other day does wonders for your health both mental and physical.

    I am a tall, big-boned female who is a little over the norm but not heavy however, when placed next to an anexoric I look gigantic.

    It’s true appearances can be deceiving and remember the camera adds ten pounds to the image you see.

    Speaking of Nazis, they were big into the ‘anti-smoker’ mindset, I have a poster which depicts a Nazi in uniform whose giant jackboot is stomping down upon a cigar which at the tip of the cigar is the face of a black person to show how necessary it is to stomp out ‘the dirty people’

    It does tie into the eugenics concept (think racist Margaret Sanger) that blacks are (in sanger’s mind) ‘dirty’ and should be stomped out, so to speak.

    Nazis were also big Greenies too.

    The underlying theme about it all is the desire to create ‘a new world which is pure and clean and perfect’.

  13. 13
    Bill Arnold Said:
    4:35 pm 

    Nazis were also big Greenies too.
    Green parties have always been pacifistic, so Nazis wouldn’t qualify. From Wikipedia
    “In contrast, formally organized “Green Parties” follow a coherent ideology that includes not only environmentalism, but also other concerns such as social justice, consensus decision-making, and pacifism.”

    The proposed legislation appears to be just … insane and un-American. I expect the authors are receiving a lot of angry mail.
    FWIW, private health care and/or employers who supply health care can be just as intrusive about habits generally considered unhealthy. This is more about control than how socialized a health care system is.

    (think racist Margaret Sanger)
    This was new to me so I browsed around. The evidence seems thin, and some of the quotes used by anti-abortion-rights/pro-life groups appear to be simply false.

  14. 14
    HE HATE ME Said:
    8:39 pm 

    Great- just what we need some bureaucrat’s arbitrary standards and gatekeeping of health resources. I don’t buy into those approved tables. I’m six three and 195# and look skinny and some table says I should be #165. I was 135 in high school and looked like a concentration camp survivor. Everyone has some bad habit or another. Screw Nurse Bloomburg. Screw the Goracle for his AGW religion (speaking of one porker and another in Fat Teddy K).
    No doubt society as a whole overeats the junk food. Let’s make it more expensive by pushing for more ethanol. Let’s ignore use of nuclear plants and our huge coal supplies. Maybe Jonathan Swift satire had it right- eat the Irish infants or in this case the ubiquitous illegal alien offspring that gets automatic US citizenship. Wonder what price it would bring? And let’s round up those of us who bitch about overpopulation and euthanize THEM forthwith or at least sterilize the lot.

  15. 15
    elisa72 Said:
    11:27 am 

    I’m surprised that no one has mentioned how truly useless it is to regulate WHERE fat people can eat…while having no control whatsoever over what they eat at home. So what’s next? Grocery stores are allowed to sell only vegetables to fat people? Cameras installed in their kitchens to see what snack they’re eating? Or will they just make obesity a crime? Seems that’s where they are headed.

    “He hopes it will ‘call attention to the serious problem of obesity’” I can’t express how sick I am of the legislative process being misused to “send a message” or “call attention.” Crafting laws - even ones that have no chance of actually becoming law - is NOT the proper way to call attention to any issue, and then when you consider that some of these wacky bills actually DO become law…

  16. 16
    Conservative Belle Said:
    12:28 pm 

    What might be an interesting investigation on this topic would be to ask which of those three bill sponsors smoke.

    A member of the restaurant association in MS told me that this was spiteful attempt to get back at the recent smoking bans in Mississippi cities. IOW, ‘if I can’t smoke in certain places, then fat people can’t eat in restaurants.’

    Also of note:

    Many legislators are supporting a $1.00 tax increase per pack on cigarette sales. There is actually a billboard downtown on the approach to the MS state capitol that show these choices:

    Greedy tobacco companies or health care for children

    No kidding.

    Someone should ask Mayhall if there will be someone at every restaurant with a BMI scale that you must step on before you order a slice of pecan pie a la mode.

  17. 17
    SGT Christopher Whitaker Said:
    8:36 am 

    It is painfully obvious that, yet again, we have politicians who completely misunderstand the various health guidelines used. BMI is only ONE tool used to determine overall health; there are a number of other tools. I am 5′7″ tall, weigh about 200lbs and if anyone calls me obese they are going to get punched in the mouth. Anyone who works out to any significxant degree isn’t going to come close to meeting their supposed “ideal” BMI. Does that mean that Football players are now “morbidly obese?” That will probably be news to some of them. This is simply another typical power-grab by morons politicians and their bureaucratic minions “foro our own good.”

  18. 18
    Gayle Miller Said:
    11:45 am 

    I’m old enough to remember the “whites only” signs in the South and that was considered heinous! Dems demonized Republicans over these signs, when it was Democratic governors who insisted on perpetuating segregation.

    How is this any different? I’ll answer that for you - it isn’t. It is discrimination pure and simple and I’d like to know when people are going to say “enough”!?

    I smoke and to be completely honest, I don’t like to smoke during the day and never did, even when I could do it at my desk. That did not keep me from bitterly resenting the sanctimonious anti-smoking campaigners - how dare ANYONE tell me how to live my life!? This is more of the same. I am not skinny and probably never will be. And I’m probably 50-70 pounds above what the actuarial tables consider to be healthy. All that being said, I’m fairly healthy, relatively health problem-free except for the residual effect (good and bad) from my years as a figure skater. Good effect? My physical being is pretty strong. Bad effect? Think about butt hitting ice repeatedly, every day, 6 days per week, 50 weeks of the year. Any wonder I have arthritis in my spine?

    So next we need to ban figure skating! All those orthopedic problems, don’t you know!

    This has just become ASININE.

  19. 19
    Willow Said:
    4:07 am 

    Obesity is not caused by overeating. It is caused by fluid retention in people who are sensitive to salt. Dieting is unnecessary and harmful. It is easy to lose weight safely and speedily by drastically cutting down on salt/sodium. Go on! - Try it!

    Most obese people lose about 14 pounds in the first month.

  20. 20
    M. Collins Said:
    2:09 am 

    Im skinny. I always have been. Its just who I am. Im fairly active but that has nothing to do with it. At times in my life Ive tried hard to bulk up without much sucess. Im whats called a hard gainer. Short of using roids I’ll probably always be slim. Im a guy by the way. In fact and no offense, Im usually not physically attracted to the bigger girls, but that is me and I know I couldn’t possibly speak for everyone. But to demonize someone because they’re overweight is phucking insane and pisses me off. Too many people nowadays know whats best for everyone else. I don’t like it when I hear people bad mouthing people who are “fat”. If its someone I know I can almost always cite someone they’re close to such as a girlfriend, friend, or family member whose weight isn’t “ideal and perfect” and it quickly shuts their dumb mouths and sends them stumbling and stuttering for words to recover from their ignorant statements. Some people really just can’t help it. Sure some people probably could slim down easier than others. But to look at someone all but a few seconds and know their life story and what they “should” be doing pisses me off to no end. Im skinny and I’ll stand by all my fat friends and fellow fat humans to the deathly end.

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