Part of the government’s public health plan last year involves a ‘nudge theory’ which basically entails regulating acceptable practice and behaviour in the area of personal health and diet. This involves “physical activity, alcohol, health at work and food.” Committee chairman Baroness Neuberger said: “There are all manner of things that the government want us to do – lose weight, give up smoking, use the car less, give blood – but how can they get us to do them?”
Lindsey Davies, a professor and President of the UK Faculty of Public Health, another public sector organisation which UK citizens are forced to finance, said: “the public health profession has long argued that ‘nudging’ is but one aspect of a wide programme of interventions to help people make changes in their lives which promote good health and wellbeing.”
I wonder if the government would care as much for our health if it wasn’t paying for it, and doing so in such a shabby and fatal way? The answer, of course, is no. As opponents of the Left have pointed out time and again, when the government is supporting your life (either through benefits or healthcare) it will always feel justified in dictating to you how you should live it. After all, since the biggest claimers off government are those who contribute the least to it and land it in huge debt, government might think it’s only fair to start telling these people how much they can and can’t drink, smoke, run, eat etc.
The assumption openly accepted here, (and even by some posters on the article above) is that healthcare and lifestyle is a legitimate area of interest for the government. It is not. I’ll state this clearly: no one’s lifestyle choices or any part thereof, are a legitimate interest of government. The government should have absolutely nothing to do with your life or how you choose to live it. All it should do in your regard is punish criminals.
It is primarily because government supports the lives of so many citizens who are unwilling to work (those truly unable to work are a tiny minority), and thus has a vested interest in how we live our lives, that it feels the need – nay – right, to interfere in the private affairs of innocent citizens, by forcing them to label foods a particular way, banning certain foods from public use, heavily-taxing certain substances deemed unhealthy, offering incentives for healthy people and punishing non-compliers through fines or taxes. Just one example of this is the planned duty increase on high-strength alcohol. The reason? To encourage responsible drinking.
I am not making this up. This is real. This is actually happening now! This is happening in Britain in the year 2011. This is FASCISM. This is the government passing law after law, legislation after legislation, regulation after regulation, tax after tax – all under the guise of promoting one lifestyle over another. In essence, through the blatant use of force against which we have no power, the government has decided what the right and proper lifestyle is for its citizens. “This, this and this – is how you should live your life. This is what you should drink. This is what you should eat. Ok we might not be able to throw you in prison for it (yet), but we’ll just tax you more.” What’s the name for a higher financial levy demanded as a consequence for action? Fine. You are being fined by the government for choosing alcohol A over alcohol B; fast food X over fast food Y, tobacco 1 over no tobacco at all. This is happening right now – to you.
“But people who are unhealthy impose a greater cost on the taxpayer” – some object.
Firstly, don’t be so naive. If you truly believe the government has the best interests of individuals at heart, you live in a fantasy realm where politicians are our appointed protectors and guardians of liberty. Sadly, that is not the world we live in. We live in a world where politicians and their cronies gain power through votes and currying favour. A world where power itself is the objective of political parties, and our money is the means of acquiring it. Don’t ever take for granted that WE subsidise these creatures, whether we like it or not.
Secondly, if individuals were the object of concern for government, it would protect individual rights, and the most fundamental choice of all for a free person: how you choose to live your life.
Thirdly, it is true that unhealthy people impose a high cost on the taxpayer. But let’s break that sentence down: people who are reckless and careless with their own lives can make legally-enforced financial demands on those aren’t…and the problem with this is that these types simply don’t eat right?? Isn’t there a more heinous offence here, namely the sacrifice of the rational and productive to the lazy gluttonous slobs having their healthcare (and lives) paid for by…the rational and productive?! Is this justice? Is this fairness? No. But it is socialism. It is fascism.
What happened to your life being yours and my life being mine? Can I think for you? Can you act for me? What happened to being responsible for our actions? What happened to enjoying the rewards of healthy living and reaping the consequences of thoughtless bingeing? Were these just fairytales told to us as children, idealistic lies to keep us in check until we grew up and discovered that in the “real” world, we could eat, drink, smoke and abuse what we wanted because someone else would pay? To discover that if we ate right, drank in moderation (or not at all), and didn’t smoke or abuse drugs, that we would still be fined for the little eccentricities in life we enjoy (like, a pint of high-duty premium lager), and still have to pay for the wasters who chose poorly? To discover that if we couldn’t or (more likely) wouldn’t work, it didn’t matter – because there’d always be some sap out there, some loser, some “slave” to The Man in his silly office, “trapped” in the corporate system, having to do an 8-hour day, that would put food on our plate and keep the hospitals open whilst we watched TV in the armchair?
Or worse yet, discover that you needn’t burden yourself with silly things like principles and decisions. You have government: it will tell you what you can and can’t do and recommend what lifestyle you should pursue. Force will keep the dissenters in fear. Tax will keep the non-compliers in line. And all along, your government’s coffers grow – whilst the citizens’ savings shrink – and it will all be done in the name of public health.
Ayn Rand said “the difference between a welfare state and totalitarian state is a matter of time.” Every single fascist regime in history seeks to regulate the lifestyle of its citizens. It is the very definition of totalitarianism. The British government is fascist. Even if you can’t fight it (for now), you should not kid yourself of the nature of it.