Sunday, April 19, 2009

Salty meddling

Nanny Bloomberg has a new mission -- the control of salt in our diets.

Salt is terrible for our health, and too many deaths are premature in part due to salt. Except, as the above article cites, maybe it isn't that bad.

But there's a bigger issue here than whether we're over-salted or how bad that might be. I don't know. The issue is that Bloomberg doesn't know either, but he's arrogantly willing to lead us down the path to some bad parody of Demolition Man. (I wonder if Bloomberg knows how to use the three seashells?)

I'm more inclined to side with Dennis Leary's Demolition Man character Edgar Friendly:
You see, according to Cocteau's plan I'm the enemy, 'cause I like to think; I like to read. I'm into freedom of speech and freedom of choice. I'm the kind of guy likes to sit in a greasy spoon and wonder - "Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecued ribs with the side order of gravy fries?" I WANT high cholesterol. I wanna eat bacon and butter and BUCKETS of cheese, okay? I want to smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in the non-smoking section. I want to run through the streets naked with green Jell-o all over my body reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly might feel the need to, okay, pal? I've SEEN the future. Do you know what it is? It's a 47-year-old virgin sitting around in his beige pajamas, drinking a banana-broccoli shake, singing "I'm an Oscar Meyer Wiener".

Would somebody please buy the Mayor a banana-broccoli shake?


Anonymous said...

It's all well and good until you take care of a series of patient's with completely preventable/treatable conditions who take ~30,000-60,000/year out of medicare for dialysis. Then freedom doesn't look so free...

- Matt

JoeCollins said...

Republicans didn't invent medicare. (yes, dubya... part d...)

Control over our lives won't end with our diets, even if we confine the areas of control to health-related domains.

The science, as the article states, isn't quite as black and white as one might think. (I'm probably not going out on a limb here to guess that a lot of people probably do eat too much salt.) But hey, those global cooling guys in the 1970's are due for a come-back... the solar cycle has actually been working in their favor.

Margarine is much better for you than butter... until we discover trans fats, and now solid margarine is just as bad if not worse.

Eggs are terrible... except now you can eat about an egg a day no problem. For now anyway, until science changes its mind again.

But at least with those examples nobody tried to regulate butter or eggs.

This doesn't get talked about a lot, but isn't heart disease a cheaper, quicker, more humane way to die than ... just about everything else? Cancer, alzheimer's, any number of degenerative diseases...

Maybe if we eat right and exercise we can all live long enough to drool and crap our pants in the nursing home until we're 110. (Nursing homes are pretty cheap, right?)

Anonymous said...

I think the broader, non-partisan question is at what point the general social cost of personal choices outweigh the individual freedom. Even if I enjoy shooting guns straight up in town, not allowed to because it poses an undue risk to those around me - and because the town is Boston. Heart disease is one thing (still not that cheap) - kidney disease is slow, expensive, and a forseeable consequence of inadequately controlled HTN. Whether salt legislation is a solution - who knows - but I think the argument can be made that it is ok for gov't to impact incentives - whether this is the right version - who knows.
- Matt