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In Hoke County, North Carolina, a four-year-old girl brought her homemade lunch to school. It contained a turkey and cheese sandwich, apple juice, potato chips, and a banana.
All hell broke loose.
A state inspector pounced on the lunch as though he’d found a loose land mine in the pre-school. He decided that the lunch didn’t contain all the relevant parts of the complete meal, and that the girl needed a full school lunch tray, including chicken nuggets, a fruit and a vegetable, and milk. The girl, being a non-statist, peacefully resisted the vegetable, and downed the chicken nuggets.
The mother was outraged, as well she should be. “I can’t put vegetables in her lunchbox,” she told the Civitas Institute. “I’m not a millionaire and I’m not going to put something in there that my daughter doesn’t eat and I’ve done gone round and round with the teacher about that and I’ve told her that. I put fruit in there every day because she is a fruit eater. Vegetables, let me take care of my business at home and at night and that’s when I see she’s eating vegetables.”
But no. This is not the way Big Government world works. See, the more the government pays for, the more the government has an interest in all of your actions. If the government is funding your nutritional needs, the government has an interest in you eating just the right amount; if you decide to toss your vegetables, someone else will have to pay the price, and we wouldn’t want that. This is the same principle behind Obamacare – with everybody sponsoring everybody else’s healthcare, the state now has a compelling interest in telling you what, when, and how to eat.
There are two problems with this animal husbandry-style level of control. First, it cuts against fundamental American freedoms. White or black, rich or poor, if there’s one thing Americans won’t stand for, it’s namby-pamby liberals telling them to eat arugula. One of the joys of living in a free country is deciding what to eat. As visitors from poverty-stricken foreign lands what they admire most about America, and they’ll tell you it’s the variety of cuisine available at any time, day or night. Force-feeding Americans soylent green for their own good isn’t going to mesh well with traditional notions of liberty.
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