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EDITORIAL: Drawing the Line

“This is the voice of World Control. I bring you peace. It may be peace-a-plenty and content or the peace of unburied death. The choice is yours. Obey me and live. Disobey me and die. It time you will come and regard me with not only with respect and awe, but with love. This is the voice of Colossus.”

– Colossus: The Forbin Project – 1970

Colossus: The Forbin Project was a fictional story (novel made into a movie) about a Master Computer that took over the world and ordered everyone to do what’s good for them.

colossus nnIn the past years, government has been slowly chiseling away at our rights and freedoms. Government has been telling us what is good for us and what is bad for us. Recently there have been more and more proposed restrictions heading toward the eventual banning of soft drinks, yoga pants, cigarette smoking, etc.

The proposed: “No wearing yoga pants in public” restriction was ridiculous. Thank God that one was shot down.

Recently, there was a Mayor Bloomberg proposal to restrict the sale of soft drinks over 20 oz. to kids under 18. If this proposal is ever made into law, I don’t know how it’s going to be enforced and regulated. Are the kids who attempt to buy soda over 20 oz. required to pay a fine or do community service? Do their parents? Will repeated offenders end up in juvie hall? How does anyone know what goes on behind closed doors? Are you going to have neighbors turn you in for allowing your kids to drink too much soda?

This is right out of the movie and book, “Demolition Man” where everything that’s bad for you is banned.

Many kids and adults drink far too much soda and eat far too much candy. But is it the government’s place to put restrictions on what kids eat and drink?  Are we entering a new age of Prohibition? This time, instead of alcohol being banned, there will be a ban on soda, then candy, ice cream and potato chips which are soon to follow.

The government stands to benefit by collecting fines, enforcing laws and a new government agency monitoring sweets – The Sugar Police. You may laugh. If it passes in New York – it will go throughout the United States. Will there be secret places to purchase your sweets? Will there be speakeasies for kids selling forbidden soda and candy?

I’m not denying the fact that obesity and Type II Diabetes is on the rise in the United States. Far too many people are overweight. This rise in obesity costs the government millions of dollars in healthcare each year and is the driving factor behind the effort to regulate the daily sugar intake of kids.

There are many theories and studies to what is the cause of this. Many times candy can be a way of adults shutting up their crying kids (by shoving a lollipop in their face – I’ve seen this happen). Another factor is that kids spend way too much time on computers or playing video games. Both kids and adults are always plugged in to their devices, regardless if it’s electronic tablets or cell phones – whether it’s endless time texting one another or watching podcasts. Children these days are lacking outside activity. If TV Stations such as Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network that show cartoons 24/7 These stations have made an effort to encourage kids to go out and play or be smart about drinking sugary soft drinks by running commercials encouraging kids to drink water and eat more fruit. Something is definitely wrong here.

Where should lawmakers draw the line? It is said the road to hell was paved with good intentions. It’s a fine line between taking away our freedoms to help us do what’s good for us. And does the government really know what’s good for us?  At one point in time, it was not unusual to see in movies from the 40’s – 70’s depicting actors drinking and smoking and no one batted an eyebrow. People forget that at one time the public was encouraged to smoke by various advertising campaigns.

The key to anything is MODERATION. Anything in extreme is no good for you. Yes, many people cannot control themselves, but is it the government’s place to impose these restrictions on the public as a governing body? Does the government have a right to do this?  Shouldn’t the responsibility of one’s personal health lie in the individual – not the government?

At this point we are not being governed by machines. We fought and died for our freedom. This includes the right to have a choice of what to eat and what to drink. It’s not the government’s place to make you lose weight as much as they think it is. Soon we will have no rights and all we’ll do is just sit home on the computer.

To echo the phrase from the movie, Colossus: the master computer states, “I know what’s good for mankind.”

Do you, really?

P.W. & K.M.

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