Dr. Robert Lustig has been a formidable voice of reason, as a scientist, in explaining why sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) wreak havoc on the human body. He has correctly called HFCS a toxin because of how our livers are unable to process this government-subsidized monstrosity. Dr. Lustig is a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, in the Division of Endocrinology at UC San Francisco – no small rank. Lustig also has had several collaborators on his many sugar and fructose studies, most of who have done remarkable work in fructose biochemistry, pediatrics, and other admirable fields.
This issue of toxic foods as a societal menace has been a dear topic of mine for many years because of the very obvious fact that a society whose food supply is built upon a foundation of processed, high-margin, phony foods, genetically modified foods protected by a patent system, and massive corn subsidies – all of which fuel an omnipotent, industrial food culture brought about by government intervention and policies that favor the corporate-socialist structure – is anything but the result of a free market.
Unfortunately, this is a fact that so many bookish but buffoon libertarians still cannot grasp. The same government that puts policies into place that favor and prop up the industrial food machine is the same gaggle of authoritarian bullies that raid small farms, oppress small food producers, deter artisan food production, and stamp out personal food choices to ensure society’s collective “safety.” No small feat, but then again, when you have a monopoly on violence under the pretense of government by the people and for the people, folks tend to think that whatever the ends, the means to such ends must surely be filled with good intentions.
In his recent presentation called “How to Have a Sweet Ending” at the UCSF Center for Obesity, Assessment, Study and Treatment, Dr. Lustig presents his ideas for social interventions to reduce sugar consumption. Lustig is an admitted prohibitionist who says that since educational efforts have failed to reduce sugar use, the U.S. government must intervene and force behavior changes upon the citizenry. He believes that a massive policy of taxation, regulation, and interdiction, at both a societal and an individual level, is necessary to force the reduction of sugar consumption. He has, in fact, called for a global policy to eradicate sugar addiction. Is this the new One World Anti-Sugar Order? He believes that if enough people get sick – from obesity, vitamin deficiencies, AIDS, etc. – an issue of personal responsibility rises to the level of a public health issue, and that necessitates a totalitarian campaign on the part of government and its agencies to intervene and radically alter behavior via force.
This is the same mentality that shaped the FDA’s recent power grab known as the Food Safety Modernization Act (HR 2759) which will allow the feds to assume arbitrary powers that extend over any individuals who manufacture, process, pack, distribute, receive, hold, import, or grow food. Lustig is not calling for a few misplaced laws, here and there, to protect you from yourself. Rather, he is trying to justify a global crusade against freedom of food choice on the basis that “our toxic environment cannot be changed without government/societal intervention.”
Among Lustig’s suggested interventions are controls on advertising and marketing, government counter-campaigns (taxpayer-funded, government propaganda), and raising prices via actual price fixing and/or taxation. Moreover, he advocates a policy that mimics the iron law of alcohol policy – reducing the availability of sugar-based products by way of age limits for purchase (“carding kids for Coke”), licensing and zoning controls on sales outlets, and regulating the hours of operation and density of fast food outlets through a series of government-issued permits.
During his presentation, Dr. Lustig explicitly praises the Nordic model of having government control the availability of products that special interests want eliminated from society. He touts the “success” of alcohol prohibition and tobacco taxes, and my response is – where and when? Any time that government intervenes to prohibit mutually beneficial exchanges – whether it is alcohol, sex, or yes, sugar – the result will be failure, plus the creation of additional, new problems that need more government intervention to resolve. The only sensible notion that Lustig suggests is the elimination of the villainous corn subsidy. But he kills off that moment of reason when he follows that comment up with a proposal for subsidizing other, more desirable products in place of corn.
Dr. Lustig also praises the San Francisco ban on selling toys with Happy Meals, and he admits, joyfully, that he was a part of that goon campaign against McDonald’s. He refers to the tactic of offering toys with Happy Meals, to help sell children on the meal choice, as “coercion.” The word coercion is properly defined as the use of force, intimidation, harassment, or threats – but McDonald’s executives are not standing at the counter twisting the arms of parents or using aggressive maneuvers against children to “force” them to buy Happy Meals. The Happy Meal toy is an enticement and a marketing ploy, but not a coercive act. On the other hand, government mandates that restrict, regulate, or eliminate mutually beneficial exchanges are acts of aggression and coercion.
Admittedly, I despise McDonald’s, sugar, HFCS, and the processed food nation that America has become thanks to the government’s coercive campaigns such as the dietary guidelines and food pyramids; the quasi-governmental, propaganda-ridden organizations such as the American Dietetic Association and the American Heart Association; and the criminal gangs known as the USDA and the FDA. However, to think that the establishment of another gigantic and interventionist bureaucracy can drastically alter behavior through oppressive intervention machinations borders on a mental disorder. Behavior meddling on the part of the monopolists of violence – government – has never worked throughout history, and that isn’t something that is going to change because the Waffen-SS sends out its marching orders on sugar.
I like Lustig as a scientist and as a brilliant proponent of the facts who can shred the myths and lies of conventional wisdom as presented by the Big Food interests and their government lackeys, but knowing that he is a raging proponent of rigorous despotism to deter disapproved behaviors puts him on the side of the regime’s iron-fisted War on Obesity. The only honorable and peaceful strategy for changing eating behavior is to shape and influence food choice through education and the application of free market principles to make wholesome products available to those who desire to buy them.
July 23, 2011
Karen De Coster, CPA [send her mail] is a libertarian accounting/finance professional during the day, and she spends her personal time dissenting and writing and resisting. She writes about the TSA, the medical establishment, Big Pharma, Big Agra, the Banksters, the Corporate State, health totalitarianism, lifestyle fascism, bailout nation, the military-congressional-industrial-medical-pharmaceutical complex, and essentially, anything that encroaches upon the freedom of her fellow human beings. She is a proponent of food choice and the natural, eco-ag farming community, and she opposes the Fed’s anti-food choice totalitarianism. This is her LewRockwell.com archive and her Mises.org archive. Check out her website. Follow her on Twitter @karendecoster.
Copyright © 2011 Karen DeCoster