Wednesday, February 25, 2015

For The Health Of Freedom

Imagine that its 1787 and you have been appointed to be a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. As you enter Independence Hall you take a seat near James Madison, Father of the Constitution, Alexander Hamilton coauthor of the Federalist Papers and the Father of our Nation General George Washington of Virginia.   

As the delegates or “demi-gods” as approvingly described by Thomas Jefferson commence forming a new nation the honor could not be more palpable.  The God given freedom that had been declared just over a decade earlier and subsequently won from the British crown in a bloody war was about to be inscribed in perhaps the greatest document ever penned by man in all of human history.

While picturing this scene then also try to imagine this. What if in the midst of debating the three branches of government, separation of powers, qualifications for the office of the president and so on a delegate rose to suggest that this our founding document include limits for daily intake of cholesterol, recommended levels of daily sodium, a tax on food products with added sugar and a litany of other dietary guidelines and rules that each citizen should adhere to. What do you suppose would be the reaction of the 55 delegates gathered there?

I suspect that those men who had only recently cast off the shackles of a tyrannical government through a costly war would not stand idly by to allow the government they were forming to exact similar control. Yet today a mere 228 years later the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee 2015 has made recommendations that our government do just that.

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee in its recent report stated that 117 million of our fellow citizens have a preventable diet related illness. The root cause of these illnesses including heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers are laid squarely at the feet of the typical American diet. That diet they say includes too few fruits and vegetable and too much fat, sodium and processed foods. What is their prescribed fix is a cadre of nutrition related policies, standards, programs and services that will “promote population wide healthy dietary patters and physical activity”.

At issue here is not whether we eat too much fat, too few vegetables or more that our share of sweets. The issue is not even one of health or of healthcare. Moreover it is not about minutes on the elliptical, BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol level or any other health related metric. What is at issues if freedom.

Our government has no business what so ever commenting on, recommending, regulating or prescribing what when and how we eat. The Constitution and its subsequent amendments are still the supreme law of the land and ultimately that law provides for the protection of individual liberty from the clutches of an over reaching government. 

It is our duty and must be our aim as citizens of this great country who understand the delicate nature of freedom to seek to protect it as diligently today as those men did in 1787.  Health and its maintenance is a personal matter that should in no way  involve government at any level. What has made ours a great nation is freedom. Let is seek to maintain the health of that freedom. 

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