Thursday, July 13, 2006

We Wouldn't Want to Hurt Anyone's Self Esteem

Note to the New England Journal of Medicene: In the future, when discussing the issue of childhood obesity, at least acknowledge the possibility, that perhaps, there is a small role for parental responsibility. Go ahead and call for fat-taxes and regulations, if you must. But at least mention the fact that personal responsibility is a (likely pretty big) part of the equation.

Whatever the reason, the fact that two articles about the problem of childhood obesity in the NEJM could fail even to mention individual parental responsibility is indicative of what one can only call a totalitarian mindset. According to this mindset, it is for the government to solve every problem, either by prescribing behaviour, or forbidding it, or of course both. It is not that I think that the proposal that the government should ban the advertising of noxious products to small children is wrong; what bothers me is the failure to recognise that there is any other dimension to the problem, a dimension that is in fact much more serious. (emphasis added)

Yeah, but if we said that we might make parents feel bad, and we wouldn't want that! Anyone who can't say "no" to kids begging for junk food deserves to feel lousy about the shitty job of parenting they're doing, anyway.

[via H&R]

A comment from the H&R post I particularly liked:

The more we look to government to fix problems, regardless of how they were created, the less we look to ourselves, not only as individuals but as parents, to act responsibly. It would seem to me that even those most enamoured with government as the agent of our social desires would have some misgivings about the increasing extent to which that has become the norm, not only because government cannot solve all of our problems or satisfy all of our desires but also because of the sort of people we want to be and want our children to be.

Right on - how about some meliroism, people? We may not be in complete contol of our (or our children's) destiny, but standing there helplessly moaning about needing the government to step in and solve our problems is going to achieve far less, far more slowly then doing something to directly improve the world around you.


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