Friday, May 20, 2005

You become what Nanny lets you eat

I don’t always agree with the view of RNW’s Rob Greene, but I more often than not I do, and for one basic reason: he still believes in the primacy of the individual’s right to make his own choices. Several weeks ago the opinion item that he wrote for the Dutch International broadcaster struck me as an excellent illustration of a world where people are pandered to one-time-too-many to feel free.

I don’t think he knows that he more resembles an American “wing-nut” as they really are, than a presenter of the national European broadcast entity.

The irony is that his observation would be though entirely reasonable, even though it’s not that different that this one, which is dismissed as radical.

All it does is point to a LACK of intellectualism among critics of opinion. Even if the ARE reading the content of (in this case) these two opinion makers, they are more concerned with the risk to their ideological comfort than they are to the effect or outcome of the matter discussed.

So with Robert Greene, I find a man with whom I can occasional agree with, but NEVER, NEVER dislike in spite of his repetitive digs against “America” – or whatever it is that one seems to be the US given the narrow attitudional persistence of the European media.

From Free Europe:

«Among many serious shortcomings, a main problem of this legislation lies in food itself. Many foods do not necessarily fit easily into "good" or "bad" categories. For example, milk and cheese are both high in fat but also very high in calcium which is extremely important to children and women. Under this directive, foods' bad qualities would prohibit manufacturers from marketing their good ones. Any claims regarding olive oil -- a far healthier choice than lard or butter -- would be banned from labels. Thus, touting olive oil's ability to lower the risk of coronary heart disease by reducing blood cholesterol levels would be banned because of its high fat content. »
Greene’s sentiment is not that different:

«He smiled affably. 'Sure you do Sir. As for a free country; of course we're free, but not without certain responsibilities. You may not be aware of it, Sir, but the 2008 European Public Health Act requires us to keep track of our customer's consumption patterns so we can warn them of any dangers they're exposing themselves to. We could lose our licence if we didn't, Sir.'

'The 2008 European Public Health Act, eh?' I said, 'what about the Dutch Personal Data Protection Act of 2001?'

'Repealed in 2006, Sir', he replied, giving me a quizzing look, 'Doesn't Sir read the papers?'»

He describes an exchange taking place in a grocery store in 2005, not in a court of law. Barring the institution of a “year zero” or an inversion of the way we count, it is not yet 2006.

What to draw from this? – at least one thing: there are too many rules. If you treat people like helpless idiots, they become helpless idiots. This is the essence of the American “wing-nut’s” truc with the left. Likewise with personal freedom.

The gist of what Free Europe is after is personal freedom, and they see the EU constitution in particular as a step in the limitation of the individual. Others see the reverse altogether, feeling that doing away with the national laws of 25 states and preserving rights in a bazillion little “protective” rules does the same. Though the latter exhibits the reaction of a prisoner demanding some fresh air, it still doesn’t quite realize that they are being treated like idiots.

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