The coming low-sodium dystopia

Gene Healy
Washington Examiner
4/27/2010

Midway through D.C.’s February Snowpocalypse, with dystopian visions dancing in my head, I rented the 1982 sci-fi classic “Blade Runner.” The movie’s noir-ish picture of Los Angeles in 2019-dimly-lit and rainy, with flying cars, sexy replicants, and gruff, chain-smoking detectives-seems less prescient (and less foreboding) the closer we get to the year it depicts.

As the DVD played, one thought kept distracting me: “It’s so cute that they used to think you’d be allowed to smoke in the future.”

From a 2010 vantage point, the 21st century seems to promise an entirely different flavor of nightmare-one in which every individual consumption choice is subject to veto by the collective.

Consider the fact that President Obama’s choice to head the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Thomas Frieden, doesn’t seem to recognize any distinction between diseases you catch — like swine flu — and those that involve individual choice, like heart disease. When he served as Mayor Bloomberg’s top health official, Frieden instituted mandatory calorie counts on restaurant menus, a trans-fat ban, and sent out swarms of officers to harass bar owners for the crime of having ashtrays…

…In September, Obama’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned clove cigarettes (because they taste good, so kids might like them). The agency’s now considering banning menthols. Obamacare makes menu-labeling mandatory for chain restaurants.

And, last week the Washington Post reported that the FDA may “gradually over a period of years,” lower the level of sodium allowed in American food, “to adjust the American palate to a less salty diet.” Surely as a student of the U.S. Constitution, you’re familiar with the clause where the Founding Fathers gave the federal government unlimited jurisdiction over “the American palate”?

Unfortunately, our newly passed health care plan lends weight to the argument that your health affects my pocketbook, and justifies me in telling you how to live. When “we’re all in this together,” woe betide the man who’d rather be left alone…

The entire article is at the Washington Examiner.

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