Salt Doesn’t Kill People, But I Can Kill Myself If I Want
“Government’s first duty is to protect people, not to run their lives.” – Ronald Reagan
It has come to my attention that the government would like to put a limit on how much salt processed food manufacturers can put into our food. The United States Food and Drug Administrations apparently feels that salt is harmful to our lives. Supposedly, reducing your salt intake can decrease your chances of having a heart attack , stroke, or heart disease. Some people are saying this is a good thing. We do need to eat healthier. OK, I understand the need to eat healthier but I don’t understand why the government needs to regulate it. I know the fine people in Washington DC think they’re medical professionals (see: health reform bill), but I’ve already got one overprotective mother, I don’t need hundreds more.
First of all, some companies who make processed foods have already been working to improve their products, or make them more health-conscious. For example, PepsiCo has created a salt substitute of sorts that will allow it to make Lays potato chips with about a quarter less salt than normal. Great! Maybe it was out of fear of government regulation or maybe it was due to the growing consumer desire for healthier foods, or maybe a combination of both, but the point is, they did it on their own, without any sort of law or regulation put in place, as it should be in a FREE society. The company is also working to reduce sugar and saturated fat in its products.
But if PepsiCo or any other company wanted to increase the amount of salt or any other ingredient in their food, they should be FREE to do that, as well. I was talking to someone about this the other day, and she said, “But isn’t it a good thing? We don’t need to be eating so much salt.”
She has a point. We probably don’t need to eat so much salt. But you can buy different products. You can not eat the processed food at all. You can make your own freaking potato chips if you so very well please. Not eating processed food isn’t hard. I’ve been doing it for a few weeks, for diet purposes and I haven’t spent a ton of money or had to do any fancy cooking. I don’t even put salt in the food I cook but because I choose to, not because I need the government to tell me not to, to protect me from myself.
That’s it in a nutshell. They aren’t protecting me from big bad PepsiCo or any other maker of salty foods. They’re protecting me from myself, and guess what, I don’t need that and neither do you. Well, maybe if you’re a total idiot you do, but that’s not my problem, so long as you leave me alone, and it shouldn’t be the government’s.
If I want to put salt in my food, eat processed food, gain 500 pounds, and diet of a heart attack before I’m 40, that’s my prerogative. If you want to do it, it’s your prerogative. On the flip side, you can’t whine because you can’t get out of bed or all the scooters are taken when you get to the grocery store and walking the 500 feet to get your salty potato chips is out of the question. People know their own limits and for the most part, understand cause and effect, and what they choose to do with knowledge is their choice. That’s why this country was founded to begin with. I’m not saying the Constitution was drafted so you could eat five bags of those tasty sour cream and onion chips for lunch, but you get the idea.
Finally, if the government wants to protect me from harm, where does it end? In my case, I’m very clumsy. I get hurt at least five times a day if not more. Is the government going to lock me in a padded a room so I don’t trip, slip, or fall and get hurt anymore?
Earlier, I was playing with my new puppy and she got a little rough and scratched me. It hurt. That scratch could get infected if I’m not careful. Is the government going to ban puppies?
Right now, it’s extremely windy outside my house. As I type this, I can see and hear branches falling off the trees. What if i step outside and one hits me in the head and kills me? Will the government ban trees? Wind?
For lunch I had a piece of (non-processed, no salt added) chicken and while chewing it, I bit the inside of my mouth. Again, it hurt. A lot. I even saw blood. Maybe the government should make it so that I can only eat soup and drink liquids, or they could just pull out all of my teeth.
The other day, I dropped a plate and was (or so I thought) carefully sweeping up the pieces when I cut my finger on a jagged edge. Again, that could get infected and I could die. Is the government gonna ban plates? Things that can break?
You get the point. The government’s job is to protect me from harm. This means fighting terrorism and prosecuting anyone who does harm or takes away the rights of another individual. This doesn’t mean sticking their nose into what should be a free market, this doesn’t mean protecting me from myself and any poor choices I might make that affect only me, and this doesn’t mean banning salt.
With this in mind, it’s no wonder the Pew Research Center recently released survey findings that show people do not trust the government and feel it’s too big and powerful. 56% of respondents said they are “frustrated” with the federal government, while 19% said they “angry.” And more people want less government. From Pew,
“A desire for smaller government is particularly evident since Barack Obama took office. In four surveys over the past year, about half have consistently said they would rather have a smaller government with fewer services, while about 40% have consistently preferred a bigger government providing more services. In October 2008, shortly before the presidential election the public was evenly divided on this issue (42% smaller government, 43% bigger government).”
We can only hope Americans who feel that way make it known how they feel at the polls this November. If not, I have a feeling salt won’t be the only thing regulated or banned in the near future.
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