“Let me be very clear: it is not about sugar. Nor about any other area of social control. Once the principles of self-ownership and equality are surrendered in seemingly trivial contexts, they are lost in all contexts. If you condone “sugar tax”, you will never again have a principled argument for your right against discrimination. It you condone the proposed ban on liquor advertising, you will never again have a principled argument for your right to information. If you condone the proposed ban on branded cigarettes, you will never again have a principled argument for your right to attractively packaged and displayed products. If you condone the prohibition of “alternative” or “traditional” healthcare, you will never again have a principled argument for what you regard as healthy. Take any trivial health and safety measure to its logical conclusion, and unlike my libertarian friend, you will realise that there are few, if any, ‘bigger issues'”.
It’s not about the sugar, tobacco or booze – Leon Louw’s latest column in BDlive today, published by Business Day.
IT IS not about sugar, tobacco, homeopathy, fat, salt, additives, cosmetics, colorants, faith healing, traditional medicine, liquor, social cost, baby food, junk food, unhealthy living, obesity, excessive TV, sedentary behaviour, tyres, sin, or whatever else that causes the jowls of lifestyle fascists to dribble gleefully when new measures are announced. It is about dignity, equality, liberty and consumer rights.
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Leaving lies, exaggerations and uncertainties about what is physically, socially, psychologically and psychosomatically heathy aside, the human rights question is whether you should have equal rights regardless of your preferences. Should you lose rights because you do what ministers for health and against freedom dislike, or because they offer healthcare? Should government discriminate against you because of your taste buds? Condoning discrimination against people who incur “social costs” is hauntingly like the apartheid regime saying it could tell black people where to live because it offered them “township” housing.