Posted on June 30, 2010


Busybodies, Lazy Minds

Obama declares war on sloth


Daniel Clark


Just when you were probably convinced that liberal Democrats didn't believe in property rights, President Obama demonstrates that they do. The catch is that from his perspective, the property is you.

We're only here to help you

Using his party's recently passed health care reform as justification, Obama all but declared total war on the American individual in an executive order he signed on June 10th, establishing a public health council to promote "wellness." In it, he assigns the council to develop an "integrated health care strategy" after "obtaining input from relevant stakeholders."

You might have thought that the only "stakeholders" in your health were yourself and your family, but that was before don't-call-it-socialized-medicine became the law of the land. The collectivist terminology the president is now using calls to mind that propagandistic slogan from Brave New World, "every one belongs to every one else."

Section 3 of Obama's order dictates that, "The Council shall provide recommendations to the President and the Congress concerning changes to Federal policy to achieve national wellness, health promotion, and public health goals, including the reduction of tobacco use, sedentary behavior, and poor nutrition." So now "sedentary behavior" is a matter of federal policy? What will the council propose to do, put thumbtacks on all our chairs?

We can already see what big government liberals are doing about the other two items on that list, restricting access to the targeted products through punitive taxation and regulatory harassment. They have now become even more bold and intrusive, in proposing to directly dictate individual Americans' physical movements. Sadly, it's no longer difficult to imagine how this might be accomplished. Some employers already offer health and exercise programs as part of their benefit packages. Why couldn't the government simply make participation mandatory? Those who don't fulfill their requirements could be deprived of their "refundable tax credits," or have their loan applications rejected. They could even have their energy supplies threatened, if liberal hopes for "smart grid" technology ever come to fruition.

Even if you doubt the government's ability to carry out such a policy, President Obama's proposal to "address lifestyle behavior modification" reveals his absolute hostility toward individual freedom. It also betrays liberals' disloyalty to their own supporters. Sedentary people are such a dedicated constituency of the Democratic Party that one might expect a Democrat president to constantly pander to the "sedentary community." Instead, he's ordering them to drop and give him twenty.

Of course, there's no way for the government to know who is or is not sedentary. Even if there was a "number of sedentary persons in household" space on the census form, that would hardly be reliable. Whatever the president's council comes up with, it will have to apply to everybody.

a Democrat voter, in its natural state

If Obama's plan succeeds in improving the American people's physical well-being, it will be done at the cost of causing their minds to atrophy to the point of losing any concept of free will. Suffice it to say, someone who's abdicated control of his own motor functions hasn't got much left to think about.

This is undoubtedly part of the policy's aim. For every inattentive, apathetic person the Democrats manage to create, they take a step toward electoral invincibility. Not even amnesty for illegal aliens, or winning the right to vote for convicted felons, would be as great a bonanza for them at the ballot box as that.

Democrat confetti

The primary motivation, however, is cost containment. By controlling as many aspects of the American people's lives as possible, the theory goes, the government can lessen their impact on the health care system. The people who presume to be our "lifestyle behavior modifiers" have decided that our freedom is no longer economically feasible.

Notice the things about which Obama is selectively frugal. At the G20 summit in Toronto, he continued to promote massive deficit spending as a means to stimulate the economy. To him, gambling a trillion or so dollars on a historically discredited economic theory is just sound fiscal policy, but letting you decide for yourself what to eat and how often to exercise is a risk he can't afford to take.

That might sound like a tremendous contradiction, except for the common thread that each case results in the empowerment of the state, at the expense of the individual. Hence, the government has become a "stakeholder" in the people, instead of the other way around. We'd better beware that, while the president holds that stake, he may not have the best of intentions about where to drive it.

-- Daniel Clark is a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.



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