First Lady Michelle Obama is encouraging Americans to feed their children a diet with fewer sweets to help combat obesity. On her reality show, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” Palin, while she put together the ingredients for s’mores, said, ‘This is in honor of Michelle Obama who said the other day we should not have dessert.’
Her remark is believed to be in response to Michelle Obama’s speech in July when she told the NAACP, ‘I tell my kids, dessert is not a right.’ Palin’s remark follows her previous comment, ‘What she is telling us is she cannot trust parents to make decisions for their own children, for their own families in what they should eat.’
Palin has come under attack for criticizing the First Lady, from the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere. No surprise here. Conservatives and liberals both believe that it’s the job of a First Lady, and by implication, the President and the government, to tell people what to do. The Wall Street Journal pointed out that Nancy Reagan told children to ‘just say no’ to drugs, and other First Ladies have promoted similar causes — so what’s wrong with Michelle Obama doing the same?
If the government weren’t overseeing the takeover of medical care, Michelle Obama’s campaign would not be so important. But in a context where government is regulating, paying for, or micromanaging nearly everything Americans do in their daily lives, Mrs. Obama’s lecturing is more obnoxious (and relevant) than it would be if she were simply a smug, self-important critic in the private, voluntary sector.
People who criticize Palin for her remarks evade the point she’s trying to make: That decisions over what to eat are not the function of government, they’re the function of individuals acting according the value judgments of their own minds. Does this mean that value judgments are subjective? Of course not. There are rational, healthy eating habits that lead to better health over the long run, and there are objectively unhealthy eating habits that lead to the reverse.
That’s not the point.
The point is this: A society filled with people who need someone like Michelle Obama to tell them what to eat — a woman whose husband smokes cigarettes, no less — is a society doomed to a far worse fate than poor nutrition could ever deliver them. This is a woman who morally and politically supports her husband in the destruction of freedom, liberty, and individual rights as the United States has always known them. In the midst of this onslaught, we’re now supposed to ‘ shut up and pay attention to how she tells us to operate our kitchens, and what to put on our grocery lists? It’s like a horrible, tasteless joke.
You can’t assert a valid point — that children should eat healthier — and then smuggle in an invalid claim that government should (or can) have anything to do with this valid thing coming about. Government could help much more by getting out of the way, getting out of families’ lives, leaving them alone and holding them accountable for their actions so more of them would learn, on their own, how to properly feed their children.
I wouldn’t defend Michelle Obama by defending people like Nancy Reagan, because Nancy Reagan had no more business telling people not to take drugs than Mrs. Obama has telling us to not eat sugared cereals. Anyone already convinced that drug use is acceptable was not going to change their minds because Nancy Reagan told them to do so. And anyone who thought drug use was bad was in no way helped in the struggle to quit by a First Lady’s lecturing.
Nancy Reagan’s tirade against drug use took place against a wider backdrop of Big Government intervention via the so-called ‘War on Drugs,’ a government initiative (still with us today) that took precious resources away from fighting terrorists and common criminals in favor of fighting a hopeless battle against the demand for drugs in the United States. One does not have to condone drug use or abuse to notice that the War on Drugs failed as spectacularly as the government ‘War Against Poverty’ and all other Big Government initiatives.
I don’t think anyone who has spent so much as five genuine minutes with a real teenager would ever think that a teenager would quit using drugs just because Nancy Reagan said so. Likewise, I don’t think the type of lackluster parent who doesn’t pay attention to his or her child’s diet will be affected, in the least bit, by Michelle’s Obama’s vegetable garden at the White House.
The policies of Barack Obama leave little doubt that Palin has, if anything, understated and underestimated the true motives of Michelle Obama’s tirades against poor child nutrition. Of course she’s setting the stage to justify not just ‘voluntary’ but government controls against parents who don’t act the way government thinks they should act. This isn’t paranoid. The evidence in support of Obama’s philosophy are right before us every single day of the week.
America needs a diet all right. It needs a diet free of government controls, spending and regulation. It needs a crash diet and then a commitment to stay on that healthy course for the rest of its existence as a republic. America needs a diet from political do-gooders who claim they know better than those they intend to rule. Only those who would allow themselves to be ruled in such a way need the lectures of a First Lady — lectures from which, rest assured, they never will benefit.