Jun
17

Should Government Control Your Body?

By

As an American citizen, I’m embarrassed to tell my friends and colleagues overseas that our government believes it has the right to tell us what we can and can’t do with our own bodies. As a mental toughness coach to some of the largest sales teams in the world, I find it downright offensive. I just gave a speech in Washington, DC and and an interview on FOX, and it got me thinking of how childish and hypocritical some of these laws are. Example: You can drink alcohol until it kills you but smoking pot is illegal. If you’re terminally ill and wish to end your life through physician assisted suicide the U.S. Government will put you and the assisting physician in jail. It’s legal to physically beat someone to death in the boxing ring but a woman cannot leverage her body to earn a living. America is infamous for it’s ongoing attempts to legislate morality through a blend of politics and religion. The supposition is that we the people are not smart enough to govern our own bodies and not moral enough to know right from wrong without the guidance of government and threat of organized religion. It’s not only an immature approach to governing an educated people, it’s also insulting and condescending. The 20th century is over. Isn’t it time America grew up and our citizens were given the freedom to make their own decisions? Especially when it comes to our own bodies? Do we really need our scandal-ridden government to tell us how to live? Watch this short video and I’ll look forward to your comments. Steve Siebold

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Comments

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  3. Ken H says:

    I’m not sure that government is trying to control what we eat. I think they are trying to provide the people with information so we can make informed decisions. When I see what is contained in some fast food it puts me off eating it.

  4. Bill,
    I feel the government should not be spending time worrying about what people eat or drink but I do understand why it does. In the end it is the government that pays for some obese diseased ridden patients surgeries, medication and care. Not only does the government foot the bill for many state run health care systems of both the lower class and penal systems across the nation. But in the end it is the middle class that pays the tax bills for the poor.
    I wish the government didn’t get in my or anyone elses business in regards to what I put in my body but it does because in the end the middle class tax payers must pay for these medical expenses thru higher taxes.

  5. rita says:

    I don’t get it, the government want to control everything we do , but they will allow fast food resturaunt to sell alcoholic beverages and take away certain foods and happy meals for children. what is wrong with this picture?rita

  6. Hey Steve!

    Take my ball and go home, eh? I was playing on an empty court for so long by myself I DID go home! I was also out with the flu. Yuk!

    Hey–I’m with you on some of your more specific arguments, however I felt your premise was weak, i.e., the line about how you can drink yourself to death but can’t smoke pot. To me that’s like trying to make a debate of how you can dive into an empty swimming pool but you can’t drive on the wrong side of the road. Apples & oranges. It depends on your vantage point and the perspective you’re trying to create. Like I said, I’ve spent time with law enforcement, and they’d love to have you for dinner on that one–especially my friend who’s a lieutenant colonel.

    Now let me walk on some thin ice. Religion vs. gay marriage. I’ve worked with people from both sides of the aisle. Conventional church goers fear gays will threaten the institution of family/marriage and there is validity–gays want their point of view taught in school, put out there as “normal” and want families in all sectors to accept their lifestyle. Religionists see that as a threat. The door swings both ways on that one. Neither side wants the others p.o.v. shoved down the others’ throats. The ideal you are arguing for could not work–contention on that issue will always be hot and a permanent division will remain in society forever on that one. That’s a fact & time will bear it out. We’ll vote legislators in, laws will be made, we’ll vote them out, laws will be repealed.

    The religious background I participate in doesn’t support that lifestyle, however it does not support discrimination against them as individuals. I have them as clients, and I don’t make it a prerequisite to do business with them. Religion or not, I don’t have the right to cause harm or hatred to any person, regardless of their background. But one could argue over why sexual orientation has to be criteria for special rights. If we’re going to do this, then let’s afford those rights to pedophiles and prostitutes. If my CHOICE of a bedmate between the sheets has to be the basis for why I deserve rights a la carte, something’s wrong with the debate.

    Ya know, I lived in Belgium for a while and prostitution over there is legal. I lived in the same neighborhood as 27 prostitutes whose windows I walked past almost every day on my way to the bus. They lived their “lives,” I lived mine. Stayed out of each others’ ways. Legalizing lifestyles there didn’t solve anything–but I did see more decay in the moral fiber of how everyone viewed their country–talk about cause and effect! It was sad. They were still divided over there as we were here even though every “style” had their rights. But you are right on one thing–freedom of choice. If one wishes to pursue a lifestyle, they have the free agency to do it. Gay rights issues can be just as much a threat in the way you are saying religious influence may be in government, based on how you see it, and that can set a precedent.

    My backswing to your initial diatribe on organized religion is this: I see no thumb of oppression on any legislation mandated at the behest of some church that has compromised my freedoms as a US citizen. Last time I checked, I can say what I want (except in front of TSA), go where I want, do what I want–I don’t see any infringement imposed on my half-century of life so far that I can attribute to some denomination. You said religion should have zero impact on public policy. That’s like asking any one who serves in public office to wash their hands and leave the water clear. EVERYONE has some creed that forms who they are–their values. So if I understand you correctly, are you saying that anyone who serves in public office should be some form of agnostic, athiest? Are YOU discriminating against a political servant who is not? If his/her background is Hindu, or Buddhist, does that make “organized religion” a threat because you perceive that person as a conduit for that threat? Every legislator out there has their creed that influences their vote. We’ll never get away from that.

    My take on all issues on this is there seems to be a societal effort to breed the brains out of right vs. wrong out of ourselves and engage in circuitous efforts to philosophize it to death and throw it under the bus calling it “religious.” Where then, do we draw lines on what’s right vs. wrong, so as to satisfy the exclusion of it being MORALLY right vs. wrong? Who can say, without being held in contempt because they went to Sunday school as a kid? When you were in Kindergarten, having your teacher tell you it was wrong to lift up a dress of a female classmate–is that based on some kind of religious value? Or are there things in this republic of ours that can be based on, oooh, gosh, let me say it–common decency–that are plain & simply based on morals of human rights? It’s just darn funny how when an issue gets boiled down to any sort of right vs. wrong that it falls on that slippery slope to blame it on organized religion.

    So am I undersanding you to be saying you have the right to inappropriately grope a female co-worker because you don’t believe that “Thou shalt not commit adultery” should be anywhere in the legal statute that puts handcuffs on you for having committed sexual assault? Perhaps so-called “moral” values can only find sanctuary in organized religion because that’s the only place left where they can be kept on life support. When you say, “Who are they (the gov’t) to say what is morally right/wrong? I dunno Steve, when you spend time with cops as much as I have, they have their own take on moral values not distilled from any church that prove every night that our country could sure use more of it. Why not ask them where to draw the line. Emancipation of it sure doesn’t seem to lower the tax bill you & pay to fight crime. Lack of moral values always = more crime. Do the math on that with them.

    I think you’re on a treadmill of debate for which you will not find a solution, any more than you can be a dog & pony show and a speaker for all people. Any more than Franklin & Jefferson could get along with the other signers–many of them didn’t get along–all the way to their graves. But, the signers of the D. of I. did manage to put aside their differences, to a point, long enough to get some significant things done. Our country can’t stop bickering enough to grow up.

    What I would hope for is a country where people from all backgrounds can work together for a unified effort to solve REAL issues, like the economy. But we’re all so caught up in stale mate issues we don’t see our economic Titanic taking on water. I think when things finally reach the breaking point, you’ll see a different mindset evolve when people have to put aside their purile rhetoric and start bailing water to save ourselves from real threats. Happened in WWII, it’ll happen again.

    But before it does, make sure you & Dawn let us know when you’re headed out this way so we can pick you up from the airport & have some dinner & talk some Bill Gove. Maybe some tennis.

    Love ya man–

    Ken

  7. Ha ha, Steve!

    Sorry so late! I got tired of bouncing the ball of the wall by myself so I quit looking. Guess I should knock myself on the head and realize you are one busy guy. ‘Course, I’ve been out with a serious case of the flu this week and it cooled me!

    Here’s my take: I’m with you on the specific points you made, however I’m talking about broad strokes that really don’t get to the root of the problem. If they did, minds immeasurably superior to mine would have solved it by now. We can debate this till the cows come home, but until citizens develop a unified perspective about real issues, it ain’t gonna happen.

    I’m just taking issue with your wide swing debate like the line: You can drink alcohol until it kills you but smoking pot is illegal. That’s like saying you can dive into an empty swimming pool to kill yourself but you can’t drive on the wrong side of the road. I suppose my perspective is jaded from my associations with so many in law enforcement.

    As for the issue of gay marriage–I think both sides of that issue are at odds with each other because one side or the other wants their side to be the standard. Conventional religion sees the threat of gay marriage proponents THREATENING

  8. Steve says:

    Mike,
    As always, I appreciate your comments. I have several close friends who have died of things like obesity, acoholism, drug overdoses, drunk driving, etc. As sad as it’s been to see, all of my friends made their own choices and no one else is to blame. Our we really our brothers keeper? I don’t think so. It’s a nice idea and if we choose this as a personal ideaology thats fine, but not under government mandate. The United States government is out of control, and it’s time for critical thinkers to fight back. I’m doing all I can via speeches, TV, radio and print media, and my next book is going to shake people to the core. I KNOW you’ll have some great comments on this one!

  9. Evert J Bos says:

    Steve
    I understand your strong resistance against government “intruding” in people’s lives from the standpoint of mental toughness. But if we look at the details of what is going on in the USA with nutrition, we are talking about the government trying to give a citizen a decent fighting chance to carve out a healthy lifestyle while being brainwashed by the commercials to eat unhealthy stuff, non stop, 24-7 mis-information. Masses of people in the USA are , for some reason, very gullible. They believe things easily. Big corporations have goals that have nothing to do with the health of US citizens. But their products have a huge influence on the functioning of the entire country. I agree that the individual has to be empowered to make his own choices. But every good principle, driven to the extreme, turns into a bad thing. We can say:Hey, it is a free country, if I want to ruin my health, that ‘s my problem. Government, let me do that in freedom.
    This is where I think a second principle becomes valid. We have responsibility for ourselves, but we also have responsibility for others. What the government is doing is nothing else than the collective responsibility we have as a country to try to protect our citizens , influence them, where we can, without affecting their personal freedom, we try to increase the chance of success that they will be healthy and contribute to society. Just like a government protects its citizens from nuclear attack…. the obesity epidemic is an enormous threat in many respects and cannot be seen as “just a personal thing”. We are in this together. We are not just exercising our personal freedom and honing our mental toughness. There is a valid collective interest where we all succeed together or we fail together. That aspect is missing in your video.

  10. Tendaji Deadwyler says:

    I agree on your view of the absurd hypocrisy in our policy development; however, your excerpt, “The supposition is that we the people are not smart enough to govern our own bodies and not moral enough to know right from wrong without the guidance of government and threat of organized religion. It’s not only an immature approach to governing an educated people, it’s also insulting and condescending,” places you also in very difficult place. Your books talk about the various levels of thinking, productivity and processing of people. Unfortunately, the collective is NOT very well educated people nor do we (in my opinion) truly value the education available to us.

  11. herve says:

    Governments, or anyone for that matter, can control us or what we do only if we allow it. We are individually responsible for what it is that we do with our bodies, our minds and our spirit. No one outside of us can influence us unless we allow it. Ultimately, we are the captain of this vessel refered to as our boly.
    Namaste

  12. r says:

    Hi Steve,

    As far as eating healthy, evidently Americans can’t seem to do it on their own, hence the so many overweight people in America. I will say that the government contradicts itself. If they truly want to help Americans eat better, than healthy food should be regulated to be less expensive than unhealthy foods so. The problem with the government is that they come in with one thing but don’t follow it up from the other end, therefore confusing people and leading to distrust towards the government. I’m Canadian and it’s no different here–so to answer your question, the government is not to be trusted with out bodies, nor should doctors be trusted. One should do his own due diligence and research before giving in to the government and doctors suggestions.

  13. Steve says:

    What a GREAT discussion! I want to thank everyone for your comments. I really believe we need to have more of these conversations if we’re going to get the country back on track and into the 21st century. I’m in the process of writing my new book, which is going to address critical thinking on many of these important social issues. I’m planning on doing a 100 city TV interview tour from Miami to Sydney in 2012. Should be interesting!

  14. Patty Bernardi says:

    No kidding! I am a nurse for Planned Parenthood. Everyday I deal with women who have no acess to the most basic care, and have no place to send them for help. We are able to provide most with free birthcontrol, basic exams and STI testing, but constantly face threat of loosing funding of these programs because to the less than 5% of what we do. The food pyramid was invented by the Dept of Agriculture to move excess subsidised “comodities”, alcohol and tobacco with known bad effects are legal, etc, etc, etc!! Did I really vote for these bozos? Keep taking the message out there, Steve, maybe the truly successful people you speak to can really make changes that don’t seem to happen when reasonable people go to Washington and sink to the lowest common denominator!!

  15. In Canada we have the same issue about the government controlling what we can and cannot do with our bodies. Canadian government is trying very hard to stop us from having the choice to purchase natural products such as herbs, vitamins and supplements.
    I believe that every person is unique and should take responsibility for their own health and well-being and have the right to consult the healer of his or her choice.

  16. Butch Phelps says:

    As a therapist and health educator I see people everyday who are making horrible health and lifestyle choices. You cannot legislate it and certainly do not want the congress telling businesses what to sell.The bottom line is this; We are where we are by choices that we make. Until we, collectively, decide to take full responsibility of our bodies, stop taking tthe legal drugs, decide to eat properly, and stop making surgery oiur first choice, no plan will work. How do you do that? Let’s start educating our children in school about nutrition and healthy lifestyles. Dietitians, trainers, and massage therapists should be the hottest professions in the country. People should be demanding insurance companies to cover these expenses as easily as they cover surgeries. SUrgery should only be allowed if aol other methods have been exhausted. You did not get where you are in a day and you cannot get back to healthy in one day either. Let’s grow up and decide to be healthy!

  17. Chris says:

    MikeJ – please see my earlier points about the cost of ‘bad’ food v ‘good’ food. It doesn’t always come down to laziness – it is sometimes about what you can afford and is available (and the ‘bad’ food is often heavily subsidised to make it more affordable).

    I understand your point of view though (especially having visited Germany a few times – the degree of regulation feels stifling to an outsider).

    MikeM – it seems we are agreement that some regulation is useful (although perhaps each of us have different tolerances).

    It must have deeply frustrating to work in an environment where even the principal thinks the children are predominantly a source of income for the school.

    I am mostly in agreement with Steve on the other areas – providing the young and vulnerable are protected (I suspect most of us don’t want teenagers leveraging their bodies on the street or perhaps I’m wrong in that area too).

    A lot of laws relating to our lives simply don’t make sense. Sometimes it makes sense to regulate the exception as well, sometimes it makes sense to remove existing laws. And for those that object to the existing status quo – fortunately most of what we do in our own homes cannot be policed anyhow (unless someone else complains).

    But a lot of countries use a blend of politics and religion to set the rules. Even if you are no longer a follower, religion provides a common moral framework that at least most are aware of (even if they don’t agree with all parts of it). It’s hard to see where a common moral framework would arise from otherwise – most people would simply adopt Me-ism. One man’s critical thinking is another’s, at best, partial truth.

    But it’s right to have the debate about every new piece of control that someone else wants to enact over our lives though.

  18. Deb says:

    I agree there is too much gov. involvement in our lives. I have been a nurse for almost 27 years. I have seen how every time the “gov” gets more involved in “our” profession, the more difficult it is to provide care. The paper work is insane! I also see many life style choices causing most of the chronic illnesses in the US. I’m to the point I would like to say…fine…if you want to eat, drink and be a slug…do it. But, I don’t want to pay for your choices. I would like to see these folks who are making these lifestyle choices pay more for their health care insurance, medications, Dr. appointments, and anything else that is related to their “free” choices that affect their health. Individual, responsible choices does come with consequences…both good and bad. I’m tired of seeing the same folks admitted for the same ole symptoms when a little life style change would probably be the best prescription. I also see folks in Washington who engage in poor life style choices deciding what we need to do…when politicians are not smoking and they look to be in a healthy weight range for their body frame…then and only then do they have the the most remote chance that I might listen to them. I personally am guilty of carrying about 25 extra pounds around and I don’t exercise like I need to. I need to start with me first before I get on my soap box! Maybe 25 pounds down from now and I’ll get on my box! Great conversations! Thanks for starting this Steve.

    A question for consideration…is your health care provider practicing healthy life style choices? If not, why would you go to them? I’ve always wondered about this.

  19. Mike Jacobi says:

    Mike,
    I think you misunderstood what I was trying to say: If we would all use our mental toughness tools and take full responsibility for our actions and stop whining and blaming others for our misfortunes, we won’t need the government to “set things right for us” and thus the government could get back to it’s limited constitutional powers and stop baby sitting us.
    Hope this clarifies it.

  20. Bob says:

    Thank you for sharing this post. It actually reminded me of the reason I left my last job as an IT security specialist–we were sleeping in bed with the Government. I wouldn’t have mind it if they were’t using our technology to spy on US citizens. My company put profits before people; the Government put power before people. They are one big fraternity. The elite take care of the elite. Every business they run goes bankrupt. They are terrible at managing our money. It is time to take back America people. It is time to reclaim our freedom.

  21. Darryl Harris says:

    Steve,

    The answer is: NO. But most people cannot answer your question objectively. Their view of the role of government is so skewed, and for so long, that they are unable to see their own blind spot(s).

    Unfortunately, we need to stop thinking about the US government as a ‘government’. Governments govern. The three US branches were supposed to protect our liberties not macro manage life decisions. They should be called the US Protectorate, not US government.

    The root of your question, itself, was predicated on our collective false notion of ‘government’. And therefore we lock ourselves in the very error which causes us to continue to be in error and allow the ‘government’ to justify enlarging its governing powers over everything.

    First step: change our vocabulary.
    Regards,

    p.s. Any law can be justified in the name of protection or health. Bar none! Look at what happened after 9/11; the TSA, carbon taxes, healthcare, speed limits, etc. We Americans have been slowly conditioned to give up our liberties in exchange for protection. Soon, we will all be in prison. Literally. Maximum security, of course.

    Unless …

    • Steve says:

      Darryl,

      I agree wth you for the most part, but the publics perception of government has created the reality, which no longer makes it a perception. While I agree that changing our vocabulary is a good idea, it’s not enough to make any serious impact. To your point, the government can legally justify almost any action, including the assassination of a U.S. citizen the President feels is a threat to the country. We need radical reform and outside of Ron Paul and Gary Johnson, I don’t hear anything new. I really appreciate your comments and would love to hear more of your thoughts in the future. Thanks for getting in on the discussion.

  22. Hi Steve,

    Good commentary and question–in part. However….Dun, da-dun-dun! You know I love ya man! You know I think you’re great! But I’m gonna swat a fast literary tennis ball at ya!

    I think we forget sometimes who the government really is. It’s WE THE PEOPLE. WE ruined our healthcare system, WE drive up inflation, and we expect this magical entity called government to solve it for us. Now it’s a mess in many sectors. Sorry to say but since the days of our founding fathers the average citizenship of this country is so far removed from what’s really going on with issues like this that they are blinded by skewed perpectives while touting expertise that is nothing more than shallow armchair politics.

    There are more reasons than people know why certain regulations exist. I have relatives, friends, associates in law enforcement and undercover terrorism prevention, a cousin in Afghanistan, a brother in homeland security and state government–you name it and what’s really going on is vastly different from what you and I hear in the news–and to a scary degree. I can safely tell you that there are those who think they know what’s going on in Washington and out in the field, and then there’s those who actually do–they make up the silent minority. You can’t accurately debate topics like this when your sources are from slanted reporting from news agencies. I know–as a trained freelance writer in the past, it’s what we do. It was more about ratings, than unbiased facts.

    As ONE example, you wanna know what’s really going on with your healthcare in this country? Feast your attention on some serious evidence of what is really being kept from availability from the public–just to get your blood boiling, log onto the website http://www.burzynskimovie.com and take a look at the documentary of how our beloved FDA has withheld the cure for cancer from you and me for years! Big pharma rules healthcare my friend, and I have personal upfront evidence and documentation to back it up. My son works for one of them! I personally met and got to know one of the doctors in that movie. Use your credibility as a speaker and take issue with that topic and see how far you can get–you’d be great.

    Lastly, Brother Steve, I gotta take issue with you on this remark you made of “threat of organized religion.” C’mon, get real. What specific threat do you mean? I have friends, relatives, associates from all faiths and denominations, including agnostics. I’ve attended the meetings in the Catholic faith, Baptist, LDS (aka Mormon), listened to sermons by Jewish Rabbis, Evangelicals, Protestants, Lutherans and I’ve never found a shred–not so much as a scrap of evidence that their tenets or beliefs have anything that would threaten my constitutional rights as a US citizen or that of anyone else–especially if they were in office. On the contrary–the members of those faiths who do practice what they preach have values that would do more to help this country!

    Granted, there are other “religions” that seek destruction and death of others, but I’m talking about the extremism–the broad stroke of all organized religion, as you put it. Case in point: We went through this nonsense when the hullaballoo was going on while John F. Kennedy was campaigning for president and the skewed bigotry of the public just couldn’t let go of the fact he was Catholic. In almost exasperation he responded by asking how much more explanation it would take before people could “get over it.” And guess what? The Pope never did run the country like people feared it would. Any more than the prophet of the LDS church would govern Mitt Romney. The evidence just isn’t there. But paranoia sure is. Sorry Steve, but painting a broad stroke of conjecture over “organized religion” just doesn’t have a leg to stand on. I’ve done my own homework on this, got my info from the sources I mentioned and someone’s choice of religion consisting of some moral values isn’t evidence of any kind of threat to me.

    I’d rather have the moral fiber of someone like Truett Cathy–the founder of Chick-fil-A who doesn’t mince words about why he believes he should close his nationwide franchise down on Sunday to honor the Sabbath–run for president, than the likes of someone in recent years who turned the oval office into a brothel. Dismissing moral religious values and tweaking the perspective to make them a threat doesn’t have any accurate footing to stand on. The thousands of people I’ve worked with from those faiths bears that out.

    Most of these debates are founded on subject perspective. I make a living dealing with peoples’ perspectives to keep companies out of court, and after almost thirty years of dealing with it, I can safely tell you that perspective, NOT FACT, controls most of us. Very few of us are true masters of our perspectives. It’s high time we put down our literary rifles and work together, not against each other and stop inventing things to argue about that have no real basis, such as “threat of organized religion.”

    I think this all boils down to what you said on page 30 of your book “177 Mental Toughness Secrets” under the heading that ‘Great Ones Separate Truth from Fact’: “…Is this really a fact, or a truth I’ve created from my own or others’ perceptions?” I couldn’t have said it better than you bro’.

    Love ya man!

    Ken

    • Steve says:

      Ken,
      Thanks for your comments on this post. Let me start by giving you multiple examples of the negative influence of organized religion on the U.S. Government.
      1. Discrimination against gay marriage. 2. Assisted suicide being illegal. 3. The blocking of Stem Cell research. 4. The drug war. 5. The ongoing battle over abortion.
      I could probably list 50 different items, but you get the idea. This is NOT what the founders wanted. Many of them we atheists. (Franklin, Jefferson, etc.)
      Government should not be in the business of legislating their version of morality. Who are they to tell us what is moral? The reason they do it is to gain votes from the far right who support them. This has got to stop, and it will eventually because people are getting smarter, more sophisticated and much better informed. We MUST evolve as a society, and basing laws on emotional beliefs is not evolution. Religion should be left to the individual and should have zero impact on public policy. It’s time for America to grow up! Ok, thats my response on that issue, Brother Ken. It’s your turn! Looking forward to a spirited debate! Hope all is well.

  23. Mike Jacobi says:

    Chris and Mike,

    let’s get back to basics:
    1. There is no reason to go to McDonald, exept laziness
    2. There is no reason to buy canned/packaged food, except laziness.
    You can go in any supermarket and cook any meal from scratch yourself without additives by (evil) corporation.
    We do need to get the government out of regulating our lives, as they use it ONLY to control us. Do we need some sensible government control? Of course. Total freedom with no control is anarchy. But the Rule of Law means that the laws apply to eveybody equally with no exception. Also the laws need to be designed to facilitate and not hinder economic development.
    Should you be able to eat drink and smoke anything you want? Yes. But then please don’t expect the community and/or state to take care of you and your health problems.
    Right now, in America we follow the Democratic mantra: It is not my fault and somebody else has to pay for my bad choices.
    Mental toughness will definitely take care of this and then will get our government off our backs.

    Mike Jacobi
    PS As a German, I have to admit, that a lot of this attitude has been imported from Germany, where socialism and government control is at home.

  24. JT DeBolt says:

    Organized religion and politics have erased more liberty in this country than most are willing to admit. Both, at times, act as crutches for those who lack the mental/emotional fortitude to make decisions and take stands for themselves. It is one thing to have one’s own self-defined beliefs and principles be in alignment with a religion or a political party; it is a completely different thing to allow one’s beliefs and principles to be molded by a religion or political party (or the media or any other outside influence). Parents scold children for succumbing to peer pressure, then plop on the couch allow their ideals to be driven by the sewage being fed on the television and media, and their own peer group. Talk about a double-standard.

    We have given away too many of our liberties–not because we are stupid or incapable of making decisions and forming attitudes–but because we lack the mental toughness to draw a line in the sand and declare “Enough is enough”, and to straighten our collective and individual backbones enough to form our own educated opinions and principles instead of allowing them to be defined for us.

  25. Chris says:

    Mike, the labelling issue is an interesting one. The only reason it is there is because of Government regulation (the food companies fought tooth and nail against it and actively resist attempts to increase it eg GM labelling).

    Question is, do people always know what they want? Should I really have to become an expert in every choice I make before I make it? Wouldn’t it be nice if I could just trust someone to take care of at least some of that stuff for me?

    For example, I would generally prefer my burgers to be E.coli free – because while my immune system might handle certain varieties, others might make me very ill or kill the more vulnerable. But the regulations (along with policing) have been watered down over the past 20-30 years resulting in a lot more outbreaks. I guess I would to become an expert in E.coli identification and carry around an E.coli testing kit under your system to ensure I can control what I put into my body.

    But I find it hard to believe that any consumer would argue against regulation of a potentially dangerous organism in food stuffs. Salt isn’t quite in that area (small quantities are actually essential to life) but nearly all of us eat far too much of it, often unknowingly – and it certainly implicated in many diseases.

    I guess my biases lie in the direction of thinking that some regulation is good and even essential – even when it relates to what I put in my body.

  26. Steve, no. The answer is no. I am a firm believer that congress cannot and should not legislate morality. Though I am pro life (in all situations) and I am a strong, Bible-reading Christian living my faith each day, I agree with much of what you have said…and I do not know (or care) what your religious vews are…that’s between you and your God.
    The more Americans are forced to become dependent on the gov’t (local, state, federal) the more we will be accustomed to it…and the less we will be able to do for ourselves and others. We are a nation of very, very, successful, wealthy, generous people and I believe what our founders fought and what so many thousands have died for: gov’t closest to the people governs best. Thought provolking conversation and I am glad to see you are getting a little more ‘political.’ 🙂 Blessings, Kristen Hornbrook, Maine

  27. Chris says:

    And, of course, it’s not just a US problem, Steve – so I wouldn’t feel too embarrassed.

    In France, the Government is trying to tell Muslim ladies that they can no longer wear burqas in public.

  28. Steve,

    Great question. I agree with the concern of having the government control what we consume. On the other hand, if someone makes bad dietary and life style choices I don’t think the taxpayers should foot the medical bill either.

    Bad choices by the masses weigh down our whole health care system.

    Fixing the health care system has got to begin with people making good choices. Steve, I commend you for getting your message out there. Trouble is the masses are not mentally tough! And, don’t care to be.

    I witness first hand on a regualr basis what medical efforts go into trying to save people who are obese and have made all kinds of bad choices. Makes me sick (lol)!

  29. As an American citizen I’m embarrassed to listen to my friends and colleagues overseas tell me how fat and unhealthy U.S. Citizens are. As a chiropractor, health coach and healthy lifestyle proponent here in the Washington, DC area, I find it highly offensive that people feel that they are the right to eat whatever they want, exercise as little as possible (or not at all) and expect the rest of society to pay for their consistently bad health choices. It doesn’t matter if it’s government-sponsored or private health insurance – our perceptions and values are warped. We are now 50th in the world in life expectancy. 50th!!! The USA is NOT Number One! Ignorance of the principles of nutrition and the principles of nature, not the U.S. Government, is the cause of most of our problems. The vast majority of people are ignorant of how their bodies work and think of the human form like a car that can just have parts replaced when they wear out. Unfortunately, when it comes to matters of health and well-being, people are, indeed, uneducated. They believe that a magic pill will cure their ills and take little to no responsibility for their actions. It is sad. Isn’t it time America grew up and our citizens were given the health education and life coaching to make life-affirming decisions? Do we really need our scandal-ridden multinational corporations telling us what to eat while they lobby to poison our food supply, our water and our air? Unbridled greed and unchecked power can turn our beloved nation into a country of sheep. Wake up from your collective trance America! Educate yourselves and free yourself from the hypnosis of conventional “wisdom.” Learn more about your body, your mind, and the world about you. Then make better choices for a better tomorrow! ~ Christopher S. Vogelmann, D.C.

  30. Dave Johnson says:

    Hi Steve,

    Our country was founded by people who came here seeking more freedom to live their lives as they saw fit. The government was originally set up to assure our indivitual freedoms by protecting us with a national defense and from criminal activities.
    And also to give us the freedom to earn and spend our own money! A hundred years ago, the government only consumed about 3% of the GNP and now its over one third of the GNP! A healthy diet requires a little discipline. So does fiscal responsibility.
    Can we trust bureaucrats spending money and printing new fiat money out of thin air? We are headed on exactly the same road as Greece. Government spending over there is 46.8% of gross domestic product. One in three Greek workers is employed by the government, and their unemployment rate is 16.2%

  31. Chris says:

    Mike – one of our jobs as adults is not to always give kids what they want.

    Sure kids (and adults) love sweet and salty things. We’re hard wired that way.

    But:

    Will we notice if there’s xxx gm less salt in our burger? Probably not.
    Will McDonalds do it voluntarily? Probably not.
    Will it save a few lives over time? Perhaps it will.
    Without regulation, how’s it going to happen then?

    Frankly, lots of people are already telling you what you to put in your body via marketing, legislation etc.

    The food industry is basically a dozen or so multinationals who have near total control of the food chain, huge marketing budgets, fingers in government and large legal teams to stifle opposition.

    The freedom of choice about what food you put in your body is already, largely, an illusion. After all, perhaps some of us might want a less salty burger from McDonalds…

    I agree with a lot of what Steve’s posted in the blog but come on quit worrying about a little less salt in your burger. Add it at the fast food counter if you notice the difference that much.

  32. John Knight says:

    I was intrigued at first, which I am sure was the desired result, but as I continued to read your coments and examples of laws that are in place that do indeed restrict people based on a moral standard, the thought came to mind of something a Supreme Justice said…when you take morals out of the law, the disaster awaiting society is very close. (paraphrasing) In the name of freedom, liberty, and justice for all, I believe there are root fundamental morals, even as the Constitution seeks to guarantee these inalienable rights. Yet there are those, and you may well be one of them, that would change those rights to allow no penalty for bad behavior. In ‘God we Trust’ is being replaced with ‘In Our Ownselves we Trust’. There is a universal truth that applies to every creature living upon the earth that has a soul, and the light of Christ is at its center. It does not change the reality of these things, because you do not believe them. There will be a day, when all people will bow the knee, and see eye to eye, and know the Lord equally. In this there are unseen forces that seek to confuse, arouse contention, and try to take God out of the equation of life. That seems to be your purpose in this particular rant.
    I agree there is corruption in the government, and if you look at it, it is the morals of the law that are even keeping our society in a common adhesion, but I fear of pride, and self indulgence, and the self-destruction that will come by your type of ideas.

  33. Cora says:

    The only things I want my government involved in is;
    Public Safety (police and fire)
    Public Transportation (roads, bridges, safety-cars, buses, trains and planes)
    Education
    Basic Health Care
    I don’t even think it’s their responsibility to create jobs, that’s businesses.
    There would be far less government if they stayed out of my personal life.
    It should be none of their business, who I worship, talk to, sleep with, marry or have sex with (may not all be the same person Hee Hee). Or what I watch, eat, drink, inject, smoke, wear or just plain do.

  34. Chris says:

    Controversial as ever, Steve.

    It seems a bit of blanket approach to say either yes or no. So I will plump for – it depends.

    For well informed adults who have enough income to have a real choice and are willing and able to live with the consequences without their choice affecting others – keep it as loose as possible.

    The documentary, Food Inc, is an instructive watch. Basically, the poor cannot afford to make the healthier choice – the dollar menu at McDonalds is cheaper and more filling than a few vegetables at the supermarket (largely because corn based fast food has a lot of hidden subsidies). Sadly, we can’t all be world class – someone has to clean up and do the other boring and often poorly paid jobs. Hence, it probably makes sense if the items on offer at McDonalds are as healthy and nutritious as they possibly can be.

    The flipside of this, of course, is that a lot of the time it seems the relevant parts of the Government are full of food industry lobbyists angling to keep the status quo. That has to make you sceptical about any legislation that is passed.

    But examples abound of where voluntary regulation for industry hasn’t worked – the profit motive is simply too strong on it’s own (and some of the more enlightened players in some industries actually call for legislation so there is a level playing field).

    At it’s best – government regulation can be a great thing as it helps protect the vulnerable from the sharks. But like you I’m sceptical about whether they really do operate in our best interests most of the time.

  35. Eric Barry says:

    The government is really an extension of ourselves. Since we cannot, either morally or legally, demand another person act in a fashion that is approved by ourselves, how can we extend that privilege to a government? We cannot.

    Example: my moral beliefs state that it is immoral to use illicit substances. That does not justify my use of force to coerce another to act according to my morals. It is also unjustifiable for me to form a group to coerce others for me. Likewise with my demanding that government does the same.

    To believe that I can do this implies that I am superior to others and that their Rights are meaningless, or that other persons are my property.

    Since neither of those conditions are true, I can only teach, encourage, and inspire others to my belief system.

  36. Natalie says:

    Bravo Steve! Well said!

  37. Kelly Lee says:

    Hey, Steve! Still 100% compliant and down by 23 pounds since March 25th. Lots more to go, but I have confidence in what I am doing.

    When the government pays 100% for our health care, for our groceries, for our gym memberships, etc. then maybe it will be okay for them to have SOME say in what we do with our bodies.

    Until then, they need to work on getting their own system working effectively instead of worrying about adult citizens who are, and should be, responsible for their own choices.

    When the government takes away our freedom to choose by mandating what we can or can’t do, then we can blame it for us being fat, addicted, poor, hateful, unhappy, or whatever. They probably haven’t thought about that.

    This blog reminded me of another news item I saw this morning about a town mandating that the city emergency services have access to the keys of everyone’s home, apartment, and business, so they can render services more quickly and without property damage.

    Here’s the link to that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFCLiij0CBA&feature=youtu.be

    I believe I’d just have to pay the fine for non-compliance and take my risks.