Obesity warriors trample parents’ rights

18 01 2012

Imagine this: elementary school students are forced to wear digital health monitors and report daily to their teachers, who download the data and upload it to a central database for analysis.

It certainly sounds like a scenario from George Orwell’s 1984, which was set in a late-20th century totalitarian dystopia. Yet for a group of New Jersey students, it isn’t fiction.

A picture like this is obligatory in every piece about child obesity

One would expect such a monitoring program to be optional. It might even be helpful. Parents could opt into the program to monitor the health of their child. Kids might even embrace it as a fun experiment – a cool, digital way of monitoring physical activity and promoting good health.

But parents were never given the option of participation. From the article:

“I didn’t even know it was going on, and I’m active in the school,” said Beth Huebner, of St. Louis.

Her son, a fourth-grader, wore a Polar Active monitor in class without her OK last fall at Ross Elementary School.

“We have gotten no information about the Web-site security or where the data will go,” Huebner said.

While this case should be troubling to concerned parents and liberty advocates alike, it is only one of a growing number of offenses committed in the name of the War on Obesity. Last year, for example, an Ohio mother lost custody of her obese son.

Proponents of such policies believe that intrusive nanny state policies are entirely justified, especially when it comes to minors. It takes a village to raise a child, they explain.

But under the nanny state, we’re all children of a paternalistic government. If the state can compel children to wear digital health monitors, can it not do the same for adults? Can the state mandate exercise regimens for those deemed unhealthy? Can it force us to eat broccoli?

Making personal health a government concern opens the door to ever more intrusive laws, mandates, and regulations. Such intervention is both inevitable and justified once the cost of healthcare becomes collectivized.

After all, it takes a village to pay for socialized medicine.

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3 responses

19 01 2012
22 01 2012
Graham Kozak

I’ve read Liberty and Tyranny, but none of the others. Are they any good?

22 01 2012
Min

Just heard an interview on the new book and it sounded really interesting… considering reading it. Glad you’ve read him.

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