Feb 27, 2007

Child Abuse?

A fascinating story that I can't help but write something about the role of government after learning of: http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/02/27/obese.child.reut/index.html

It would, of course, be ridiculous if they took away the child. I completely support the decision to let the mother keep him. There are plenty of overweight children out there and it sets a dangerous precedent to have one taken away. And if letting a child eat massive quantities of junk food is enough to have him taken away, plenty of other bad parenting problems could be next in line, and it's not something that anybody can keep up with.

But I think I agree with the concept in theory. As I've said many a time before, my idea of good government is one that makes people as free as they can be. This only applies to the freedom of adults, however. The freedoms of children ought to be restricted to ensure that they are more free once they become adults. That's why there is mandatory schooling, an age of consent, etc. I would actually be okay with requiring healthy eating for children. There's no way a real government could do this properly, but again, this is all theoretical. And getting into even more theoretical because I know there's no way in heck this could be done properly: It would be ideal that there be a test that people have to pass to be allowed to reproduce.

I know that I'm generally rather libertarian, but it's so sad that one child lives a healthy life because his parents require him to eat vegetables while another dies of a heart attack at the age of 32 because his parents gave him all the over-processed food he wanted. The essence of life is that it's not fair and that different people have their different challenges, but that doesn't mean that there oughtn't be anything done to try to combat those problems.

Then again, I might not actually mean what I say. Is it more traumatizing to a child to be separated from his mother than to be obese? Would that be far more limiting to his future? Ah, the grey areas of life.

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