Every once in a while, I hear from my old college chum, the Libertarian. Under normal circumstances, we have more of an uneasy truce than a friendship, but under the current administration, we’ve bonded over our shared loathing of said government officials. That’s been nice and eye-opening.
Here are the ways in which my beliefs align with his, though divergences are noted:
- It’s kind of bullshit that I have to pay your medical bills if you don’t wear a helmet and crash your motorcycle without insurance. On the other hand, if you’ve taken necessary safety precautions, but still crash your motorcycle without insurance, I don’t mind.
- Drugs ought to be legal and well-regulated. Not just because it’s not the government’s business what I do with my body (because, obviously, what I do with my body has effects on the broader community), but also because the war on drugs is futile, overburdening the prison system, and depriving the government of a great deal of tax revenue.
- Prostitution ought to be legal and well-regulated. Again, not just because it’s not the government’s business what I do with my body, but because it would lessen the prostitute’s reliance on a broker, allow some kinds of healthcare initiatives that would keep everyone safer, and provide a safety net for these people so that when serial killers or other assorted thugs prey on them, someone notices and cares.
- We ought not to mistake Hollywoodish cowboy bravado for acceptable foreign policy.
We mostly differ in that I believe that we, as human beings have obligations to each other and that the government can be a more effective tool for fulfilling those obligations than individuals can. I have ideals and it hurts me when those ideals are not met.
But today, I see that the federal government is urging people to lose weight and exercise more. Yes, the republican government home of the “smaller government” mindset is wasting valuable federal dollars to tell me and the rest of us fat-asses to lose weight. Yes, this man, with the double chin, is using his last days in office to tell the rest of America to lose weight.
“Do you want to look better? Do you want to feel better?” he asks, like some kind of sleazy dope dealer. But, as if he’s anticipating my recognizing him for the pusher he is, he reminds us that “people should not assume that researchers at the National Institute of Health are going to come up with a miracle diet pill. ‘Every American is waiting for NIH to come up with that pill,’ he said. ‘It’s not going to happen.'”
Listen, I’m not going to go into all of the reasons that the government has no business trying to dictate what we do with our bodies. I’m going to even attempt to refrain from pointing out how funny it is that we don’t think it’s weird that our government wants to tell us what we ought to weigh, but we think it’s hilarious that Kim Jong Il wants all North Koreans to get their hair cut every 15 days.
Oh, yeah, I know that this is all about “feeling better” and “being healthier” and how we all ought to throw up our hands at the way we are getting fatter and fatter because it means that we’re getting less and less healthy. Well, except that we’re living longer now than we ever have and we all have to die of something and, frankly, though I’d prefer to live to be 95, I’d rather die at 70 from being too fat, than to die at 20 because my dress got caught up in the machine I was running 14 hours a day or at 35 after my 10th pregnancy or at 5 because I starved to death.
But really, it’s about aesthetics, and even Thompson inadvertently admits it as he asks, first, if you want to look better and only second if you want to feel better.
I understand this from the Democrats. They’re supposed to be the party of big, intrusive government and Hollywood (in all it’s fucked up body image glory) and sleeping with whomever is handy.
But the Republicans are the party of the FAT cats. Shouldn’t they be encouraging all of us to flaunt our wealth and power through our girth, like a whole nation of modern-day robber barons?