Items noticed today. One:
Eighty per cent of Britons ‘hate the meddling nanny state’
BRITONS hate the nanny state and think the Government should stop meddling in people’s lifestyle choices, says a survey.
Researchers found significant opposition to stealth “sin taxes” on products such as tobacco, alcohol or sugary drinks.
Instead more than 80 per cent of those questioned, excluding ‘don’t knows’, believe it should be down to individuals to make their own lifestyle choices without official interference from Government.
Supporters of Ukip were most likely to resent Whitehall meddling in their daily lives, the pollsters found.
Mark Littlewood, director general of free market think-tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, which commissioned the ComRes survey, said: “These results should be a wake-up call to politicians across the spectrum.
“It is clear that the majority of the British public think the nanny state has gone too far and want to be left alone to live their lives as they see fit.
“Interestingly, Ukip voters clearly favour personal freedoms and lower sin taxes to the greatest extent, which should provide food for thought for the traditional Westminster parties. This is a clear sign that the Government needs to row back on its constant interventions into people’s lives.”
I’m one of the 80%. And I’m a UKIP voter who wants the restoration of the freedom to sit in a pub and drink a pint of beer and smoke a cigarette. That’s more important to me than UKIP’s policies on the EU and immigration.
Ebola, Smoking, and Mission Creep at the CDC
Before Tom Frieden became director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2009, his two nemeses were tuberculosis and smoking. Although both are commonly described as threats to “public health,” they differ in ways that may help explain the CDC’s stumbles in dealing with Ebola.
Tuberculosis, which Frieden helped control in New York City and India as a CDC epidemiologist, is a contagious, potentially lethal disease. Smoking, which Frieden targeted as New York City’s health commissioner, is a pattern of behavior that increases the risk of disease.
That distinction matters to people who reject paternalism as a justification for government action. We believe the use of force can be justified to protect the public from TB carriers but not to protect smokers from their own choices.
Frieden rejects that distinction. He sees the goal of public health as minimizing morbidity and mortality, even when they arise from voluntarily assumed risks, and he does not hesitate to rely on state power in pursuing that mission. For him, public health means quarantining and treating disease carriers, but it also means imposing heavy taxes on cigarettes, banning trans fats, and forcing restaurants to post calorie counts.
This understanding of public health is an open-ended license for government meddling. It is also a recipe for mission drift, as reflected in the CDC’s ever-widening agenda…
Today the CDC’s mission includes pretty much anything associated with disease or injury. In 2013 The New York Times mentioned the agency more than 200 times. Communicable diseases accounted for 54 of those references, but the topics also included smoking, drinking, electronic cigarettes, obesity, diet, suicide, addiction, driving, sports injuries, contraception, economic inequality, domestic violence, and gun control.
Obviously I don’t have a high opinion of the antismoking Frieden. But I thought he’d been replaced by somebody else after the Ebola fiasco?
60 Prominent Germans Appeal Against Another War In Europe
In a letter published by Germany’s Die Zeit, numerous famous and respected Germans including a former president and former prime minister write “Wieder Krieg in Europa? Nicht in unserem Namen!”, or, roughly translated, “War in Europe Again? Not in Our Names!”
“Nobody wants war. But North America, the European Union, and Russia are inevitably driving towards war if they do not finally halt the disastrous spiral of threats and counter-threats. All Europeans, including Russia, are jointly responsible for peace and security. Only those who do not lose sight of this goal can avoid fatal actions.”
Clearly there are a lot of people getting worried about this.