The Fascists Have Jumped the Shark

Via the Junkfood Science blog,

It has actually happened. Lawmakers have proposed
legislation that forbids restaurants and food establishments from
serving food to anyone who is obese (as defined by the State). Under
this bill, food establishments are to be monitored for compliance under
the State Department of Health and violators will have their business
permits revoked.

Unbelievable.  And not that this would make it right, but the ban is not even on serving certain types of fattening foods, but on serving any food.  Here is the key part of the law:

Any food establishment to which this section
applies shall not be allowed to serve food to any person who is obese,
based on criteria prescribed by the State Department of Health after
consultation with the Mississippi Council on Obesity Prevention and
Management established under Section 41-101-1 or its successor. The
State Department of Health shall prepare written materials that
describe and explain the criteria for determining whether a person is
obese, and shall provide those materials to all food establishments to
which this section applies. A food establishment shall be entitled to
rely on the criteria for obesity in those written materials when
determining whether or not it is allowed to serve food to any person.


  1. Larry Sheldon:

    My guess is the bill will nver see light of day--2/3 of the population of Mississippi is obese, I hear tell.

    Presumably their legislature is representative.

    But just for the entertainment there are a couple of questions that come to mind.

    Will the Interstate Commerce clause come into play? (I'm thinking if the number of truck drivers who will not be able to buy a meal on their way through, for example.)

    How will the case (the law text is not clear--I've read it) handle the case where unclothed the person is actually entitled to a meal, but clothed is not?

    What will happen to diabetics and others that while obese, must never the less eat to stay alive?

  2. Josh:

    I could see how this could make a perverse sort of sense if the government is shouldering health care costs: obese people cost money to maintain, that money has to come from the people, therefore we protect the people by taking steps to prevent the existence of obese people. Of course there are much more direct ways of dealing with this problem; kinda gives a whole new meaning to the phrase 'fat camp'.

  3. happyjuggler0:

    Ok, first off, someone needs to tell the fascists to fuck off in no uncertain terms. Perhaps a more polite way of saying it would be "mind your own business, who gives you the right". How much you want to bet if the Libertarian Party renamed itself the Mind your own business party they'd increase their votes tenfold at least?

    Second, like this will work. So they don't go to McDonalds to eat, they go to the store and buy munchies and all kinds of other food. What are you going to do, tell people they can't buy food in grocery stores unless they look like a supermodel?

    I suspect that if they manage to pass this affront to (not so) common sense that what will happen is they lose tons of restaurant taxes and all of a sudden it will they will say, "gee maybe this won't work", kind of like Prohibition and the screaming need for taxes in the middle of an artificially extended depression that created the 21st amendment.

  4. Anonymous:

    Nanny State Catch 22: An obese person on a medically supervised diet will be thrown out of an organic health food restaurant.

    They will be forced into back alleys cooking hot dogs on wire coat hangers over an open fire spewing tons of CO2 in an old 55 gal oil drum taken from a toxic waste dump

  5. MGW:

    Will these end up like liquor laws? Will it be legal for a skinny person to buy food and then provide it to their fat friends? What about just a stranger skinny person next to you in line?

    I'm certain that this has no chance of passing, but maybe it would be good for us libertarians if it did. Perhaps that would finally wake people up and tell the government to back off.

  6. agammamon:

    "obese people cost money to maintain"

    I've been wondering how true that is. I'm in the military and though I can meet (and exceed) our physical fitness requirements, I am hovering around a BMI of 30 (and not because i have a lot of muscle). My body fat percentage (as we measure it) fluctuates around 18-21%, depending on who does the measuring.

    I do not incur any health cost beyond the mandatory minimum (yearly check-ups and immunizations).

    Yet my phsyically active peers are constantly reporting to have sprains, pulled muscles, even broken bones taken care of. At a minimum at least one of these people are popping aspirin on any given day. Who's actually imposing extra costs on us here.

  7. Ed:

    I think it's a trial balloon. The bill is first introduced and everybody laughs it off. Someone introduces it again...and again...and again...and then someone says that he's heard about this idea of preventing the obese from eating, that the idea has merit, and that we should explore ways to implement the idea. How did you think we got incandescent light bulbs banned?

  8. JW:

    Quoting Fluffy from H&R: "Will someone please kill these people so I can read about it in the paper and laugh?"

    We are so screwed. So much so that I am actually wishing violence against these people. I don't know what else will stop this slow slide toward the nanny-fascist state. It just keeps getting worse.

    I read about this insanity and libertarians are the nutjobs? We tried to warn you!

  9. Penumbra:

    You know, talking about "wishing violence against these people" puts this discussion into a bad place. I realize you don't care because you are a libertarian and I'm beginning to understand what that really means now, beyond the cant about legalizing prostitution and drugs.

  10. JW:

    Yes, it's the "wishing" that's put this discussion into a bad place. Not the goose-steppers who threaten to jail restaurateurs who dare serve food to fatties. No, that couldn't possibly be any reason for that to move things into a "bad place." It must be because of the people who have a genuine and viscerally shocked reaction to such bald-faced authoritarianism.

    And really, the reason I don't care is that you're an idiot.