Sunday 13 December 2015

Defending The Nanny State

As a Sunday night curiosity, you might like to see some wriggling by health-obsessed finger-waggers in their pitiful attempts to shake off the 'nanny' tag.

Last week, this was tweeted by US food nags, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

Don't they make themselves sound so kind and cosy? They just want to make your choices easier, d'you see? It's those horrid food companies who are ordering you around. CSPI describes its purpose as being to "advocate government policies" (i.e. demand laws) including, but not limited to, "new policies in some cities and states to remove soda and junk foods from schools" yet doesn't think this amounts to denying choice and encouraging prohibition of certain products.

Instead, food companies are the ones bossing you around and "telling you what to eat and drink"! You know, with laws and stuff ... oh, hold on.

Yes, of course it's bollocks, but this is the weird fantasy world these people live in. They really think that poking their nose into what people freely choose to purchase and consume, and trying to stop it, is being kind and generous, whereas the food industry - who make popular products and advertise them - are somehow twisting your arm and frog-marching you down to the shops to buy them.

It's absurd and a contorted perversion of reality. In the wibbly-wobbly world of the health nag, these evil food barons sit around all day thinking up products to ruin your health for profit, forgetting that no consumer ever bought anything that they didn't think was in their own self-interest to buy. If the public don't like the product on offer, they won't buy it and the business fails, it really is as simple as that; economics and business 101.

No-one ever bought an après-scram brandy solely because they saw an ad for Courvoisier, they were in the market for an après-scram brandy but their choice was perhaps guided to Courvoisier and away from another après-scram brandy. Likewise, no-one ever bought a postprandial McFlurry because Maccy D's bullied them into it with a commercial, they just wanted dessert of some kind after their nosebag and Maccy D's ads may have swayed them into going there instead of Pizza Hut.

As I explained to an ignorant, state-funded, business-hating numpty a while ago in relation to plain packaging.
Cigarettes are not like bread, just like bread is not like wristwatches and wristwatches are not like torque wrenches. But bread manufacturers will package their bread to attract attention to their bread instead of someone else’s bread; wristwatch makers will make their watches attractive to draw customers to their wristwatches instead of another company’s wristwatches, and torque wrench manufacturers will use innovative design elements to make their torque wrenches the choice of torque wrench users over and above the torque wrenches made by other torque wrench manufacturers. In that, tobacco companies are clearly acting no differently than companies in every other industry on the planet.  
If any other industry was banned from advertising anywhere at all, the only way they would be able to increase market share to satisfy their shareholders would surely be reduced to solely making their product the most innovative/tasty/attractive/flashy/prestigious (delete as applicable) on the market, so that people who buy bread/wristwatches/torque wrenches will buy theirs. It’s hardly surprising, then, that tobacco packs have become more attractive – perversely, it’s because your previous successes have created them. That, and the fact that packaging technology has advanced so rapidly in recent years that *all* packaging in *all* industries is flashier, more ‘glitzy’ even, in recent years. Just as production means that there are now dozens more lines in every market than there were ‘a few years ago’. Did you know you can even get 12 different types of Special K cereal now?
The problem that nanny statists have - because that is precisely what they are - is that industry really doesn't have to try hard to sell popular products to the public, because they are just that. Popular. Whereas nasty curtain-twitching prohibitionists are not very popular at all! No-one likes a nag, especially when they restrict choice and ban stuff we like by pestering and bullying politicians.

Of course, if the cult of 'public health' truly believed that people are so easily swayed by a few ads, they would simply do the same themselves and we'd all dutifully fall into line, but they don't. And the reason being? Because they demand regulations, legislation and bans on the basis that - wait for it - education is not effective. No really, they do ... at the same time as pretending that education (adverts) from the food industry are somehow miraculously compelling! It would be funny if it wasn't so utterly pathetic.

The upside of all this, of course, is that their attempting to change the meaning of terms like 'nanny' and 'nanny state' simply illustrate how hurtful and damaging the terms are to them. So thank you Iain Macleod for giving us a weapon against these hideous people that they really despise, we will carry on smacking them round their dreary, pinch-lipped chops with it as long as they continue bleating twisted fallacies like the CSPI did last week.

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