Kelly Brownell is sounding the alarm bells at my favorite publication, The Atlantic. The great danger? Sugary beverages.
There is a long list of reasons why these beverages are bad actors:
- They are the single greatest source of added sugar in the American diet and add little no nutrition.
- The body does not seem to recognize calories very well when they are delivered in liquids, hence sugary drinks appear to fool the body's feelings of being full.
- There is very clear evidence linking consumption of these beverages with elevated risk for obesity and diabetes.
- There is massive marketing.
There is massive marketing. Here is the epitome of clarity and style. Please note the passive construction, indicating a serious danger with an unnamed culprit.
Of course, Brownell reveals the ideological assumptions of his argument when he claims his article is important "in order to help establish government policies on whether children should be protected from this influence." He concludes by stating, "There is no doubt that children and teens need protection from the masterful and ubiquitous marketing by companies of products known to increase risk for obesity and diabetes."
Obviously, intemperate consumption of anything is unhealthy. When it comes to Coke and Pepsi, drinking less is probably better for you and your children. Studies right now seem to say these drinks are very bad for your health. A few years ago "studies" said coffee was the devil. Now they say coffee can make you live longer.
The progressive vision of the world seems to hold unshakable faith in expert studies as revealing the truth. This vision also assumes that people, being naturally good and rational after Rousseau's doctrines, will always make the right choice if they have the right information. The progressive ideologue views supposedly false information that could lead people to choose something the experts have ruled the wrong choice (e.g. advertising by Pepsi, or Tobacco companies for that matter) as a dire threat to freedom. It's as if effective marketing for something the experts don't like is coercion to the progressive.
But a free society will not long endure if every time "studies" say particular behavior is harmful, the federal government is called in to curb free speech because it might influence people in a direction contrary to contemporary science. Even the most teeth-destroying sugar water suppliers deserve to make an argument for their product. To paraphrase Voltaire's phrase, I may disagree vehemently with your advertising, but I'll defend to the death your right to advertise.