The City of San Francisco — no stranger to knowing what's best for you — doesn't think your kids should get toys in their Happy Meal unless they eat their veggies.
The City of San Francisco could take a didactic approach, putting up posters encouraging kids to eat their veggies and encouraging parents to require it. But there's a very real danger that you and your kids just won't grasp that the wise, concerned leaders of San Francisco know what is best for you and your kids. So rather than teach, they compel:
In San Francisco, newly proposed legislation would ban toys from most kids meals sold at McDonald's, Burger King and other chains unless the meals meet more stringent calorie and sodium limits. The legislation also would require fruit or veggies in each meal.
. . .
"There's no fundamental conflict between a healthy meal and a happy meal," says Rajiv Bhatia, environmental health director for San Francisco.
He says chains could easily conform by making relatively small changes in ingredients or portion size, reducing the number of french fries, or replacing fries with veggies, fruit or salad.
People like Rajiv Bhatia have thought about the Platonic ideal meal, and you haven't. The Platonic ideal of a meal is not a happy one ; rather, it is a meal of which informed people like Rajiv Bhatia approve. A meal of which Rajiv Bhatia does not approve is not a meal at all, and therefore your uninformed belief that you should be able to choose your kids' meals by yourself is simply untutored. Rajiv Bhatia understands that The People make bad choices and it is the role of The State to make correct choices for them for the ultimate good of The People.
It would be easy to react to this just with irritation and the increasing prevalence, and power, of people who think they know better than you what you should eat and drink, and what you should give your kids to eat and drink. But I have to agree with Brad on this: it's a teaching moment. If your kids want their favorite Happy Meal with a toy they've seen advertised, and can't buy it at your local McDonald's, you could explain why. "You can't have that toy in that Happy Meal because some people in the government think that you shouldn't be able to choose what you eat, and mommy and daddy shouldn't be able to choose what you eat. They think that they should be able to choose what you eat, because they think they are smarter and better than all of us. Do you think that's fair? Do you think that people in the government should be able to tell you what you can eat, and what you can play with? Did you know that some people in the government think that there's a whole bunch of other things they should be able to tell you what to do? What do you think of that? Would you like to learn more about it? Would you like to learn about how you can stop people like that, now and later when you're a grown-up?"
Plant the seed early, and maybe the next generation will be a little less tolerant of the San Franciscos and Rajiv Bhatias of the world. Maybe at least they'll be aware of the issue that there are people who want to tell them how to live their lives, and that paying attention is the only way to fight it.
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