Can we run this woman for president?
Smoke, Drink and Eat What You Want, Norway’s Public Health Minister Says
Why…why…why…that’s OUTRAGEOUS! This is the NYT, so the photo caption you’d expect comes along with it to make sure nobody misses the point:
Sylvi Listhaug, a right-winger, was put in charge of public health after previously resigning as justice minister over comments she made about terrorism.
A “right-winger.” Well, naturally. Say, anybody remember the last time the words “left-winger” appeared in the Times? Anybody?
It was a most unusual message from a health official: People should be allowed to eat, drink and smoke as they see fit.
Norway’s new minister in charge of public health said this week that adults did not need government lectures about what to put in their bodies, but it sounded a bit like she was telling people to go ahead and indulge. Critics protested that her remarks were damaging, particularly coming from someone in her position.
“I think people should be allowed to smoke, drink and eat as much red meat as they like,” Sylvi Listhaug, the government’s minister for the elderly and public health, said in an interview posted on Monday on the website of NRK, Norway’s state broadcaster. “The government may provide information, but I think people in general know what is healthy and what is not.”
They surely do. And free people would be allowed to choose whether to indulge in personal habits, hobbies, and behaviors whether meddlesome government “experts” approve of them or not.
“I fear that this will set public health efforts back for decades, and that this will compromise the general understanding among Norwegians of the health consequences of tobacco and alcohol use,” Anne Lise Ryel, secretary general of Norway’s Cancer Society, said in a statement.
She called for public health to be removed from Ms. Listhaug’s portfolio, saying that “she seems to lack understanding of what public health really means and what her role as minister in that area should be.”
And YOU, Mzx Ryel, definitely lack understanding of what government’s proper role in this area should be.
Ms. Listhaug said that people who smoked felt like “pariahs” in Norway, and that she would not be the “moral police” in government. She echoed comments made by Austria’s far right, defending freedom of choice in opposing antismoking legislation.
The Freedom Party is part of the governing coalition in Austria, and its leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, the vice chancellor and minister for sport, is an avid smoker. The party last year blocked rules that would have banned smoking in restaurants, as it commonly is elsewhere in the European Union.
Pardon me for indulging my out-of-control, unhealthy habit of making bad word-play jokes and all, but: what a breath of fresh air this is. The bits I bolded are particularly refreshing.
“Where do we send these smokers in the end?” she asked. “Are they going to have to go into the woods or up on a mountaintop or down to the docks in order just to take a drag?”
Not a problem. Eventually, if the Busybody Left fascists have their way, there’ll be camps set up for that sort of thing.
Via Glenn, who adds: “Given the dreadful — and often deadly — record of government nutrition advice in my lifetime this is entirely sensible.” It is that—just plain old common sense, nothing more. How depressing it is that once commonly-held principles like government restraint and keeping one’s nose well out of other people’s business have come to seem so shocking and outlandish.