The map at the right appears in this Economist article. You knew the nation was porking up; here are some numbers. Colorado is the only state in which less than 20% of the population is obese.
Obesity is not evil. Plenty of wonderful people are carrying a few extra pounds. But being overweight is not a virtue.
My general philosophy is I want people to have personal freedom to choose (i.e., the “liberty” thing); I also want them to make the “right” choices. But in case my “right” is your “wrong”, take comfort from my paucity of power. I will enforce my notion of “right” solely through whatever small social pressure I can apply. I generally do not ask the government to intrude coercively into people’s private lives.
In concrete terms…I don’t want to pay for the care of your self-inflicted wounds, nor do I aspire to tax your “bad” food. I respect you too much to treat you like a child. Live as you see fit, and accept the consequences. Ask me to help you as a friend, and I’ll do what I can. By way of influencing you to slim down, perhaps I’ll make piggy noises while you eat. If you don’t like that, you can throw your food in my face. This is the way mature adults deal with such issues.
There are many reasons we’ve gotten fatter, but I can’t help wonder how much of the rise in eating corresponds to the drop in smoking. This article notes that smokers are less obese than non-smokers, but ex-smokers are more obese than non-smokers. Is it possible that our aggressive efforts to stomp out the “evil” cigarettes has merely skewed our vices without making us healthier or “better”?