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Tony Zizza

We Don't Need The Government To Count Calories For Us
By Tony Zizza
Oct 29, 2008 - 10:34:04 AM

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Recent events have shown us that the government largely doesn't know what it's doing, much less what's actually going on in our dynamic culture. This being said, it seems more and more people are turning to the government for more and more help with just about everything and anything. The Brave New World is no longer something we must wait for. It has arrived, and no one blinked an eye. It certainly didn't happen overnight, but we've been transformed into pathetic adult children.

Observe that the great city of Nashville is considering requiring resturants to post calorie counts on menus. This isn't just another clear example of the nanny state running wild. It's an insult to working adults. Now, food safety and sensible food regulations are one thing. But when you've got the government with the threat of fines and god knows what else in their hands, the rule of law has been sliced in half like a red tomato.

I mean, this is absolutely nuts. Does Nashville think adults who make the effort to drive to a resturant and actually have earned the money they need to eat out, need the government to tell them the calorie count of what's on the menu they're holding? How far away are we then from government officials assisting us with the knife and fork for crying out loud? The decision to use either salt or pepper? Or both? Sometimes infantile ideas the government comes up with sound even more insane when you take the time to talk about it.

Tennessee is the volunteer state. We are a strong and generous and sensible bunch. We don't need to know the calorie count on a resturant menu. We can figure it out just fine on our own and with our dinner mate. It's not complicated to figure out by looking at the name of a dish and perhaps seeing a picture of it in a Chili's or Famous Dave's menu that it is or is not something we should be putting in our stomach. Here's the thing. If you can figure out the tip at the end of the meal, you're OK with deciding at the beginning of the meal what you'll have to eat.

Think about it. It's Saturday night. Despite hearing that more and more people are becoming obese, you actually worked out all week and burned a few thousand calories. Tonight, you probably don't care how many calories are in a particular meal on a resturant menu. You're an adult and realize that if you do choose -we can still make choices, right?- to eat something that's obviously high in calories, you sure as heck are not going to eat it all in one sitting. Doggy bags exist for a reason. There's no shame in using them.

It seems some government officials in Nashville, and nationwide for that matter, think we are adult children and should be grateful the government has counted our calories for us. I would much prefer they only do a limited number of things that are spelled out in our Constitution - thank you. The last time I checked, counting calories was not mentioned anywhere.

Again, we've gradually become a society that looks to the government, and demands that same government, figure everything out for us with no thought or choice or effort required on our part. This is dangerous. On the surface, it sounds like Nashville is just looking out for its citizens health to make sure resturants have already added up the calories before they sit down and open up the menu. But the fact is that the government should have a far less role in our lives than we have allowed it to have.

The reason for this is simple. Our country is one that is built on freedom and a volunteer spirit. It seems we previously liked it that way. We've veered off the right path. It's time to turn around. We must not let any tired "redistribute the wealth" scheme or calorie count scheme cloud our judgement any further about what it means to live in a free country.

After all, if we can't all learn to live on a budget and be responsible, how many people in the future will be able to eat out at a nice resturant where the calories are already counted for them?

Tony Zizza is a free-lance writer who lives in Hermitage, TN. He writes frequently about popular culture. Email:

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