Sugar tax plan leaves sour taste
FIRST they came for our beer and cigarettes, then they took our free plastic bags and now they're coming for our sugar.
The march of social-change activists and health boffins masquerading as all-powerful overlords must be stopped. The latest nincompoopery involves a sugar tax - and that's something we should be sour about.
Under intense pressure from medical groups, Australia's largest soft-drink makers have volunteered to offer more low-sugar products.
Obviously this is designed to head off any moves to impose a new tax.
On the face of it, the new stance is great. If you love soft drink but are conscious of your sugar intake, you can slurp on inferior-tasting low-sugar varieties, but if you love a full-on sugar hit, you can buy that.
But in this age of intrusive government and nanny statism, self-regulation and free choice is forbidden.
We can't be trusted to control our own lives and "evil" corporations cannot be left to operate in a free market.
Best leave it to government to make our decisions for us.
The problem is, governments are proven to be spectacularly bad at pretty much everything they touch.
So rather than applauding the proactive drink makers, the Australian Medical Association has denounced them as the spawn of "Glucocifer".
But maybe sugar isn't the nasty villain we're led to believe.
Matthew O'Donnell at The Centre for Independent Studies says obesity has increased three-fold in Australians since 1980, but per capita consumption of refined sugar decreased by 23 per cent from 1980 to 2003.
"Further, over the past 15 years there has been a 26 per cent decrease in the per-person sugar contribution from carbonated soft drinks as consumers have replaced regular sugar-based beverages with diet and zero-sugar alternatives," he said.
Even if you support a war on sugar, everyone should be morally opposed to more taxes.
Why? Because taxing the hell out of alcohol and smokes, regulating the bejeezus out of pubs, or forcing us to pay for "ruinable" energy, exerts control over your finances and, in turn, your ability to lead the legally acceptable life you want.
There's also an element of activism for activism's sake.
Even when all the alcohol, tobacco and sugar is banned, all the mining is outlawed, all the beauty contests stopped and anything masculine suppressed, there will always be something for whingers to whinge about.
That's why we need to say no to a sugar tax, because it will open the door to more state control and embolden the warriors for change.
The great thing about being alive today is that we know so much about our bodies and have access to countless websites devoted to health. About the only negative is we also have access to thousands of recipes for kale.
With all this knowledge, the main cause of being obese or your children's teeth rotting is bad choices.
So if you choose to ignore the tsunami of health advice swamping us each day, why should governments penalise everyone by imposing a tax?
Parents too must take the lead in the fight against obesity. Telling your kid "drink water or you get nothing" is not child abuse, it's good parenting.
A better function of government regulation would be to classify constantly filling your kids with crap food as child abuse. And that doesn't include a small piece of fruit cake in the school lunch box.
As a kid, I moaned at the strictness of my mother's food regimen but that didn't spark a lifelong hatred or a miserable childhood.
Two small scoops of ice cream only if I finished all my vegie-rich dinner. Weet-Bix and honey for brekky. One peanut butter sandwich, a muesli bar, an apple and a small box of sultanas for school lunches.
The 100 per cent standard response to every bleat of "I'm hungry!" was "Have an apple". Even today I can feel Mum's disapproving eyes if I reach for a third sugar for my coffee.
At the end of the day, the war on sugar is also a war on the North's main industry, an industry already under attack by lying ecoterrorists.
As the old saying goes: "Have two sugars in your coffee - one for you, one for the cane farmers."
There's also another old saying we can all abide by: "Everything in moderation." That goes for sugar and tax.