Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to ban the sale of junk food in California’s schools. Naturally, the Center for Consumer Freedom is outraged. When former governor Gray Davis tried to do the same thing Consumer Freedom accused him of confusing the roles of government and family. "Choices about children’s diets are best made by parents" the Center said.
Presumably, parents who don’t want their kids sipping sugary soft drinks and munching on fatty snacks should tell them not to use school vending machines. If the kids don’t listen then it’s the parents’ fault – they have a discipline problem. Many conservatives would agree. Moral responsibility is for individuals not corporations.
…had a peculiar schizoid character: it would be imposed with vehemence in areas of culture and conduct – in the censorship of books, the attacks on "immoral art," etc., and in the realm of private habits; yet it rarely was heard regarding the depredations of business or the corruption of politics.
In almost half a century not much has changed in America. And in Australia, culture warriors like Kevin Donnelly want to clamp down on teachers who tell children that it’s OK to be gay but are happy to take money from tobacco companies to run workshops for teachers to "assist children to make responsible lifestyle choices with regard to a range of things that adults believe children should not do" (read Donnelly’s side of the story here). But if that’s the right approach for drugs and smoking, then why not allow teachers to talk about gay relationships and then have gay lobbyists fund classes which help children make "responsible lifestyle choices"?
The Center for Consumer Freedom is not an independent think tank, it’s an industry front group. It’s job is to protect the interests of food industry shareholders. And I’m sure the Center’s Rick Berman would be happy to assist children to make responsible food choices just so long as the vending machines, advertisements, and sponsorship deals get to stay. Like the tobacco industry, the junk food industry will do just about anything to avoid being regulated.
Donnelly complains that Play School is battling "to normalise what many parents would consider unnatural behaviour". This is why responsible parents seek out "schools whose values better reflect what happens in the home." No doubt many parents would like schools to help them teach children sensible eating habits by not stocking junk food in school canteens. Parents who want their kids to eat chips and chocolate for lunch could remain free to pack them in their kids’ lunch boxes. Is it irresponsible of parents to want to curb the freedom of junk food producers?