Tracing consequences both seen and unseen.
John W. PaynePrepare for Cake Prohibition
Posted at 12:04 am on March 31, 2010, by John W. Payne

A group of scientists are now claiming that fatty foods could be as addictive as so-called “hard drugs” like heroin and cocaine:

Binging on cheesecake and Ding Dongs can make you chunky – and turn you into a junkie…

Florida scientists looking into the causes of obesity let lab rats gorge round-the-clock on cake frosting and sweet treats, as well as bacon and sausage, and discovered that it triggered addiction-like responses in their brains.

To maintain their food-induced highs, the rats consumed more and more fatty treats – and got obese in the process.

Well, if drug warriors were consistent we would.  I know there are groups out there calling for taxes and other legal restrictions on junk food, but I think we will be spared outright bans in this case because there is no way to easily define the potential criminals as “other.”  Unlike with drugs, which were usually criminalized for reasons of race and class, almost all of us overindulge our appetites from time to time.  And even if we do not personally engage in such behavior very often, we are undoubtedly close to people who do.
What this really shows is that there is nothing more innately harmful about cocaine and heroin than there is about ice cream and Krispy Kreme doughnuts.  The difference is in how the government treats these products.  The market for junk food is legal, so contracts are not enforced with street violence.  Prices for such goods are not driven through the roof by prohibition, encouraging users to spend all of their time securing their next fix and often turning to petty theft or worse to attain the means for it.  And most obviously, millions of sucrose addicts aren’t rotting away in a cage because of a personal vice.

So what will it be drug warriors: legal cocaine or criminalized cookies?

Cross-posted at Rough Ol’ Boy.


Filed under: Drug Policy, Nanny State
Comments: 3 Comments
 

3 Comments »

  1. […] vice. So what will it be drug warriors: legal cocaine or criminalized cookies? Cross-posted at The Lesson Applied. Posted by Rough Ol' Boy Filed in Uncategorized Leave a Comment […]

    Pingback by Prepare for Cake Prohibition « Rough Ol' Boy — March 31, 2010 @ 12:05 am

  2. Interesting post, though I think saying “that there is nothing more innately harmful about cocaine and heroin than there is about ice cream and Krispy Kreme doughnuts” is an exaggeration.

    Some drugs (like meth) have permanent physical effects on the body. It is much more likely to overdose on drugs than on sweets. I agree with your reasoning elsewhere for the most part, but trivializing the real effects of drugs hurts your argument. The effects may not be as bad as we are led to believe, but people do die (and permanently damage their bodies) simply from some drugs.

    Comment by Caitlin Hartsell — March 31, 2010 @ 7:42 am

  3. “The effects may not be as bad as we are led to believe, but people do die (and permanently damage their bodies) simply from some drugs.”

    Really, exactly the same thing can be said about some types of food.

    Comment by Eric D. Dixon — March 31, 2010 @ 9:11 am

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Henry Hazlitt"[T]he whole of economics can be reduced to a single lesson, and that lesson can be reduced to a single sentence. The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups."
Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson
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