Thursday, March 24, 2005

Bravely Taking on Big Salt: Drugs, alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, fat, and now salt. Is there a single pleasure the nannies won't try to snatch away? Here's Andrew Stuttaford's report on the "chow-time Comstocks" (namely, Michael Jacobson and his grim club at CSPI) set to invade your kitchen on flimsy evidence in their latest report on so-called white death.
As is its usual practice, CSPI begins this latest onslaught with tales of a spectacular death toll (those 150,000 hardy, but unfortunate, Americans who manage to escape the carnage brought by passive smoking, obesity and the Second Amendment only to succumb to a condiment) and then piles on from there. "This innocent-looking white substance" may, says Jacobson, a man clearly unaware of what anchovy can do to pizza, "be the single deadliest ingredient in our food supply."

And as usual, the language of these latter-day puritans resembles nothing so much as the darker, more lurid sermons of their stern black-hat/black-suit predecessors of three centuries before. The report is morbid and overblown; its author appears fixated on the horrible fate that awaits those who have sinned: "[T]he salt in our diets has turned our hearts and arteries into ticking time bombs, time bombs that explode in tens of thousands of Americans every year."

So where's this going? Give you three guesses -- first two don't count:
Jacobson's report concludes with "an agenda for action" that includes mandatory sodium limits in processed food, and consideration of a "salt tax"
Once again, there is no evil in this world so great that it can withstand the onslaught of taxation. For anyone still harboring the pipe dream of fairness in the U.S. tax code, remember that this is the progressive agenda. Sometime in the not-so-distant future, your tax bill may be figured not by your income, but by how closely you adhere to a lifestyle declared safe and healthy by people you do not know.

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