Feature

Blaming poor parenting on Big Food.

The week's news at a glance.

United Kingdom

Andrew Sullivan
Sunday Times

Americans have long known they are “a nation of lardacious couch potatoes,” said Andrew Sullivan in the London Sunday Times. And they know that their obesity begins in childhood. But it’s only recently that, “stuffed with saturated victimhood,” they’ve figured out whom to blame: the people who sell food. According to a lawsuit in Massachusetts, corporations that make sugary cereals and advertise them appealingly are effectively brainwashing children to incessantly pester their parents into food submission. But what the lawsuit doesn’t recognize is that parents are not “helpless victims of market capitalism,” forced to obey their children’s every whim. There’s a choice to be made. “A free society means that we are all being tempted by all sorts of things all the time—and many of them won’t be good for us.” One way to deal with that challenge is to eliminate choice and create a Soviet-style world in which we are offered only what the powers that be deem is good for us. A better way, though, is for parents to take personal responsibility and say no. “Mastering the art of the ‘no’ is simply what it takes to survive in freedom.” That would be a valuable lesson to bequeath our children.

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