Government regulations are not the solution to our problems. People should be free to make their own decisions while abiding by the law. That is not to say that we should be free to do whatever we want. We need government. It’s the necessary evil like Thomas Paine believed. Not because we need it to delegate our lives but because that state of nature just stinks. It’s counterintuitive to the public good of all.
Thomas Hobbes couldn’t have said it any better. Life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Conservatives realize that we need a limited government that promotes the public good and avoids that dreadful Hobbesian lifestyle. But the main point that conservative realize is that individuals need to be responsible for their lives, especially when it comes to their health.
Governor Chris Christie embodies this type of individual responsibility. He’s leading a responsible path. The New York Post reported that Christie had a weight-loss surgery performed, a gastric band surgery. He lost 40 pounds since February. The surgery is a supplement to the Governor’s exercise and healthy diet. Even First Lady Michelle Obama praised his efforts.
He’s taking care of himself to promote his own health because he loves his family, and himself, not because he wants to run for president or aspire a higher position in society. Christie said, “This is about Mary Pat and the kids and me and not anybody else.” It’s about his health rather than some social standing he wants.
Our society is unfortunately obsessed with social standing. The media is talking about Christie’s life choices and already talking about presidential politics. Politico titled one of its articles as, “What Chris Christie’s surgery means for 2016.” This even goes farther than politics. It’s a sociocultural issue.
Just listen to Mike Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch. He told a reporter that his store does not sell XL or XXL because “he doesn’t want his core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing his clothing. People who wear his clothing should feel like they’re one of the ‘cool kids.”
Jeffries’ and Politico’s take on health is about social standing or a “cool kid” standing. They don’t get it. It’s about life and our country.
Christie’s approach to health is ideal. He is doing it out of self-responsibility because he wants to live longer, see his kids grow older, and enjoy a long marriage with his wife Mary Pat. Keep in mind that obese people lose 12 years from their lives due to a serious of chronic diseases. Christie’s move shows that responsibility to promote his own health like everyone should.
He should make people question their habits and motivations. As much as we love freedom to do whatever we want, it comes with responsibilities. The responsibility to love ourselves and ultimately take care of ourselves which allows us to take care of others. Christie is a role model. As conservatives that love freedom, let’s promote self-responsibility to prevent healthy mandated policies like Mayor Bloomberg’s big gulp regulation. Christie invalidates Bloomberg’s regulations that people can’t take care of their health. Politicians like Bloomberg think that people can’t lead healthy lifestyles without imposing big gulp styled regulations. Let alone, live life without having the government constantly telling you what you can or can’t do.
This health crusade is ours for the taking. Conservatives should promote healthy lifestyles like Christie’s through individual responsibility. The U.S. has a 36 percent obesity rate. This is not healthy and must be changed. If Americans start taking care of ourselves, then people will in effect lower healthcare costs around the country by requiring less heart disease or diabetes care. That’s a fiscally conservative argument.
This is not a plea for big government regulations. You should have the choice to drink a big gulp. But should you? It’s your responsibility to say no. Healthy habits are not legislated, they come from within like Christie’s own changes. Governments should stand out of the way and promote healthy habits not through policies but by example. It’s up to us to change our lives. We must change. It is our duty to our families, loved ones, and to the nation at large. Obesity is a serious concern, one that goes much farther than presidential politics. It’s about us.