Everything, In Moderation

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Derek Hunter Contributor
Font Size:

If there’s one thing that is consistent about government it’s that it is inconsistent. One week government bureaucrats are insisting red wine is the key to long life, the next they’re saying it makes no difference. Butter will kill you, then it’s margarine that’ll take you out. Government not knowing something isn’t so much the problem as it insisting it knows each time, even if it contradicts what it once knew, is.

Nothing carries more weight than a declaration by a federal agency. Entire ad campaigns are launched based on the latest studies announced by the Food and Drug Administration, for example. But if you pay attention to such things, you begin to notice a pattern – the government really has no idea what they’re doing.

Remember the “food pyramid”? Americans were assured it was the key to a balanced diet and good health. Millions grew up with that government graphic on the cereal boxes. It’s gone now.

The pyramid went the way of the Dodo bird because it stressed carbs, with grains the base of the pyramid and largest part, and was blamed for increasing obesity in the country. It was supposed to be the key to health and it turns out it may have been killing people.

So the geniuses who brought us the wrong balance of nutrition for a generation have given us “MyPlate,” pretty much the same thing only with slightly changed recommendations in circular form. If it weren’t coming from government people would laugh at it.

Since it is coming from government, it has a serious impact on people’s lives. And when government turns out to be wrong and/or done harm? It’s memory-holed.

Another example of this you may not have heard of was the “call to action” on skin cancer.

Make no mistake, skin cancer is a killer and should be taken seriously. But the answer isn’t avoiding the sun. Lost in the fog of government induced hysteria is the fact that our bodies absorb needed nutrients from that big ball of fire in the sky.

Ultraviolet light gets a bad rap from government because government doesn’t do nuance, it does black and white. It issues decrees.

As such, when the government tells you to stay out of the sun or die, guess what happens? People stay out of the sun. But exposure to the sun, as I said, has important benefits. For example, your body gets vitamin D from the sun. Not to mention the fact that people have fun in it, that leaving your house in daylight hours to have human interaction is an important part of being a happy, well-rounded person.

As people wear more layers to avoid “exposure,” thanks to government induced panic, we’re seeing a rise in vitamin D deficiency. Results of a new study, The Risks and Benefits of Sun Exposure 2016, has researchers urging public health officials to change recommendation regarding UV exposure from “sun avoidance” to “moderate UV exposure” to address the staggering increases in vitamin D deficiencies which has risen to 36% of Americans.

That new study from researchers from Boston University, University of South Carolina, University of New Mexico, and Leiden University in the Netherlands, challenges overreaching governmental rules and warnings. And it couldn’t come a moment too soon since it wouldn’t be government if its inadvertent and major increase didn’t have massive unintended consequences. As it turns out, there appears to be a link to vitamin D deficiency and increased risk of bladder cancer.

As much as milk is infused with vitamin D, we get most of what our body needs from the sun. As government warns people to avoid sun exposure, well, you get the picture.

While it may have the best of intention, government rarely has the best results. Rarer still does the government admit its mistakes. Like I said, no nuance.

The writer Oscar Wilde is credited with saying, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” Somewhere along the line we lost sight of that when it comes to government and its misuse or misunderstanding of science and the human body.

For government to maintain its moral authority it must exert some measure of authority that is seen as moral. Warning people against things that could kill them is the ultimate in both. And it’s an important function of government, when done properly.

Smoking kills, overeating is hazardous to your health, etc. But when government fails, when government gets it wrong, and when that wrong does harm it must not be too big to change course. And it does. But it does so without acknowledging its mistakes.

Humility is what big government lacks, even a little. Drink some red wine, if you want, go out in the sun, it’s good for you. As Oscar Wilde said, everything in moderation, even, and maybe even especially, government.