Exit Strategies

Militarism and the Nanny State

This year Michelle Obama was put in charge of dealing with the nation's “obesity epidemic."  Of course, liberals love this as a public health initiative.  But how to sell government meddling in a new part of our lives to Red America?  Just call it “national security.”

WASHINGTON – School lunches have been called many things, but a group of retired military officers is giving them a new label: national security threat.

That's not a reference to the mystery meat served up in the cafeteria line either. The retired officers are saying that school lunches have helped make the nation's young people so fat that fewer of them can meet the military's physical fitness standards, and recruitment is in jeopardy.

A new report being released Tuesday says more than 9 million young adults, or 27 percent of all Americans ages 17 to 24, are too overweight to join the military. Now, the officers are advocating for passage of a wide-ranging nutrition bill that aims to make the nation's school lunches healthier.The officers' group, Mission: Readiness, was appearing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday with Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack...

Although all branches of the military now meet or exceed recruitment goals, retired Navy Rear Adm. James Barnett Jr., a member of the officers group, says the obesity trend could affect that.

"When over a quarter of young adults are too fat to fight, we need to take notice," Barnett said. He noted that national security in the year 2030 is "absolutely dependent" on reversing child obesity rates.

In other words, the military for now has all the soldiers it needs, but it’ll be keeping its eyes on your kids just in case.  

If this kind of logic flies, what government activity couldn’t be justified on the same grounds?  

As a matter of fact, if you go to the Mission: Readiness website, you’ll see a report titled Young Virginians: Ready, Willing and Unable to Serve with the byline “75 Percent of Young Adults Cannot Join the Military: Early Education across Virginia is Needed to Ensure National Security.”  The idea is that pre-K will improve IQs and stop kids from getting in trouble with the law, thus making more of them eligible to defend Korea from Koreans and Georgians from Russians.  Let me guess, we also need mass immigration for national security, because otherwise we won’t have enough potential soldiers.  And militant feminism too because if women get any ideas about proper sex roles in their heads they won’t want to become soldiers and the number of potential reserves will be cut in half.  

Unfortunately, these strategies of wrapping up liberalism in the flag and having ex-soldiers as spokesmen for progressive causes tend to work on American conservatives.  Lovers of liberty must never forget that war is the health of the state and there's no easier way to sell big government than connecting it with "national security."