Welfare State

From Welfare State to Nanny State: The Federal Government Is Lecturing Hispanics

Some may think this Washington Free Beacon story is outrageous. And it is. But since our ruling class has successfully turned the nation into a welfare state, it is only a matter of time before this sort of idiocy becomes standard practice.

The federal government has reportedly spent $406,875 texting Mexican-American men to tell them to exercise. The study is financed by taxpayers through the National Institutes of Health and is conducted by the University of California, San Diego. Here is a description of the project from the NIH website. It includes their “Public Health Relevance Statement”:

Mexican American men report high rates of inactivity and related health conditions. The proposed study seeks to promote physical activity among this at-risk, understudied population by developing interactive and tailored text-messages to enhance a print-based physical activity intervention for Spanish- speaking MA men. The proposed high reach, low cost strategy for increasing physical activity has great potential for adoption on a larger scale and thereby positively impacting public health and eliminating health disparities.

For those who are thinking that a boondoggle of less than a half-million dollars isn’t worth worrying about in comparison to the government’s trillion-dollar extravagance, I point out that this is a study designed to justify a lot more spending in the future. Basically, the University of California is doing Research and Development on a new reason to add to the national debt. Our government not only goes further into debt every year but it goes into debt to develop reasons to go further into debt.

And in a welfare state, this kind of bureaucratic mothering makes complete sense. I argued yesterday that the welfare state was analogous to keeping a dog as a pet. We are made dependent on what is essentially our owner. Humans become the pets of a bureaucracy.

I happen to own a dog. He tends to get more food and less exercise. So I plan to start walking him regularly.

Likewise, NIH wants to find ways to “walk” Mexican-American men. They assume that it’s the government’s duty to do so. They are the government’s pets and it is their duty to find ways to get them to exercise.

A minor difference is that pet owners typically know and lover their pets. They can see what does and doesn’t work for their health. But a bureaucracy haranguing a population neither knows nor really cares. The people collecting data and sending out text messages are all simply working a day job.

The major difference is that people aren’t animals! Human beings have the right to make their own lifestyle choices and not be taxed to have someone interfere in their lives. No one can say our society doesn’t encourage everyone to exercise. On my mid-west city there are at least four $10-month, no-contract gym chains advertising themselves and fighting for more customers.

Get the government out of people’s phones and leave them alone!

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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