In a world where lawmakers act more like helicopter parents than elected citizens, one official is setting the example on the best way to officiate their position.
According to the New York Times, Norway’s newest health minister Sylvi Listhaug said in an interview that if adults want to eat, drink, smoke, and eat red meat then they should do exactly that and that adults can decide for themselves what is and isn’t good for them:
Norway’s new minister in charge of public health said this week that adults did not need government lectures about what to put in their bodies, but it sounded a bit like she was telling people to go ahead and indulge. Critics protested that her remarks were damaging, particularly coming from someone in her position.
“I think people should be allowed to smoke, drink and eat as much red meat as they like,” Sylvi Listhaug, the government’s minister for the elderly and public health, said in an interview posted on Monday on the website of NRK, Norway’s state broadcaster. “The government may provide information, but I think people in general know what is healthy and what is not.”
Of course, she had her naysayers, who believe that a person inviting adults to decide what they can and can’t do for themselves would cause them to make unwise decisions:
“I fear that this will set public health efforts back for decades, and that this will compromise the general understanding among Norwegians of the health consequences of tobacco and alcohol use,” Anne Lise Ryel, secretary general of Norway’s Cancer Society, said in a statement.
The thing is, we’re all well aware of what alcohol and tobacco does to you. We understand that with each sip or puff, we’re ingesting a form of poison. But even with that knowledge in mind, we still do it because we’re adults and this is what we’ve decided to do. A governmental body attempting to force us to quit through any means is infantilism. The very idea that the government needs to be the barrier between us and our personal choices is insulting.
The government is not our parent. It’s not here to take the cigarette out of our hands because it might “hurt the baby.” Its job isn’t to decide what I get to eat, drink, or partake in. Its job — or at least what should be its job — is to handle the governmental day to day things like military matters, international governmental tasks, and learning simple things like how to slash a budget.
So hats off to Norway’s Health Minister. Thanks for being a grown-up and treating Norway’s citizens like grown-ups.