People should be free to make their own decisions [UPDATED]Published 7:38am Monday, April 15, 2013 Updated 9:47am Monday, April 15, 2013
For a thoughtful, appropriate response to the latest hysteria about the dangers of pre-sweetened beverages, look no farther than Fergus Falls’ Lake Region Healthcare.
While governments, hospitals and schools elsewhere are busy banning sweetened soft drinks, LRH has taken the enlightened position that it’s better to give people the information about health risks and then let them make their own decisions.
There was a time, of course, when pointing out health risks was itself considered an aggressive action. Now, however, led by opinion-makers in New York, it has become popular for organizations to outright ban activities that they believe are unhealthy, including drinking sodas and other sweet drinks.
These bans are a terribly dangerous trend, because in a free country and free society, people ought to be able to assess their own risks and make their own decisions. Most adults simply do not need someone else deciding what they should eat or drink.
Sweetened drinks are currently the popular target of regulators public and private. The Journal carried a report last week about Minnesota hospitals which are banning soda and other sweet beverages, presumably because their leaders believe patients aren’t wise enough to make their own choices.
Lake Region, The Journal reported in that article, has decided instead to provide information about the risks of guzzling sugary liquids — and, make no mistake, drinking spoons full of sugar is a bad idea — rather than attempt to tell staff and patients what to do. That is a far more palatable approach.
The vast majority of Americans, given the facts, are perfectly capable of guiding their own lives. They do not need the government to choose their lifestyle. They do not need corporations to choose their lifestyle. Those lifestyles may not match up with what some self-styled experts prefer, but difference is the nature of freedom.
There’s a big difference between education and regulations; we’re glad Lake Region is demonstrating leadership on the correct side of that divide.