Fresh off petitioning the FDA to do an end-run around democracy and ban Americans’ chosen colas, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has taken its war against soft drinks to Hollywood to demand that the stars stop promoting soda. This week, the puritanical fanatics have taken out an advertisement (co-sponsored by several other anti-soda food police) in the entertainment industry’s trade publication, Variety, calling on Katy Perry to drop an endorsement deal with Pepsi. If you like your celebrities promoting foods and beverages you like, the activists will take it away.
But maybe you didn’t kiss a girl and like it, and could care less if a singer wants to sell soda to you, but like the occasional soda in moderation anyway. We must warn you: The activists want to take it away. Going after celebrity endorsements — like soda taxes, Big Gulp bans, and soda bans on public grounds — are simply “salami tactics” — a divide and conquer strategy — advancing toward total bans. CSPI and its allies are openly committed to soda Prohibition. But as the original 19th Century temperance movement discovered, it is politically impossible to enact a nationwide ban all at once, so state-by-state and norm-by-norm salami tactics are necessary.
This is a key part of the “new public health” — the notion that the food police know best and should supplant personal responsibility and choice — campaign against foods and beverages they don’t like. To activists, it’s a problem that soda is just a product that people can choose to consume or not. It should be expelled from polite company and banished—attacking soda salespeople is just another means to that end.
But maybe you’re a foodie who doesn’t drink soda (except the local, artisanal, high fructose corn syrup-free kind that has just as many calories) and could care less if it is taxed or banned. Your local, small-batch wines and cheeses will be fine. Newsflash: You’re next. Soda is but the beginning of a long campaign to control every food choice we all make—and cheese is already looking like the next battlefield. CSPI made headlines last month for claiming that the average American eats 23 pounds of cheese — it’s “Liquid Candy” for the 21st Century, to quote CSPI’s sensationalist and questionable anti-soda manifesto from 1998 (activists never put themselves out of business, after all). With activists working double-time to gin up bogus “evidence” that cookies, cheeses, and colas are “addictive,” it’s past time for diners to join together — before all that is left is kale and tofu.