Even Brownell’s Fellow Yalies Find Personal Responsibility Matters

The Rudd Center for Food Policy and ObesityKelly Brownell’s outfit — is the idea and policy shop for activists trying to define anything you like to eat or drink as an addictive drug and slap it with taxes and prohibitions. Part of the Rudd Center’s mission is to “sell” Brownell’s beliefs about the “food environment” causing obesity to the public. To that end, the Rudd Center publishes reports on how people think about obesity as an issue.

People aren’t siding with the Center’s view. According to the latest report, American parents believe that parental and personal responsibility is more at fault for childhood obesity than the “food environment.” Brownell has been trying to sell his ideas for 18 years — he coined the phrase “toxic food environment” in a New York Times piece in 1994 — but people still aren’t buying.

These findings don’t surprise us. Americans have resisted soda and food taxes, derided lawsuits against food companies for causing obesity, and expressed outrage at the latest moves by New York and other cities to take away beverage freedom. Brownell’s messages certainly aren’t translating into democratic support. (Unelected bureaucrats are a different story, unfortunately.)

That won’t stop the activists from trying to convince Americans that they’re junkies who should be shepherded to the salad line. But given Americans’ resistance to paternalism, it shouldn’t be surprising that Brownell hopes that he can “change the legal landscape” and make courts compel the unwilling masses.

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