Mind Your Business
Libertarianism is very hard to nail down. The old tagline used to be “socially liberal and fiscally conservative,” but it’s inaccurate when translated to the two-party system. There are libertarians who hold social stances contradictory to Democrats and those who think Republicans are anything but fiscally conservative. Julie Borowski posted “7 Popular Misconceptions About Libertarians” to Buzzfeed recently, a humorous look at what people think libertarians are and what the actual philosophy is. Despite the wide variety of viewpoints, there are two unifying factors among libertarians. The first is the non-aggression principle, the second is the belief that government is force. Thomas Jefferson summed it up by saying, “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” So why ramble about libertarianism on a fat blog?
The Libertarian Republic published an article called, “Should fat people feel ashamed? Because I live under a rock, I’d never heard of Maria Kang. The first time I saw her photo in workout gear (or is that her usual clothing?), surrounded by her three young children, captioned, “What’s Your Excuse?” was in that article. Needless to say, I also missed the subsequent outrage. I’ll let y’all cover that while I comment on Tiffany Madison’s editorial.
Most of the photo’s 12,000 comments were supportive. Kang’s direct challenge succeeded in motivating some to examine their justifications for poor fitness and diet. She was praised for her dedication and self-ownership.
What’s more libertarian than self-ownership? Your body, your choice and all that jazz with the understanding that the consequences of your choices are on you. If I choose to eat nothing but pizzas and milkshakes, my consequence is a lot of time in the bathroom. Forget fatness potential, I just want to enjoy the other rooms of my home. Still, it’s a choice that hurts nobody but myself and it doesn’t require a justification. Bodybuilding appears to be her thing and to that I say more power to her. Bodybuilding is not my thing, no justification required.
The backlash was so intensive, she had to release a FAQ on her site to explain her life story. The presumption of her critics is shocking. Maria owes the world an explanation for her fitness.
I visited her FAQ and saw nothing referencing the image. And you know what? She doesn’t have to. No justification required is a two-way street. “Good” behavior doesn’t require justification any more than “bad” behavior. Accept the consequences of each and don’t harm other people in the process. Were I not writing this, I wouldn’t have cared about her life story. Still don’t, actually.
Selecting healthier fare over tasty, unhealthy options requires daily motivation, self-control and dedication (all generally positive attributes). Opting for protein shakes (150 cal, 3 carbs) instead of an Egg McMuffin for breakfast (290 cal, 31 carbs) helps carve those chiseled abs. Trading a Quarter-pounder meal (520 cal., 41 carbs) or delicious, greasy pizza (680 cal., 64 carbs) for homemade chicken and vegetables (200-450 cal, 20-30 carbs) is a willful choice.
Here I thought an Egg McMuffin was a relatively healthy breakfast option. I eat mine open faced because my ability to metabolize carbohydrates is impaired, but even with the muffin’s top it’s just a gram over my recommended intake per meal. There’s also a real egg, plenty of protein, and it’s tasty. What are my reasons for eating paleo instead of some other flavor of low-carb or the supposed fat person’s diet described above? It tastes good, it doesn’t make me sick, and I like whole foods. If you don’t, more for me. But I can say with certainty it doesn’t bring me chiseled abs and I’m pretty sure the occasional Egg McMuffin isn’t to blame for that.
Critics weren’t really reacting to her message, though. Perhaps the question, “what is my excuse” produced answers they did not like. Like bullies, they then shamed her to feel better about themselves.
What is my excuse? I don’t need no stinkin’ excuse! Kang lives her life, I live mine, and it’s very unlikely our paths will ever cross.
Disappointed with the article, I started reading the comments on Facebook. Every once in awhile someone says they don’t want to pay for the consequences of fatness. Maybe it doesn’t break your leg, but does it pick your pocket? First off, we know that skinny people get type 2 diabetes, have heart attacks, etc. Secondly, I don’t want to pay for the consequences of smoking, base jumping, etc. Of course, I’ve already covered some of my views on healthcare previously.
Here’s another solution: allow a person to choose coverage levels of individual components as we do with auto insurance. Some places I lived, I wanted a lot of coverage for under- and uninsured motorists. Other places, it’s a given that wildlife doesn’t carry insurance and I wanted more collision coverage and less uninsured/underinsured coverage. Maybe you want a lot of prescription drug coverage, few hospitalization benefits, and a high deductible while someone else wants midrange prescription coverage, high hospitalization benefits, and a low deductible. There are also the obligatory comments pertaining to the ELMM philosophy. However, the overwhelming majority of comments suggest that Kang follows in the footsteps of our original currency’s motto and minds her business.