For Libertarianism to Work, People Have to Know All the Things All the Time
Basically, the FDA will be requiring food manufacturers to provide, for the equivalent number of calories, less damage to your actual bloodstream. This has nothing to do with how much anyone weighs, as some fat people have pretty good cholesterol levels and some skinny people have terrible cholesterol levels. Nor is this about taking away donuts or any other high calorie treat.
Rand Paul wants his audience to believe that this shows the government thinks you’re too stupid to make your own decisions, and that shows how stupid he actually thinks his audience is. No one is doing this because they think you’re stupid. On the contrary! It’s because the FDA officials realize that knowing what trans fats are and what they do to your body is specialized knowledge, and not having that knowledge doesn’t say anything about your baseline intelligence. I imagine the FDA officials who are prescribing this don’t think that they’re being accused of being “stupid” if they don’t, say, know how to fix an internal combustion engine. The notion that you’re being accused of being “stupid” if you don’t know all things at all times is a childish way to think. Or, you might say, stupid.
I think I’m a fairly intelligent person who has performed well on standardized tests and whatnot. But when I walk into a coffee shop and purchase a baked good, I have zero ability to know how much damage it’s doing to me on a molecular level just by looking at it. I can’t tell if it’s made with butter, olive oil, or a trans fat. I do not have X-ray vision or psychic powers. I am not insulted if you point this out. On the contrary, I’m grateful to live in a world where basic survival doesn’t require me to know all the things all the time. But libertarian paradise is not only one where trans fats aren’t banned, but also one where the baker is allowed to withhold that information from me. Basically, to not be “stupid” by the libertarian estimation, you really do need to have psychic powers.
Indeed, the childish/stupid insistence that the only way you’re being respected is if we pretend you know all the things all the time is the governing philosophy of libertarianism. Which, ironically, is why I have no fucking respect for them at all. It’s idiotic to ignore the fact that we live in a complex world where the things that need to be known are so numerous that no one person can hold them in their heads at all time. We divide people up and give them ownership of certain forms of knowledge and allow each other to be the authorities for it. For example, I can rattle off all sorts of shit about reproductive health off the top of my head, but I couldn’t remember what it was exactly that made trans fat so bad. So I googled it. But even that is really too big an ask if someone is trying to do something as simple as make a $2 purchase of a donut at an airport kiosk. It really is okay not to know everything about every kind of bad thing you could eat. That’s why we, as the taxpayers, hire someone to do that job for us. And then a bunch of whining children who have bizarre ideas about respect complain about it. Jesus.