Letter To The Editor – Spencer’s Trojan Horse
Are things really that slow in the Suffolk County legislature that Dr. William Spencer (D-Centerport) has enough time on his hands to start spewing pablum and demagoguery about protecting our children from the evils of the energy drink industry?
As chairman of the county legislature’s Health Committee, Legis. Spencer has “proposed a resolution to the NYS House of Delegates of the New York State Medical Society to restrict the marketing and sale of high-energy/stimulant drinks to children under the age of 19.”
What the good doctor is really telling us is, “It’s not your fault that you’re being duped by the evil energy drink industry. That’s why I’m here – to protect your children from suppliers that want nothing more than “unfettered” access to your children’s nervous system.”
“I’m Parched; Give Me Another Shot of Paint Thinner”
Like most politicians, he thinks that individuals in an unregulated marketplace are not smart enough to avoid so called ‘dangerous’ products and that the only way to avert disaster is through carefully crafted legislation. And, besides, it sure plays well in the press around election time. However, in what appears to be a blatant contradiction in his position, Legis. Spencer has no problem allowing energy drink makers to poison the rest of the public over the age of 19. So, why does he think that 19 is the right age for energy drink consumption? Why not 18? Or, 21?
Back in 2010, Suffolk Legis. Lynn Nowick (R-St. James) tried and failed to ban the sale of energy drinks to citizens under 19 years old. Since then, the FDA has issued a report stating that “the available studies do not indicate any new, previously unknown risks associated with caffeine consumption.”
So, do both legislators really believe that Red Bull and Monster are going to stay in business for long by killing or poisoning its own customers? Don’t they realize that 18 year olds vote and that alienating young voters is contrary to their own pandering legislation?
Further, have Legis. Spencer or Legis. Nowick compared the amount of severe reactions and deaths that occur from the Mayo clinic’s ‘most toxic food’ list to the amount of people ‘poisoned’ by the energy drink industry? Foods such as milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, soy and wheat sicken or kill thousands every year. That’s a hell of a lot more than those that became ill from chugging a Red Bull.
The Secret Formula Legis.
Spencer is a typical politician, successfully using demagoguery and fear in order to roll the Trojan horse of government intervention through the gates of individual responsibility.
And, once inside, the precedent for further government action becomes established, desensitizing us to the reduction of our social power to the point where we expect government officials to protect us from just about everything.
In other words, everyday citizens are losing control over their government because of the type of ‘protection’ rackets put in place by government ‘do-gooders’. Who knows, eventually there may be legislation aimed at restricting access to ladders, skateboards, cars, football, extra hot chicken wings and sleds.
In many people’s opinions, the only ‘legitimate’ purpose of government should be to protect the property rights of its citizens, and that includes the right to choose.
In the age of the internet, Twitter and Facebook have influenced more decisions made by young people than any lame politician seeking reelection can ever hope.
If there is an energy drink ‘crisis’, the market for those products will disappear faster than you can hit the ‘send’ button.
No legislation required.
Peter Nichols is co-founder of savehuntington.com
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