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Saturday, January 28, 2023

When the authorities want to make menus for us

By: Gašper Blažič

One of the most bizarre statements by current Prime Minister Golob during the campaign before the April parliamentary elections was that Slovenians should eat less meat. This kind of interference with an individual’s personal choices, which is in complete contradiction to the name of his party (namely, it contains the word freedom), did not receive any noteworthy criticism in the dominant media – just in line with their direction that Robert Golob should be unconditionally supported as the favourite of the transitional left. Let’s just think what kind of fight would have arisen if someone else, for example Janez Janša, had said something like that.

However, this statement was clearly not some kind of slip, that is, something that a person would utter recklessly, in the heat of the election campaign. He recently said something similar in his speech in the European Parliament. According to him, in the name of protecting the environment, dietary habits should be radically changed (since the current type of food production is environmentally unsustainable). The essential element of this change is nothing more than a smaller amount of meat-based food consumed.

Our Prime Minister therefore set out with all seriousness to change the way we eat. It is another form of actual restriction of freedom brought to us by those who claim to have “liberated” us. Fascists or communists have not yet thought of something like prescribing menus for people, telling them what they can eat and what they cannot.

Admittedly, Golob nowhere announced a ban on the consumption or sale of meat products. However, their availability can be limited in other ways, for example by the state increasing taxes on them or by legal regulations (read coercion) reducing the scope of livestock farming, thereby reducing the supply of meat. This would make it much more expensive, so many people would not be able to afford it in the desired quantities.

Choosing a way of eating is a matter for each individual. And nobody else. It is an integral part of our personal freedom. Just as everyone has the right to decide for themselves what profession they will choose, how they will spend their free time, who they will hang out with. It is about the right to choose a lifestyle. And a modern state must respect that. The fact that today it “does not look into the bedrooms” of people, that is, it does not command them with whom they may or may not enter into intimate relations, is undoubtedly considered a civilisational achievement of modern liberal democracy.

Now, some would like to “look into people’s kitchens”. Unfortunately, Golob’s case is not an isolated one. The tendency to change dietary habits is growing globally. Here, the meat is the most affected. “Scientific” research is cited, which allegedly proves the harmfulness of consuming meat products in terms of burdening the environment and affecting human health. (But let’s remember which types of food were declared harmful in the past.) Thus, some countries, such as the Netherlands, decided to drastically limit animal husbandry. Such a policy is suicidal, as it undermines Europe’s potential for food self-sufficiency.

But obviously, for some, the implementation of ideological postulates is more important. Today, environmental protection has become exactly that – an ideology (which is reflected in phrases such as global warming, environmental or climate justice, etc.). The environment is seen by some as a supreme and absolute good to which the good of people here and now must be sacrificed. Here we can find parallels with communism. The so-called achievement of climate goals works much like “creating a classless society” worked in communist times. It is about renouncing current civilisational achievements in the name of abstract goals (somewhat in the style of “worse today for better tomorrow”). In the name of this, some would like to rob us of even our freedom.

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