Op-ed: Control freak college professor wants to ban candy advertising because she can't parent

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Decades ago, the insightful words of C.S. Lewis, a renowned British writer and literary scholar, foreshadowed the very challenges we confront in the West today. Lewis cautioned us about the "omnipotent moral busybodies" who "torment us for our own good," a warning that resonates with our current societal landscape.

He further elaborated that these "busybodies" are more perilous than robber barons, as they "torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences." 

Lewis would love the current crop of busybodies, who lecture us on climate change and force us into electric vehicles while jet-setting around the world in private jets, suggesting that Americans change their diet to eat insects while they dine on filet mignon and lobster and who forced us to wear cloth masks to protect us from a disease that for most people was the equivalent of a bad cold. 

In an article for The New American, Selwyn Duke introduces us to Lindsey Smith Taillie, a "nutrition epidemiologist" and associate professor at the Gillings School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina. Duke, in a tongue-in-cheek manner, nominates her for the 'Moral Busybody of the Week' award, highlighting her zealous advocacy for dietary control. 

Duke tells us Taillie has an obsession. She’s not an obsessive stamp collector; she doesn’t have a husband who golfs three nights a week or is someone who spends every weekend in a casino. Instead, she is obsessed with controlling what other people eat while lobbying for government regulations to accomplish those ends. 

In her X account, Taillie obsesses about warning her readers about what they put in their bodies while also rambling on about the usual liberal tropes, including what she calls the “heteronormative gendered division of labor,” whatever that is. However, she has now turned all “big tobacco” on candy manufacturers and other good-tasting food manufacturing companies, claiming they “target” kids with commercials. 

In fact, Taillie directly mentions the war on tobacco, noting that since 1998, big tobacco has been “prohibited from targeting youth in advertisements,” then claims that the foods that she is railing about “can be addictive like tobacco,” noting that “this precedent could pave a way forward.” 

Ironically, Taillie’s rant about “bad food” comes at the same time that the Biden administration is reclassifying marijuana from the strictest Schedule I to the much less restrictive Schedule III. This is at a time when the potency of marijuana is much stronger than it has ever been. 

Lest you think that some type of restrictions on candy (of all things) couldn’t happen in the United States, look at what happened in England. The House of Commons recently passed a bill prohibiting anyone born after January 1, 2009, from ever buying tobacco. Eventually, tobacco will be banned entirely. 

Writing in The Hill, Taillie wrote:

A gummy candy shimmies on stage, dancing to “Flashdance.” The music swells, it pulls a chain, and is showered in multi-colored candies. The ad, for Nerds Gummy Clusters, was one of dozens of food ads that 123 million people saw during the 2024 Super Bowl. While the nostalgic soundtrack entertained adults, the cartoon candies are engineered to appeal to a different audience: children. 

And it works. Following the ad, my four-year-old shouted, “NERDS! Mom, can we buy them?!” Two weeks later, the ad’s influence was still palpable when she begged for them in the supermarket. 

Taillie admitted that a “30-second commercial seems harmless. However, new research from my lab shows that food marketing to kids is more than a nuisance: it’s a key driver of poor diets. Food marketing impacts what kids like, buy, and eat…” 

Taillie then goes on to gush about a bill introduced in the Senate, the “Childhood Diabetes Reduction Act.” While that sounds like a noble goal, anytime the government inserts itself into the day-to-day activities of Americans, it either costs someone (typically the middle class) a lot of money or puts undue burdens on big business. 

Taillie writes that that act “proposes a crucial step forward by proposing limits on the types of techniques used to target kids (for example, dancing animated candies).” Taillie says it is necessary because “The junk food industry is targeting our children.” 

As Duke points out, this is nothing new since such commercials have been airing on the public airwaves for nearly 70 years. 

Food manufacturers are in business to make money, and hence, they advertise their products. This proposal makes the government (again) the nanny state and disregards parental responsibility. Taillie commented that such marketing “impacts what kids like, buy and eat,” ignoring the fact that children don’t “buy” anything…their parents do.

Oh sure, kids can whine and beg for their parents to buy them Skittles, or M&Ms, or whatever, but ultimately, it’s up to the parents. 

If people were genuinely interested in reducing childhood obesity and diabetes later on, it would be much more effective to address manufacturing. While technology that has led to the preservation or convenience of food has been beneficial, added ingredients that are allowed in the U.S. but prohibited in places like Europe are a reason why kids become addicted to sugar.

It is as much the parents’ fault much more than the kids. It’s called parental responsibility. 

We’ve repeatedly seen parents defer responsibility to others because they do not want to parent. In most cases, those to whom they abdicate responsibility are more than happy to do so, usually to the detriment of the child’s morality. As we have seen over the past several years, abdicating parental responsibility to someone else is not in the child’s best interest. 

On X, Taillie wrote that she can pursue her nanny-state ambitions because her husband wants to play “Mr. Mom” at home. After all, he “is not tied to heteronormative gendered division of labor.” In other words, he’s *****whipped. He is responsible for raising their children and housework—a regular old Mrs. Doubtfire. Duke notes Taillie is more interested in being a “mother” to the world than a mother to her children. 

Taillie isn’t only concerned with banning candy commercials. As noted in another post on X, she also targets Lunchables, a convenient (albeit probably not very healthy) way to give kids lunch. 

We remember Michelle Obama’s brainchild, the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act,” with fondness (not really). That took what was already not the tastiest school lunches and made them worse. It was so bad that kids didn’t get healthier; many skipped lunch or brought it from home. Those who did avail themselves threw most of it away. 

Taillie believes she is smarter than parents, noting that “consumers don’t know what’s in their food, and they deserve to have that information.” Okay, point taken, but as Duke wrote, “If it’s sweet, it contains sugar in some form. If it’s salty, it’s high in sodium. If it’s creamy, it contains fat.”

 Duke also makes a good point: All of the above is “probably delicious.” As most people know, the stuff that tastes the best is often the least healthy. The healthy stuff? Not so much, generally. It’s a fact of life. 

It would be interesting, as Duke notes, to find out if the vaunted professor, who also is in favor of putting an extra tax on sugary drinks, is in favor of giving children puberty blockers and gender transition surgery. 

In other words, she’s probably like most liberals…a gigantic hypocrite. 

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