Like the pastoralists’ suit against the Industrial Revolution, Comer v. Murphy, the paternalists at the Ralph Nader–spawned Center for Science in the Public Interest [sic] have launched a bizarre lawsuit  against parenthood, based on similar Rube Goldberg–reasoning.

“By advertising that Happy Meals include toys, McDonald’s unfairly and deceptively markets directly to children. When McDonald’s bombards children with advertisements or other marketing for Happy Meals with toys, many children will pester their parents to take them to McDonald’s. Once there, they are more than likely to receive a meal that is too high in calories, saturated fat, added sugars, and sodium, and devoid of whole grains. Developing a lifelong habit of eating unhealthy meals is likely to promote obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other life-threatening or debilitating diet-related diseases.”

So, McDonald’s advertises, and children see their advertisements. Some of those ads stress that children who eat at McDonald’s will get a cool toy. The children then take control of their parents’ minds and wills, and compel them to bring the family to McDonald’s to eat. Once there, the parents are able to exercise no supervision at all and so allow their children to eat nutritionally inferior food. 

Still, an indulgence isn’t the same as a poison. So, the argument must be that parents behave in this zombie-like fashion for years, even as they observe their children’s health collapsing. 

The only appropriate relief is to free parents from the evil thralldom of their children. And the only way to do that is to take control of children’s minds with advertising that compels them to demand healthy foods.

Does anyone actually believe this? Or is it simply an expression of distate for McDonald’s food? Having just checked out the “Happy Meals” Web site, I think a much better case could be made against the company’s use of rap music.

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