Put the doughnut down and step away, sir!

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Not far from my house is Mustang Doughnuts, home of the best glazed doughnuts I have ever had. And if you leave the house when I do, when the little hand is still on the five, the doughnuts are fresh and warm and without question one of the most amazing indulgences of the flesh available without a prescription.

I have no business eating doughnuts. There’s no defending them. They are trans-fat-laden cholesterol bombs that raise blood sugar, increase insulin resistance and clog arteries. You can make the case for never eating a doughnut.

But Tuesday morning, my normal route to work deviated past Mustang Doughnuts and I was able to see through the window as they slid an entire tray of just-cooked doughnuts onto the shelf behind the cash register and the little voice inside me said, “Oh, what the hell?”

That warm doughnut and a cup of coffee early Tuesday morning brightened my commute to work. I know that doughnuts are not good for me and that’s why I don’t stop at Mustang Doughnuts every morning. I made the decision Tuesday that I would eat one warm glazed doughnut but I made the decision on Wednesday morning, Thursday morning and this morning that I would not.

I made those decisions because I know that eating a doughnut every morning is not a good idea, particularly as I get older and my body loses its ability to shake off the bad things that I do to it.

And when I consider the people that I see at Mustang Doughnuts, I have to conclude that they all do the same thing. Despite the fact that most of us could stand to drop a few pounds, never in going to Mustang Doughnuts do I see a disproportionate representation of morbidly obese, unhealthy people. The average patron at the doughnut store looks pretty much like the average patron at the dry cleaner or the average customer in line to see a teller at the bank.

And the point is that free people will, by and large, make rational choices. People will observe the consequences suffered by those few who really do over-indulge in doughnuts and adjust their own behaviors accordingly.

But that may all soon go out the window.

If you follow the overweening logic of those who propose to blow up our current health care system, one of two things is going to happen.

Under one scenario, the government will succeed in completely excising from the national psyche the concept of personal responsibility for one’s own health. After all, if someone else is going to replace the engine in my car if I don’t change the oil, why should I trouble myself to change the oil? And, with respect to my body, why should I deny myself the enjoyment of as many doughnuts as I want?

In the other scenario, the bureaucrats who oversee the process of dispensing health care will assert themselves with respect to any matter that might affect the demand for health care. When that happens, you’ll be told you can’t eat doughnuts lest you risk being de-prioritized for health care in favor of those who lead doughnut-free lives.

Expand this logic beyond doughnuts to cheese dip, Quarter Pounders, the enchilada dinner at El Charro and the 18-pack of Miller Lite on sale at Fat Dog’s and even though the diktats of the bureaucrats may or may not make you healthier in the long run, it is certain that they will make you considerably less free.

And you will have allowed the camel’s nose into the tent of your life and soon you’ll be told that unless you want to jeopardize your priority for access to medical care, you should really find another hobby other than scuba diving or motocross.

The truth is, the consequence of a massive intrusion of the government into our personal health care will likely be the ugliest possible combination of both scenarios, under which people abdicate personal responsibility while concurrently forfeiting the discretion to live their lives as they see fit.

There were two other early risers at Mustang Doughnuts Tuesday morning. Both looked fully competent to take care of themselves and live their lives freely. And with respect to managing their health, I’m inclined to trust them in inverse proportion to my distrust of the same government that brought us VA hospitals, the post office and Amtrak.

Time to warm up my coffee.

Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of Gleiser Communications, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The Team FM & KYZS in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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