James Fell article. I am not claiming to have the solution to obesity nor is this an attack on James Fell. This article is simply a response to his, nothing more."/>James Fell article. I am not claiming to have the solution to obesity nor is this an attack on James Fell. This article is simply a response to his, nothing more."/>

What is the Solution to Obesity: A Response to James Fell

by Espencer Carlos Shiplé on 2017-09-04

This article is a direct response to a single James Fell article. I am not claiming to have the solution to obesity nor is this an attack on James Fell. This article is simply a response to his, nothing more.

I'm going to respond paragraph by paragraph because this is my article and I'll do what I want. In the libertarian dystopian future, a more realistic image is assumed. One where an oppressive government doesn't actually care about your health. Libertarians care about individual rights.

But obesity tho.

Everything about The Biggest Loser is distasteful. The contestants sign up for one of the worst weight loss experiences they will likely ever endure. This I can agree with. Let's skip to where I find fault.


Yes, the solution to obesity will definitely be complex. It's impossible to say what will end up solving this problem.

James Fell forgets to mention two things:

  1. The invention of the vape machine, a creation of entrepreneurship, continues to help many people quit or reduce their habit of smoking. Entrepreneurship helping to solve a health epidemic is a libertarian wet dream.
  2. The negative side of effects have government intrusion (i.e. Higher taxes) has literally resulted in deaths. Higher sales taxes on anything hurts poor people disproportionately.

Smoke-free workplaces are not inherently anti-libertarian as James Fell likes to imply. It's almost guaranteed that an overwhelming majority of employers wouldn't allow smoking in their place of work regardless of what the government tells them. It's bad for business.

Also, being allowed to sell cigarettes to minors is an anarchist proposition. Not a libertarian one.

I love the Ron Paul quote he used, “The most basic principle of being a free American is the notion that we as individuals are responsible for our own lives and decisions.”

Yes, you are personally responsible for your own life. If your fat, barring any medical causes,it is your fault. Libertarians accept this and don't really care if you are fat.

Sorry James, capitalism is the free exchange of goods and services. It requires consent and generally leads to mutual benefit. The government colluded with food companies is not a part of capitalism. Capitalism opposes that.

It's not the government's role to protect you from yourself. The war on drugs has been an abysmal failure. The war on food would be much worse. If you eat the burger, it's your fault and no one else's. It's extremely rare for a gun to be held to your head to force you to eat unhealthily. I doubt anyone reading your article will ever meet that predicament. Grow the damn spine yourself. Don't expect the government to do it for you. Look at all of these soulless corporations.

James Fell has a masters degree in business management and knows that the overall end goal is to make money. He's right. But making money doesn't automatically mean you have to exploit people to the maximum as allowed by the law. That's why Walmart pledged $20 million in cash to relief effort for Hurricane Harvey. Walmart also has a base wage of $10 an hour, which is above most minimum wages. It seems that James forgot that competition and market demands have a greater effect on profits than almost anything else. Also, people make up corporations and some people still have souls. With food, the business solution is to meet the demand. The consumer solution is to demand healthy foods.

Again, food corporations will supply market demands or else be forced to go out of business.

Unrestricted Capitalism would allow tobacco to be sold to consenting adults and be allowed to smoke on private property so long as the owner's of said private property agree to the conditions of smoking. The high smoking rates changed because of advancement in medical science and public knowledge regarding smoking, thus the market demanded tobacco less. The government's war on drugs also failed to reduce addiction rates.

According to James Fell, having less freedom means that you have more freedom. He also thinks it's okay for one group of people to loose freedoms so that another can gain. Freedom from influence is not a natural right, thus is it not an actual freedom in the way most people would see it. The first amendment exists for a reason. If you don't want your kids watching commercials for the new "fun" food, don't allow them to. It is your responsibility to be proactive in your own endeavors. Banning one thing doesn't automatically increase access to another.

Let's skip ahead to another area of disagreement.


I agree, Dr. Oz will be of no help here. The best thing is for the government to get out of the way.

Stop Subsidizing Foods

Let the market  (which consists of the people) determine what foods are worth, instead of using money stolen from the people (i.e. taxation). Fell sites an article that actually proves my point. The government is manipulating the market place through food subsidies to make unhealthy food artificially cheaper. He expects the same government to start caring about people's health and determine which foods are healthy and which foods are not.

Placing tighter restrictions on telling the truth 

When a food company labels something with sucrose and glucose in the ingredients, are they hiding the fact the sugar is likely the number one ingredient? Probably. Are glucose and sucrose the same thing? No. Only a charlatan would claim that sucrose, fructose, glucose, maltose, lactose, deoxyribose, ribose, and galactose are exactly the same thing. An educated populace might not even know any of those are sugars, but not all of those are table sugars, etc. If you believe that Fruity Pepples are healthier because they have vitamin D, that's your own fault. However, my whole grain whole wheat bread is definitely healthier than white bread. Doesn't take the government to tell me that for me to know it's true.

Being afraid to do the parenting yourself

If you can't handle making the decision on what to feed your kids, grow a damn spine. Does it suck telling a kid no? Yeah, it does, but it is your responsibility to feed your kids. If a commercial with Tony the Tiger eating Frosted Flakes is enough for you to buy unhealthy foods, than you are failing. It's not the government's job to determine how products are marketed. Where would it end? Would we have the government ban marketing on certain toys because they're deemed to not have educational value? Do we tax those toys higher?

Stop corporate-government partnerships and rein in on the lobbying

Another example of people relying on the government when they shouldn't. You expect the government to tell you what's healthy? You should stop having such high expectations. Corporations are buying influence because the government power's are big enough to attract buyers. Reduce the size and scope of the government's power and there won't be a demand for it. Think outside the box.

How dare you call Coke sugar water? I imagine it tastes great. I haven't had one in almost seven years because at the age of 12, I decided to stop drinking anything but water. Why? societal pressure to have whiter teeth. Not because the government told me to do it.

Revamp home economics in school, and make it mandatory

I agree with this 100%. Public school is a reality that no libertarian will ever shake.  My Senior Foods class didn't teach me how to eat healthy, but that's what it's focus should be. However, it's a tasteless and elitist approach to rag on shop class. It's not a mandatory class. High school teens interesting in taking auto mechanics should be afforded the opportunity. It's a pretty shitty thing to try and shut kids out of their passion because some people lack dietary knowledge.

Place tighter controls on the weight loss industry

Hell yeah. Lying to someone about your product creates a dishonest contract between the buyer and consumer. The weight loss and supplement industry shouldn't be exempt from honesty. "It's tough to see through bullshit when it's up above your eyes." -Nickelback.

I quoted Nickelback because James Fell shamelessly used them as a tired scapegoat. The joke isn't funny anymore. Make fun of a band that sucks more. I make no apologies for quoting them.

Stop promoting physical activity as the solution for weight loss

I agree, but let's remember that Michelle Obama's movement to combat childhood obesity started as a public service announcement and moved to another overdone physical activity campaign. Again, the government isn't going to help us here, even if started with noble intentions.

Also, as a Walmart employee, my employer promotes free evidence based programs to help fellow associates lose weight because you are right, healthier people are more productive.

Better access to evidence-based weight loss programs exist

The government should not be paying for you to lose weight. Also, it's pretty easy as a Canadian to think that less fat people means that healthcare costs will go down. For you, it might, since Americans subsidize the rest of the world's healthcare costs, but for us Americans, costs will remain increasingly high. As an individual, if you are paying for your own healthcare, costs will go down if you are in better overall health. That's common sense.

Create national advertising campaigns that promote healthier eating

Go ahead James Fell. Start a campaign. I'll help in anyway I can. Don't expect people to pay for it if they don't want to. Using the government to pay for it is also just a sneaky way to force people to pay for it when they don't want to.

Make prejudice against people with obesity against the law

No. You can't stop people from being assholes. Also, the laws you are referring to prevent employers from disqualifying an employee based on their race, sexual orientation, gender, etc. You know, all of those things have no effect on someone's worth as an employee. However, being obese does. Fat people should not be protected from not being hired.

Create greater access to bariatric surgery

As said before, don't expect the people to fund your lifestyle.

Continue research into weight loss pharmaceuticals

Yes! More scientific research aimed towards actually helping people and advancing medical science. This I can get behind. No rebuttal needed.


I agree with a lot of what James Fell said in his article. He cited some undeniable facts, which I love. He and I disagree on fundamental solutions to a problem we both recognize.

That being said, if you're in need of ways to lose weight check out James Fell's Caloric Deficient Cheat Sheet or buy his book.  Both are great resources.