Journal: News & Comment

Thursday, August 11, 2005
# 11:54:00 AM:

Worry worries

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As my daughters get older (the oldest is now seven, going into grade two), the worries change. They're not about choking on pencil erasers or toddling out into the middle of the street so much anymore, but often they're more social, and one concern is that many celebrities (especially young women, role models for my girls whether I like it or not) are too damn thin, when, in fact:

Being slightly overweight actually is far healthier than either being very thin or being obese. So Hilary Duff, good luck with your new perfect thinness. Just remember, this new thinness has nothing to do with health.

In a more remote concern (for me, at least), Canada's federal government has increased the maximum penalty for manufacturing and dealing in methamphetamines. Crystal meth is the latest moral panic—certainly a concern, but I worry that the heavy-duty law enforcement approach may be just as counterproductive as it was for previous drug panics, from heroin to crack cocaine.

While it's laudable to attack organized crime syndicates profiting from illegal drugs and spreading violence in the process, we also have to ask not just how to stem the flow of the drugs, but why people use them, and how to reduce the demand, or at least mitigate its social costs. Life in jail does little for that.


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