Yesterday British tabloid The Sun ran an article about a woman who’s demanding the public health system pay for a gastric balloon – for her six-year-old daughter. The story reveals that this young girl eats donuts for breakfast, and gets to eat snacks and treats whenever she wants. But the mother insists this isn’t her responsibility, and that to control her child’s diet would “scar her for life”.

The 45-year-old nurse, who used to weigh 350 pounds, paid for her own weight reduction procedures after failing to stick to diets. Now she wants taxpayers to cover her daughter’s surgery because she’s convinced that, without it, the already obese girl will end up just as massive. She complains,

   “I want my child to have a slim future and if she doesn’t, I am blaming the #Government.”

Of course she is. The problem is, it’s not the government’s fault. A 6-year-old doesn’t choose what they eat, and if a parent sees their child becoming obese they need to fix their diet. The problem is this would mean taking responsibility for their own actions. Today, far too many adults aren’t willing to do that. 

Hijacking health

If you think sugar’s bad for you, don’t eat sugar. It’s not up to you if other people eat sugar, so quit wailing for a tax. You hate vaping? Nobody’s making you vape. But it’s helped millions break the smoking habit, so leave them alone. You have a right to be offended by what other people do, but you don’t have a right to make them stop. Adults know this.

Learning to be losers

The current crop of student whingefests, which started in the USA and quickly spread to the UK, is another example. Led by a small group of extremists, students demand “trigger warnings” about course content that might upset them. They want “safe spaces” where their beliefs will never be challenged. They want college officials fired if their wife writes an email that says, hey, maybe we can just enjoy Halloween like adults. Students want all these things, and if they don’t get them they’re going to scream and scream until they’re sick. 

Cults for crybabies

For many their faith is very important, and that’s fine. For others exactly the same beliefs may be laughable and ridiculous. That’s fine too. Believe whatever you want as long as you’re not harming anyone else in the process – and harming them includes restricting their rights.

Perhaps you think the Sabbath is a day of rest. Enjoy it – but don’t stop others doing the things they want to do. You might believe Satan is evil incarnate, but for others he’s the bringer of light. Maybe you feel the Christmas tree at City Hall violates separation of church and state, but why not chill out? It’s just some old European pagan fun. And no, it isn’t forbidden to draw Mohammed, because Islamic law only applies to those who choose to obey it.

If your religious beliefs make you want to restrict the rights of others, the problem isn’t the people you’re offended by. It might be your beliefs that are the problem. More likely it’s just you. If you get upset because people refuse to respect your beliefs - not your right to have them, the actual beliefs - you're being childish. 

The tyranny of the kindergarten

If people insist on being treated like children the government is usually happy enough to oblige. The trouble is the responsibilities you might want to avoid are only one side of the coin - and the other side is the rights you insist on having. If you abandon one the other will eventually be taken from you, and this will serve you right. Being an adult means taking responsibility for your own decisions instead of always looking for someone to blame.

So if you think it’s not your job to decide what your child has for breakfast, or you feel violated by microaggressions because your professor disagrees with your opinion, or you riot because a newspaper you’ve never heard of in a country you’ve never visited printed a cartoon, I have a simple message for you. Grow up.

Image by Ambernectar 13 and used under CC BY ND 2.0 license #Education #Religion