Daily Archives: February 3, 2008

Reductio ad Absurdum

Reductio ad Absurdum means taking a position to the ridiculous extreme as a way of arguing against it. For instance I could argue that government involvement in the personal health habits of the individual could be taken to the extreme to result in, for instance, the banning of obese people from public restaurants. This is a great example of Reductio ad Absurdum, because we all know something that extreme would never happen.

Only now it has. Or at least legislation to that effect has been proposed in Mississippi.  The bill’s sponsors are supposedly serious, although they don’t expect it to pass.

And it shouldn’t.  This legislation is such a bad idea on so many levels that it’s hard to know where to start. But given the nature of this blog, the privacy issues are a good place to start. If you make the unlikely assumption that this proposed legislation becomes the law of the land in Mississippi, how would it work in practice?

I would imagine that in addition to your height, your driver’s license would now have to include your weight as well (or BMI as help to the mathematically challenged restaurateurs).  Of course that would further mean that you would now need to have a driver’s license with (or state issued ID) to eat out.

As night follows day, once the BMI is part of your state issued identity, it will then become part of your job application and will be reported to your health insurance provider. It will likely become part of the hiring criteria.

Perhaps someday those of us with high BMIs over 30 will be forced by law to wear a scarlet F on our clothing.

Absurd? Perhaps, but we are getting closer to that reality every day.