Justifying her support of the F.D.A.’s proposal to forcibly limit the amount of salt that Americans consume, Johns Hopkins epidemiologist Cheryl Anderson is quoted in today’s Washington Post declaring that “We can’t just rely on the individual to do something. Food manufacturers have to reduce the amount of sodium in foods.”
The cosmic arrogance of the likes of Dr. Anderson was described by H.L. Mencken:
A certain section of medical opinion, in late years, has succumbed to the messianic delusion. Its spokesmen are not content to deal with the patients who come to them for advice; they conceive it to be their duty to force their advice upon everyone, including especially those who don’t want it. That duty is purely imaginary. It is born of vanity, not of public spirit. The impulse behind it is not altruism, but a mere yearning to run things.
(This quotation is found on page 343 of A Mencken Chrestomathy.)