What came to your mind when you read the title of this post - "Health of Nations"? Did you think of the people, environmental, political, social, economic, mental, or moral health of your country?
As part of ensuring the health of nations or societies, different governments enact laws and regulations. New regulations emerge as certain issues become apparent or as problems are anticipated. Since food protection is of universal interest, let’s take some examples dealing with food: The United States - Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the proposed Canadian - Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) and similar initiatives worldwide, are supposedly designed to ensure public health. A reasonable expectation and the common observation is that law makers often address more than food-related health issues.
One might say that many public health concerns are addressed by the laws of the land. This goes with the recognition that governments enact laws that address the apparent symptoms of problems. Sadly, public health problems linger because the root-cause of health problems, let’s call this human tendency, is not sufficiently and adequately addressed.
This declaration is wrong. The associated assumption is that every national or societal problem can only be solved by laws and regulations. Laws and regulations with the attending punitive measures do serve as deterrents and certain problems may be solved by laws and regulations. However, where the most likely cause of most societal ills – the poor moral health of the society - remains insufficiently and inadequately countered at its root, deterrent efforts are bound to fail repeatedly.
Any nation that suffers from a poor state of moral health is indeed on the path of self-destruction, inevitably.
A total absence of unscrupulous members in a society cannot be guaranteed. Nevertheless, a self-motivated and sustained willingness to behave in a socially responsible manner can most successfully be driven through moral enlightenment than through the enforcement of deterrent laws.
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