When it’s not safe to say water fights dehydration

Just when you thought you had seen the silliest possible regulatory squabble, James Lileks offers another doozy in his latest “Athwart” column in National Review:

It’s a feature of modern life: compliance with the Authorities because there’s no point to objecting. It’s annoying enough when you’re led by the wise, but when you’re led by a pack of jackanapeses and dunderheads, well, to quote Plato, hoo boy.

Which brings us to the bureaucrats of Europe. This time it’s the matter of the improperly advertised water. From the bulging file of “Only in Europe! (Until It Happens Next Year in San Francisco)” comes this story: EUcrats have chided a bottled-water company for making a health claim unsupported by science. Makes you taller? Smarter? Even more egalitarian? No, the company made a claim of jaw-dropping audacity: The water was useful in preventing dehydration.

There was some technical explanation about absorption rates and cellular integrity, but no one cares about the rationale, because it’s ridiculous. Find any marathon, stand at the finish line, and offer the runners a choice between a) water, and b) a glass of sand. Wager on which one they’ll take. You could say, “Sure, they’ll take the water, because they’ve been conditioned by a lifetime of ads from Big H20,” but most people would take water because they’re — what’s the word? — thirsty. For water.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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