I thought about treading lightly with this topic,but it will be futile. In my experience, people who are ready to get offended and angry at you because of their deep held convictions will do so no matter what you say, only hearing trigger words (pun not intended) and reacting thusly. Never mind what is actually being discussed, say certain words, and people lose their minds.
Example: GUN CONTROL.
You hear that? The turning off of minds from both those who love and those who revile those words put together.
Here’s what has always troubled me about the gun “debate” if you can even call it that. I am not currently a gun owner, but I have considered grabbing my old 410 shotgun from my boy scout trap shooting days, or asking about a rifle that had been in the collection of my late father in law. I talk to gun owners all day long. Not about guns, they’re not defined by it. As much as I lean left politically, I am constantly frustrated by the ridiculous depiction of every rural person as an inbred gun worshipping hick.
But you know what? That stereotype exists for a reason. I’ve met those guys. And worse, I’ve met many people who wouldn’t necessarily be falling at the altar of the NRA if it were not for the polarization of the conversation. But that’s not how political discourse works in this country is it? Pro or con. Left or right. R or D. Limbaugh or Maher.
So let’s see what happens to the conversation among normally reasonable people when the issue is their crappy, crappy, junk food.
From my cold dead hands. Right?
And now, people who otherwise wouldn’t be campaigning for poison are suddenly freedom fighters because the big bad nanny state is taking away their tasty treats.
So hey FDA –
It is a sad truth about human nature, but I believe it to be exactly that: truth, that many of us have this gene that gets all reactionary and loses logic and reason the moment we are told we can’t have something.
So I can never have a conversation that goes well, that includes the question “why do you want 35 guns anyway?” All anyone hears is that I am trying to take them away. Conversation over.
That’s what I am seeing out there with this transfat ban. But you know, the FDA brought it on themselves. As guardians of our health, they are as corrupt an organization as there can be. I mean, I’ve ranted here again and again about the revolving door of the federal agencies and the big money that sets policy, or about the bias toward pharmaceutical intervention over prevention. So I get it. The FDA may be a blind pig finding an acorn once in a while, but you don’t follow blind pigs.
And let’s talk unintended consequences. As the paleo and ancestral health people will tell you, the problem doesn’t end with transfats. The official government line goes against what the research shows pretty darn conclusively: seed oils are not much better, and saturated fat is the good guy here, long demonized unjustly. But no, that’s not where this story is going at all.
So yeah, we’re still going to promote industrial oils, while the foods that were king pre-factory farming, in an age where heart disease was practically unknown, are still on the outs.
It really is the twilight zone out there.
So I get you folks who want to vilify the FDA, I really do. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
But can I PLEASE get a question in this conversation?
Why do you want trans fats? They suck. They are unnatural. They mess you up. Will you admit that perhaps, just perhaps, your reaction has more to do with an addiction to something nasty than a principled political issue?
Here’s a story playing in our region that I saw on Facebook.
Read that article. It breaks your heart for a small business right? But I have to ask the producers: what kind of crap are you selling if it can only taste good with artificial garbage in it? Have you tried lard? It’s amazing.
That’s a conversation worth having apart from whatever the FDA rules. That’s the conversation that this blog, and thousands like it, is trying to be a part of. Let’s be blunt here: this country has a problem, and it is not an occasional cookie. It is that the cookie has become a staple food. “Once in a while” has lost all meaning when it comes to junk food indulgence. Try this: make a baked good for Christmas or Thanksgiving with anything at all that was available to buy before the era of crisco. It may be work, but it will be worth it. You can still have delightful rich treats, without using artificial, toxic nonsense. And you will appreciate it more.
But if you think the height of civilixation is found in Little Debbie, Oreos, McRibs, Doritos, or even a small bakery cookie that uses trans fats, well, I guess we really don’t have much to talk about. You’ve settled for a crap existence. I’m not judging. I used to live in it every day. I thought I settled too. But I am glad to say I no longer do.
You want freedom of choice, right? Of course. But can we get someone in the mix here to offer a choice that makes sense:
I’ll put my own personal thought out here: if the FDA is going to ban anything, I’m glad it is transfats. Way overdue.
But of course, then I am left with this problem: what’s next when the powers that be change their minds?
I am a raw milk advocate. I talked with a member of the farm bureau recently who told me the push is on again, strongly, to outlaw it. I asked what state hearing I could go to: he said “oh this is federal. It’s a nationwide push.”
So while I remain convinced that the pendulum is not going to swing and suddenly the fashionable position will be oh yes, those artificial nasty seed oils that we industrialized are great sources of nutrition for hu man consumption, I know that the tendency of what people call the nanny state is always toward control. I see it as the destruction of actual small farmers and real foods, at the behest of corporate monoliths, the same ones who produce these damnable transfats in the first place. But just as I mentioned in a sermon this week, dispelling the myth of redemptive violence with references to the complicated third chapter of the Hunger Games…. a song from Rush comes to mind: Are the liberators here? DoI hope or do I fear?
I know the results of outright bans in a free society. Better to keep legal but tax the heck out of it. (Sorry libertarians.) At least that would keep people from the temptation of the rallying cry of FREEDOM OF CHOICE that distracts from the deeper, more important question: why do you want your transfats anyway?
As long as you’re willing to honestly engage that question on a non-political level, then count me in as an anti-FDA ally. But not because I think the cause of trans fats is worth fighting for, only because the growth of FDA power certainly is.
I’ve rambled on quite long, but if you are riled up about the FDA over reaching and killing our choice, maybe put some energy into things that are worth fighting for: non-GMO foods, pastured meat and dairy, vegetables: all things that are under direct threat because of policies of the FDA and the Congressional puppets of Monsanto et al.
And to get riled up, I present once again, the voice you should know: Joel Salatin, author of several books, including Folks This Ain’t Normal, and Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal. Read about how they are prevented from processing chickens the way your great great grandparents did it, and I think the bigger fight is not in keeping the modern chemical cookies. I won’t lie, I am a bit annoyed when it’s this fight the population wants to take up against government messing with our junk food supply, but pay no attention to the GMO debate, or subsidies for agri-business. No, just let the grocers’ association do whatever they want in the name of free enterprise, after all it’s just a bunch of weirdo anti-capitalist hippies that care about that stuff. We’re fine so long as they keep pumping us a supply of our heroin. I mean cookies, cookies. Not heroin. No, we can quit cookies any time we want, right?
Or don’t bother. I’m sure that the constant cycle of crappy food leading to crappy lives leading to crappy medical diagnoses leading to expensive healthcare is one we can all agree on. Here, I’ll say another word that usually leads to reasonable discussion:
Oh wait, never mind.