|Having Your Cake and Eating It: Panama and Us||After the Great Disappointment|
by Christopher Chantrill
February 18, 2014 at 12:00 am
IT WAS ONLY last week here in Panama that I was talking to a Pepsi truck driver from Philadelphia. They’ll be coming for you sugar guys next, I said. It’s already started, he retorted. In Philadelphia recently the union bussed the drivers down to City Hall to protest a tax on sugar.
Now we read that the trial lawyers are going for a repeat on the Big Tobacco shakedown of the 1990s. They want the state attorney generals to sue Big Food to “pay for soaring obesity-related health care costs.” And why not? Back in the 1990s Big Law got Big Tobacco to pony up $420 billion to pay into state slush funds to pay for soaring tobacco-related health care costs.
What a deal that was! $420 billion for lawyers and politicians to spread out among their closest friends!
Only it turned out, far too late, that smokers actually cost the government less money than ordinary folks. Yes, smokers cost a bundle in health care costs, but they die before collecting on their Social Security benefits, so government actually comes out ahead on smokers. So did the trial lawyers, the spunky fellahs, so everybody wins.
After adjusting for age, smoking, sex, B.M.I., physical activity and other factors, they found that compared with people whose calories were less than 10 percent from added sugar, those whose intake was 10 to 25 percent added sugar had a 30 percent increased risk of cardiovascular death. Those whose diet was more than 25 percent added sugar almost tripled their risk.
OK. So sugar is really bad.
There is another, bigger issue. And that is government’s role in the obesity epidemic. Readers will probably know the story, courtesy of Gary Taubes.
Back in the late 1940s researchers began to notice that heart-attack victims had fat deposits – e.g., cholesterol – in their coronary arteries. Wow! What would be the first thing that came to mind? It was obvious, kids, just as obvious as CO2 and global warming. Dietary fat led to fatty deposits in your arteries. Pretty soon, Dr. Ancel Keys, who had got into the government grant game by developing the K-ration in World War II, did his Seven Countries Study and found that high fat in the diet correlated with high coronary problems. He then aggressively lobbied the government to fight dietary fat. Study after study was done to convict dietary fat of the Keys indictment but it was hard to replicate the Keys results. Never mind, the government decided to go ahead and bully Americans into lowering their dietary fat intake with food labeling and “low fat” foods. That usually meant foods higher in carbohydrates. Such as sugar.
The funny thing was that even as the whole liberal horde was forcing America off high fat onto “low fat” the incidence of obesity and diabetes kept going up. See this recent article on that. How could it happen?
Here’s how. Researchers are finding out that it’s not dietary fat that’s the problem at all. It’s dietary carbohydrates, including “added sugar.” That’s because simple carbohydrates stimulate the production of insulin, and insulin makes you hungry by sequestering tri-glycerides in the fat cells, so you stuff in some more carbohydrates and that stimulates the production of insulin and insulin makes you hungry for more carbs. Pretty soon you’re as fat as a butterball. Only butter doesn’t make you fat.
Pretty soon the government’s “low fat” diet brought on metabolic syndrome, and diabetes, and arteriosclerosis, and heart disease and premature death. So who’s to blame? Big Food, of course, with all that sugar in their low fat processed foods.
Now come the trial lawyers with their brilliant plan to make Big Food pay for fifty years of big-government bullying over diet. Why not? You think that the liberal activists and bureaucrats have any money to spare?
Personally, I blame the merchants of Venice. They were the guys that financed the first western sugar plantations after the Crusades and got the whole plantation slavery thing going. You’d think the trial lawyers would know that. Then they could sue Italy, not just for the health-care costs but for reparations!
And I think that it’s time for Coke to reactivate the Old Cola Drinkers of America, the guys that put “New Coke” in the history books.. When the government is after you, there’s nothing quite like a bunch of obese old white guys in tee-shirts backing you up.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
Civil Societya complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churchesbuilds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008
As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable...
[1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006
No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.
Lord Salisbury, Letter to Lord Lytton
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, The Scientist as Rebel