I occasionally wander out into the darkness of liberalism on purpose, just to see what the enemy is up to.
Recently my wandering revealed this editorial in the uber liberal Washington Post.
Here are the credentials of the authors:
“Mark Bittman, an opinion columnist and food writer for the New York Times, is the author of “How to Cook Everything Fast.” Michael Pollan, who teaches journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, is the author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.” Ricardo Salvador is a senior scientist and director of the food and environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Olivier De Schutter, a professor of international human rights law at the Catholic University of Louvain, was the U.N. special rapporteur on the right to food from 2008 to 2014.”
So, essentially, we’re talking the “Joel Salatins” of the Food Wars on the ultra-liberal side; the side that thinks the only way to solve anything is with more government.
Interestingly, the authors get many things “right” in their op-ed piece:
“The food system and the diet it’s created have caused incalculable damage to the health of our people and our land, water and air.” – none of us would disagree with that!
“Because of unhealthy diets, 100 years of progress in improving public health and extending lifespan has been reversed.” Exactly what we’ve been saying all along.
“The government subsidizes soda with one hand, while the other writes checks to pay for insulin pumps. This is not policy; this is insanity.” Joel Salatin himself could not have said it better.
So, what’s my beef with the op-ed piece? Simply this: After reciting a litany of failed government policies and bureaucracies, the authors come to the conclusion that there is only one way to fix this problem: More and bigger government.
Their suggested fix is a “National Food Policy.” The government needs to start controlling how many calories people can consume, how many of those calories can be sugar, how many must come from fruits and vegetables, etc. etc.
Of course, the government wouldn’t come right out and do this; rather, the “goal” would be achieved through the use of taxes, subsidies, and penalties – the same tools that have gotten us into the mess we face.
Here’s an alternative proposal: How about if the government just gets out of food and agriculture altogether? What if we just let Free Market Economics win the food wars, and let the consumers decide what they want to eat?
If subsidies for corn, wheat, and soybeans were eliminated, our food culture would be forced to diversify. If tax dollars were no longer pumped into the agri-industrial complex, smaller, local producers would be able to compete on a more level playing field. If consumers saw the real cost of the food they purchased on the price tags in WalMart and Wegmans, suddenly the local farmer’s market might look a little more attractive. People would “self correct” their diet, the government would save a bundle of money, and we’d all be better off.
And that’s the goal, isn’t it? … wait, isn’t it???