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A New Years Resolution for Whole Foods Nation: you people just need to STFU

Even McClatchy, the newspapers that can sort of be relied upon to not act totally M$M, can be found jumping on the bandwagon:

We've resolved to eat better, lace up the running shoes, shed a few pounds, quit smoking and lead healthier lives.

If we could keep our promises beyond the first weekend of the new year, perhaps our health care system wouldn't be as bloated as it is.

Indeed, some of the responsibility for health care costs sits squarely on the shoulders of consumers who make unhealthy choices – by supersizing meals, quenching thirst with sugar-laden sodas, filling lungs with tobacco and taking a less active role in maintaining their overall fitness.

Let me be the first to sing the praises of a healthy lifestyle: lots of sunshine, plenty of outdoor exercise, a good night's sleep, and Michael Pollan's dictum: eat food, not too much, mostly plants. And smoking? Eeuw.

Easier said than done though.

Ever hear of food deserts? Not everybody has ready access to a store, let alone several stores [or restaurants] to choose from, that sells lots of healthy food.

And if you do live near a source of healthy food, can you afford it? Chances are pretty good that you cannot unless you also have a healthy income.

Why would that be? In part, because of the insane subsidy system that favors Big Agriculture and all but outlaws small farmers growing vegetables and fruits on their croplands.

Then there are the processed foods, which because of subsidies again are either cheaper to produce [think high-fructose corn syrup instead of sugar] or just plain easier/cheaper to produce/store simply because of their altered chemical nature [think shortening and margarine instead of butter and oils]. Bad enough that sugar and fats are cheap and fresh veggies are expensive, but HFCS and trans fats will kill you quicker too [in more ways than one].

So the lower-income folks are left to subsist on [relatively] cheap processed almost-food, and fast food, which is especially convenient if your income is so unreliable that your utilities might be cut off at any time. Not to mention that defying Obama and buying your kid's meals at Popeye's might turn out to be marginally better for them than their school lunches after all.

As if the food weren't already bad enough, there's the pesticides used for growing it and the plastics used for packaging it to worry about too. Not only do we have partially fake food to eat, but it's laced with partially fake hormones too.

But let's say you overcome all those obstacles [or that they were never an object for you anyway]. You will increase your chances of living a long and healthy life, and one that's relatively cheap healthcare-wise... while you're young enough to be covered by your employer-provided insurance, but then you will live long enough to get something really expensive, like maybe Alzheimers, and then you'll cost society a bundle [via Medicare, and possibly Medicaid too] to take care of you in your very old age. In fact, all you healthy people could well cost society more than the fatsters and smokers and other defiantly unhealthy beings.

But hey! We saved our masters employers all those dollars that would otherwise have been chalked up to lost productivity had we been sick.

Aside from the "healthy lifestyle" we're all supposed to lead, the article also gives us this quote:

"We are a nation of sick care. We don't do health care," she said. "Because we do sick care, that's reflected in how we set everything up."

Which is another favorite talking point of Republicans and ConservaDems, but honestly, that used to be the whole point of having these specially [and expensively] trained people that we call doctors: they're supposed to heal us when we get sick. And aside from some vaccinations and the occasional checkup, we're mostly supposed to not need them when we're well.

All the rest of it, about food and exercise and all that jazz, you were supposed to learn in fifth grade health class. Not to knock elementary school teachers or anything, but they don't need MD degrees.

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Submitted by lambert on

First, they do the marketing campaigns to pump as much high fructose corn syrup as possible into our bodies, especially poor people (for whom, because of the subsidies, HFCS is a rational caloric strategy), on behalf of Big Ag.

Then, they do the wellness campaigns to try to undo the damage that HFCS does!


gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

Just like pretty much everything in politics. Obama is a great example as well. Push with all your might a fresh water (economics) candidate who's behavior was dubiously Bush like over the more populist, anti-conservative candidate. When he actually governs as bad as the evidence indicates, start raising money by organizing against him and the continued bad policies. *That* is genius to me. A constant fundraiser. I almost always revert back to the primary because it is related to so much else, and the effort was so coordinated that hiding the MSM-"lefty Versailles neighborhood" collaboration is almost impossible.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i admit i hadn't thought of it in money terms [ iwas convinced early on we were going to get dlc new democrat third way bs no matter who won the primary, and that included john edwards], just power terms. as lambert often says, they're two parts of the same system.

Submitted by hipparchia on

the medical-industrial complex rakes in the $$$$ treating us for all the problems we get from eating their crappy non-food and the insurance industry rakes in the $$$$ from denying us treatment and the politicos get money from both of them.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

I have zero tolerance for Social Darwinists, aka, Libertarians. That's what these people REALLY are. They assert that you can control everything in your life. Shit never happens. You are never poor except by your own choice. You are never sick except by your own choice. If you live in a bad area, you just move. If you have bad health insurance, you just buy different health insurance. The "free market" causes more, not less, competition and lowers, not raises prices. There are no exceptions, there are no "what ifs." The Gospel of Our Lord Milton Friedman, Praise Be To Him.

The reasoning skills of a seven-year-old are sufficient to demolish their arguments, and yet, they cling to their stupidity with the fervor of blind religion.

I have found that people who argue this way are impervious to rational discourse. There is something missing, either in their emotional makeup or their ability to think beyond the most simple, black and white constructions. Whatever it is, it's a pernicious and deadly poison that dumbs down our national discourse daily.

Submitted by hipparchia on

their notion of rational is very limited however.

lambert has talked about this before, optimizing one's caloric strategy. in the long run, yes, feeding your kids a steady diet of popeyes fried chicken may kill them in their 40s or 50s, but not feeding them enough calories now will kill them a hell of a lot sooner.

also, they're right about free markets causing competition, but they have trouble identifying all the markets that are not free, and they have trouble realizing that competitors don't limit themselves to purely competition to maximize their profits, and they don't always recognize just who is competing against whom in complex markets.

somewhere [in some of my volunteer training iirc, but it could just as easily have been over the internetz] i've been told that empathy requires imagination. some of these other scenarios that glibertarians fail to envision are probably due to a faulty deployment of imagination too.

i've found that there are [broadly] 2 types of free-market libertarian: those who sincerely believe the things they're saying about markets, and those who know it's baloney but having everyone else believe in it benefits the ones who can take full advantage of the darwinism.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

A failure to follow a stated policy recommendation to its logical conclusion is irrational in my book.

Libertarianism is like saying, "I'm going to eat only dark chocolate for the rest of my life because I'm free to do what I want, and I will enjoy it a lot because I love dark chocolate." Mmmmkay, but don't you think that would be an irrational thing to do if you don't want to get sick and die?

Anywho, I agree with your two-level definition. There are the PTB, who benefit from the Social Darwinism, and the ones who believe it as gospel.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i worship dark chocolate.

the difference between me and the libertarians is that [like them] i think people should be allowed to eat, drink, smoke whatever, whenever, howevermuch they like, and [unlike them] i'm happy to pay for their medical bills since a truly rational system would overall be less expensive. unfortunately for the libertarians, a truly rational system means everybody gets care and everybody pays for it.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

You can enjoy pleasure (e.g. chocolate) without being particularly selfish (e.g. a libertarian).

To me, libertarianism is equivalent to extreme selfishness. I got mine so f-you. That's why I started referring to the "ownership society" as the "fuck you society". But even more than the morally putrid thought that others don't matter so long as I get mine, I reject the concept of ownership as fundamental. I've seen very little evidence that indicates societies form as a way to enrich one's personal possessions. rather it seems to me that society formation seems to be based on collective betterment. I asked about this previously to make this very point. I reject some of the basic premises of libertarianism such as the primacy of ownership in a society so I don't really need to rely on the basic sense of common decency that makes libertarianism so bad. Its based on fundamentally flawed premises.

I see nothing wrong with a person who only eats dark chocolate all the time. Pleasure is an important part of life. And, to me, society formation leads to more chances to enjoy pleasure. Imagine if we were all stuck as small farmers fending entirely for ourselves? Education would be harder to obtain, it would be harder to buy chocolate, and less leisure time to have . . .

Submitted by hipparchia on

i had no idea that page of thatcher quotes existed. thanks for that link.

as for links, i had more stuff to stay, but the more i type the more incoherent i get usually, so i just quit.

for instance, one of my pet peeves is lead pollution and its health effects, and how society consigns poor people [and thus a lot of minorities especially] to live in lead-contaminated houses in lead-contaminated areas.

but noooooooo, we can't take this stuff into account, it's all their own fault for living there in the first place [as madamab points out above].

of course, this was generally true of the superfund sites i worked at: that rich, or even middle class, mostly white people mysteriously end up not having to live near them.

Submitted by hipparchia on

and not many of them are truly poor, not among the ones i've met anyway. if they're poor it's more like obama's childhood, where yes, his mother didn't have a lot of money, but she had reasonably well-off family she could fall back on [and did].

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

you are not implying that Libertarians are (in general) emotionally immature, are you?

Cause if you are, I totally agree.


Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

The other day with a Libertarian coworker who was complaining about the busing here that I touched on here.

I explained that it was so all kids could get access to a quality education, regardless of where they live. And he was all like "So what about parents who move to neighborhoods with better school?"

Absolutely brain dead to the fact that privileges his kids over other kids, who were unfortunate enough to be born to poor people. And what really bothers me, is that it really seems that he just doesn't care about the inequality. He got his, and that's all that matters.

Submitted by hipparchia on

and many others are completely blind to the both the causes and the consequences of that inequality. the same failure of imagination, is my guess. to be honest, i'm not sure which i think is worse, the lack of empathy or the complete inability to see differences.

i missed your earlier post on the busing. thanks for linking to it, and what a cool story. my parents sent us kids to public schools too, and for much the same reason that you chose your daughter's school: because they were far less white, and far less rich.

one of the things that libertarians are always carrying on about is equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. if they actually believed that, they'd all be sending their kids to public schools.