If you arrived on this page via a link from elsewhere on this blog, you may think an error has occurred, that you would arrive at some post by the "Center for Consumer Freedom." But I long ago stopped linking to CCF, a liarly named lobbying front for Big Food based in Washington, D.C. and run by serial (and cereal) lobbyist Rick Berman, and, well, a link still seemed called for.
My alert and studious friend Steve passed me this story from the Atlantic that springs from a familiar mold, taking the contrarian viewpoint on a reaction to orthodoxy. In this instance, the orthodoxy is our broken food system, the reaction is Pollanism, and David H. Freedman’s contrarian viewpoint is embodied by its headline, “How Junk Food Can End Obesity.”
If there ever was a sober voice in this world’s considerable madness around weight loss, it’s the National Weight Control Registry. Based in Rhode Island, it tracks more than 10,000 people who’ve been keeping an average of 70 pounds off for more than 6 years, and its purpose is to learn what helps these people keep it off.
One of the greatest harbors for sanctimony is when something is “for the children.” Children are the future, you know.
It’s not that I object to child protection as a motivation. I have a child, and I take seriously my role as one of his caregivers, guides, and educators. It’s going to take a lot more than me to care for, guide, and educate him, but it has to start with my wife and I.
What I object to, other than rank sanctimony of any kind, is how horribly unevenly “child protection” is defined.
Mom instructed me that if you can’t say anything nice, to not say anything at all. But at least one corollary just doesn’t hold up, as exemplified by an ad for cookies that Dr. Yoni Freedhoff highlighted on his blog.
Friday, I argued against soda-tax proposals because I don’t see how proponents could win a high-enough tax to affect consumer behavior, which should be their only justification. And while weaker versions that were doomed to failure were being tried, industry would use them as justification to not try other measures.
Sorry, but I just don’t believe in them. Not penny-per-ounce soda taxes, not front-of-nutrition labeling, not vague industry pledges to make their food healthier ... at some specified time far enough into the future that everyone will have forgotten.
I often score the ugly mouthpieces of Big Food for faulty logic, especially when they recast reasonable positions as absolutes, so they can then “prove” their falsity. (Example: “There is no evidence that sugary soda is the sole cause of obesity, so soda taxes or other curbs are unreasonable.” Except, no one (except them) says it’s the sole cause. Just that it’s an egregious, unredeemable cause, and therefore a good place to begin attacking the obesity problem.)
One of the tactics that Big Food's paid apologists deploy is class warfare. The pointy-headed, Ivy League liberals conspire with parentally support Berkeley students to take away gosh-darn good eatin' from simple folks like us.