Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Eating In Red America

I've often expressed outrage here as to how eating liberal has somehow been branded "liberal" and not something that a "real American" (i.e., Republican) would do.

I guess I'm not the only person who's noticed this: Apparently, arguing for better eating habits is so "liberal" that this self-professed "conservative" wouldn't even give his real name.

Here's what he had to say:

In a much-discussed 2009 Policy Review essay, Mary Eberstadt talked about how odd it was that liberal elites are extremely permissive about sex, but Puritan fussbudgets about food. What’s less well explored is the culture-war role food plays among conservatives, especially in the South. My experience is anecdotal, of course, but I’ve seen emerging back home a growing sense that food intake is not something that can be held up for moral analysis and judgment. Those who attempt to do so are typically seen as liberal snobs trying to impose their own preferences.

I found this part of what he had to say particularly interesting:

The obvious answer is that they don’t see food choices as having moral weight. That stance is groundless from a Biblical point of view. Scripture aside, how can that point of view be sustainable from a common-sense conservative position when so many people are coming down with diabetes, a chronic disease closely related to overeating? New neuroscience research suggests that overeating certain foods earlier in life changes one’s brain in ways that make it harder to stop later in life. This means that parents who let their kids eat lots of sugar set them up for a lifetime of diabetes, and other obesity-related diseases. How is that not a moral failing?

The costs to society of treating diabetes is enormous, and is expected to triple to over $300 billion – if obesity plateaus, which it may not do. Who is going to pay for that indulgence? Both the taxpayer, in higher Medicare and Medicaid costs, and individual insurance ratepayers. It becomes difficult to take seriously Southern conservatives who complain about the morally lax lower orders (read: poor black people) being a drain on the taxpayer when they themselves have their mouths full of Super Sonic Cheeseburger.

I find it abhorrent that politics in this country has devolved into political "teams." Rather than thinking for themselves, people blindly follow whatever their team leaders tell them to think both on the right and the left. Eating healthy is "liberal" (and as the article editor pointed out, liberals can be huge, off-putting snobs about eating healthy), so therefore, I'll do the complete opposite to support my "team."

But poor eating habits should not be the subject of political debate, and neither should be efforts to get adults and kids exercising more. As the author pointed out, everyone has a moral obligation to eat healthy.


  1. The worst part of the "team" mentality is that it becomes about winning against the bad guys rather than keeping the country on the right track. Ugh.

    Interesting stuff.