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Food, Inc.

If you care about what you’re eating [1], you should see the new documentary Food Inc [2]. Playing in major cities for the past few weeks, it’s a mostly even-handed examination of the industrialization and corporate domination of America’s food production. Between showing filthy chicken coops full of drugged birds that can barely move and cows packed in amongst piles of excrement, it explains how federal agricultural subsidies encourage the overproduction of corn. No wonder we use corn in everything, from feeding cows (where corn feed is linked to higher rates of E. coli) to making artificial sweetener [3] for countless soft drinks.

The film has one major fault. It concludes with the message that one of the clear causes of the disease can also be its cure. The FDA is supposed to protect us, it prods in the closing credits. But is it reasonable to assume that you will ever be able to trust Washington bureaucrats with protecting your children? The documentary’s most engaging interview is with small farmer Joel Salatin [4], who reminds us that the typical attitude of the central regulators—”we know what’s best for you – so comply!”—is the same kind of outlook that gets America into messy foreign entanglements.

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#1 Comment By Barney Rebble On June 29, 2009 @ 1:23 pm

Same stuff, different day.

An article built on half a dozen fallacies:

If it looks liberal, and it looks green, actually it *must* be conservative because what is good for you, and/or kinder to the welfare of the animals a farmer owns, is necessarily actually “conservative”, because it’s more moral.

The author has recently become aware of such issues as quality of life among farm animals, growth hormones and other “farm chemicals”, environmental impact of uniform “sterile” forests, and animal or vegitable varity, on a limited area of property. Not knowing that these have been hotly debated for over 75 years, on *both* sides of each issue, the author can claim some special urgency or validity for his personal view.

The author’s idea of “even handed”, is for a Berkeley College Student to try to imagine what it must feel like to be conservative for a day, then try to write what they consider “fair and balanced”. But it still boils down to the fallacy of the elite “educating” the masses as to what is good for them.

The primary fallacy of the committed-left is, that what is on the marketplace is a *decision* of the manufacturer, rather than a demand created by the consumers.

Another fallacy is that the public “won’t mind” paying a “bit more” for what some Berkeley College Student, or national politician, thinks is good for us (or good for the spiritual development of a “cow” being raised to become hamburger).

The author rightly points out that government corruption, in the form of favortism to an individual company or industry, or idealism, is the root of most ills. But what is *not* the answer, is some government agency to champion the author’s favorite causes. Rather, we need a “re-booting” of open government, and a resurgence in limiting the power of central authority.

@Lewis McCrary – don’t be upset if “he who came to teach”, hears back from those who began to study this issue in the 1950’s, and feel as if you remind them of the opinions they held 50 years ago. A lot of stuff has evolved since then; tolerate us long enough to hear opposing opinions.

But I absolutely insist that Mr McCrary’s posts are worth reading, and we congratulate him for choosing an important topic, worthy of his considerable efforts.

I would be okay, if you insisted that we each consider the short, pointless and uncomfortable life, and ugly death, of the chicken who will be sacrificed for our dinner tonight.

I will fight you to my last breath, if you try to steal government, to pass a law, to make the decision for me. (Like Obama is doing for tobacco, where a 1-pound bag of raw chopped tobacco sells for about $60, 4 or 5 times more than a couple years ago).

#2 Comment By MJ On June 29, 2009 @ 2:42 pm

I’m pretty sure that comment was built upon half a dozen fallacies. (Who said it was a new movement? Or that the public “won’t mind” paying more money?) But I agree that Mr. McCrary’s posts are worth a good read.

#3 Comment By Barney Rebble On June 30, 2009 @ 8:25 pm

@MJ – Your opinion is valid. Can we blame McCrary for enthusing about a movie that advances one of the most liberal flagship issues over the last 50 years?

Everyone should do their own homework. Check out the CBSNEWSONLINE interview on youtube with the 2 guys who did the movie, “The Truth About Food, Inc.” It is 8 minutes, 39 seconds. Youtube links seem unreliable, so for what it’s worth:

[5]

And, follow the link on McCrary’s post, by clicking on the words, “Food, Inc.”, then judge for yourself, the reactions from those who claim to be farmers, in the comments that follow the trailer. A common theme will contain the words, “garbage” and “overnight experts”, and “probably ever really been on a farm”.

When you hear that kind of stuff, look underneath the hood, and see if you find a liberal, trying to “prove” an agenda.

#4 Comment By Stephanie On July 28, 2009 @ 12:58 am

Why is high fructose corn syrup called an artificial sweetener in this article? I find that a misleading application of the word, which leads the reader to assume that hfcs is unnatural in some way- it is made of natural corn sugar, unlike what is commonly referred to as “artificial sweetner”, such as Splenda, NutraSweet, and Equal. This is an example of subtle misinformation.