Thursday, September 27, 2012

Comment on "Porky Populism"

I think that Porky Populism by Rod Dreher is a must read.

I commented.

This is a good and important essay.  I have two thoughts

First I am a somewhat overweight liberal.

1) I think you overstress the connection between Whole foods inc and healthy food.  More generally between healthy food and tasty food.

You mention high quality beer, which is no healthier than low quality beer.  Grass fed beef is probably a bit healthier than corn fed beef, but much less healthy than vegetables.

I admit you don't use the word "organic." I note that many people equate healthy with organic and organic food costs more.  However there is basically zero evidence that it is healthier -- at all.  Somehow unprocessed food growth with synthetic fertilizers and insecticides seems to be off the table.

Very oddly the discussion with a honey producer is presented as if honey were healthy.  If I understand correctly it beats brain and maybe egg yolk but is just as unhealthy as sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

The idea that foodies are aesthetes and not just taking responsibility for your health is obviously correct (not that there's anything wrong with that).  You care about the taste.  Lefty foodies often dislike processed foods partly because they don't like the "business"in agribusiness.

I'm a liberal and I hate to blame the poor when a conservative blames poverty, but I do think that cheap healthy food is available (but boring).  I mean you can live on potatoes (Adam Smith thought they were very healthy but OK good economist not necessarily a good nutritionist -- just the last guy I know of with anything good to say about potatoes).

2)  "Liberals, to overgeneralize, believe that what consenting adults do in bed with their bodies is immune from moral judgment. "

Heh indeed.  to avoid overgeneralization how about some names and quotes ?  I don't know any liberals who think that.

I went off on a rant and, out of respect for my host, moved it here

[rant follows]

I think you are partly confusing totally different things.  We don't think gay sex is morally different from straight sex.  That doesn't mean with think anything goes.  Also we don't think that the coercive power of the state should be used to impose our morality on everyone.  That is unlike almost all conservatives (present company and three other guys at this magazine excepted) we value freedom in general and not just property rights or freedom of all to do as we think best.

(note the sudden change from "almost all conservatives" to "More than half of Republicans")

More than half  of Republicans consider Michelle Obama an enemy of freedom and have no problem with indefinite detention without trial, warrantless wiretapping**  and waterboarding***.  Self described "constitutional conservatives" are especially likely (as in probability over 70%) to utterly reject freedom as defined by the founders.

I think the idea that liberals think that, say, cheating and lying about it is perfectly OK shows two things. First the conservabubble of epistemic closure is strong.  Conservatives don't seem to know any liberals and to discuss a cartoon liberal and mirror image of conservatives.  Second that the Ballance  is strong in this one.  Basically the whole essay criticizes conservatives (a very reasonable thing for an essay in The American Conservative to do).  So there just has to be an off the cuff attack on liberals supported by no evidence.  A conservative may criticize Conservatives but no conservative may neglect to criticize liberals.  Ever.



*** Overall, a majority of Republicans agree with the use of torture on terror suspects (52% in the first group), and the use of enhanced interrogation techniques (77% in the second group). They also condone the use of waterboarding (58%).  (warning pdf)

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