The Meat of the Issue

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For
many years I have maintained that the Left-Right labels often conceal
real motivations. In particular the Left, with its cries for the
downtrodden and increasingly Byzantine PC "vulgar Marxism"
of class, gender and race, conceals a deep discomfort with working
people, hatred of sexuality, and tacit racism. The pseudo-intellectuals
at its helm want obedient workers and soldiers, and people of other
races properly grateful for all that is being done for them. They
have learned not to whip the slave; they want a house slave safely
defined by quotas, government grants, and predictable rhetoric.

This
leads to some bizarre official rhetoric on its own. Blacks who see
the virtues of smart work and free-enterprise are defined as not
black enough. Women who love a real man are traitors to their sex.
Working class fellows who make a little money are promptly demonized
as monopolists and simultaneously – and this is revealing –
denounced as "nouveau riche."

Indeed,
there is that sure index of classism, repeated confusion of one's
lifestyle with wider social reality, in many pronouncements. Much
of the hostility to guns is arguably due to a pseudo-intellectual
elite being unfamiliar with the simple value to poor people of being
able to hunt. That deer in the freezer is often the difference between
comfort and a sense of self-reliance and the welfare check. An examination
of support laws is another example and shows how far into cloud-cuckoo-land
the bureaucratic Left really is.

In
Pennsylvania, for example, a person with a monthly income of $800
must turn over one-half to support one child. The child needs $400
and can't get along, the working class parent, somehow, can. They
may not deduct the payment to qualify for welfare; neither can they
pay a lesser amount directly. The government takes a 10% administrative
fee for enforcement. When I asked a judge what sense this made,
she railed that the masses must be forced to follow their responsibilities.
Libertarians and Classical Liberals are familiar with this phenomenon.
They have long noted that making money or defending one's rights
is denounced simultaneously as a conspiracy of the powerful and
the selfish concern of the greedy untutored. With such an atmosphere,
it should be no surprise that even diet should be politicized. Diets
favorable to thin intellectual persons of passivity would in time
be pronounced as PC; diets of people who act would be limited.

Some
action on these lines has indeed occurred on the periphery of social
discussion. The undoubted wonders of whole-grain bread are being
touted as a cure-all. There is talk of a fat police. Alcohol, once
justly viewed as a food from the time before refrigeration, is not
only viewed as a legal vice, but the federal government actually
forbade grants to study the healthful effects of unadulterated French
wine. Don't eat anything with a face, we are told ( though presumably
drafting it for national service is OK.)

THE SECRET
OF GRAIN

Curiously,
governments favor grain-based diets also. Historically, grain is
easy to control and frees up people for its armies. A little known
fact is the sometimes feminizing and debilitating effect on the
general population of grain. Experts have noted corn is an allergen
to many people, with many claims of creating debilitating conditions
of fatigue, manic-depression, suggestibility, and violent behavior
in many. It, with sugar, is now ubiquitous in the US diet; even
drink mixes and many unlikely foods have it added. It has been hypothesized
that corn destroyed the Ancient Amerindian populations that depended
on it. Even wheat has detractors.Today, many people are surprised
to learn that wheat is more direct. It contains carcinogens not
removed in refining. It protects itself as a plant in the wild by
raising estrogen levels in animal populations, accomplishing a slow
poisoning. Mice fed white bread develop cancer. In mice fed whole
grain the males have shriveled testicles while the females begin
to dominate and display lesbian behavior.

There
was one time this was a popular high school project in Europe. Not
any more. Some years ago a scientist told me he had attempted for
many years to get funding to study marginal toxicities in grains.
Were grannies' tales on the pacifying and stultifying effect of
too much grain in the diet true? After a decade, he gave up. He
commented the anti-grain studies were getting old and would disappear
from view. Perhaps the Ancient Roman Emperors knew exactly what
they were doing, feeding their possibly narcotized populations wheat
bread and violent circuses.

Indeed,
worse, calls that we get rid of meat and depend on grain may today
constitute a new enclosure act, as governments discuss forbidding
ownership of seed grain so populations must go to the government
for food yearly.

The
only question in my mind was when, how, and how far this would be
made explicit. The antecedent forces from lifestyle arrogance to
actual considerations of self-reinforcing power are certainly all
there.

The
time is now. The Atkins Diet is being denounced as a conspiracy
of – shudder – greedy, Libertarian, working class free-enterprisers.
Following the Atkins Diet is being denounced by academia as both
declasse and political oppression.

Some
years ago Dr. Atkins investigated the claims of old diets, such
as the Salisbury Diet of Salisbury steak fame, that some people
were physically more designed to consume meat. In such people, a
large part of the population, he discovered that it was carbohydrate
intake, by causing insulin swings, that caused the storage of unhealthy
fat. Bread, pasta and potatoes, even small amounts, were thus out.
For such people, meat is a matter of survival and good health, while
grains and vegetables are pernicious. Their fat and cholesterol
levels would plummet by ingesting, not ignoring, fats and cholesterols.
Curiously, he was initially greeted as a genius by New Agers, since
Vedic medicine, which looks to body types and then much in vogue,
had for centuries noted that heavyset, naturally thin, and naturally
muscular people have different dietary requirements and metabolisms.

As
the evidence poured in that government diet recommendations were
like the knowledge of Captain Smith of the Titanic, all wrong for
the new kind of ship he was piloting and working insidiously against
him, Dr. Atkins found himself investigated and denounced as a nut.
Now notice that Dr, Atkins is not saying the diet works for everyone.
He is an experimentalist. No matter. It became clearer that the
very suggestion that meat is good transgressed some unstated political
boundary of social heresy. It was only needed for the right line
of dismissal was found.

In
the meantime I knew that it was a matter of time for the wheels
to click when I had the following conversation. The attorney F.
Lee Bailey, once the darling of Leftists, had expressed favor for
the Atkins Diet. It worked for him, he announced. This was at the
time he was being identified as a crypto-capitalist for defending
OJ, who had been accused of slaughtering his ex-wife while being
inconveniently black but, fortunately for those who like to pigeonhole
such things, rich. Some time thereafter, Bailey had difficulties
with a judge over whether an alleged drug dealer's fee to him was
subject to forfeiture. "See!" said a political observer
who for some time had been trying to convince me that there was
something wrong with Bailey based on his loss of unwanted pounds
by munching steak and pushing away the pasta, "He is involved
with drug dealers!" she said in triumph, "I told you he
was no good."

A HEGELIAN
SCENARIO

Now
it is official. An article in the LA Times, syndicated to
many papers, by Teresa Ebert and M. Zavarzadeh, warns that Hegelian
class warfare is on a different plate, so to speak. These authors
have recently garnered praise for their respective works "Ludic
Feminism and After," and "Seeing Films Politically."
Though Hegel himself limited his dietary pronouncements to the philosophical
hope of "eines gutes bier" at a new post, his dialectic
successors are not so shy. "Diets are political," begins
the article, and are so divisive "that US Agriculture Secretary
Dan Glickman, in an almost Hegelian scenario, " wants to do
"impartial" studies of the Atkins diet " putting
an end to the civil strife."

Diets
threatening The Last Remaining Superpower with civil strife? For
once, I rubbed my jaded eyes, but Glickman is a man who knows the
times he lives in. He guides himself by academic experts who now
reveal "people eat class and not food," not social semiotics,
we are cautioned (natch) but determined by "social relations
of production: Do they buy other people's labor and make a profit
from it…?" This, perhaps,as opposed to confiscating it and
then still being unable to feed the poor or balance the budget.

The
Atkins diet, we are warned, is "divisive." It is really
not the result of a dedicated scientist fighting the Establishment
or the personal experience of many who venture outside the official
wisdom of the day. No. It is "class politics appearing as personal
tastes in food…." Now lest you expect, as I warned at the
beginning, that the Atkins Diet would then be denounced as the plaything
of the idle rich, with the deep internal logic of class-hatred of
the Left it shifts gears: Atkins, it implies, is proletarian free
choice run amok.

"The
Atkins diet is a proletarian diet," with "forbidden fats"
and, oh the scandal, "not upper class." It is an attack
by advocates of "real food" against "invented, fake
food." In quoting a New Yorker piece, Stephen King is brought
into the fray, to testify that meat is "working class."
Such diets, we are warned, are suspiciously "satiating,"
"not "elaborately complex," do not require special
"calculation," and is offered "in a realistic style"
and shaped by what, the authors tell us helpfully, Bertolt Brecht
called it "coarse thinking."

Who
is being oppressed here? What is the result of these worried concerns
about the Atkins Diet at Agriculture, where they perhaps even now
are attending seminars on how the Atkins Diet threatens the Government
with "a realistic style" by all those ungrateful proletarians
who just can't act "upper class" as defined by the glitteratti?
The wonder of collectivist thinking is it soon parodies itself.
The victim of the Atlkins approach is not the poor, the starving,
sexual politics, or the spotted owl. Rather, it is the "dominance
of the bourgeoisie." Indeed, it performs according to "Marx
and Engels," a splitting into two super-classes of "advanced
capitalism."

Note
what makes these proletarians the subject of ire: realism, seeking
results, satiation, the refusal to be involved in the complexities
of learned numbskulls.They are not upper class; they reject the
fake. They must be stopped. In a final Daliesque statement, the
authors warn that we are bringing on the Marxist Apocalypse. "In
eating food, we eat our class." The world the authors implicitly
praise is a Leftist Dickensian nightmare, where the Left becomes
the capitalism it so misrepresents: proletarians put back into their
place, learning to respectfully tug their locks and say "more
sir" to their bureaucratic caretakers. That, presumably, would
not be coarse thinking.

Lest
one doubt, all this is contrasted to the PC Ornish Diet, which advocates
nibbling through the day like Hannibal Lecter on vacation, good
to the last Fava bean. Penurious eating by "savoring"
like a Zen Monk – a starving one – a tablespoonful of
yogurt here and a carrot there, that is the true way from "civil
strife." The authors enthuse: "Eating becomes a gaze into
one's soul…meditation…a Zen moment…exquisitely satisfying…an
extended Proustian moment." I must be blunt. I have not read
such language of making the best of self-denial like a repressed
wallflower since I was persuaded to read a Fabio love novel, or,
well, Proust.

Consider:
if the government gets control of the seed corn as has been proposed,
and rigid population controls are enforced, we may have many of
these enjoyable Zen moments on 1000 calories a day. Political film,
so studied by the author of the article, may take a new meaning
as popcorn and hot dog stands are shut down at the movies and an
egalitarian stalk of celery is measured out to each. Meanwhile,
be prepared for growing official attacks on the Atkins Diet and
the simple right to eat undisturbed without looking over your shoulder,
unless this is placed to public ridicule where it belongs. In an
age of a growing health police oppression, the last thing they want
you to think is that rich foods are good for you. The truth is the
Department of Agriculture, government science funding, is the only
"diet" being politicized here, and their little Hegel
too, annoyed at all those proletarians ignorantly upsetting their
half-stated master plans.

My
analysis in the meantime? One piece of free diet advice that never
fails, where you eat as much as you want, and will become quite
strong and healthy. And that's no small potatoes. Try this: There
is no such thing as a free lunch.

September
27, 2000

Michael Gilson De Lemos, known as MG, is Coordinator of the Libertarian

International Organization. He believes with Jefferson that,

along with Gibbon, Cicero and Tacitus should be read by all grade-schoolers.

In Latin.

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