Four food quacktivists—including the New York Times’ food snob de jour, Mark Bittman, Berkeley activist-author Michael Pollan, and outgoing Belgian U.N. bureaucrat Olivier de Schutter—recently penned a joint opinion piece in the Washington Post demanding the implementation of a “national food policy.”
According to the op-ed, the eating habits of the American public trump the Ebola virus in seriousness. The Obama Administration created a government position (“an Ebola czar”) to handle the ongoing Ebola crisis (“a disease that threatens few Americans”) and so, the authors audaciously suggest, the President should tackle the American public’s love of cheeseburgers and cheesecake with the same vigor.
You see, unbeknownst to almost every single American citizen, the United States is presently facing a state-of-war. Our enemy? Food, apparently. According to the op-ed:
If a foreign power were to do such harm [like that of our food industry], we’d regard it as a threat to national security, if not an act of war, and the government would formulate a comprehensive plan and marshal resources to combat it.
Unlike actual threats to our security, however, indulging in junk food is entirely voluntary and avoidable. A quick jaunt down any aisle in an American grocery store shows that consumers who want to “combat” unhealthy eating are free to do so: There are lots of healthy options on the market.
But like most food nannies, Bittman and company disregard consumer choice. Instead, they insist that President Obama announce an executive order establishing a national policy for “food, health, and well-being.”
By doing so, the cohort argues that President Obama would “make it much more difficult for the interests of agribusiness to prevail over those of public and environmental health.”
But the authors don’t stop at agricultural bodies—they also articulate a desire to hinder the efficiency of Congress, explaining: “A well-articulated national food policy in the United States would make it much more difficult for Congress to pass bills that fly in its face.”
One of the coauthors, Olivier de Schutter, claimed in another op-ed: “The greatest deficit in the food economy is the democratic one.” A former U.N. bureaucrat whining about “democratic deficit”? Savor the irony, but (for the sake of tomorrow morning) only in moderation.
Demanding the President issue an Executive Order to enforce a national diet in order to deliberately undermine the powers of Congress doesn’t sound very democratic to us. We suspect that the new Congress—which actually has to face election again, a concept with which the unaccountable authors of the Post piece will be unfamiliar—will agree with us rather than the Brussels-Manhattan-Berkeley axis.