Surly Curmudgeon

   The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.
-- Robert A. Heinlein
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    Tuesday, September 11, 2007


    People with agendas bug me

    I should probably revise that, since technically I have an agenda too... a libertarian agenda, which is to get everyone to leave everyone else alone. It's the people with the agendas of meddling or dictating that I have a problem with.

    Like this guy:

    An art teacher removed from the classroom for encouraging pupils not to eat meat vowed Monday not to return to Fox River Grove Middle School until it eliminates milk and all other animal products from the lunch menu.

    Dave Warwak, 44, also said he plans to ask the McHenry County state's attorney to file child-endangerment charges against the school district because the school continues to promote milk and other animal products as part of a healthy diet.


    Wanna be vegan? Fine. Wanna tell kids about it, even in class? I'm actually OK with that too. But child endangerment charges? For feeding kids stuff that human beings have evolved to eat? It's not like they're feeding them rat poison.

    "I can't really see working there as long as those milk posters are up and they keep feeding poison to the kids," said Warwak...

    Well, I guess he's got a different view on that point. I think it makes him look like a barking moonbat, but that's his right.

    Warwak has been a teacher at the McHenry County school for eight years.

    So why does he fly off the deep end now?

    ...he began his vegan lifestyle in January.

    Ah... a case of "new convert fanaticism". Wonder if he'll do like most other new convert fanatics (to anything, not just talking veganism here) and burn out in a year or so.

    As longtime readers and friends know, I have done the vegan thing. I am not doing it now. It's a good diet, and generally it helps one feel better. I'm not doing it now because my present life situation and healthwise efforts aren't very compatible with it. Yes, it probably could be made to work, but frankly I've got enough to work on at the moment.

    All that said, veganism also seems to promote or encourage a certain type of behavior. The really loopy ones are the fire-and-brimstone Fred Phelps types of the food world. Peter Singer is their God and Dr. Atkins their Satan. I've got nothing against promoting a healthy lifestyle, or asking people to consider the ramifications of their diet, or even talking about cute fuzzy bunnies and such when discussing where meat comes from. I'm even OK with calling meat and animal food products "less healthy" than vegan alternatives, so long as we understand that "healthy" is a fairly nebulous term to which every diet guru in the world has attached his own specific meaning.

    But come on... animal food products are no more poisonous than vegetable food products. We don't call corn poisonous because a diet consisting solely of corn will kill you (I had a friend in high school who proved this empirically). Human beings have teeth for both cutting meat and grinding vegetables. This kinda suggests we should be eating a bit of both, or at least that we can. Human beings have thrived on this planet in part because of their digestive adaptation -- omnivorism makes one an opportunistic feeder. As a result, you don't see us having the same problems as the koala bears or cheetahs because our population is not determined by the supply of eucalyptus or Thompson's gazelles.

    It's people like this nutjob who give vegans a bad name. Veganism is a great choice for healthy eating, if your circumstances and goals permit it. But it is only a choice. It's not a mandate from heaven to convert all the heathens through the legal system, or subvert their children with your state-given power as an educator. Get a grip.

    My basic deal is this: if you've found something to be an upgrade, and you're not hurting anyone, do it. Go ahead and tell people about it too. The world honestly needs more of that: "I did this, and it really helped me out, and I think it would help you too." That's a success-oriented approach, and it gives people information they might not otherwise have.

    But when you've decided that telling them how great it is just isn't enough, and you have to cross the line into pitching hissy-fits because they're not listening and suing them and trying to press obviously bogus criminal charges, you're a nutjob who deserves a boot to the head. Sit the hell down and shut the hell up.

    Posted by Tom, 9/11/2007 6:09:28 PM (Permalink). 2 Comments. Leave a comment...

    "Upgrade, America!!"
    ...wait
    that's the Nuge.



    -- Catch22

    I highly recommend "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan.

    -- pastorfreud