Marching in Place
"Paleo, vegan, gluten-free -- the only certainty about health trends is their reversal," the L.A. Times reports, thus clearing the way for the healthy sensible red meat, deep fried foods and tobacco diet of the future predicted in Woody Allen's Sleeper:
With the exception of the long-held mantra to eat a balanced diet, steer clear of processed food and maybe ease up on the doughnuts, most health and diet trends are little more than a grain of science with a heady dose of marketing. The term "superfoods," bandied about so readily by everyone, including Dr. Oz and Starbucks, is a word so deceptively meaningless that the European Union practically banned its use.
Health food trends continue to grow because they are a cash cow. It's estimated that the global antioxidant market will generate nearly $100 billion in a few years, even though most of us have no idea what an antioxidant is, and their long-term benefits are far from certain. But that doesn't stop the California Walnut Board, the pomegranate hucksters at POM and assorted vendors of sugar drinks (from Vitamin Water to 7-Up) from proudly slapping "antioxidant" on their packaging and ads, while subtly pushing the narrative that it might possibly be the cure for cancer.
On my last night in Los Angeles, my wife and I offered to cook dinner for our friend Josh, whom we were staying with. "That would be wonderful," he said, but the meal could have no meat, dairy, eggs, white grains, sugar or salt. "Fish is great, though," he added, as though we had another option. There was no dessert.
Reading the piece sounds is a reminder of how little has changed amongst the far left since George Orwell wrote The Road to Wigan Pier in 1937:
The first thing that must strike any outside observer is that Socialism, in its developed form is a theory confined entirely to the middle classes. The typical Socialist is not, as tremulous old ladies imagine, a ferocious-looking working man with greasy overalls and a raucous voice. He is either a youthful snob-Bolshevik who in five years time will quite probably have made a wealthy marriage and been converted to Roman Catholicism; or, still more typically, a prim little man with a white-collar job, usually a secret teetotaller and often with vegetarian leanings, with a history of Nonconformity behind him, and, above all, with a social position which he has no intention of forfeiting. This last type is surprisingly common in Socialist parties of every shade; it has perhaps been taken over en bloc from the old Liberal Party. In addition to this there is the horrible —- the really disquieting —- prevalence of cranks wherever Socialists are gathered together. One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words ‘Socialism’ and ‘Communism’ draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, ‘Nature Cure’ quack, pacifist, and feminist in England.
One day this summer I was riding through Letchworth when the bus stopped and two dreadful-looking old men got on to it. They were both about sixty, both very short, pink, and chubby, and both hatless. One of them was obscenely bald, the other had long grey hair bobbed in the Lloyd George style. They were dressed in pistachio-coloured shirts and khaki shorts into which their huge bottoms were crammed so tightly that you could study every dimple. Their appearance created a mild stir of horror on top of the bus. The man next to me, a commercial traveller I should say, glanced at me, at them, and back again at me, and murmured ‘Socialists’, as who should say, ‘Red Indians’. He was probably right-—the I.L.P. [Independent Labor Party] were holding their summer school at Letchworth. But the point is that to him, as an ordinary man, a crank meant a Socialist and a Socialist meant a crank. Any Socialist, he probably felt, could be counted on to have something eccentric about him. And some such notion seems to exist even among Socialists themselves. For instance, I have here a prospectus from another summer school which states its terms per week and then asks me to say ‘whether my diet is ordinary or vegetarian’. They take it for granted, you see, that it is necessary to ask this question. This kind of thing is by itself sufficient to alienate plenty of decent people. And their instinct is perfectly sound, for the food-crank is by definition a person willing to cut himself off from human society in hopes of adding five years on to the life of his carcase; that is, a person out of touch with common humanity.
We should not use the word “progressive” or “liberal,” given that on issues like abortion, affirmative action, the environment, illegal immigration, censorship, and a host of others, the left is reactionary to the core.
In the spirit of changing words to reflect reality, I suggest that we call today’s liberals “regressives” — fundamentalists who are wedded to self-serving deductive doctrines that cannot sustain empirical scrutiny and exist mostly as fossilized theologies of the 1960s.
Trigger Warning: VDH's pose might inspire you to read the whole thing.