“The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta said people in America are not eating enough fruits and vegetables. They want to give all the power to the federal government to force you to eat more fruits and vegetables. … This is socialism of the highest order!” – Rep. Paul Broun, Georgia
Over at Slate, Dahlia Lithwick takes a humorous look at Republicans’ fear of vegetables, particularly the idiotic idea that the government will force people to eat vegetables if we don’t nip socialism in the bud.
Lithwick speculates that conservatives’ fear of vegetables (which is somewhat ironic, given all the lip service they pay to “the American farmer”) stems from their personal dislike of vegetables and their latent fear of women, especially their mothers. And while she has a lot of fun lampooning those who equate the government’s encouragement of healthy eating with a socialist takeover, she doesn’t mention another reason conservatives’ arguments are ridiculous: The government already encourages Americans to eat certain foods by subsidizing crops.
Those crops are, of course, corn and soy, which most often take the form of junk food (including soda) and cheap meat—in other words, the foods that are killing us (and forcing up our healthcare bills). You wouldn’t think this bears repeating at this point, but the only reason junk food is relatively cheap in comparison to fresh fruits and vegetables is that the government subsidizes it.
So here’s my question for every politician who has ever riled up an audience with the notion that liberals will “force” people to eat their vegetables: Why is it okay to encourage people to buy junk food if it’s not okay to encourage them to eat vegetables? And if it’s not okay to encourage people to buy junk food, then why is the government still doing it?
(Photo Credit: LollyKnit via Flickr)