Category Archives: Choices

Doesn’t Pass The Sniff Test

Do you want an example of an ideologue attempting to justify his existence at the government trough?

Imagine the tragedy if every day for years on end a crowded jetliner crashed. Then imagine the outrage when the public learned that those tragedies had been preventable, but that the airlines and government had done nothing. Fortunately, jetliners rarely crash. But excessive salt in our food is causing several hundred preventable deaths every day—100,000 deaths each and every year. And the food industry and government have done virtually nothing.

Sorry, this doesn’t pass the sniff test.

Writer Michael Jacobson would have to add a lot of qualifiers to the statement before it made it past the sniff test.

First off, salt is not killing several hundred people a day. Accurately interpreting the words Michael has chosen leads to only one conclusion, salt kills several hundred people a day. And hundreds of thousands of people who drink water die every day. A more accurate statement would be “medical conditions related to high-sodium diets are factors in several hundred deaths each day.”

Salt doesn’t kill. In fact, salt is a necessary part of our bodies ability to regulate its water levels. High levels of sodium in our bodies alerts us with the sensation of thirst. And without sodium, the water would not travel into the necessary cells. It works in much the same way a good sauce flavors meat, by passing liquids back and forth across the various membranes until the saline (salt) levels equalize on both sides.

The second problem with Michael Jacobson’s arguments are his assumption that government regulation is the best source of a solution to the problem of high-sodium diets.

First off, any such regulation is flatly contradictory to the stipulations of the Constitution of the United States of America. The amount of salt a person consumes is completely within their rights to self-determination.

Not to say there isn’t an issue with the overall health of our nation. However, such issues illustrate the inappropriateness of government involvement in health and other private decisions and responsibilities. If the government wants to require that food stamps and WIC and other welfare assistance programs only be used on low-sodium foods, that’s OK. That particular cat is already out of that particular bag. And if you live on the government dole you live at their behest.

I don’t live at the government’s behest. I live in spite of the government.

Secondly, there are those who still live a healthy and active lifestyle whose bodies use and process higher levels of sodium effectively.

According to an evolutionary understanding, due to the necessity of hard labor to survival, our bodies evolved to prefer high-fat, high-starch, high-salt foods because they stored much higher levels of energy necessary for the long days in the fields and on the hunt.

According to a creationary understanding, God designed our bodies to prefer the foods that conveyed most effectively the elements essential to our carrying out the stipulations of the curse.

Either way, we’re tuned to want this stuff even if we don’t need it. But some do, and that is the inherent failure of each and every government regulation. There is simply no way a blanket rule can be applied without it causing harm to some without a corresponding benefit.

John Tate counters Michael Jacobson:

Supporters of intervention are focusing on the overconsumption of salt. Point taken. However, the problem of overconsumption derives more from personal choice than from sodium intake under circumstances beyond one’s control, such as when large amounts of sodium were added to food products without information to consumers.

People are presented with all the data needed to make an informed decision. Warnings about excessive sodium abound. Product labels list the amount of sodium each serving contains. Restaurants are increasingly supplying nutritional guides. The responsibility lies with the consumer on how to act on this knowledge.

Most Americans do not seem to be choosing to restrict their own salt intake, and the FDA is looking to use this outcome to justify intervening in everyone’s food choices “for our own good.” But no amount of such intervention will ever force people to make good choices. What will regulators do if this idea doesn’t work? Resort to policing salt intake within people’s own homes? Where does dictating the actions of others “for their own good” end?

As Tate mentions, the argument that many people are unwise in their decisions regarding nutrition is valid. But when it comes to the government of the United States of America, there is this niggling detail. All arguments regarding the role and responsibility of the government must begin with the Constitution. And only if they pass that muster may they proceed to whether they are logical, practical, necessary, or wise. If there is truly compelling reasons, the Constitution may be amended, as it has in the past. But the failure of Constitutional amendments today serves to highlight the paucity of truly revolutionary ideas in government.

Tate ends thus:

Ultimately, the risk we take by trusting Americans to make their own decisions is significantly less than the sacrifice we make by continuing to excuse actions by a government that has repeatedly proven its total disregard for the limits imposed by the Constitution.

Keep It Zipped

Charles' Scartlett Letter

YaVaughnie Wilkins posted the signs after she learned that her lover, Charles E. Phillips president and director of the tech conglomerate Oracle Corporation and a member of Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board had reconciled with his wife, the New York Post reported.

Charles E. Phillips has a 10 year old son, has had an 8-1/2 year “serious relationship” with Wilkins, and is a “family man”.

That means he’s “loved” this woman almost as long as he’s had a son. Consider the implications of that.

He’s a creep, untrustworthy, etc.

Well, he’s worthy of something, social disapprobation and shaming.

Which is exactly what YaVaughnie did. For the wrong reasons, yea. But I’m begging and not feeling particularly choosie.

Read about her billboards.

I Know Who I’d Like To Be

Wealth without context
Wealth without context

Rich and not working

During a conversation the question came up “who am I?” The lady I was talking with gave the above response, half joking yet completely serious.

I’ve often thought what I’d do if I were rich enough to not have to worry. Forget that with more money usually comes more worry for the sake of this argument.

Truth be told I would not stop working. I would definitely take the time to find a job I enjoyed more, and probably agree to work for much less than I may be worth. But not necessarily a non-profit job either. It would have to be the right non-profit.

The point is, I wouldn’t stop working.

There are too many strange and exciting things to learn and different and unique people to meet and experiences to participate in to justify stepping out of that world.

The life of wealth and ease is not a pleasant idea to me.

I’d not take a job that worked long hours or weekends unless the rare and necessary occasion. I’ve never lived to work.

Something I tell employers is that I work to live. I work in order to allow me to participate in my family, in ministry, in relationships.

So if I were to answer who I’d like to be, my response would be I’d like to be pretty much where I am now, with a bit more knowledge, a bit more wisdom, a bit more maturity, more history under my belt, and more future on the horizon.

Book Covers

Paul Potts - just another human
Paul Potts - just another human

He looked like he may not be running on all cylinders. His appearance said he may be a few fries short of a happy meal. Harmless, but hardly someone worthwhile, much less, important.

How sad that I could dismiss a human life, a co-bearer of that divine spark, so easily. Flippantly, even.

He looked even a bit Down Syndrome, mentally short, which is nice enough. Several mentally handicapped people have considered me a friend and while I never felt camaraderie with them, I firmly believe God, in their life story, gave them less of one thing so He could fit more of another. Love and acceptance and warmth seem to flow out of mentally handicapped people so much more readily and in such copious amounts as to be shameful to those of us who consider ourselves to be completely there, mentally speaking.

Suffice it to say, I judged.

That book’s cover just said “don’t bother”.

And then he opened his mouth.

It shows how shallow I am that it took the man speaking to garner even my grudging recognition.

It shows how great his talent that by opening his mouth he took, by force and without remedy, my respect and adulation, and claimed it as his own.

Good Father

Fatherhood is manly
Fatherhood is manly

I’ve been surprised of late at the sources and volume of negative or, at best, ambivalent feelings towards fathers and fatherhood.

My wife is getting involved in the ladies ministry at our church and there was a coffee and tea get together Saturday morning. My wife was planning several errands for the morning and so I was left caring for young William. So long as we have milk pumped and bottled he is quite alright with me. More importantly, I’m willing and able and responsible, as I am his father.

I’m no superhero, nor do I have any special ability beyond the normal. I’m not much of an outlier in this respect, I believe.

Rather, I consider myself normal.

I’m a normal man who has taken responsibility for his family, his wife and their child.

I work to support them financially, bu my responsibility does not end at 5pm Friday.

I’m a father, not just a breadwinner. A father is so much more than a breadwinner.

I’m a diaper changer, a dish washer, a laundromat, a soft shoulder, a chauffeur, a burp rag, a comic, a stereo, a counselor, a pastor, a manager, a confidant, a firm hand. I am whatever necessary to ensure both the macro- and micro-progress of my family towards our goal of bringing more glory to God and achieving greater Godliness mutually and individually.

I am capable and willing.

I’m not expert or perfect.

For the men who don’t think themselves capable: grow a pair, man up, find your spine. You’re capable of what you choose to be.

For the mothers who haven’t tried letting go and letting dad: he’ll grow into whatever you lovingly and with support allow him become, including dad.

For detractors and cynics everywhere of every stripe: leave. You’re not wanted. Your words only condemn another generation to fatherless failure. Your ideas enslave millions more in the stifling mire of your small minds and minuscule dreams.

Mothers are not superior, and neither are fathers. Both are needed and necessary for normative growth in children. Both are prone to failure.

It is no secret, except to those remaining willfully ignorant and despicable for it, that mothers are as capable of abuse as fathers, and for societies failure to accept it, becoming frighteningly more common.

In fact, it is the union of the two fallible, failed, faltering parents, both the mother and father together, who are most capable of lifting each other beyond their individual limitations and shortcomings. Not to achieve perfection, but to achieve the greater potential of success in whatever goal they have chosen.

And isn’t that what we’re all striving for?

So father, free yourself of the false notion of your incurable frailty and seize the mantel of manhood and be a father.

And mother, relinquish the idea of fatherly failure and instead build up and encourage and then step back and allow the man in your husband to thrive as it fills out the form of fatherhood.