About the time I began homeschooling my two sons 12 years ago, there was a spoof of a “news” story circulating around the internet on homeschool discussion boards. The fake newspaper article was a send-up of every argument leveled against homeschooling by teachers’ unions and other advocates for public education who insisted homeschooling needed to be either outlawed or strictly regulated “for the good of the children,” of course. The twist that made the article so funny — and effective — was a change of the subject of the report from homeschooling to homefeeding, something we thought was safely beyond the scope of government oversight and control at the time. It went something like this:1I obtained this article, “Home Eating a Threat to Public Kitchens,” posted on a homeschool discussion board. Authorship is unknown. ...continue
Home Eating a Threat to Public Kitchens? State Allows Growing Trend of Eating At Home
April 13, 2099
After much heated debate on the house floor, legislation was passed today to allow a growing number of families to cook meals for their families in their homes. The children must have annual physical examinations to assure proper growth and weight gain. Attempts to require weekly meal plans and monthly kitchen inspections were voted down.
A spokesperson from the National Association of Nutritionists (NANs) condemns this decision. “These children are being denied the rich socialization and diversity that is an essential part of the eating process. Without the proper nutritional background, it is impossible for the average person to feed their own children. We, as child advocates, see this as a step backwards and speak out for the sake of the children who cannot speak for themselves.”
Homecooking parents say the benefits of eating at home include increased family unity and the ability to tailor a diet to a particular need. Elizabeth Crocker, a home cook, states, “We started cooking and eating at home when we realized that my son had a severe allergy to eggs. The public kitchens required him to take numerous medications that had serious side effects in order to counteract his allergy. We found that eliminating eggs was a simpler method and our son has thrived since we began doing so.”
After this experience, the Crockers decided to home cook for all of their children, and converted their media room into a kitchen. Elizabeth says, “We have experienced so much closeness as we have explored recipes and spent time cooking together and eating together. We have a dining circle with other families where we sometimes share ideas and meals together.”
The Crocker children have done well physically under their mother’s care, weighing in at optimum weights for their ages and having health records far above average. It should be noted that Mrs. Crocker, while not a professional nutritionist, has a family history rich with nutritionists and home economists. “Surely the success of the Crocker children is due to the background of their mother,” responded the spokesman from NANs. “The results they have achieved should not be viewed as normative.” Mrs. Crocker counters that her background was actually a hindrance to the nutritional principles she follows. “Our paternal great-grandmother was a home economist, but she prepared most meals from pre-made mixes. In our homecooking we try not to duplicate public-kitchen meals, but to tailor our meals to the needs and preferences of our children.”
In a related issue, legislation is in committee that would provide oversight for the emerging homecooking movement. Says the Home Eating Legal Defense Association (HELDA): “We want to provide umbrella kitchens to aid parents in the complicated tasks of feeding their children. Many families lack the expertise of the Crocker family, yet desire to eat at home. As we have seen, the umbrella kitchens meet the needs of all concerned. We are happy to provide this service.”
Only 12 years later, and it’s not so funny, is it? It’s rather scary when something that was considered absurd in the recent past comes close to being a very present reality. What am I talking about? Not homeschooling, although that’s still under attack, even here in Nebraska. I’m talking about your right to choose what and how much you eat and, as a parent, your right to determine something as basic as your child’s diet.
There are several ways the government is getting us accustomed to eating out of its hand or, at least, under its benevolent oversight. I can think of at least four:
SNAP, formerly known as the food stamp program. We’ve written about SNAP elsewhere. I bring it up here in order to add that there’s a push to further limit what food stamp recipients can buy to “healthy” choices, however the government chooses to define that term.
Bans of certain foods or food additives and/or regulating portion size. New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg is known for wielding government authority in this manner. He has proposed bans on salt and trans-fats in foods sold in New York City restaurants, although only the latter has been approved to date. More recently, he’s in the news because his decision to ban the sale of soft drinks in sizes larger than 16 ounces is being challenged in court by the NAACP and the Hispanic Federation who claim it’s . . . racist.
Taxing certain foods or beverages and then using the proceeds to fund propaganda campaigns designed to convince consumers the food or beverage in question is bad for them. This is the method of choice proposed by my very own representative in the Unicameral, Senator Bill Avery. He’s introduced a measure to tax soda pop and energy drinks.2 Last year, Avery introduced a bill to require fast food kids’ meals containing a toy to meet certain nutritional standards in order to be sold ...continue Avery’s justification for the proposed legislation is a regurgitation of the usual argument. It all boils down to him doing it for our own good, you know. I’m reminded of the C. S. Lewis quote:3This quote is taken from Lewis’ God in the Dock, a series of essays concerning theology and ethics. The full quotation continues: “They ...continue
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
That about sums up my opinion of Senator Avery.
Readers should be aware that Avery’s soda tax bill, LB447, has some vocal support from a group of physicians this go-around. Dr. Bob Rauner, Chairman of the Nebraska Medical Association’s Public Health Committee, proposes to use the proceeds of the taxes collected on these evil beverages to fund an “educational” campaign in Nebraska’s public schools to convince kids to eat what the government tells them to. Parents, obviously, have no clue and, therefore, their choices about what to eat at home and share with their children should be undermined at every turn.
Dr. Bob is a real political strategist, though. He’s designed a marketing plan for Avery’s soda tax bill. It doesn’t create and levy a new tax. No. Uh-uh. We can’t mention the “t” word. Too unpopular with the voters. So, according to Dr. Bob, Avery’s bill simply closes a tax loophole by eliminating the soda “subsidy.” Although the logic is tortured, his thought process is as follows: Soda is exempt from sales taxes because it’s a food. But, according to Dr. Bob, soda has no nutritional value, so it’s not a food. Therefore, to exempt it from taxation, like things Dr. Bob considers to be food, is to “subsidize” sodas and the soda industry.
Got it? He’s a silver-tongued devil, that one. I predict Dr. Bob has a bright career ahead of him in politics.
Converting school cafeterias to “public kitchens” serving government-approved, one size fits all meals. Are you aware that public schools — some right here in Nebraska — serve breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks, and, sometimes, dinner during the school year? In fact, some area schools continue to serve meals to students even when school is not in session (i.e., during summer vacation). 4 Interestingly, the summer lunches described in the linked article were being paid for by the USDA (in other words, by us through our federal tax ...continue I ask you, what are these school cafeterias but the precursor to the “public kitchens” depicted in the spoof article, above?5Another question occurs to me: If parents of children who qualify for free or reduced-cost meals at public schools (when they’re actually in ...continue
As for WHAT they serve, Michelle Obama’s crusade to eliminate obesity in our time (yeah, like that’s going to happen) has led Congress to adopt and the USDA to mandate changes in school lunch menus that, judging from a number of their blogs, students consider inedible and unsatisfying. For example, an enterprising Nebraska high school student calls his blog “School Lunches Suck.” Enough said. Parents’ online complaints tend toward bemoaning the “one size fits all” mentality behind government lunch. Apparently, the government thinks lunch must consist of a set number of calories, not to be exceeded even if you are a brawny ranch kid who does chores before school and spends after-school hours at football practice. And protein? Protein intake at lunch is limited to 10 to 12 ounces A WEEK.
So far, the net result of the healthy lunch campaign has been a decrease in the numbers of kids eating it. They either refuse it outright (in favor of a brown-bag lunch from home, fast food, or snack food from a nearby convenience store) or they discard the lion’s share of their healthy lunch in the nearest trash can. The latter trend is causing concerns about waste — both of food and of our tax dollars.6 But some food service directors recommend waiting out the lunch rebellion, and the waste, assured that time alone will make the rebels realize ...continue
With this regulatory mentality, how long are parents going to be permitted to pack a lunch for their own child to eat at school?7It’s already being seen as a problem. A Nebraska school official reportedly noted, “when prices go up and portions go down some parents ...continue Recent news reports lead me to conclude not long. Last year, a 4-year-old’s lunch of a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, potato chips, and apple juice, was confiscated by North Carolina state inspector and replaced with chicken nuggets. Why? The inspector decided the lunch provided by the child’s mother was not healthy enough. In Newport Beach, California, a tea called kombucha was confiscated from a child’s school lunch and the child was suspended for violating the school’s drug and alcohol policy for bringing it to school.
Heads up, folks, the food police are a-comin’! Soon, we’ll be settin’ up kitchens in the backwoods so we can enjoy some of that good old home-cookin’ on the sly. But then, we’ll have to keep a look out for them dad-blamed revenuers. I have just the song —
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Images in the post were found at the following links…
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Notes & References [ + ]
|1.||↑||I obtained this article, “Home Eating a Threat to Public Kitchens,” posted on a homeschool discussion board. Authorship is unknown. It is not exactly the same article I recall reading over a decade ago, but it is very similar.|
|2.||↑||Last year, Avery introduced a bill to require fast food kids’ meals containing a toy to meet certain nutritional standards in order to be sold in Nebraska. That bill was promptly killed, but Avery has promised to resurrect it this session so it can be the subject of “discussion.”|
|3.||↑||This quote is taken from Lewis’ God in the Dock, a series of essays concerning theology and ethics. The full quotation continues: “They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”|
|4.||↑||Interestingly, the summer lunches described in the linked article were being paid for by the USDA (in other words, by us through our federal tax dollars), but “free” REGARDLESS OF INCOME just for showing up.|
|5.||↑||Another question occurs to me: If parents of children who qualify for free or reduced-cost meals at public schools (when they’re actually in session) also qualify for and receive food stamps, are the parents given a lesser amount in food stamps because so much of their children’s nutritional intake is provided to them through school? If not, aren’t we taxpayers paying twice to see that those children are fed? Inquiring minds want to know.|
|6.||↑||But some food service directors recommend waiting out the lunch rebellion, and the waste, assured that time alone will make the rebels realize resistance to the new lunch regulations is futile. “But the most effective strategy, several food service directors said, may simply be waiting. ‘Research shows that children must be exposed to vegetables 10 to 12 times before they will eat them on their own,’ said William J. McCarthy, a professor of public health and psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. ‘If our task is to get young kids to eat more fruits and vegetables, we have to be willing to put up with the waste,’ he said.” Which only goes to show how very easy it is to spend other people’s money.|
|7.||↑||It’s already being seen as a problem. A Nebraska school official reportedly noted, “when prices go up and portions go down some parents become upset and begin sending lunch from home, which may not do much for the obesity epidemic. ‘Those lunches aren’t healthier than what we were serving last year,’ Novak said.” With government, it’s only one short step from recognizing something as a “problem” to introducing legislation to “solve” it.|