Diary

Observation #4: In Celebration of the Big Mac

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I recently stopped in a local McDonald’s for my once-every-two-month treat.  After I got terrorized from watching just half of the documentary Supersize Me, my trips to McDonald’s was cut back.  Speaking of McDonald’s, their’s is a case study in the beauty of capitalism.  In fact, McDonald’s is the paragon of capitalism.  Ray Kroc created for fast food what Ford did for the automobile industry, what Carnegie did for steel, what Rockefeller did for oil and Harriman for railroads.  For this, he belongs in the capitalism Hall of Fame.

But like all good things associated with capitalism, he had his enemies.  Early on, some saw him as a ruthless businessman, but then most successful businessmen are ruthless.  Recently, they have attacked McDonald’s for their business plan- specifically the fact that they pay minimum wage for entry level positions.  By definition, entry level, low skill workers should be paid minimum wage, but the Left does not see it that way.  Instead, they’ve abandoned the call for a minimum wage and now yell for a “living wage,” which they have arbitrarily established at $15 an hour.  That’s $15 an hour to flip a burger, get the order wrong, and become an inaudible voice in the Drive-Thru window.  According to the website Glass Door, a shift manager at your average McDonald’s makes $9.86/hour, or $20,500 a year.  But, if you are a store’s general manager, you make $22.20/hour, or $46,200/year.  Not bad…

Refugees from the Occupy Wall Street movement occasionally instigate fast food workers to demand their right to something they don’t have a right to and occasionally they are joined by Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders marching in solidarity.  But did you ever wonder what happens after the protest is over?  I’m guessing the workers realize they lost three hours of wages and that is perhaps one used video game on E-Bay.

Instead, a more insidious and evil attack has been unleashed on the likes of McDonald’s- the food police and the dreaded food pyramid.  Excuse me- the pyramid has been retired.  Some claim it was too phallic, so they adopted the food plate.  The food plate is simply the pyramid, just arranged differently to appease the food feminists.  But, it still contains the five food groups: fruits, grains, vegetables, protein and dairy.  My trip to McDonald’s and the innundation of nutritional information and healthy choices blew my mind.  Since when, I wondered, were salads offered?  And who stops at McDonald’s for a salad?  I remember getting my kids the occasional Happy Meal treat.

Speaking of Happy Meals, did you know that the toys they gave out are now collector items?  They capture a pretty penny on E-Bay and other sites.  Unfortunately, when we moved I tossed a whole bin of these things.  That explains why I am a bad capitalist.  I’ll never appear on American Hoarders.  Anyway, I noticed that when the father in front me ordered a Happy Meal for his child, the person behind the counter asked if they wanted apple slices or yogurt.  “What heresy is this?” I thought.  Where was that small order of fries.  Then he was asked whether the drink would be milk or apple juice.  To make matters worse, it was fat free chocolate milk or low fat white milk.  They aren’t even the good milks!!  Obviously, the side of yogurt or apple slices dictates the drink.  If you’re getting the apple slices, then go for the milk.  You don’t want too much dairy or too many  fruits.

Back to me.  I ordered the #1, or Big Mac meal.  Unlike juveniles, I was offered a wide array of drink choices so I poured a cup of that orange Hi-C drink because carbonated drinks make me burp (except beer for some unexplained quirk of my digestive tract).

This reminded me of an incident in the school where I substitute teach.  While on lunch duty with the kindergarten kids, one little boy had a single red, strawberry Twizzler.  After eating his school-provided lunch (more on that in a minute), a security guard swooped in as he put the Twizzler near his mouth and scolded him about bringing candy into school.  The little boy- being his second week in school- obviously cried and no doubt felt some guilt over his crime.  I’ve also seen the food Nazis sweep in and take bags of Doritos from students.  And like all good Nazis, they probably ate the bag after the lunch duty was over.

The fight against McDonald’s and about school lunches is just one battle in the bigger battle over food and the government telling us what is best for us.  One of the biggest proponents of these draconian food rules, Alice Waters, says the “idea that we have been indoctrinated to believe that food should be fast, cheap and easy is destroying the world.”  In other words, food preparation should be slow, hard and expensive.  In other words, what your average third-world diner is accustomed to.  Put yet another way, the conveniences wrought by capitalism is “destroying the world.”

What really upsets the food Nazis is not based on nutritional values or health concerns.  These are the same people who extol the virtues of organic food even though many studies have shown that organic foods have no nutritional advantage over non-organic foods.  Not only are they more expensive, I swear they do not taste as good.  So what do the food Nazis propose?  Food socialism!  They want non-organic food labeled, thus raising its price equal to or approximating organic food prices.  I have a better idea: if it is not labeled “organic,” assume it is not organic!

Which brings me to genetically-modified organisms (GMO) and by organisms, I mean food.  News flash: food has been genetically modified since food has been around.  Humans have simply sped up the process, starting with Gregor Mendel.  But the food Nazis try to scare people into not buying these foods conjuring up maladies and such.  They don’t tell you that GMO decrease the need for pesticides, less weed control and higher yields.  All they ask for is labeling.  In fact, the people in India and many third world countries are thankful for GMO since GMO rice saved many a poor Indian (and Bengali) from starvation and likely death.

But those demands are based on food ignorance and Nazis are pretty ignorant people.  They are ignorant of the complexity of the food supply chain.  Besides, it is discriminatory and likely to violate Brown vs. Board of Education since GMO have to be segregated from non-GMO at all stages from the field to storage to transport to the grocery shelf.  All of that adds to the cost and that is again an example of food socialism.  If your product cannot compete on the free market, change the market.  Except they cloak it in things like “health” and “obesity.”

And in the interest of public health, best espoused by Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (a Nazi socialist-sounding organization if there ever was one), he “envisions taxes on butter, potato chips, whole milk, cheese and meat.”  Not to mention large soda sizes while subsidizing vegetables and fruits, preferably organically and locally grown.  In other words, the food Nazis want us to eat like poor third world country inhabitants.

We can all fight the food Nazis by having a National Big Mac Day.  This way, we get our grain (the bun) but insist it not be that nasty whole grain stuff they serve in school lunches (whole grain pizza?  Really?).  We get our vegetable- the pickle and lettuce, our protein- the meat, and our dairy- the cheese.  The only thing we’re missing is a fruit, so just ask for a side of apple slices along with your fries (another vegetable).  The Big Mac is as close to the food plate/pyramid perfection as it comes.  And God knows what we’re getting with the secret sauce…its a secret.  But whatever it is, it has to be good because it tastes good.  It is certainly better than any salad McDonald’s offers (NO- croutons are too small to count as an adequate intake of grain).

In conclusion, fight the food tyranny.  Order a Big Mac the next time you pass a McDonald’s.  You will not only be striking a blow against the food Nazis, you’ll be striking a blow for capitalism.