Monday, December 31, 2012

The Top 5 Best and Worst of 2012

It may be apparent from this list that the top 5 worst things from 2012 will be from a human society perspective, and the top 5 good things will largely be from a personal perspective.  Why?  Well, because I think there was not a whole lot of good for human society as a whole this year.  Feel free to correct me if you think I'm wrong.  These are all in ascending emphatic order.

The Top 5 Worst Things of 2012

5.  The End of the Twilight Saga:  Anyone who says that the Twilight Saga is "good cinema," is a teenage girl and/or a moron.  I have mixed feelings about this one because on one hand it's absolutely wonderful that this stain on artistic quality is finally over, but it's terrible because there had to be another movie in order for it to end.  I've long smashed the Twilight movie series for two reasons.  One: it's the worst writing coupled with the worst actors in recent memory.  Two: it was wildly successful at the box office.  It's a sad commentary on American society that such a horrific spectacle--a complete artistic failure on every level--did so well at the box office.

4.  NYC Nazis:  This one blows my mind because of how many people were actually supportive of it.  New York City Mayor Bloomberg championed the cause not of a curb in violence or better education for city kids . . . but of making sure that New Yorkers couldn't have too much soda when they go out to eat.  This is an affront to personal liberty on so many levels it makes my head hurt.  First of all, how the hell can the government tell a private business how big their serving cups can be?  Secondly, this just goes to prove that many government officials are tyrranical asshats that believe they have the power to make your decisions for you.  As if that wasn't enough, Bloomberg also thinks that new moms in NYC should be forced to breast feed because, you know, that's totally his business.

3.  The Aurora, CO Shooting:  Aside from the fact that it made me a little nervous to take my son with me to see The Dark Knight Rises on opening night, this was a complete nightmare for all involved, and for American society as a whole.  James Holmes killed 12ish people I think, one of whom was a child around 8 years old.  Of course, this raised the perennial question of "how could this have been prevented," and anyone with a brain answered "it can't."  James Holmes was a neuroscience PhD student with no history of mental illness, aggression, or violence.  For whatever reason, he snapped.  And of course, society snapped along with him.  Because of this, a movie-theater shoot-out scene was removed from the movie Gangbusters, because apparently it's too insensitve.  I'll leave you to ponder just how deeply idiotic and hypocritical that sounds coming from Hollywood.

What's funny is that Democrats think they
are the "winners."
2.  The Presidential Election:  It's not just the fact that Obama won that makes this close to the top: it's the fact that we were screwed no matter who won.  Romney or Obama: it's like choosing between a .357 revolver and a .45 USP to commit suicide with: either way, your brains are getting splattered on the wall behind you.  Aside from the fact that the Democrats are going to spend us into oblivion, the Republican Party was equally as terrible.  The RNC did everything in its power to stifle debate within the party.  They defrauded the Maine primary to screw over Ron Paul, they flat out changed the delegate rules so they could hand-pick delegates, and then they thought it'd be a great idea to adopt "pro-life without exception" as their official abortion platform.  Here's the problem with Democrats and Republicans: they're both becoming increasingly extreme.  Get.  A.  Clue.

1.  Sandyhook Elementary:  For me, this is easily the worst thing that happened this year.  An entire first-grade class was mercilessly slaughtered by psychopath Adam Lanza, who of course took his own life before he could be apprehended.  This event really crippled the soul of America.  Not only did it make a lot of parents feel uneasy about how safe their small children can be in such a horrifying world, but it re-ignited the gun control debate with a fiery ferocity.  This shooting is making the nation as crazy as Lanza.  To suggest that a complete psychopath is indicative of a larger societal problem is pretty ridiculous.  "Society is sick," so many people said.  No: the 1% of American population suffering from violent mental illness is sick.  I'm not sick.  Chances are that my readers are not sick.  But, in typical American fashion, since justice cannot be done upon Adam Lanza, we have to find an effigy to burn, a scapegoat to slaughter.  Gun ownership will take the fall for the crazies, the morons, and the criminals that make up a sliver of American society.

The Top 5 Best Things of 2012

My Great Library and Museum
5.  Minecraft:  Minecraft is a game that allows players to harvest 3 dimensional blocks and use them to build stuff.  It's been around for a lot longer than 2012, but it has been a great Minecraft year for me.  I play on a multiplayer server with some friends of mine, and many times over, I have successfully made their creative efforts look like the rambling iterations of small children.  "Go big or go home," is my motto.  It was a great time sink and the results were fairly breath-taking in my opinion.

4.  The Hobbit:  It's received mixed reviews from critics, but that's because they're morons.  A big complaint is that it "lacks the seriousness of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy."  Well, that's a "no shit Sherlock," moment right there, because the story of The Hobbit is not about the end times.  It's about a guy who is in way over his head, and he finds the courage to make the best of it.  It's also telling that most critics said that the first hour of the movie is "slow" and would be hard for children to sit through (facepalm if you get the irony of that).  I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and I'm glad that the world of film criticism has been exposed for what it really is.  Those idiots are not concerned with judging a film for what it is, but rather they judge it on what they want it to be.

3.  The Avengers:  What an achievement.  Marvel Studios made it happen: they had four iconic comic book characters have their time in the sun with their own individual full-length feature films, and then brought them all together--big-name actors and all--for one epic film.  The movie is a lot of fun with thrilling action and amazing chemistry between the characters.  The best part is that Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man will have more sequels and there will be another Avengers film.  To those who scoff at this sort of thing, I cordially invite you to pull the stick out of your ass and allow yourself to have a bit of fun.  Super Hero worship isn't just for Philistines, and a "good movie" doesn't have to be about the boring, hum-drum every day of "real people."  Hipsters are terrible.

2.  The Dark Knight Rises:  I'm sure by now you're noticing a theme.  2012 has been a great year for entertainment.  It's about the only thing good about 2012.  This brings me to the movie that I thought was superior to The Avengers, the final chapter in Christopher Nolan's Batman series.  The acting was superb--even Tom Hardy's Bane.  A lot of people said that he was forgettable because we could only see his eyes through the movie, but his eyes told a rich story.  The film was huge, every actor fit perfectly into their role (especially Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle aka Catwoman) and the film ended the series on a grand note.  Can there be revolution in our time, or are the only revolutionaries that exist anymore just terrorists?  Despite Bane's brutality and violence against humanity, he was right about the corruption and the sickness of society.  In his final installment, Noaln continued to encapsulate the angst and the moral ambiguity swirling in the minds of Americans.  Also, it was a lot of fun!

1.  Anne Hathaway:  She was amazing as Catwoman--stole the show, in my opinion--but she was even more amazing as Fantine in the screen adaptation of the Broadway production of Les Miserables.  I will admit it to the world: I shed a man-tear at her rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream."  It was visceral, it was real, and it was gut wrenching.  Why is this the best thing of 2012?  Because Anne Hathaway proved that amongst the dung-heap of Hollywood and the deteriorating collective creative and artistic mind of American society, there can still be a performance truly worthy of the adjective "beautiful."  While we're told to believe that movies like Avatar  and the whole Twilight saga are somehow "great films," we still have actors who are willing to give their heart and soul to show us what real talent and a magnificent performance really are.  Pitting Anne Hathaway and Kristin Stewart against each other would be like taking a watermelon to a Gallagher routine.  Thank you, Anne Hathaway, for proving that the world is not totally hopeless.

So there you have it.  Please feel free to give me your own top 5 best and worst stuff of 2012 in the comments.  Happy "One Year Closer to Dying"!  Let's hope 2013 is not as bleak as 2012.


Jersey McJones said...

How the heck do you say the Democrats are becoming "more extreme?"


Silverfiddle said...

@ Jersey: More spending, more debt, more people out of work, more laws, no budget for four years...

Jack: Nice wrap-up.

Jersey McJones said...

Silver, you genius conservative voters created all of that.

Please stop lying about that and admit the truth.

So, no answer? How exactly have the Dems become "more extreme?"


Stefan said...

hey jack,

just wanted to say i've been reading and enjoying your posts for the past few months ever since i searched for someone else's take on the Comedian from the Watchmen

i was curious what your opinion is of the James Holmes conspiracy theories. I don't believe in ufos, or big foot, or christianity for that matter but the documentary on youtube puts fourth a convincing case and feels much more like a documentary than a half-cocked theory. it's kind of frightening


Stefan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jack Camwell said...


When Democrats get real about ballancing the budget, then we can say they're not getting more extreme. Also, they need to stop complaining about outsourcing and trying to stick it to the "evil corporations."

The Republicans increased our spending on the damn wars, but the Democrats only want to spend MORE god damn money. ANd then they have the audacity to claim that a spending rate increase reduction is the same as a "budget cut."

Then there's this whole asinine notion that American public education is failing because it's not well enough funded.

Government money is the solution to every problem, the ACA is going to force another expense upon me, and apparently Obama thinks that he has the right to tell a food manufacturer how much salt it's allowed to put in its food recipes.

Please tell me how none of that is extreme.


Thanks for reading! You'll have to give me a bit to watch that documentary.

Jack Camwell said...


After having watched the documentary, I can say that I was pretty surprised. I expected it to be a bit on the crackpot side, but there's some unsettling facts pointed out about there being accomplices in the James Holmes shooting.

My hope against hope is that if it was a set-up, that it wasn't for anything too nefarious. Best case scenario is that it was just to spur the gun control debate.

I want to believe that such conspiracy theories are just products of paranoia, but then again it's not as if such things are impossible.

As I have been known to say: whenever you think things are bad, it's usually much, much worse.

Anonymous said...

Top 5 worst:

5. NDAA 2012 & 2013

4. Hurricane Sandy (Hook) =/

3. Senseless Wars

2. Federal Primaries & Election

1. NSA Naris, Bluffdale, Utah

Top 5 Best:

5. Rise.

4. Retiring of Space Shuttles.

3. Silicon-Graphene Batteries.

2. NASA Mars Curiosity.

1. CERN validation of the Standard Model

Silverfiddle said...

Jack answered it well.

Enjoy playing with yourself inside your fantasy bubble.

You guys own it all now. I'm just going to sit back and see how it all turns out.

My prediction for 2013? The progressives tire of beating conservatives to a bloody pulp and turn on one another.

Happy new year all!

Jersey McJones said...

Anyone who believes the Democrats are radical lefties who only want to spend money is a simpleton who needs to turn off the Fox Retard News and start brushing up on reality.


Jack Camwell said...

Anyone who thinks that the Democrats AREN'T radical lefties who only want to spend money is a simpleton who needs to turn off CNN and pay attention to the facts.

See what I did there? Please, Jersey, show me how Obama has NOT raised the budget deficit since he's been in office.

Jack Camwell said...

And btw: I don't watch Fox News.

Silverfiddle said...

I don't watch fox news either, so there goes Jersey's stereotypical theories...

Jersey McJones said...

Jack, name a radical Democratic proposal, or law, or whatever. Please, for f'n Christ's sake, NAME SOMETHING.

And really? You don't see how Obama inherited increased spending? Really??? Where were you??? F'n Mars???


Anonymous said...

Defending any of these snake politicians is intellectual suicide.

GB sr: "Read my lips"... cause im lying out my ass.

Bill Clinton: "We be peaceful n shit", btw heres some nafta, some illegal ass brady bill, some bombs illegally dropped, and a towel for those lips... play my sax bitch, hit those high notes.

GWB: "uhh whats the answer?" so some BLOODS tore up some buildings and some folks in our hood... lets wage an illegal war based on a lie, to go and smash shit in the CRIPS hood, just because we can... we know they didn't do shit... we don't care. What's a fruitbasket?

Obama: "I am your Prez, yo" Other than charisma and the cool factor, we might as well have Captain Jack Sparrow as the president, savvy? I don't know... what the future... holds... but. I know. we. can. get. there........together?

As for the whole conservative vs progressive, face it... there are hardly ANY conservatives anywhere in the federal government. They all want bigger government, more kickbacks for them and their criminal fuck corporate friends, and they are resisting freedom at every turn.

Matt Cavagrotti said...

Hi Jack,

I was brought to your blog by your comments on a news site about the "anarchist" plot to assassinate Obama.

I really like and identify with your unwillingness to be defined by partisan vocabulary. We need more people like you. You are free-thinking, intelligent, and fighting indoctrination.

I will be following your posts regularly.


Jack Camwell said...


Thank you for reading! It's always nice to get some fresh faces in here.

What news site did you get me from? I don't really recall commenting about a plot to assassinate the president, lol.

Jack Camwell said...


I already accounted for the spending increases done by the Republicans, and I did NOT blame Obama for that.

Since you asked, here's my proof. The ACA will add apx. $2 trillion to the budget deficit over 20 years.

Shall I continue? I'm sure I can find a credible chart that shows the increase in government spending since Obama took office.

Ducky's here said...

The Dark Knight? Might as well have picked Django Unchained.

When films are the highlight og the year(bad films at that) it's a bad year indeed.

Jack Camwell said...

Oh right, Ducky. Because movies about the every day lives of ordinary people are way better . . .

Jersey McJones said...


I don't care what fuckin' right wing Forbes thinks will happen, actually the ACA will save a lot of taxpayer money - the problem is what it will cost consumers on the private market. The ACA is not some perfect "liberal" "progressive" law(s). It was negotiated, and the grey areas between agreement are becoming a little clearer now.

We need a single payer system. We all pay in and we all get the same benefits. If we can pay more for better, then good for us. If we can't, we should at least be assured that we have a right to life in America.


Jack Camwell said...


The so called "savings" aren't going to reduce the deficit TODAY. They'll reduce the deficit that takes into account the amount added by the ACA.

Let's say the budget today is $1 trillion. Then let's say that with the ACA, the new budget would be $1.3 trillion. Sure, the ACA may cost less in 20 years, but the budget will still be $1.1 trillion--no closer to actually reducing the current deficit.

Now, do you outright deny that government spending has increased since Obama took office in 2008? And you seriously cannot say that it's all Bush's fault.

Jersey McJones said...

And you're still talking about money and not your fellow man's life...

Do you think America really is just any one American?


KP said...

JMJ, you are a reasonable guy. I get the feeling that when you go to a meeting, a gathering or a party, you don't show up, you arrive. Strong, smart, good looking doode. You are probably the alpha dog. I could be wrong, but so what. You project well so it doesn't matter in this medium. I say all that with thumbs up.

Would you mind sharing what it is you want to see in America? I am going to go out on a limb and say you and me and Jack agree on just about everything you list.

That means we don't disagree on much. Maybe some policy here and there and how to get from here to there. But that's not much.

FreeThinke said...

Very perceptive comments, Jack. I especially like and agree with your evaluation of the year's "worsts." Since contemporary popular entertainment has not interested me in many years I'm not qualified to evaluate your choices in that area, although I'm glad to see poor Shakespeare's wife has gotten away from raising Shakespeare's brats in that quaint-but-uncomfortable-looking cottage in Stratford-in-Avon and come into her ow at last.

Anyone here seen the movie version of Victor Hugo's novel with Frederic March as Jean Valjean and Charles Laughton as his cold-hearted, fanatically legalistic antagonist?

I saw it recently on TCM and found it gripping, absorbing and extremely touching.

I applaud also they way you've answered antagonistic questions.

At the risk if sounding condescending from the tone of this post and your responses to others it appears you have grown up a great deal in recent weeks.

Good job!

~ FreeThinke

Jack Camwell said...

I don't take it as condescension. I think my approach to commenters is generally the same as it has always been. The only time I get pissy is when people baltantly ignore everything I say in my responses to them. That is absolutely madenning (that is not directed towards you at all).

And the tone I use in the article largely depends on how I'm feeling when I write it. Some topics just send me through the roof because of how absolutely ridiculous some people's opinions seem to me.

I also get vituperative if there is something going on that I see as an affront to our personal liberties. Take the whole sodium content regulation in food issue. It's ludicrous to me that there are people who actually SUPPORT that.

jez said...

I can support instances of salt regulation. Eg. in bread: if all manufacturers agreed to reduce salt content gradually enough, the customer doesn't notice the change but after a while he would benefit significantly from lowered salt intake. But it has to be done across the board, because consumers will choose saltier bread (if the difference is big enough to notice), so no manufacturer would do it without agreement from all his competitors.

There's no competition over this, because no mainstream manufacturer can lower its salt unilaterally without loosing so much market share that they aren't viable any more. That's the reality of the market most of us are in (I guess you could buy from artisan bakers, but that gets a bit spendy). The consumer's only real option is to bake his own bread instead.

I don't care it needs regulation or if it can be done through friendly agreement, I'd just much rather it happened than didn't happen.

Jack Camwell said...

Option C: People can buy the myriad of low sodium options already provided by most food manufacturers.

Jez, I can eat as much salt as I want, and my blood pressure stays at 120/80. However, a friend of mine who is about 5 years younger than me has to keep very close watch on his salt intake because he has a blood pressure problem.

Salt itself is not a bad thing, but it depends on an individual's physiology to determine how that person's body reacts to it. So if the current level of sodium content in food is not a problem for me and millions of other Americans, why the hell do we want to lower sodium content accross the board simply because some people can't eat too much salt?

Why do Democrats feel the need to tell order a food manufacturer to change its recipe simply because they think it'll be healthier for everyone?

"But this gives more freedom in your food taste, because then you can just add more salt to it to taste." Do you really think I would want to SALT my billogna or ham? SHould I have to salt my crackers? How about foods that are soaked in brine? Do we limit the salt content in soaking brine as well?

This is just like the NY soda cup thing. How the hell can the government limit drinking cup size?! Maybe it is a public health issue, but I see the bigger public health issue as being the fact that there are too many people who simply do not give a shit about their own health.

It will be interesting to see if there are fewer obese people, or people with diabetes, in NYC as a result of the cup size limit.

My guess? Probably not. It is a useless measure that simply screws over private businesses. When a product is not dangerous in moderation--and hell, when it's not dangerous to most people even in occasional excess--the government has no business regulating said product. It's up to the individual to see to his or her own personal health needs/restrictions.

jez said...

What brand of bread is that? (genuine question! -- I don't live in America so I don't know basic things like this).

I'm not demonising salt by any means (it's vital to many delicious foods) but still, I think it's reasonable to resent high levels of background salt, unavoidably included in ubiquitous foods like bread. It's hard to avoid bread. It's daily. That's its point. It's easier to cut down on cured meat than it is to eschew bread.

"why the hell do we want to lower sodium content accross the board"

You shouldn't care because you wouldn't notice. Humans can't detect sufficiently gradual changes to the salt content of bread.

Anyway, few people as young as us suffer with hypertension regardless of our diet, but we'd be foolish to forget that every old man's state of health was greatly influenced by his youthful habits. I certainly can't "eat as much salt as I want" without exposing myself to some rather obvious risks.

KP said...

Jack, you nailed it on the sodium issue. Just nailed it.

Ideolougues: a little knowledge, mixed with a few grains (pun intended) of emotion, mixed with power is a dangerous thing. More dangerous than salt!

jez said...

I don't require Jack to agree with me, but I do want him to explain what is ludicrous in his opinion about a regulation (reduced salt in bread) that would benefit some (the salt sensitive) and not inconvenience anything else. I think I understand why you might consider the principle of minimal regulation to be more important, but that doesn't explain why you think the regulation is ludicrous.

Jack Camwell said...


The notion of the government telling a company how much SALT they are allowed to put in their food is ludicrous to me, especially when we are considering BREAD of all things, that already has a low sodium content.

This becomes even more ludicrous when there are nutrition fact labels on all foods, such as bread, so the consumer can very easily compare and contrast. Of all the people I've known who have blood pressure issues or heart disease, bread is the last thing they think of when they try to lower their sodium intake.

Salt is safe. If you ingest high quantities of it every day for a long period of time, then depending on your body's physiology, you MAY develop blood pressure issues or some other things in the future. But guess what: if you ingest high levels of sugar every day for a long period of time, you MAY develop diabetes, or become obese. SO should we start limiting the sugar content in food? Should we outlaw candy because it's like 90% sugar? Or how about ice cream?

The government has absolutely NO RIGHT to dictate food recipes to companies so long as the ingredients are safe and part of a healthy diet.

If you know you have blood pressure problems, or you would just like a lower sodium diet, then by all means go ahead and buy all of the low-sodium options of food that are already out there. But don't punish the people who would prefer to buy the normal recipe.

Companies ALREADY provide low-sodium options, and they did that without the government telling them to.

jez said...

Well, we live in different countries so our markets may be very different. At least in the UK:

1) not all bread has nutritional labels (fresh bread has none),

2) bread is a significant source of salt -- many types of bread contain more salt per slice than a packet of crisps, which I would naively consider to be a "salty" food. Maybe your hypertensive friends are missing a trick by ignoring bread (or maybe American bread is already less salty?)

3) I am unaware of any low sodium breads, although I haven't looked hard to be fair. If they exist, I wonder how they survive when even hypertensive shoppers like your friends don't choose it.

You didn't really answer the question I was trying to ask -- I think this is one of those occassions where the true intention of the question was unclear to you. I'll try again:

Is any regulatory measure which benefitted some but inconvenienced no-one ludicrous? Or is it that you disbelieve that a) reduced salt in bread would help some people or b) gradually reduced salt content across all brands would not inconvenience anyone?

Jack Camwell said...

I believe that it would be an inconvenience. You might think that people wouldn't notice their bread tasting differently, but some would. It's like how the commercial always says that "Diet Dr. Pepper tastes just like regulard Dr. Pepper!" It doesn't. I can taste the difference.

But if we are talking about sodium content that is so miniscule that the human tongue can't detect the difference in taste, then are we even talking about a sodium amount that is even necessary to reduce?

Perhaps there are no low-sodium breads here in America, but like I said: I know plenty of people with severe hypertension issues (genetic), and they don't care about the bread they eat.

I would also challenge the notion that bread has as much or more sodium than a junk-food item. For example, I just looked at the bread I have, and 1 slice contains 125 mg of sodium. 1 serving of some Goldfish crackers has 250 mg of sodium, and those are considered to be healthier than, say, your average tin of Pringles, or any other brand of chips (crisps in your parlents).

Even so, inconvenience isn't so much the issue as it is the government sticking its nose where it doesn't belong. The people I know with hypertension issues get along just fine in terms of their sodium intake, and they do so without government regulation on food recipes. They are responsible enough to pay attention to their sodium intake. Perhaps this isn't a thing in the UK, but almost every brand of food as a "low sodium" option. Heck, even junk food has low-sodium options.

The American government has absolutely ZERO constitutional ground to control a substance that is not unsafe under normal levels of consumption.

jez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jez said...

We're talking about gradually cutting the salt, small incremental changes that add up, over a few months or years, to the kind of change that you would notice if it happened instantly. You wouldn't notice it only because it would be gradual. This scenario is quite a lot different from detecting the diet version of Dr. Pepper (I reckon I could do that too).

"I would also challenge the notion that bread has as much or more sodium than a junk-food item."

If you wish, but that's not the point. Bread doesn't have to be as salty as the saltiest foods in order to be a significant source of it, because bread is a major part of our diet, while crisps are not -- or, if you do eat lots of crisps, you are consciously choosing a salty diet in a way that you aren't if you just happen to have sandwiches every day.

If you're saying that salt regulation is unconstitutional, that's a different (and less far interesting) argument. But you said it was ludicrous, which I think is a greater claim -- as well as protecting you from lots of bad ideas, your constitution disallows plenty of reasonable ones.

Jack Camwell said...

Okay, let's throw out some facts.

The American Heart Association considers "low-sodium" to be 140 mg or less of sodium per serving.

My bread has 125 mg per serving. So already, my bread is considered to be low-sodium. Why make it even lower in bread? So no, bread is not that significant of a sodium source. The America Heart association also recommends about 1,500 mg of sodium a day to stay healthy and prevent heart disease. If I eat one sandwich a day, that will account for 250 mg of the 1500 they say I should have. So no, bread is not a very significant source of sodium.

I've said this all along: it's ludicrous to think that the government has any power to tell someone how to make their food. Like I said, sugar is unhealthy in large quantities, so are we going to start limiting sugar content because some people choose not to eat a healthy ballanced diet?

No, we shouldn't. Believing that the government has ANY business dictating how a food product is produced so long as it is safe--and yes, bread with its current sodium level is in fact safe--is ludicrous to me.

Let people enjoy their salty foods as they see fit. Let private manufacturers decide how their own recipes are to be made.

There is a fundamental difference between yours and my thought on this. You seem pretty okay with the government doing this sort of thing. I, however, believe that in matters such as this, the government should piss off. Let them make their food however they want, and let me choose whether or not a I want a low-sodium option.

I DO NOT want or need the government to make my choices for me. And as far as everyone else? Well, it's honestly none of my damn business how they eat. Maybe they're too stupid to eat healthy, or maybe they just don't care. That's the thing with freedom: people need to be free to make poor decisions.

Maybe you're comfortable with a nanny state that tells your wife she MUST breast feed, and tells you that a 32 oz soda cup is too much for you, or tells you that you're not allowed to produce your food with a certain amount of sodium--but I'm not comfortable with that.

Anonymous said...

Making much ado about nothing. That seems to be Jez's main interest whenever he writes. How petty-minded!

-----------> Katharine Heartburn

jez said...

Well, 250mg is one sixth of the allowance, so I'm not sure why you're saying that's not significant. Our Dept. of Health claims that a fifth of Brits' salt intake comes from bread, not much larger than your estimate but still enough to make it the largest single contributor.

What fraction would you consider to be significant?

Re the government pissing off: would you have those nutritional information labels if the fda didn't insist on it? That's another genuine question (I'm a foreigner!) -- but I don't think we'd have them if they weren't required (and, when it's not required eg. for fresh bread, it's not provided).

We do have a fundamental difference in thought, but it it is not the matter of choice -- we are both in favour of it. you think the way to maximise choice is to minimise government regulation, whereas I perceive that the unfettered market is itself capable of restricting choice, and that therefore (very selective) regulation can mitigate this and give choice back to the consumer. For example regulating salt (only in bread!) increases choice for the salt-wary customer while leaving plenty of non-bread options open for the customer who enjoys noticeably salty foods (which don't include bread, even when it is quite salty). Not regulating subjects everyone to a significant level of unavoidable background salt.

With regard to this fundamental disagreement, history may be instructive. Consider the liberal reforms of the 19th century, which made it possible for workers to live dignified and healthy lives in cities, through regulation. Are you going to say that those Nannying Whigs restricted choice? To me, it looks like just the opposite.

I can see why you think about regulation the way you do, but I think you're wrong; and I think you're use of the adjective "ludicrous" is misjudged.

Freethinke: glad to see you're rising above all that!

Jack Camwell said...

There is a *huge* difference between outlawing child labor and telling someone how he is allowed to make his food.

Forcing companies to include nutritional information increases our ability to make informed choices about our diet. Limiting sodium content in food FORCES those choices upon us.

Want less sodium in your diet? Eat an apple. Don't buy junk food. Buy only foods that say "low sodium." Don't buy processed foods.

What if I, like most people, am completely okay with the level of sodium in my bread? What if I WANT my bread to contain 125 mg of sodium per slice because I think it tastes great?

Or what if I, a private citizen, want to bake and sell bread to others. What if I think that 130 mg of bread makes mine taste better than everyone elses? That's my right as a private citizen to decide how much sodium I include in MY recipe. If my bread contains too much sodium for someone, then they are allowed to NOT BUY IT.

Yes, many people are too stupid to make the right choices, but that's life. As I said before, freedom of choice means we have to be free even to make the WRONG choices.

The government has absolutely zero right, authority or whatever to regulate SAFE substances. There is not even any philosophical foundation for government regulation of safe substances.

It's philosophical, jez. The government has no right to tell me how to live my life, and it has no right to impose it's dietary standards on me or any other human being.

You know what I do if I know I have to eat less sodium? I eat foods lower in sodium. Didn't need the government looking out for me to do that. What about the idiots that don't make the right decisions? Fuck 'em. The government needs to leave my food alone and let me decide how much or how little I eat.

What's next? Government regulations on portion size? Like I said, you might be comfortable with the nanny state, but I'm not.

jez said...

I understand your sentiments.

In almost every market, I agree with you. I only support regulation in this isolated instance because of highly specific properties of bread, which you dismiss. No wonder it seems ludicrous to you: lots of things do when you ignore almost every detail.

If you think that unfettered capitalism generates the best range of solutions in every market, you must be wearing some marvelous blinkers. Hopefully you can perceive this point really but are too frightened of ceding the necessary authority to government to admit it. That's a worthwhile fear, especially when you live in a country the size of a continent.