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J. KARL MILLER: Blaming Ronald McDonald for obesity is just the tip of the iceberg

Saturday, May 28, 2011 | 9:24 p.m. CDT; updated 8:56 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 31, 2011

COLUMBIA — One of these days, I hope to see the American people rise up from their lethargic "silent majority" pose to emulate King Henry II in his reference to Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury: "Can no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?"

But in lieu of "meddlesome priest," they will substitute "meddlesome, nonelected watchdog groups, activists, trial lawyers, busybodies and other assorted pests — all seeking more government intervention in everyday choices.

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The most recent and perhaps the silliest is the campaign organized by Corporate Accountability International, a nonprofit watchdog that has enlisted more than 550 health care professionals and organizations to force McDonald's to retire Ronald McDonald. Apparently, some self-appointed genius has determined that Ronald is the icon of the junk food industry and, as such, the primary culprit in today's obesity epidemic.

According to the Davie Brown Index, which was compiled by Omnicom Group's Marketing Arm, Ronald McDonald is the fourth-most readily recognized advertising figure. He represents the Ronald McDonald House, the "home away from home" that enables families to remain close to hospitalized children at little or no cost. Thus, the campaign against poor Ronald is reminiscent of Dickens' Ebenezer Scrooge and his "Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses" response to needy families.

From the Center for Science in the Public Interest's 1994 campaign to demonize movie theater popcorn to suggesting government control of restaurant food portions to removing toys from Happy Meals to the trashing of poor Ronald, we are rapidly moving from the ridiculous to the idiotic. Let's face facts: Neither advertising nor food makes one fat. Eating too much and moving too little are the culprits, and both are matters of personal responsibility.

The same meddling cabals that made pariahs of smokers have directed their well-financed and insidious campaigns at fast foods, targeting Ronald and the golden arches as the symbols of obesity. Attacking the industry with the same fear tactics employed against tobacco interests, these movements appeal to the well-meaning and ill-informed, as well as to those who find no fault with state regulation of individual behavior.

To its credit, McDonald's rejected deep-sixing the smiling clown at its annual meeting, stating Ronald would stay the course. CEO Jim Skinner opined that this issue was about choice and people's individual rights. 

This passion to regulate virtually every aspect of society does not end at tobacco and diet/nutrition but also extends to public health, firearms, recreation, education, entertainment and child rearing. For example, voters in a Corporate Accountability International poll named Coca-Cola as a culprit causing future scarcity of potable water in its Corporate Hall of Shame '09. Voters in 2008  named Monsanto as a mass producer of cancer-causing chemicals and Blackwater Worldwide, now known as Xe Services, for killing unarmed Iraqis and Halliburton as leading war profiteer as some of the worst corporations.

Public health is a legitimate concern of government as control of and protection from communicable diseases, along with threats of chemical and biological attacks, are functions within the scope of the common good. And, while smoking and poor nutrition are health hazards, they must remain areas of personal decision and responsibility. Programs to educate perceived abusers are welcome; however, state regulation of consumption is but a preemption of individual and parental responsibility.

While some may consider this an overreaction, Edmund Burke's "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing" is germane. I don't allege the campaigns against tobacco, fast foods, sugary vending machine snacks, etc., are evil, but standing by and ignoring that government or unelected bureaucrats are making decisions that were once your responsibility is inherently dangerous.

Once that camel's nose is under the tent, it becomes progressively simpler for government and bureaucrats to expropriate citizens' rights or for individuals to voluntarily relinquish obligations and decisions heretofore the prerogative of the individual. Regardless of how benign or well-intentioned the authority, do we really wish to be told where we may locate our businesses or our homes, the size of our autos, what we may eat and drink, what doctors we may see, ad infinitum?

I might add, there are also those in positions of authority who would regulate behavior, control growth and redistribute the wealth through taxation. "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty," in a speech by abolitionist Wendell Phillips in 1852 before the Massachusetts Anti-slavery Society, is no less relevant 150 years later.

With tactics reminiscent of the Temperance movement, activists have done in Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man. Since they are comfortable demonizing Ronald McDonald, then Colonel Sanders, Keebler Elves, Cap'n Crunch and Santa Claus should watch their backs!

J. Karl Miller retired as a colonel in the Marine Corps. He is a Columbia resident and can be reached via e-mail at JKarlUSMC@aol.com.

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Comments

Ellis Smith May 29, 2011 | 5:39 a.m.

Right on, Karl!

Next thing you know they'll be resurrecting Carrie Nation and her axe to do their dirty work. "Take THAT, Ronald McDonald!" If Carrie could bust up saloon then she could certainly do a number on poor Ronald.

Carrie was from Kansas, you know. They do strange things in Kansas. :)

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams May 29, 2011 | 7:31 a.m.

Karl:

How to stop these intrusions?

Simple.

Christians need to take up these ideas and promote them.

With the current aversion for all things Christian, these notions will be stopped in their tracks.

After all, you KNOW how much those Christians like to control private lives.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance May 29, 2011 | 3:33 p.m.

Wow, the First Lady says kids are too fat and instead saying "yeah, they are", it becomes a "liberty" issue. Leave it to the conservatives of modest means to come to the defense of corporate America instead of figuring out ways to help with childhood obesity. Good job. BTW, defending Corporate America will not make you prosperous, it makes you look foolish.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 29, 2011 | 5:09 p.m.

She's going after your freedom fries!!! They're going after your freedom fries!!! They want to shut down the temple of doom and Pepsi cola!!!

They're coming to take them away!!!
They're going to take them away!!!

Don't let them take one gram.

You can pry my greasy fries from my cold dead fingers.

If I must give my life in this struggle I know that it is a worthwhile sacrifice because I will pass through the pearly golden arches.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking May 29, 2011 | 5:10 p.m.

Why is McDonald's a popular place to eat? Because people like their food, or things related to that (like convenience and hours). I have no problem with them making money off giving people what they want. (I never eat there, BTW, but this is just because I seldom eat out - I like my own cooking).

Corporate America exists because it gives us what we want. If you don't like Corporate America, don't buy their stuff, and convince people you know not to buy their stuff. They'll then go away.

DK

(Report Comment)
frank christian May 29, 2011 | 5:41 p.m.

Tim Dance - "defending Corporate America will not make you prosperous, it makes you look foolish.

Think about the Really foolish, the ones who continually condemn corporate America, without considering that they can no longer make a move without some Federal governmental authority. Look in the mirror.

(Report Comment)
david smith May 30, 2011 | 2:44 p.m.

Tim
Why doesnt the first lady take some of her own advice? The media likes to compare her beauty to Jackie Onassis.......please

The libs try to ban Ronald McDonald at the same time they try to legalize marijuana, classic

(Report Comment)
J Karl Miller May 30, 2011 | 3:26 p.m.

Tim, contrary to the knee jerk reaction, this column is not a conservative v. liberal issue, a slap at the First Lady nor even a defense of corporate America. It is no secret that not only kids are too fat but too many adults run to obesity also. The notion that doing away with Ronald McDonald will somehow encourage children to eat their spinach, apples and other fruits and veggies is a fool's errand. The government is not a substitute for parental supervision, will power nor common sense.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance May 30, 2011 | 7:36 p.m.

Col,

You're column frequently reflects what's been banging around the Republican echo chamber, this is no different. You have been a dutiful minion.

Mark, Really? You believe that corporations will just go away? Remember some of them are "too big to fail". Your simplistic and poetic market ideals don't mesh with the reality that we live in an oligarchy, not a democracy or a republic. Fewer and fewer people are controlling the vast amount of wealth, so when they see people like Frank, the Col, and yourself talk about the" market and "economic freedom, it puts their minds to ease. Why? because they know they only have 1 vote and if the vast majority of people wake up from the American "nightmare" and realize how screwed they are, change would occur and they wouldn't like it.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance May 30, 2011 | 7:47 p.m.

David,

Wow the Col takes me to task about this not being a liberal or conservative column, but doesn't extend you the same admonishment. Really hypocritical.
Plus, what chauvinistic point are you trying to make. What does obese kids have to do with the first ladies "beauty". When kids and teenagers start getting type 2 diabetes, it time to address the problem.

(Report Comment)
frank christian May 30, 2011 | 9:40 p.m.

Tim D. - "vast majority of people wake up from the American "nightmare" and realize how screwed they are, change would occur and they wouldn't like it." Poor boy. You must be miserable!

(Report Comment)
hank ottinger May 30, 2011 | 9:44 p.m.

Tim tries to take this back to a (not "the") core issue, to wit, the growth of serious health problems, notably childhood diabetes and overall obesity in the US which--and here's the serious side effect, if you will--the catastrophic medical expenses associated with it. Ideally, enlightened parents would oversee their kids' diets, but the availability of cheap (subsidized) food is altogether enticing and the problem grows and grows. Cheap, lousy food that's promoted by silly clowns lures kids into wolfing down fries, cheeseburgers, and shakes, as well as high fructose corn-syruped cereals, juices, and desserts. We can talk all we want about intruding on corporate policies and profits, but in the long run, folks, we're all paying a price for the consequences.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance May 30, 2011 | 11:43 p.m.

Hank, my point is that this is indeed an serious problem. However, the likes of Frank and the the Col want to make this into some sort of anti-Obama, anti-government issue. Wish they would speak against those meddlesome pests that bother woman at Planned Parenthood trying to get medical care. Nobody elected them either, but that sort of government intrusion is okay. How sad that the likes of the right wing care more about a child not born, than a child that is already here heading down a life of diabetic maintenance. It is rather pathetic.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle May 31, 2011 | 12:24 a.m.

Attacking a clown used for 'fat food' ads is asinine. It won't reduce obesity, lower healthcare costs, or much of anything else. I'd be happy with one less clown in the world, but it would have zero impact on dietary health.

However, if... "The government is not a substitute for parental supervision, will power nor common sense." ...then why does it spend tens of billions per year on marijuana prohibition? If you don't want a "Nanny State," fine, but the entire War on Drugs (which is mostly just a war on pot) is 110% a "Nanny State" policy.

This incongruity is a fundamental flaw in the neocon thought process: That big government and regulations are terrible, horrible, no good interference, especially when it comes to businesses with the potiential (and probability) to poison us and our environment; but... we need even MORE big government and regulations to keep individuals from relatively innocuous activities like getting high.

People who talk out of both sides of their mouth like that are imbeciles. It's a complete inversion of our Constitution, where individuals are seen to have few rights or liberties, but corporations should be able to do whatever the heck they please. If a corporation like Goldman Sachs could smoke pot, it would likely be perfectly legal for that corporation to do so, even while government would bust your door down and throw you in jail for the same thing. There are plenty of tangible financial equivalents of this tenet already.

Obesity-related diseases kill hundreds of thousands more Americans per year than pot use does. OTOH, cannabis has been proven, in double-blind clinical trials, to be an incredibly safe and reasonably effective medication, and has even been shown to have real cancer-fighting properties. Maybe those darned liberals are half right, after all.

The half that they are still totally wrong about is trying to push some stupid advertising clown off stage.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith May 31, 2011 | 9:04 a.m.

I agree that this matter isn't about conservative vs. liberal viewpoints. The fact those viewpoints have been brought into the discussion says far more about the posters than it does about the topic.

I don't believe anyone is barred from patronizing a McDonald's, nor has anyone been dragged to one, kicking and screaming.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm May 31, 2011 | 11:41 a.m.

@ Mr Miller

You have portrayed this topic in a very slanted and nonfactual manner. I will give you the benefit of the doubt that it was not deliberate but when taking past articles written by you into account that is quite the leap of faith.

First, Corporate Accountability International is not seeking Federal involvement in this matter. They are requesting that McDonald's voluntarily retire Ronald at the companies next share holder meeting.

"A group called Corporate Accountability International plans to ask Ronald to retire at the company's annual meeting on Thursday."-Chicago Tribune

As much as you would like to paint this as another case of the federal government over reaching it is simply not true. Of course if you are not fear mongering then you don’t know what to write about do you?

Second, CAI was joined by McDonald's shareholders in asking that they retire Ronald as the company mascot. Two main reasons being cited; the health concerns and Ronald's poor performance in marketing surveys. Are you knocking on McDonald’s own shareholders for doing this also? Do they not have a right to request this?

In reality this is a case of one group of citizens (CAI) trying to get another group of citizens (McDonald's) to do something WITHOUT the government getting involved. Is this not what conservatives have been seeking from progressives for some time? Are you so deluded with attacking progressives that you cannot even recognize things for what they are anymore?

Here is an article on the topic that does not have Miller's obvious and classless regressive slant to it...

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/c...

Here is a copy of the actual letter to McDonald's CEO Jim Skinner...

http://www.lettertomcdonalds.org/pdfs/Le...

You will notice that there is no mention of government involvement; it is simply some citizens dealing with other citizens directly.

(Report Comment)
Frank O'Keefe May 31, 2011 | 12:58 p.m.

This topic gets bigger and bigger every day. In fact there is new book that talks about exactly what Mr. Miller is referencing with personal responsibility and the victim mentality. Joseph E. McGuire just released The Great Blame Escape and its scary how it parallels this article and how sad our society has become with blaming everyone for our ills.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield May 31, 2011 | 1:28 p.m.

The whole point of a health insurance mandate is to force people who are young, healthy or who prefer self-pay to help mitigate the financial consequences for those who make poor choices.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams May 31, 2011 | 4:17 p.m.

Jack Hamm "...Corporate Accountability International is not seeking Federal involvement in this matter..."

Me: Your 11:41 am post; Do you know if CAI has paid lobbyists who promote the organization's principles and wishes to our federal government?
__________________________

Speaking of a bit misleading, you said, "...CAI was joined by McDonald's shareholders in asking that they retire Ronald as the company mascot..."

Me: All the shareholders? That's what your sentence/paragraph implies. I doubt it. My guess? It was a few shareholders who bought 2 shares apiece just to be active at the shareholders' meetings.

You are right about one thing tho....regardless of their reasons, they (as owners) DO have the right to promote their agendas within the company. So do all the other owners....like me. My agenda is prolly different from theirs, tho.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 31, 2011 | 4:21 p.m.

Send them to IRAQ!!!

They want to take your freedom fries.

They must destroy you because they hate your freedom fries.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm May 31, 2011 | 4:52 p.m.

@ Michael

"All the shareholders? That's what your sentence/paragraph implies."

I implied no such thing; you are putting words into my mouth. Taking a page out of Frank's book I see; surprising from you.

"At the meeting on Thursday, a proposal from the Sisters of St. Francis, with assistance from Corporate Accountability International, asked the company to assess its impact on the childhood obesity epidemic and disclose its investments to lobby against governmental regulation. McDonald's investors rejected the proposal, but it received 6 percent of the vote, which proponents said exceeded their expectations." -Chicago tribune

6% is a little more than 2 people with a few shares. The block that voted for this represented roughly 65 million shares of McDonald's stock.

What else do you have Mike?

Seriously though this is a joke of a topic. Like I said, this is a matter between private citizens so far. Mr. Miller is in his classic role as a fox News parrot fear mongering against his political enemies on our local websites.

Missourian, can you seriously not find anyone else to write these columns. This is pathetic for a town that houses one of the best J-Schools in the world.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams May 31, 2011 | 5:26 p.m.

Sorry, Jack.....I put no words in your mouth. You wrote them, not me. Your words have that "shareholder" implication since you wrote your paragraph vaguely. However, you gave Mr Miller the benefit of the doubt about his "very slanted and nonfactual" words, so I guess I should do the same for you even tho, to use your own words, that's quite a leap of faith.

Thanks for clarifying the shareholder voting issue. Nice to know the vote was close at 94% to 6%.

As for Mr Miller being a Fox parrot.....what about you? After all, you toe the liberal line in this place...the same one I hear from CNN, MSNBC, and various liberal talking heads. Are you a liberal parrot, or do you think for yourself and your views just happen to coincide with other liberals without input from others? Please offer evidence for your accusation....and for your own "parrotness" or lack thereof....if you intend to pursue this red herring and nonsensical accusation that makes you feel warm and fuzzy and witty but doesn't add to the conversation one whit.

And, when you realize you are no different from Mr Miller in this regard, you can apologize to him in this space.

PS: Jack's spokesperson, Pade Lobbyist, stated, "Jack didn't answer if the organization has lobbyists. I don't know why."

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm May 31, 2011 | 5:39 p.m.

Mike come on...

"after all, you toe the liberal line in this place...the same one I hear from CNN, MSNBC, and various liberal talking heads."

The dems don't have their act together enough to be compared to Fox news and the GOP. There is not a comparison to make here (not to mention I don't get cable).

Also, you must not pay much attention to my post. Very rarely do I ever discus my own beliefs and when I do you will see that they are more libertarian than anything else. The vast majority of my post are correcting people like Frank and Karl on their obvious attack on basic human intelligence and facts.

As far as you putting words in mouth you did. My sentence could be read as very few share holders or many shareholders; it was non specific. It merely said shareholders. Your personal bias is what the issue is here; it made you interpret it that way.

As far as my personal views. I am what I would think most would call a classic moderate or even conservative most of my life; that is until the GOP went off the deep end with the tea party and continuing the failed policies of supply-side economics. I will admit though that I was a big supporter of supply side economics until I got an education in Econ after my time in the military. That coupled with the obvious facts that it has been a complete failure in real life application.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams May 31, 2011 | 7:02 p.m.

Jack:

My point is that you come on here and accuse Mr Miller of being a shill and you provide absolutely NO evidence of him being such a thing. Indeed, unless you personally know Mr Miller, you are utterly unable to differentiate between a true shill versus someone who believes (on their own) the same things seen on Fox or another conservative show.

Utterly unable.

I believe milk tastes good. Does that make me a shill for believing the same thing milk commercials say I should believe? Or, do my experiences mimic the commercials? Can you tell the difference...given that you don't know me?

No, you can't.

So what am I to think of your accusation against Mr Miller?

Well, childish playground stuff comes to mind. The same thing I did to you when I turned around and accused you of being a shill. I contributed NOTHING to the conversation other than placing you on the defensive in your next post.

And you contributed nothing either.

Do you like milk, too?

Hint: A "yes" or "no" answer can go either way. It's no-win for you. Say "yes", and I can attack you as a corporate cow shill. Say "no", and I can find the anti-milk internet sites you so obviously parrot. Best not to ever make the accusation, methinks.

You might want to apologize to Mr. Miller.

Unless you know him. In such a case, my arguments are moot.

(PS: Any word on the "lobbyist" bit? Are they indeed lobbying the gov't?)

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm May 31, 2011 | 8:21 p.m.

Mike

I accuse Miller of being a shill not as the first time. He has shown a pattern over a long period of time as being a shill and I have called him out for it many times; as have many others on both sides of the political spectrum. I respect the views of those that disagree with me. I have said many times that you and John Schultz are two of the voices that I respect the most of these boards. However, there is no debating that Mr. Miller does not put original thought into his articles. He just repeats what other right wing pundits and writers have already said and this article is a prime example of it. This is why it is so easy to point out the flaws in his "logic" in his "arguments". The entire issue in this article is fabricated, divorced from reality, and completely partisan; it is pathetic in the purest sense of the word.

As far as comparing the two of us I know you understand the difference. He is writing an editorial in a newspaper and thus inviting the critiques and attention that come with it. I have done no such comparable act. Furthermore, my post rarely advocate any political point of view and when they do they are neither mainstream left or right. As I said before, and as you can easily see for yourself, I rarely discuss my personal views. There is more than enough time being ate up by correcting the asinine post and articles by the likes of Frank Christian and Mr. Miller. Last, as a commenter and not the writer I do not get to lead the conversation. If I led the discussion I think you would be shocked by where i am on the political spectrum.

To the Missourian; replace this shill with a conservative voice that is original and worth reading. Miller is a joke. There are plenty of highly intelligent and thoughtful conservative voices in our community. There is simply no excuse for having such a hack as a consistent contributor.

(Report Comment)
Jake Sherlock May 31, 2011 | 9:51 p.m.

@Jack,

Sorry you don't like Mr. Miller's column, but I respectfully disagree with your assessment that he's a shill for anybody. I have no plans to replace him.

I am, however, always in the market for new community voices to contribute to the conversation -- both conservative and progressive/liberal (if we're going to insist on putting a label on folks). If you have somebody you'd like to recommend, or if you're interested in trying your hand at it yourself, please email me at SherlockJ@missouri.edu.

We're a diverse community -- politically, racially, economically, etc. etc. I want that diversity to be reflected in the opinion section. We still have a long way to go in that regard. If you'd like to help me reach that goal for the section, please let me know.

Thanks for reading,

Jake Sherlock
Missourian opinion editor

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams May 31, 2011 | 10:17 p.m.

Jack: I, too, completely disagree with your assessment of Mr. Miller. I see NO evidence whatsoever that he mindlessly repeats whatever he reads or hears from others. I see NO evidence he is a shill.

Indeed, you have presented NO evidence herein that you are able to tell the difference between a shill versus someone who, through his own experiences, simply finds himself in agreement with others.

Do you think I'm a shill? After all, I happen to agree with Mr Miller most of the time. I appreciate the respectful complement you paid me, but I'm wondering how you can identify Mr Miller as a shill, but perhaps not me.

You are simply using the accusation as an arguing tool, as though if Mr Miller IS a shill, his arguments are vacuous BECAUSE he is a shill. Logically, one has no relationship to the other.

Mr Sherlock has given you a marvelous opportunity. Care to sign up? I expect all of us would look forward to posting on your articles.

I triple-dog-slug-bug-dare ya and that means you HAVE to do it. ;^)

PS: I don't often agree with Rose Nolen in these pages, although she's written some kick-butt columns recently where I find her spot-on. 'Tis true, methinks, that she doesn't understand the "progressive" reasons (which she supported through her writings first on the Trib and now here...and continues to support here) we traveled from the values of yesteryear to where we are today. But no way I'd want her deleted from the Missourian when I disagree with her.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm June 1, 2011 | 6:54 a.m.

Mike:

I provided plenty of reason for him being a shill in this article alone. The topic is nonexistent. It is a completely fabricated issue by the right and Miller is simply echoing it here without any critical thought. Had he put thought into it there would not be so many glaring holes in his logic and arguments. He completely misrepresented the facts in this issue. I feel that he did not do this intentionally because he is simply a shill and repeating what others have said. If he is not a shill then he purposefully misrepresented the issue which I hope Mr. Sherlock would take issue with. Moreover, this article is not nearly as bad as some of his previous attempts.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm June 1, 2011 | 7:08 a.m.

“Do you think I'm a shill? After all, I happen to agree with Mr. Miller most of the time. I appreciate the respectful complement you paid me, but I'm wondering how you can identify Mr. Miller as a shill, but perhaps not me.”

The reason is quite simple really; you think before spouting opinions. Even when I disagree with you I can understand where you are coming from and can see how you reasoned yourself there. That I can respect and understand and a man that conducts himself in such a way is a man worth listening too. You cannot expect to agree with everyone, and when you have very uncommon views like myself you get accustomed to people rarely if ever agreeing with you.

The same things cannot be said about Miller. Miller did one of two things; he is either a shill who is repeating other’s opinions or he purposefully misrepresented the issue to further his political agenda. I cannot respect a man that does either.

Mike, I make a post disagreeing with one of your post on maybe 1 out of every 50 articles. The other 49 is usually an issue that I agree with you on. I even agree with Mr. Miller more often than not. My issue with him is his constant misrepresentation of facts, his unwavering partisan views regardless of the topic, and the way he goes about presenting his arguments. Even if I agree with him I will call him out for these things. Mr. Miller is a classic example of what is wrong with political debate in this country. He does not care about what is best for our community, state or country. He cares that his team wins. It is nothing more than a football game to him.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams June 1, 2011 | 8:17 a.m.

Jack:

Mr. Miller is simply using the clown as an example of interference in private affairs, something liberals accuse conservatives of doing quite frequently.

Getting rid of the clown is simply the latest venture in this arena, and Mr Miller mentions SEVERAL other past ventures, things like demonizing movie theater popcorn, government control of restaurant food portions, removing toys from Happy Meals, and smoking. I'll name a few more: wanting what I have without doing the things I did to get it, motorcycle helmets, ethanol in gasoline, trans fat, dictating where I live, my modes of transportation, and taxes after taxes after taxes. I could go on.

Like Mr. Miller, I believe in the "camel's nose under the tent" philosophy. As all these things happen, it gets easier for government to intrude on our private lives. You claim to be more libertarian than anything else, so why do you not see the camel's nose that Mr Miller is discussing? The clown IS an issue...a small one, but completely consistent with past dictatorial behaviors forced on us for our own good. And, if you don't believe me, simply ponder how we got from the twin beds on the Dick van Dyke show to the smut you get on your TV and computer today. Or, ponder Rose Nolen's sorrow at what we've become without acknowledging liberal roles in how we got here from there.

It's called incrementalism...an insidious slow creep caused by accepting the little things along each step of the way.

It's a farm day, so I'll check in later.

(PS: Any word on the lobbyists?)

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle June 2, 2011 | 8:40 a.m.

Ellis bring up an important point, one which I will dub the American equivalent of Godwin's law: Every discussion here, or on any other discussion board, almost instantly degrades to which political party is 'the problem' or 'the solution,' inevitably abandoning any serious discussion or analysis about the merits of any real actions that might solve real problems.

I'm guilty too, and we're all well on our way down the slippery slope to hell because of this phenomenon.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire June 2, 2011 | 11:52 a.m.

There are no bounds to which man will not go to desecrate THAT which should remain forever undesecrated!!!

Don't even think about it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqTWQiTlh...

(Report Comment)

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