After decades of playing second fiddle, Hardee’s has outpaced the rest of the fast food industry with its new Big Country Breakfast Burrito, joining Halliburton, Big Tobacco, and Global Warming as members of the modern day “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” If one heeds the visual media, it would seem to appear that Famine, War, Pestilence and Death have been supplanted by them as the primary evils of the land.
This fast food chain’s latest entry, two egg omelets filled with bacon, cheese, hash browns and sausage gravy — all wrapped in a flour tortilla — has already been roundly condemned by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, better known as “Food Police.” That august group’s senior nutritionist, who earlier described Hardee’s Thickburgers as “food porn”, panned this burrito as a “breakfast bomb.”
Perhaps this will be the catalyst that rescues us from the dastardly profit mongers of the fast food industry. Gazing into my crystal ball, I see a Joint Committee of Congress grilling (play on words?) fast food executives to determine just what substance is being added to these foodstuffs to addict adults and children alike. One can imagine testimony and even litigation from the failure of Hardee’s, McDonald’s, et al. to provide suitable labels advertising their products as fattening or otherwise hazardous to one’s health.
The possibilities are virtually unlimited. Congress may further establish an FFSA (Fast Food and Supersizing Authority), the President will be pressured to appoint a Fat and Cholesterol Czar, while artery-clogging plaque will replace asbestos as the litigation of choice by a litany of TV advertising law firms. Political campaigns will call for more salad and less fat — perhaps a special prosecutor may be appointed to determine Karl Rove’s involvement in the fast food conspiracy.
To those of you shaking your heads and wondering if I have gone off the deep end in the world of reality, I admit it is written with much tongue in cheek; nevertheless, the conclusions and warnings are not as far fetched as you might believe. There are now among us a host of special interest groups, non profit policy and promotional organizations, and various meddling, “we know what is best” authorities all determined to regulate what we eat, drink, smoke, drive, and otherwise spend our days on earth.
How many agree with me that it is time to put a halt to this “nanny state” mentality — the idea that all things must come from government — a government guided by polls, statistics created to prove a predetermined conclusion and by associations with pretentious titles but suspect sources of funding and expertise? This great nation was created by people who placed individual responsibility and freedom above the collectivism we seem to be herded toward in the manner of lemmings.
The hard won entitlement to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness includes also an intrinsic right to make our own decisions, to eat, drink and smoke, to drive SUVs, to vote our conscience and even to fail or to be fat. Accompanying that right to determine our own future is that we should be held accountable for the consequences of our actions.
While it both easy and fashionable to blame the fast food industry for the alarming increase in obesity, tobacco companies for inducing cancer and heart disease, SUVs for global warming and Halliburton for everything else, to the best of my knowledge, no higher power has forced unsafe, unhealthy nor unwise practices upon us. It is difficult indeed to justify a self inflicted victimhood.
I can recollect a time when adults were not only responsible for their own actions but also those of their children. Has it been that long ago?
Karl Miller retired as a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. He is a Columbia resident and can be reached via e-mail at JKarlUSMC@aol.com.