The great pyramid of Giza, just outside Cairo, Egypt, has withstood thousands of years of natural and man-made efforts to unravel its mysteries; but stands still today as a monument to human skill and perseverance. Yet here in the United States — a nation ruled by bureaucracy rather than pharaohs — it took less than a single generation to topple the Great Food Pyramid, created by federal Nannies in 1992. It was ignominiously replaced recently by the Great Food Plate; hardly the stuff of legends, but certain to guarantee food wellness for Americans for at least a millennia.
The demise of the Great Food Pyramid was hastened by the advent of the anti-fatness drive by the administration of Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, who has taken on the scourge of obesity in America with a fervor normally reserved for presidential candidates looking for votes a month out from the election. The Great Food Plate is but the latest chapter in a 100-year effort by federal bureaucrats to carry out what they perceive as what must have been one of our Founding Fathers’ dreams for the federal government they constructed: to ensure that Americans eat healthy.
Of course, as with the pharaohs who oversaw construction of the pyramids, money was no object to our federal Food Nannies (with a national government that thinks nothing of racking up a national debt approaching $15 billion, fiscal restraint obviously does not enter into the equation). The Great Food Plate, dubbed in 21st Century Speak, “MyPlate,” cost at least a cool $2 million. But, hey, it is more important to count calories than dollars, right? And how can you put a price tag on health, correct?
MyPlate is not only colorful and easy on the eye, but is a paean to political correctness. Where the earlier Food Pyramid and food charts urged adherents to eat a reasonable quantity o meats, the “Plate” notably mentions only the need to ingest “protein.” Certainly we cannot have the government create something that might even indadvertedly upset the vegetarians and vegans among us. By the same token, and in another obvious effort to make the Plate vegetarian-compliant, “Dairy” is afforded key billing.
The Obama Administration, as part of its effort to defend the Plate from critics, put Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak on the hustings to declare that the federal government is “not telling people what to eat, we are giving them a guide.” The real question is, why is the government involved in this business of “guiding” Americans in their eating habits in the first place? And, by the way, what good does it do? Were not Americans healthier and far less obese in decades past, without the federal Nanny Corps telling us what bureaucrats, rather than parents and family doctors decided was best for us to ingest?
The problem is not so much another busy-body administration, as it is the fact that Americans in large numbers simply accept the premise that such things as personal nutrition are public policy matters in the first place. It is also relevant, of course, that congresses lack the backbone or interest to stop Democratic or Republican administrations from thus misusing the power of government. In this, one supposes, there is a similarity with the all-powerful governments of ancient Egypt that gave us the real pyramids.