re: Twinkies. They're in the business of selling "food" products, the same as people who make liquor. Free men who are adults can choose not to purchase a Twinkie (a de-facto Twinkie and all metaphorical Twinkies). So far no business and no government agents are forcing anybody to eat real or metaphorical Twinkies.
Freedom in the context of consumer choice is problematic when products are designed to resemble actual nutritious food but are instead made of ingredients included so as to expedite manufacturing and maximize shelf-life. Both of those factors are necessary for profitable economies of scale and worked ok until the need to keep growing at all costs so as to satisfy shareholders (the cancerous part of modern economics) dictated crossing an abstract line that we each have to draw for ourselves, I guess.
For me it's when a so-called "food" product is designed to maximize the manufacturer's and shareholder's interests ahead of the interests of the human beings who will actually be eating it.
How does freedom parse out in that context? Did I make an informed choice to buy a given product or was I misled into believing I was consuming something else? Are companies 'free' to obscure problematic ingredients or should I be 'free' to know about every single thing added to something sold for my/human consumption? Those two freedoms are at odds, and since corporations are people too now they seem to be getting the lion's share of the Great -for them- Compromise (because "Some pigs are more equal than other pigs" -Orwell from Animal Farm).
This story seems relevant here that came out a couple of days ago: Subway Takes Chemical Out of Sandwich Bread After Protest
Subway said today it is removing a chemical used in yoga mats and shoe soles from the bread of it its popular sandwiches after a food blogger got more than 50,000 signatures in a petition drive.
"The complete conversion to have this product out of the bread will be done soon," Subway said in a statement. The company said the move had nothing to do with the protest and that it was "already in the process of removing azodicarbonamide as part of our bread improvement efforts."
But Vani Hari, the activist blogger who takes credit for the removal of yellow dyes in at least three of Kraft's Mac & Cheese products for children, was declaring victory after she had been researching the company's bread ingredients since 2012.
The scientific illiteracy is annoying (every ingredient in any food is a "chemical") but some chemicals are more bio-compatible than others. Azodicarbonamide is linked "...to respiratory issues, allergies and asthma, and it is banned in Europe and Australia. Azodiacarbonamide is legal in the United States and Canada." (from the article).
So this was well-known and yet Subway chose to include it anyway. Because they were free to do so. Anyone lacking a decent awareness of organic chemistry or the tenacity to research every ingredient they may consume is not making an informed choice when consuming a Subway sub, a Twinkie, or quite a few other things with freakishly-long shelf-lives, etc. Good thing our compulsory public educations taught us critical thinking skills, the basics of nutrition, and gave us a solid foundation in science to enable us to make more informed choices...[/sarcasm]
IMO we're already in a de facto famine, if by "famine" we mean "not enough food to go around." A few years ago Dr. Gupta on CNN had a special called "America's Killer Diet" and in it he pointed out that if every American tried to eat the minimum recommended daily allowances of fruits and vegetables and grains that there wouldn't actually be enough to go around. Uh, say what?
We pity people living in horrendous conditions (wonder why they choose to do that?) who resort to eating dirt just to stop the hunger pangs but I submit that Twinkies and many, many other placebo-foods (being mainly mined and all) are just flavored dirt. "Enriched" flour just means the minimum of essential nutrients were added back after bleaching makes flour non-nutritive (a practice that began when people kept getting more emaciated and starving no matter how much white bread they ate). And bleaching flour is unnecessary for humans to eat it but makes processing it easier and makes things baked with it nice and homogeneously white (which are obviously higher priorities than nutrition).
However, governments are forcing, with threat of violence and/or prison, lots of behaviors we would not put upon ourselves. Which is the greater enemy?
The U.S. Government is privatizing more and more of its use of coercive force, interestingly enough. But I definitely agree that it's also a major problem, though ranking enemies doesn't really help us because it's hard to say if getting cancer from placebo-food is the more dire threat we face or being sent to Guantanamo (or whatever) is until we either actually get cancer or the front door gets kicked in. But one of my main points about all this is that it's all connected.
Consider corporate lobbysists pushing for stricter laws and punishments just because they're lobbying for a company that owns prisons or administers drug tests or otherwise makes money off processing people through the criminal "justice" system; we have created the unsustainable reality of corporate "people" who have a vested interest not in preventing crime or alleviating its underlying causes but in profiting from it's continuation. That is socially corrosive to say the least, and in this example "freedom" isn't even a murky concept; being caged is rather unambiguous.
The line between the largest corporations and government is getting blurrier all the time, and that's extremely disturbing because Corporatism=Fascism. Halliburton comes to mind as a gigantic tumor that blurs the line between government and industry, as does Blackwater (or whatever they call themselves now). And we underestimate the power and influence of ADM and Monsanto since they control the bulk of our food supply.
What is preventing you from living exactly the circumstances in your last paragraph? Seems to me that all those are readily attainable assuming you are willing to make them priorities and (possibly) do without something else. What does having to be a millionaire have to do with living like a pre-industrial man? There aren't any nasty capitalists or corporatists or communists or Luddites or .......keeping you from it - yet you're still trying to imply that an ism IS. The only exception I can think of is consumerism which if I understand you correctly you're dead set against.
Zoning laws. Building codes. "Designated Wilderness Areas," National Parks, Monuments, and Forests you're not allowed to stay in longer than X days.
Also, the fact that the wild areas left are not at all like they used to be before the first (and sometimes up to the 5th or 6th) clear-cutting or bulldozing or draining or damming of an area. So the wilderness of today is not like the much more fertile and easy-to-live-in wilderness that the Europeans encountered when they first got here. And the fertile areas where rational humans would live are all occupied; if you had to walk from Georgia to Maine for some reason you'd walk in the valleys and flatter areas and make the trip in 1 month, easy. But the Appalachian Trail isn't a transportation corridor, it's a recreational hiking trail and takes the most arduous, least-efficient path between the two points and that's largely because all the habitable/easy-living areas are taken and fenced (or paved).
Hitting the woods to live off the grid is something I've already actually done for years and not just talked about, so I can assure you these barriers are quite real and virtually insurmountable if one was raised in industrial society (the pace and priorities of life are completely different for starters). And within 2 short years of pitching our tent miles from the nearest stores and where people still waved at everyone they passed on the road, the stars began to be obscured from encroaching strip mall developments and gas stations.
After four years no one waved anymore and "the sticks" we'd moved to (because there were no building codes) was just another exurb. So if you try to run it'll just catch up to you eventually anyway and therefore must be faced and dealt with from the inside. So I came back. My option was that or move to the Northwest Territories or the Yukon but I couldn't afford the logistics and walking is impractical as everything is fenced or controlled-access and I'd be treated like a vagrant along the way (because I'd be one, and it's usually illegal) and I lack the skills to survive off-grid in such a harsh environment anyway (it'd take a good 10 years to really master it).
What am I missing?
Again, you're pissed off at somebody. I just can't fathom why it has to be people like me (capitalists as I've defined them). We're willing to let you live and make your own choices and be responsible for yourself - which is all we ask from you.
Again, I'm not pissed so much as bummed about what might have been but am otherwise resigned to the increasingly-probable future. I used to get real angry about the wholesale destruction of the biosphere we depend on but like those asteroids heading our way the wholesale rape of the planet is way above my pay grade to confront, but I do what I can, like help people grow psilocybes so they can "see" this stuff for themselves.
And to be clear, I'm just fine with making a profit from my efforts and living as I see fit and letting others live as they see fit, within reason. It's not people like you or people trying to make a business profitable who are the problem; the very foundation of modern corporations (the Corporate Charter) is the problem. We're all essentially stuck in this paradigm and can't live without being part of the problem now, and that sucks IMO (though it's not our fault for finding ourselves stuck here, it IS our fault for staying here).
Since it demands growth and shareholder profits at all costs, Charters are literal tumors ("cancer" just means "unregulated growth") that will ultimately kill the patient, which is the economy/civilization as we know it. That and the "excessive rights of property" problem are the one-two punch that's taking us down IMCO (in my current opinion).
Edited by TVCasualty, 07 February 2014 - 10:19 AM.