Where`s the Beef?
In the mid 1980`s the Wendy's Hamburger chain ran an attention-grabbing advertising campaign in which an octogenarian (who sounded amazingly like Helen Thomas) bellyached about the stingy amount of meat on her sandwich; "where`s the beef?" became a nationally known slogan, and embodied the prosperity of our nation. We were red blooded Americans, by God, proud and vigorous, with hearty appetites for red blooded all American beef!
This slogan did not sit well with many on the Left, either; there had been a movement for decades to do away with beef. Vegetarianism had been a part of some Asian religions for centuries (and liberals love to push alternatives to our Judea-Christian ethos), and meat avoidance had its place among left-leaning Protestant sects during the 19th Century.
Back about the same time that Wendy's was running their `"where's the beef" ads, Leftist the world over were flocking to yet another doomsday theory, one which made the case that human industrial emissions were raising the temperature of the Earth. Since Carbon Dioxide is emitted by virtually all human activity-including breathing, the Left had a perfect tool to force their particular nightmare vision on the world. Global Warming predicts spectacular disaster resulting from Man's every action, which means that we need to have international regulations on all economic activity, on our diets, on our fertility, on our land usage and our general way of life.
There was absolutely no way anybody who has followed the Environmentalist Movement couldn't see this coming; a United Nation report now claims that cow flatulence is a major cause of Global Warming. That's right; every time you enjoy one of those juicy Hardee`s Thickburgers, you, you personally, are helping to destroy Mother Earth. Every steak you buy, every potroast you eat, is encouraging the despoilment of the air you breathe, the sinking of the seacoasts, the melting of the glaciers and the desertification of now fertile land. All this is caused by cattle and their poor etiquette.
As James Lileks points out:
In another display of pitch-perfect priorities, the U.N. has released its findings on cow flatulence. There`s quite a lot of it. The 400-page study, $27 million of which probably went to Saddam Hussein for old times? sake, discovered that the planet`s livestock, including 1.5 billion cattle, produce 18 percent of greenhouse gases. Apparently the beasts of the field do nothing but wander around all day asking their brethren to pull my hoof? Every time a cow feels a small sense of relief, a polar bear goes through the ice.
Back in the early `80`s liberals were all spouting off about our collective guilt at enjoying beef while people starved. Their argument was that, since it took many pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef, we should eat just one pound of grain and give the rest to the poor. Of course, this completely disregards basic economics, and ignores the real problems of hunger in the world; left wing socialist policies. Most hunger worldwide results from artificial conditions such as civil wars, despotism, atrocious fiscal and economic policy, and strife-all of which ultimately derive from liberal theories implemented in the newly independent nations in the ‘60`s.
The liberal believes, in her purity of heart, that America and the West are eating up the future. Back in the `80`s I spoke to a liberal from Brazil, and commented on her home country's success at using sugar cane to produce fuel. She grew quite angry with me, demanding to know how we dare grow crops for fuel when people were starving. I pointed out that more food would be produced by mechanized farms, that the loss of farmland producing food would be more than compensated for by the extra acreage that could be cropped via tractor. I pointed out that much of the hunger in the world was a problem of distribution, that civil wars and tyrants would simply hijack any charitable donations for their armies (as they had done in Ethiopia during the great famine), and that spreading misery equally was hardly an optimal solution. She couldn't answer any of these points, yet continued to assert her fundamental tenant of faith that this was somehow immoral.
The Liberal believes that we, by breeding cattle, growing tobacco, and manufacturing goods, are causing Third World deprivation. These are the roots of poverty, hunger, and oppression (not the policies which they themselves advocated) and these terrible things must be removed in the interest of "fairness". We must all live a simpler, more natural, poorer life where misery is equally spread.
That is at the root of liberal Puritanism. This is why they tend to support measures which restrict alcohol and tobacco consumption, and why they are so heavily on board with the "health lobby." Knowing better than we how we should behave, they seek a transformation in our way of life to bring us to an agrarian Eden where we live forever.
The Left has thrown away the God of the Bible, and has been forced to find cheap substitutes. The ``People`` and ``Equality`` are some replacement gods. Gaia, the ancient goddess of the Earth, is the most recent usurper worshipped by the Left (the Gang Greens I like to call them.) As with any false religion, sacrifices and rituals are needed to placate the deity in question; in the Environmental religion those sacrifices and rituals consist of living poorly, treading lightly on the Earth, sacrificing our automobiles, our high-energy lifestyles, separating our trash for recycling, composting our excrement, and, yes, giving up beef.
It also explains the strange dichotomy in liberal thought; the inanimate Earth is to be protected, animals are to be protected, but the babies and the unborn can be harvested for their stem cells or killed for convenience. Chickens are tortured in supposed Nazi-style concentration camps, but it is a medical procedure to shove a scissors and tongs into a human baby's skull to kill it.
Of course, those cute little deer and other animals of which the liberals are so fond likewise contribute to global warming, but you will never hear a proposal to lengthen the hunting season from them.
In fact, there is a radical wing of Environmentalism called the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, which calls for:
"Phasing out the human race by voluntarily ceasing to breed will allow Earth's biosphere to return to good health. Crowded conditions and resource shortages will improve as we become less dense."
Cow farting is now taxed in New Zealand. If we can regulate bovine flatulence, how long before human flatulence is regulated and taxed? How long before we are all fitted with a gas-o-meter to determine how much we are emitting for tax purposes? And if meat is off the table and the predictable consequences legume consumption taxed, starvation may be the only alternative. The extinctionists may yet get their way, voluntary or not.
Timothy Birdnow blogs at Birdblog.