L. Neil Smith's
Number 366, May 7, 2006

"The Lamestream Media"

Candy From Babies
by L. Neil Smith

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

Puritanism: "The haunting fear that somewhere, someone is happy."
—H.L. Mencken

Some people, it would seem, just can't be satisfied unless they're taking something away from somebody else. Something that gives them pleasure.

Understand that I'm not talking here about Attila the Hun, or even the IRS. What brings the subject to mind this time are those paragons of do-goodery who brought us wonders like alcohol Prohibition—along with gang wars, drive-by shootings, and all the other refinements we associate today with yet another form of Prohibition—and the war on tobacco.

Let's call them neopuritans.

Now if I've already pushed some button you happen to carry around, and you're all indignant, primed and ready to begin spewing about how awful poisons like alcohol, drugs, and smoking are for children and other living things, I have a little advice before you start up your tirade.

Stuff it.

I've heard it all before, over and over again, all my life and probably back nine or twelve previous incarnations, often enough so I know that neopuritans don't really give a fast flying frolic about the individuals—children and otherwise—they claim to be "saving". I know that their only true delight comes from taking something away from somebody else, somebody who was foolish enough to enjoy it too conspicuously.

I also know that neopuritans are notorious pathological liars. For decades I've listened to them lie, loud, long, and elaborately, about the "evils" of gun ownership (as one example), while one by one, each of my own predictions about the benefits of an armed society have come true. In a period where more and more Americans have been acquiring and carrying personal weapons, numbers for violent crime have fallen steeply.

Of course.

Neopuritans have always lied about pornography. The earliest, most naive, and therefore the best studies clearly showed that porn serves as a safety valve, delaying or preventing sexual predation, and even improving physical relations between permanently attached couples. The neopuritans, naturally enough, saw pornography in a different light, as a source of greater personal pleasure to individuals than almost anything else. So they shopped around for decades—the addition of marxoid feminist academics to their ranks in the late 20th century helped a lot—until they found counterstudies that "proved" the opposite.

I know that neopuritans are liars when it comes to phenomena like "secondhand smoke", because I saw that lie being created, right before my eyes. During the first Bush regime, the EPA was ordered to "study" the presumed health hazards of secondhand smoke. When the agency reported (uncharacteristically for an outfit like the EPA, which is why I believe them) that there exist no such hazards, an infuriated Bush Administration ordered them to go back and find some. Failing, they presented their results in graphic form—only they pulled an old piece of Madison Avenue chicanery, cutting the tops off the bars to exaggerate differences where, in fact, there were almost none at all.

Over the years I've seen the neopuritans go into exactly the same kind of phony hysterics over comic books, video arcades, home video games whose themes they prudishly disapprove of, and pornography, each and every one of these things harmless, if not positively beneficial (Internet porn may be the only thing keeping the otherwise sinking American economy afloat), and certainly entitled to a more honored place in human civilization than the dogwhistles complaining about them.

"Dogwhistles?" I pretend to hear you asking. A marvelous concept from that splendid movie Strange Days. Dogwhistles are neopuritans whose assholes are so tight that when they fart, only dogs can hear them. Rude, but every bit as valid as Mencken's definition of the affliction.

So, speaking of buttons, what pushed mine on this occasion? It was a news story—I found the link on DrudgeReport.com—by Samantha Gross of the Associated Press, dated May 3, 2006, which appeared on WashingtonPost.com.

The headline read:

Nearly All Sodas Sales to Schools to End

The gist of the story—and by now I'm sure you've heard it yourself, gleefully trumpeted from every corner of the whorish press and the round-heeled broadcast media—is that "the nation's largest beverage distributors have agreed to halt nearly all soda sales to public schools", a deal they've made, not with the public schools, but with the William J. Clinton Foundation.

Instead, they'll peddle only water, insipid juice, and thin, blue, low-fat milk to their elementary and middle school victims, and diet sodas only at the high school level—probably in recognition of the fact that high school kids need lots and lots of caffeine just to keep them conscious through six stultifying hours of government day-prison indoctrination.

Cadbury Schweppes, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and the American Beverage Association have all signed onto the deal—tacitly admitting that the products they manufacture and distribute are evil and promising to try not to sell quite as much of them in the future—which strongly resembles a cowardly and corrupt bargain Smith & Wesson made with Bill Clinton years ago. The resulting boycott by S&W's former customers bankrupted the company and it has changed hands several times since then.

Naturally, liberal parents pathologically afraid of their own kids and unwilling to insist that the little urchins behave with something resembling character (a trait such parents themselves lack, as well) are delighted. Neopuritans everywhere are in orgasmic raptures at the confiscatory splendor of it all. Historically, however, it will only prove to be another nail in the coffin of public schools—and perhaps an unpecedented opportunity for Jolt Cola, if they have enough guts.

The deal will fall apart just as soon as another pressure group in our wussiocracy—the "Aspartame is Poison" crowd—starts raising hell.

None of this would be happening, of course, without all of the fuss being made by media and self-annointed experts over "childhood obesity". It's true, there seem to be more fat kids—not to mention fat adults—these days than when I was young. In the 1950s, a fat lady was something to gawk at in slack-jawed amazement. Then you ran to tell your friends about her, afterward. A grade school classroom was allotted only one fat kid (who nearly always turned out to be the best friend of the littlest kid in the class—me) and that was that. Not so today—if you don't believe me, pay a visit to Sam's Club.

Plenty of different things have been assigned the blame for this phenomenon. Lack of exercise is a common and popular one, because it provides fresh excuses for the elite, professional playground bullies (when I was a kid, we called them P.E. instructors) to force children to exert themselves in the heat and humidity until they vomit their guts out or fall over in convulsions with a paralyzing stitch in their sides.

This particular form of sadism got a big prestige boost when Jack Kennedy established the President's Council for Torturing Children, or whatever they called it back in the 1960s. While we were all running around a track giving ourselves shinsplints, wretching and gasping our lungs out, he was popping painkillers by the handsfull and spending his famous 45 minute afternoon "nap" screwing anything that had a pulse.

But, as Edward Albee says, that's all blood under the bridge.

A special wrinkle was provided by the develpment and widespread popularity of commercial television, born in the same year I was, 1946. Older people complained that all kids wanted to do was sit and watch TV instead of going outside to acquire healthful injuries and diseases. (Of course the older people had soap operas and game shows they'd rather die than miss, but I'm way too polite to bring that up here.)

There were (and are) two problems with that argument. The first is that, when I was a kid, TV was full of wonderful, vigorous adventure shows—Roy Rogers, Tom Corbett, Hopalong Cassidy, Captain Video—and splendly violent cartoons that made any healthy youngster want to go out and have his very own wonderful, vigorous, violent back yard adventures. Having a little brother, I was perfectly equipped for this.

Also, there was never enough good stuff on TV to account for the obesity.

Nowadays, of course, it's video games and the evil Internet that keep kids away from the great outdoors with its mysterious slimming properties.

Another scapegoat is diet, namely cheeseburgers, French fries, pizza, and other stuff kids like to eat. For decades, mothers have convinced themselves (on the same "reasoning" that medicine has to taste horrible to be effective—and the more horrible, the more effective) that these attractive, aromatic, flavorful "fast foods" can't possibly be as nutritious as the amorphous blobs of smelly gray goo that they concoct themselves and scrape off onto their kids' plates, whence, unlike a Whopper and fries, it goes directly to the disposal.

The trouble is, science is against moms. While high in calories (despite stereotypes to the contrary, kids burn a lot of energy simply by sitting quietly somewhere and growing) the average meal bagged up by Slaves of the Clown and their competitors may be the only decent food a child (and many an old person, for what it's worth) gets all day.

So forget fast food, TV, computer games, and the Internet. The truth is simpler (and at the same time, more compicated) than that. For the first time in its million year history—in fact, I'm a member of the first generation to find itself, full time, in this position—most of our species has too much to eat, rather than too little.

For this, Auntie Evolution did not prepare us. (Eventually she will, of course, as those whose blood vessels don't clog up with lard have marginally more offspring than those whose blood vessels do—or should I have said, "margarinally"?) Auntie Evolution prepared us for lengthy stretches of famine, alternating with occasional periods of starvation.

Is there anything we can do while we're waiting for Natural Selection to take effect? First, yank your kids out of the public school system, where they're taught nothing but lies, where their fundamental human rights have become a joke, and where Bill Clinton has now taken away the last thing that made the experience remotely bearable.

Second, write to the drink companies (be sure to copy the Clinton Foundation); remind them of what we did to Smith & Wesson ten years ago. Better yet, print out and send them this article. I could use the publicity.

Third, teach your kids character by demonstrating it, yourself. It may be a hard thing for a generation forced to clean our plates up by parents who survived the Great Depression. (I got a double dose—my dad was a prisoner of war.) It took me six decades to learn to stop eating when I wasn't hungry any more, but I did, finally, and so can you.

No scapegoats necessary.

[By yourself a copy of Strange Days from Amazon.com via these links—Editor:]

Four-time Prometheus Award-winner L. Neil Smith has been called one of the world's foremost authorities on the ethics of self-defense. He is the author of 25 books, including The American Zone, Forge of the Elders, Pallas, The Probability Broach, Hope (with Aaron Zelman), and his collected articles and speeches, Lever Action, all of which may be purchased through his website "The Webley Page" at lneilsmith.org.

Ceres, an exciting sequel to Neil's 1993 Ngu family novel Pallas was recently completed and is presently looking for a literary home.

A decensored, e-published version of Neil's 1984 novel, TOM PAINE MARU is available at: http://payloadz.com/go/sip?id=137991. Neil is presently working on Ares, the middle volume of the epic Ngu Family Cycle, and on Roswell, Texas, with Rex F. "Baloo" May.

The stunning 185-page full-color graphic-novelized version of The Probability Broach, which features the art of Scott Bieser and was published by BigHead Press www.bigheadpress.com has recently won a Special Prometheus Award. It may be had through the publisher, at www.Amazon.com, or at BillOfRightsPress.com.


Buy 1, Get 2nd at HALF PRICE + Free Shipping $99
Vitamin Shoppe
Over 20,000 products from more than 400 brands

Help Support TLE by patronizing our advertisers and affiliates.
We cheerfully accept donations!

to advance to the next article
to return to the previous article
Table of Contents
to return to The Libertarian Enterprise, Number 366, May 7, 2006