Sunday, October 14, 2012

No politicized sermons

Information markets are better than ever.  Thanks to the internet, we can consult Yelp, TripAdvisor, Rotten Tomatoes, WebMD and many millions of others.  But are they "objective"?  Who is?  The hard work of investigating and judging will always remain with each one of us.

Most of us like the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because we rightly fear politicized speech.  Why then invite politicized speech in the form of government provided food labeling?  I recently posted re my fears of proposed GMO food labeling in California.

Today's NY Times includes Mark Bittman's "My Dream Food Label".  I know he is not kidding, but I did have to look twice.  Bittman proposes that labels be simplified and that foods be scored in terms of "Nutrition", "Foodness", and "Welfare". 

Consider the latter. "This would include the treatment of workers, animals and the earth. Are workers treated like animals? Are animals produced like widgets? Is environmental damage significant? If the answer to those three questions is 'yes' — as it might be, for example, with industrially produced chickens — then the score would be zero, or close to it. If the labor force is treated fairly and animals well, and waste is insignificant or recycled, the score would be higher."

Interesting stuff, but not from the FDA or the USDA or any other possibly politicized group.  Just as we do not want speech to be politicized, we also want to avoid politicized sermonizing.