21 April 2010

Guns, tater tots, citizen-soldiers, coffin nails

Kids Prefer Cheese | Munger | Hey General, you just broke my BS meter!

People, sometimes it's just too easy:
School lunches called a national security threat:  Retired military officers say kids are growing up too pudgy for service

By Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press Writer

Washington — School lunches have been called many things, but a group of retired military officers is giving them a new label: national security threat.

That's not a reference to the mystery meat served up in the cafeteria line either. The retired officers are saying that school lunches have helped make the nation's young people so fat that fewer of them can meet the military's physical fitness standards, and recruitment is in jeopardy...

[...]

"When over a quarter of young adults are too fat to fight, we need to take notice," Barnett said. He noted that national security in the year 2030 is "absolutely dependent" on reversing child obesity rates.
Hey Kid: Every time you eat a tator tot, you're letting the terrorists win!
Item 1: Have you ever had tater tots with Old Bay? If not you are seriously missing out. There's no going back to plain 'tots after you've tried them.

Item 2: It's a good thing we live in a free society with a volunteer military, because that makes the rest of the population's ability or willingness to fight none of my damned business. It might be nice to live in a republic of hoplite scholar-warriors, but I don't, and I'm at okay with that. If one day America proves incapable mounting a defense of herself herself, then America — as lovely as I often find her — does not deserve to survive. It's not my place to tell anyone else to stay in good enough shape to fight on my behalf.

Item 3: For whatever reason I never got around to commenting on it, but one of my favorite books I read last year was Iain Gately's Tobacco: A Cultural History of How an Exotic Plant Seduced Civilization. One of the things that was so striking was the way attitudes towards tobacco have repeated themselves, and how effemeral they have been.

One of my favorite examples of the transience with which people viewed tobacco was the panic many Britons worked themselves into at the beginning of the 20th century over whether their young men, increasingly enamored of cigarettes, would be able to defend the empire. People were convinced tobacco had so enfeebled their boys that they would be incapable of defending King and Country. Fast forward a decade and Woodbines were an official part of ration packets distributed in the trenches.

I know there's a difference between cigs and french fries (though some contemporary campaigners might have us believe otherwise) but this hysteria about youth being unfit for battle reminded me to mention Gately's book.

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