Thursday, September 25, 2008

We Have Enough on Our Plate

There are much greater causes of senseless death in America than “terrorism.”
Heart disease is our greatest threat—over 680,000 U.S. citizens died of this illness in 2003.
In the same year, over 550,000 Americans found their ultimate end through cancer.
Over 150,000 of our people lost their lives to strokes in the same period.
When one adds all of the above figures together, they shall find that nearly 1.4 million U.S. citizens were taken from us in 2003 alone—from diseases that were largely preventable. When 1,400,000,000 tragedies are compared with the rough average of 500 Americans per year that have died from terrorism since 2001, it is as if terrorism is hardly anything more than a drop in the bucket of darkness.
To be fair, of course, a large number of the victims of September 11th were quite young in comparison to those that often die from “natural” causes (thousands of children and young adults in particular still die from cancer every year), but for many people, an “old age” could be much longer than that which is often now believed to be possible: even the near future’s victims of such illnesses could stop their actions this very moment and rest assured they would make great progress on the front of death; even if some may only extend their lives by a few months, or even days, at the very least, their valiant final stands could save their loved ones a few hundred dollars for their funerals. Surely, the coffin industry would become a much more competitive market if people were made to think about such matters at least awhile longer on average.
Yet, health problems such as thus are not only much greater problems than Islamic terrorism, but they are far older issues than our awakened political senses; yet, in recent times, our news organizations hardly mention the far heavier matters in comparison to the much lesser evil. Instead, we seem to be ridiculously concerned with small and relatively powerless organizations thousands of miles away from the United States’ coastline.
And although it is true that terrorism could theoretically become much more problematic to our country in the future, perhaps as a result of the detonation of a nuclear weapon in a major metropolitan area of some sort, we should prioritize what is harming us before what might harm us. It is impossible to measure any amount of progress towards one’s goals when one is fighting battles of fantasy against threats that are projected to exist in the future—probabilistic solutions to current threats are often theoretical enough! We often seem to find it easy to imagine the worst possible terrorist scenarios, and we spend an enormous amount of money supposedly countering such threats; yet, future cures for the health problems identified above are often perceived to be nothing less than pies in the sky, even though we have mountains of evidence to support the latter answers for the cessation of misery!
For not only have many solid scientific solutions been given to us in order that we may prevent the aforementioned illnesses, whereas most of the responses to terrorism are often vague at best, but some of the most simple solutions to our health woes are easily understood by the more ignorant among us—nonetheless, we do not wish to face real threats, for we do not have the willpower to overcome our greatest demons.
This is a simple fact, and it is fairly undisputable.
We fear vegetables and whole grains more than we fear bombs and bullets!
Unlike the war on terrorism, the vast majority of the population of the United States has good information as to what we must do on an individual basis in order that we may combat the core methods of destruction identified above: smoking cigarettes in particular is obviously horrendous for our hearts and lungs, and it is the major cause of many of the aforementioned atrocities; we have scientifically identified this action as being the main reason for the premature deaths of many of us that partake of tobacco on a regular basis. And yet, even some of us that are young and are not yet addicted to nicotine begin smoking in order to fit in with the crowd, or, perhaps, in order that we may feel “relaxed,” despite the presence of anti-inhalant advertising in modern times. The reality is that we are allowing and even desiring our lungs to be filled with toxic gas—we are embracing false securities and untrue comforts!

He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.

-- Lao Tzu

Even so, smoking is not the only reason our major types of death occur.
Most of us also know we should eat diets primarily based upon breads, cereals, and rice—unless we have never been exposed to the food pyramid, which is unlikely for a large percentage of us. Despite knowing information that is as simple to grasp as thus, an enormous number of Americans continue to eat far more meats and fats than are necessary, and we also consume a great deal of simple sugars. Fast food in particular is often the reason for many of our difficulties, although we often present ourselves with the excuse that we do not have the time to prepare our own meals; it is difficult, however, to have time to do anything when we do not have easily accessible energy in the first place.
Whether we wish to say that we are “infatuated with the saturated,” or “afflicted to affluence,” as some have said, it is rather obvious that our society is often focused on efficiency rather than effectiveness. Our recent “health movements” have been nothing compared to the expenses and efforts we are putting into “securing” Islamic nations thousands of miles away. It is almost as if we have heard the health war drum for so long that we can now sleep to it.
And before my opponents wish to attack me on this matter, allow me to be the first to say that I myself have smoked cigarettes on a regular basis in the past without comprehending the damage I was doing to my body, and I too understand that fast food does not seem to be nearly as dangerous when it is only a single meal at a time.
But oddly enough, despite the fact that our aggregate diet problems are major health burdens on our society—most of our social statisticians promote them as being a part of “positive” economic growth.
Think of all of the graduate schools we use to train doctors in open heart surgery.
Imagine all of the medications that are produced in highly expensive laboratories in order that we may treat the effects of voluntary damages to vital digestive organs.
Wonder at the marvel of our psychologists healing our drug addicts and alcohol abusers.
Do not ignore the tractors and the machineries that allow us to create far more calories than our bodies need, nor should one ignore the variable expenses of such equipment, such as their fuel.
And think of all of the televisions and DVD players that are manufactured every year, as well as all of the video games—not those used in moderation—but those which are used excessively; yes, those devices that are used much more than they should be—which are complemented by our comfortable chairs and sofas—all of which help us become even more slobbish and snobbish.
Let us also consider the high dental bills from all of the bacterium in our mouths.
And do not forget the enormous amount of extra fodder that must be produced in order to feed millions of cows and pigs annually, which reduce our potential energy production by an incomprehensible amount, for the energy of the sun is increasingly darkened at every sublevel of the pyramid of life. Let us also mention all of the antibiotics that must be used in order to raise our “healthy” herd, which create an accelerated need for even newer drugs in order to fight the super-microorganisms that eventually evolve and become immune to such artificial defenses. What is more, we must include those machines which are made to reduce the soil runoff from our excessive farming productions, and the harms they cause our waters.
And we must also list the costs of the roads used in order to ship our ineffective products—plus the costs of our products’ marketing, packaging, and advertising, and/or, even more specifically, the wages of all of the artists that draw pretty colors on the cereal boxes for our children to enjoy. And remember to include all of the buildings that are necessary in order to manufacture such products—and the checkout counters that line our supermarkets, and the labor of the cashiers that is utilized at times in order to scan fifteen different barcodes for an amount of nutrients that may be less than that within two kiwifruits.
Surely, let us not forget the aforementioned coffin industry, and the land value of the burial plots, which are quickly taking up even more and more space near our major metropolitan areas. For some of us value dead bodies more than those which are living.
The answer to the problem of food choices, once again, is simple—it is within ourselves—we must learn to embrace personal willpower: the government is not going to stuff our mouths full of nutrient dense foods. Unlike the “War on Terror,” an ordinary person can easily and drastically affect nature’s odds to be more in their favor. It does not matter what other people think of one’s diet, and only a fool would think less of a non-smoker. But unlike politics, nutritious decisions are not as simple as pushing buttons and pretending as if one has accomplished something of great importance—one must read about various foods in order to find such undervalued goods, and thereafter, one must continually make incremental decisions every day in order to achieve their goal of survival, even if we are all destined to die in the end anyhow.
We often think that it takes a great amount of effort to eat healthy meals, but ironically, many truly nutritious dinners cost much less than lobster or even steak.
Is an entire section on the foolishness of a public health care system even necessary?
Indeed, recent health documentaries have made it seem as if the United States’ government is to blame for our relatively low health care, and there are surely some heart wrenching stories about American children that are denied needed operations, but in the end, if there is a shortage of medical activities in our nation, it is a result of the fact that many of us do not feel as if we should take responsibility for our health even with horrible insurance in our country. We are, quite frankly, a nation of individuals committing suicide.
Of course, there is a potential benefit to all of this excessive production—a “trickle down effect,” as some would say. If we merely begin to eat healthy diets, and stop destroying our lungs, our entire society would have so much more instantly it would be beyond incredible. The amount of positive change that could take place as a result of such choices occurring on a case by case basis would not only immediately affect our personal lives (within two days, a heavy smoker will have a decreased risk of a heart attack as oxygen levels have increased in their blood stream, although this may feel quite traumatic and difficult in the short-run), but such decisions would also simultaneously create an unfathomable change in our macro-economy if they are implemented by large numbers of people in our nation.
Indeed, every dollar we may save from such negative matters would be multiplied in more positive ways. We would not simply save money from not consuming cigarettes, for instance, but we could place this money in our homes, whereby we could pay our banks much less interest in the future. Decades could be extended to the lives of some of our most skilled laborers and artisans, who could educate others rather than dying and wasting the potential benefits of their own education. Our doctors could redirect their efforts and experiments into areas that prevent common aging, even unto the point whereby they could help those that have cancer from genetic misfortune rather than personal decisions. But even if some of our doctors are not as skilled of researchers as they are family practitioners, we would surely thereafter have a rather large surplus of such doctors, which would drive the costs of insurance down for many of us, as there would be more medical competition, and what is more, with more healthy individuals throughout our economy, the government would spend far less on health and human services, which is already the single largest part of the federal budget, even without any “national health care system” in the United States.
Imagine for a moment what life would be like if the United States possessed an even more enormously excessive amount of agriculture, even unto the point whereby we would have far more than is necessary for ourselves (we already have “too much” farming, despite our excessive waste, for government subsidies have not even been mentioned herein). With even more extra land at our disposal, we could plant even more corn (if not a much more efficient ethanol crop of some sort), which may lower the price of American ethanol so much that we could actually lower our tariff against that of the Brazilians and still compete with them. Indeed, if we used more of our land for ethanol production, the violent countries of the Middle East would be denied their funds, and we could reward countries that ask for our assistance—so long as they practice peace towards their neighbors, insofar that our diet could fight terrorism indirectly. In the end, the people within the borders of ignorance will not need to rely upon their corrupt governments, for the authority’s lies shall be clear, and the incentives of the people shall be high.

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