For decades our government has been dominated by a conservative ideology that claims to despise big government, abhor regulation and adhere to an unswerving faith in the infinite wisdom of the market. Rick Perlstein dubs this philosophy “E. Coli Conservatism,” and in practice it is not only flawed but corrupt: a calculated conservative project intended to gut our regulatory systems in the interest of sheer corporate greed. We eat adulterated food not because we cannot adequately regulate the industry but because to do so would eat into the profits of the corporations our regulators serve.
In the six years since 9/11, food-borne pathogens and toxins have quietly killed ten times the number of Americans who died in the terrorist attacks. How many more Americans must conservatism kill before our leaders embrace a more responsible ideology?
That is the provocative conclusion to “Poison for Profit”, my new piece on food safety (or the lack thereof) in the July 30 edition of The Nation. The issue won’t hit newsstands until the end of the month, but you can read my contribution online now.
In case you’re wondering, America’s oldest continuously published weekly magazine pays even worse than The Stranger, but I’m told it’s a tad more prestigious. Yes, that’s right, a magazine that has published the likes of Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gore Vidal, Hunter S. Thompson, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, John Steinbeck, and Jean-Paul Sartre, has now also published potty-mouthed Goldy. I know there are those who sneer that my love of foul language is symptomatic of some character, literary or mental defect that will forever relegate me to the role of mere blogger, but believe it or not, I managed to get through an entire essay without writing the words “fuck,” “shit,” “asshole” or “cocksucker” even once. Imagine that.
So a heads up to all you local publishers: I’d just love to supplement my meager income with a regular column. Come and get me while you can still afford me.