Not all of the effects of leftist influence are bad. I know this is a stretch for some of you, particularly conservative or libertarian readers out there, but bear with me. One of the such effects I’m enjoying right now is the change taking place within the food industry.

The liberal thought process is this: ‘Wow, look at that fat kid. What’s that he’s eating? Oh my goodness! It’s a Big Mac! No wonder he’s fat! Those things are like a heart attack in a bag! But it’s not his fault of course. Not everyone can be as intelligent as me. At least I’m educated and know to avoid those awful places at any cost. If only everyone could eat seafood and greens like I, so to speak, to coin a phrase. It’s McDonald’s fault for even DESIGNING those revolting things – taking advantage of those poor, poor people. In fact, it’s a disgrace! It’s an outrage! It’s – it’s GENOCIDE!’

And thus, McDonald’s and unwitting others in the food industry find themselves the focus of angry, socialist blame; for providing a service that millions of people want and voluntarily, peacefully exchange money for. Thus the reason that lefties treat everyone as victims without any capacity to think for themselves. It makes left-liberalism the most arrogant and condescending of all the political philosophies.

So, if you’re McDonald’s, or Burger King, or Coca-Cola, or Cadbury’s – how do you respond? After all, they aren’t challenging how you wrap your products anymore (it’s interesting to note that McDonald’s UK and Europe are still packaging with environmentally unfriendly foam boxes, while McDonald’s USA changed to paper wrapping many years ago. I like to think they’re deliberately trying to piss off the Eurocrats). No, that would be too easy. They’re challenging your products themselves, products that you have built your businesses on. Products that are extremely popular, all across the world.

You could argue that your products are not meant to be eaten in vast quantities – they are, essentially, treats. They are meant to taste good, and they damned-well do. They may not be the best product to diet on, but if they’re consumed in the manner in which they were intended, they are a perfectly healthy addition to any lifestyle. Right? Not quite…. you see, in the minds of the Left, your products are inherently evil, because, no matter what you say, people are consuming them much more than they should be. You are therefore responsible – not them. (Gotta love it.) So you are left with a public that expects you to change your menu to accommodate the new ‘progressive’, enlightened, quality-conscious consumer.

And, folks, that’s exactly what they have done. It isn’t often that I actually appreciate the results of liberal thinking, no matter how incorrect that thinking is, but sometimes a cloud does have a silver lining. In this case, the silver lining doesn’t involve a product based on raw celery or anything, but it does reflect today’s consumer demand for excellence. I want to mention a few examples here of the response of the corporate world to this liberal pressure:

1) Salads. I’m the kind of salad eater that thinks lettuce is a waste of space and frequently uses the term “rabbit-food” to describe whatever green stuff may accidentally find itself on my plate. So when I endorse a salad, it has to be GOOD. The new McDonald’s and Burger King salads are wonderful. Crispy white chicken breast, garlic croutons, parmesan cheese, cherry tomatoes, shredded smoked bacon, dressing. They taste fantastic, and can be healthily eaten more often than the traditional burger/fries combo.

2) Premium choice. Burger King started this one off with what is, I feel, a quality revolution in the fast food industry. They call it Tendercrisp; a refined way of processing white chicken meat that ensures its quality at the same time – something that was severely lacking before. Put a Tendercrisp chicken breast in fresh quality bun, add strips of bacon, a slice of real cheddar, ranch dressing and lettuce, and you’ve got a burger that costs $2 more than the traditional one – but tastes a million times better. McDonald’s joined the party and now offers its BLT Ranch and a few others. The addition of quality Angus beef to burger options continues the consumer demand for superior quality.

3) Taste innovation. Traditional technology gave us two options in the cola department: Coke, which is full of sugar and calories but tastes great. Diet Coke, without the sugar but which added a Nutrasweet aftertaste that didn’t quite cut it for most people. Well, folks, they’ve solved the problem! It’s called Coke Zero in the United States – a new beverage with half the amount of aspartame, NO sugar, NO calories whatsoever, and all the taste of Classic Coca-Cola. I can see this one fully replacing Coke in the long run as the healthier, better version of its predecessor.

There’s no point in McDonald’s scrapping its menu to offer sticks of barley and raw carrot. McCarrot-dip™ is not likely around the corner. And thank God. For crying out loud, folks, it’s McDonald’s. The Big Mac is a wonderful burger. It’s old-school, it tastes good, and since the Left began complaining, it’s achieved a fantastic kind of status of irreverence that it never had before! And I sometimes wonder, were it not for the POSSIBILITY that the Left may at some point act legislatively, if the industry would have responded this quickly. In other words, if the pressure were felt only in the arena of public opinion with no possibility of anti-fast food legislation (in a libertarian year 2005), would the industry be changing anyway? (My answer is that it probably would.)

Nevertheless, I appreciate the changes and love the improvements. The private sector is innovative, fresh, inventive, ingenious, revolutionary and creative. That’s what capitalism is all about.

Not all of the effects of leftist influence are bad. Just most of them.

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John Wright

johnwright@softhome.net