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October 2005 after the first frost and summer grasses had turned brown.  The growth of winter grasses was delayed by the drought.

Protecting Minority Rights

Column #190

Farm and ranch families make up about 2% our nation’s population. Yet they own more total acreage than do all urban land owners. Many of them reside in states that have very small populations. For this reason, as a tiny minority little understood by the urban majority, they are frequently running scared.

The same can be said for any minority that does not receive overwhelming support from the majority. There’s a modern saying, that in part, says democracy is “two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.” It vividly describes the primary concern our Founding Fathers had after winning the War of Independence in 1783. How could they structure a government of the people and for the people so that it protected the rights of minorities? How could they protect the rights of small states versus large states? How could they protect the rights of citizens in low density population centers versus those in the large metropolitan areas? How could they protect the weak versus the powerful?

Because they knew democracies could morph into mob rule, the Founding Fathers struggled for several years over the age-old issues of minority rights. They were well versed in history and they also knew how history repeats itself when the masses forget the lessons of old. They had historical examples where democracies failed from Greek and Romans times plus they had suffered themselves under the oppressive British monarchies. So it was nearly 160 years before George Orwell published his books “Animal Farm” and “1984” that they toiled. Sadly, today some of the campaign rhetoric we’re hearing underscores the fact that too few people have even read “Animal Farm” and “1984” much less studied the ancient history our Founding Fathers knew all so well. But that’s another issue.

The Constitution was drawn up by the Founding Fathers in 1787 and the first 10 amendments in the Bill of Rights were ratified in 1791. The principles of the Constitution include checks and balances, individual rights, liberty, limited government, natural rights theory, republican government, and popular sovereignty. Three branches of government were created (legislative, judicial, and executive) to be checks and balances against each other. All this was to protect the rights of all citizens including the preservation of basic States rights.

Congress, the legislative branch, consists of 435 Representatives elected every two years and 100 Senators elected for six-year terms. Representatives are elected by State districts with their total number per state determined by their state’s percentage of the national population. No matter a state’s population, it will have at least one representative. There are seven states with only one representative: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming. On the flip side California has 53, Texas 36, Florida 27, New York 27, Illinois 18, Pennsylvania 18, Ohio 16, Georgia 14, and Michigan 14 for a total of 223. These nine states have 51.2% of the 435 votes in the House of Representatives. The other 41 states (82% of them) have 48.8% of the vote. Every state has two senators that are elected by statewide votes.

For a few years I experienced firsthand the extreme imbalance that can exist between urbanites and those in agriculture. It occurred when I was living in rural Nevada in the late 1980s on a small ranch on the edge of Fallon, Nevada. If I drove east on Highway 50 it was 110 miles to the closest “city” of ~200 people. The next town was 67 miles and the one after that was 73 miles. Yet people ranched and farmed in-between those isolated communities. As it is today, in 1990 the main population centers were Reno/Sparks/Carson City (~272,094) and Las Vegas/Henderson/Paradise (~715,587). The State’s population was 1.2 million then. So in terms of square miles encompassing those areas 82.2% of the people lived in 0.99% (less than 1%) of the state. Most Nevadans had, and still have, no idea what is going on outside their city limits.

The checks and balances as set out in the Constitution and its Bill of Rights are the structure that will hopefully preserve our republic form of national government. But just the same, mob rule is always possible–even in the court room.

Movies, such as “Food Inc.” and “What’s the Health,” are propaganda films that have been produced by very cleaver Pied Pipers with profit and/or ideological agendas. Their often repeated messages are taken in good faith by the general public and, since they are reinforced almost daily by the media and other sources, they have shaped the perceptions urbanites have of America’s food producers–farmers, ranchers, and food processors.

Basically the underlying themes of those movies are that food is factory farmed by large corporations that use every trick in the book to cheat, lie, steal, and deceive the consumer. The food is poisoned with pesticides, excess antibiotic use is destroying its effectiveness in protecting human health, most animals are raised with added hormones, animals are inhumanely treated and slaughtered, selective breeding and genetic enhancements of plants and animals have unleashed terrible plagues upon the masses, red meat causes innumerable chronic diseases, livestock are causing global warming, farmers and ranchers abuse the land and pollute our water, meat plant employees work in abusive atmospheres, and that’s just a partial list!

These propagandists couch their negative spin around the idea they’re watching out for the consumer and the consumer’s health. All the issues with chronic disease and many with the environment are supposedly the fault of food producers, processors, and industries that supply agriculture. Farmers and processors are also blamed for not responding responsibly to the marketplace. The movies do not explain the science behind what is and is not proper food for mankind, nor do they explain that the food industry is actually very responsive to what consumers vote for with their dollars. Consequently the movies don’t teach consumers how to choose foods with balanced Omega-6 to Omega-3 essential fats that are nutrient dense and diverse while being low glycemic.

I’m frequently conversing with people about food. In nearly all cases their general perceptions of the food they buy at the grocery store fits the narratives of the aforementioned movies. Nearly any participant in the food production industry, including suppliers, that ends up in court these days will find that the juries are tainted. That’s because what everyone knows about food producers, processors, and agricultural suppliers must be true therefore it is true. That’s how unanimous decisions come about.

For these reasons and more we must be careful about tinkering with our nation’s checks and balances and do our best to educate others. Unfortunately, swings in the sentiment of the general population are powerful cycles that often go well beyond what in more normal times would be called extreme. All manias from burning witches and conducting religious wars, to beliefs in various diets are that way. In the face of manias, science and moral outcomes for the protection of the rights of others can be totally ignored to unimaginable degrees.

Those of us who understand the importance of a 1:1 balance of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids, the dangers of consuming high glycemic foods, and the advantages of eating whole foods that are nutrient dense and diverse are a minority. In fact our minority may be less than 1% of the total population. So we all need to stand together to protect and support our food sources. And that also means we need to protect our Constitution and its Bill of Rights.

To your health.

Ted Slanker

Ted Slanker has been reporting on the fundamentals of nutritional research in publications, television and radio appearances, and at conferences since 1999. He condenses complex studies into the basics required for health and well-being. His eBook, The Real Diet of Man, is available online.

Don’t miss these links for additional reading:

Fast Facts About Agriculture from American Farm Bureau Federation

Lessons in the Decline of Democracy From the Ruined Roman Republic by Jason Daley at Smithsonian.com

Constitution of the United States of America (1787) from Bill of Rights Institute

Bill of Rights of the United States of America (1791) from Bill of Rights Institute

Branches of the U.S. Government from USA.gov

Why We Need the Electoral College by Peter J. Wallison at Real Clear Politics

Nevada Official 1990 Census Records from the U.S. Census Bureau

Food Inc. Review by Ted Slanker

The Science Behind the Top 10 Claims from What the Health by Dave Asprey at Bulletproof 360, Inc.

Animal Farm by George Orwell at Amazon.com

1984 by George Orwell at Amazon.com

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