Worrying About Agriculture Is Not Paganism

There is a sort of paranoid post at Credenda|Agenda about how concern about sustainable agriculture is going to somehow introduce some kind of Marxist-New Age hybrid into the church. Poster James Arrick goes into an insane, almost Glenn Beck-like rant about how Michael Pollan is a villain because he is agnostic and because he uses a Marxist distinction between needs and wants. Really?

According to Arrick until Marx came along, no one in history could distinguish between material needs and wants – it’s a miracle that such a distinction even existed in the English language prior to the middle of the 19th Century! Of course Arrick himself grows his own food, eats healthy and generally avoids over-processed foods – he just likes to do it while feeling superior to all those grubby Marxists – while claiming that they are snobs! He calls them pharisees, which makes him a meta-pharisee, I think.

I have not read The Omnivore’s Dilemma but in his subsequent books that I have read, Pollan does not at all strike me as a Marxist, or a pharisee. If anything he advocates a fairly libertarian route to healthier eating. He doesn’t require a government-mandated food pyramid, he says that most science concerning nutrition is still in its infancy, and that traditional diets and reasonable portions are the most effective ways to obtain these things. He even goes so far as to suggest that families prepare food together and eat meals together instead of snacking on junk food and frozen things while doing their own things! At times In Defense of Food reads like a very conservative-friendly book – don’t look to the government, respect tradition, avoid over-indulging, and eat together as a family.

Arrick’s rants ends with,

“If you think a farmer is raping the earth by not using organic manure, and you go to that farmer and tell him so, then don’t be offended if that farmer replies that you’re full of enough manure for the both of you, manure provided by an agnostic alarmist who wants a lot more government control over everyone’s personal life because of a Marxist lie.”

It would seem that Arrick himself has provided us with quite a bit of the smelly brown stuff.