Monday, March 28, 2011

March 28: The editorial that defines The Moncton Times&Transcript

"Discipline needed in obesity battle" is an editorial that sums up all the ignorance, bias and self-contradictory logic that one daily finds in The Moncton Times.

In response to a concern that the problem of childhood obesity has become a serious one,the  editorial writer immediately dismisses any need for governments and civil servants to get involved.  (By the way, I wish somebody would buy that paper a dictionary. A bureaucrat is a person who is the head of a government department. Big business is organized in departments, too. That's because as business grew, it modelled its structure on the system developing in kingdoms of the seventeenth century. And that was because the old system of government by inherited wealth did not produce enough people with brains to run the country. Louis XIV made notable advances in this form of running an organization with his appointments for department heads he called intendants. Canadian big business eagerly copied the civil service structure of Canada in the 1940s and 50s. That's why we now have thousands of "bureacrats" in private business who have titles like VP public relations, VP overseas trade, etc. Big business is full of bureacrats and bureaucracy. Too bad the editorial writer doesn't know that, and thinks bureaucrat is just a dirty word.)

It's simple, says the writer. It's the fault of the education system (of course). Students should be getting one hour of vigorous exercise every day at school.

Let's see now, take a pretty average high school of about a thousand students. They're in school about six hours a day. So that would mean some 170 children per gymn class. Think about that.

Even if you could jam 170 vigorous exercisers into the existing gymns, you would need to hire hundreds of more gymn teachers. But, even then, you're not going to get much vigorous exercises with 170 people - and the necessary equipment - jammed into one gymnasium.  We would have to hundreds of  millions building at least three or four gymns for each school - not to mention millions more on equipment.

We already have a school system in which school buildings and staffs are inadequate - and we know the government is opposed to raising taxes for anything but hockey rinks. So I guess we'd just have to cut down even further on maintenance; (though that might add to the bills as school buildings collapse).

We could also get rid of quite a few teachers since an hour a day would have to be time taken away from the academic curriculum. Let's see. What subjects would we cut? Math and chemistry? (We can't cut history because it's already been mostly cut out already. We replaced it by making children stand up for the daily  embarassment of listening to dreadful recordings of O Canada played on PA systems).

However we might do it, we'd need a lot of adminstrators to plan the massive changes in curriculum and buildings and equipment, etc. So we'd have to hire lots more bureaucrats. In fact, we would have to put the health of our children entirely in the hands of bueaucrats, educational administrators and teachers - the very people The Moncton Times has been editorially accusing of being incompetent. Does that opinion reflect a drastic change of opinion? Or a sudden onset of Altsheimer's? (In the same editorial, he rails against new layers of bureaucracy and, at the same time, proposes a scheme that would need just that.)

Then he says it's all  up to the parents. Oh? Does that include the many families in which both parents have to work to survive? Is the editorial writer unaware of studies, American ones in particular, that show child obesity to be linked with poverty? That means that passing the problem over to the parents isn't going to help much. That aspect of the problem can be solved in the US and Canada only if we stop allowing the rich to keep so much and the rest of us to keep so little. Is that what the editorial writer is suggesting?

The editorial closes, "A regimen of exercise, healthy food, common sense, discipline and above all, parental involvement, are not a complex concept."

(I shall pass lightly over the two, glaring errors in grammar in that sentence.)

In fact, the areas he/she mentions are extremely complex. Nor are they helped by opinion full of ignorance, bias, and lack of common sense.

Most of us, alas, cannot cannot hope for the regimen of exercise, healthy food, common sense and discipline in which we jog to work and home every day. That must explain why those who work at The Moncton Times are so natably slim and svelte - and why the parking lot is always empty.

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