Crime and Federalism‘s tagline: “Because everything I was ever told is a lie.” Scott Greenfield recently gave us a reminder of the truth of the proposition in TWA Flight 800 Remembered. Greenfield was one of the hundreds of witnesses who saw “what [he] thought to be a firework shoot from the water up toward the sky, curve and explode. It was not an explosion in the sky, but clearly something that went from the water upward for a significant distance” off the southern coast of Long Island on the evening of 17 July 1996—an observation contrary to the official “a fuel tank just exploded” governmental explanation of events that night.
Greenfield is a reliable source; if he says that the government is not telling the truth about TWA 800, the government is not telling the truth about TWA 800. And Greenfield says, “It’s not true.”
Why would the government not tell us the truth about the cause of the disaster? It’s easy to think of reasons. But the “why” doesn’t matter; seeking it may even be counterproductive: by imposing our own logic on events we may deceive ourselves. By finding reasons for the government’s deceptions, we might even delude ourselves into thinking that there are circumstances in which our government might be trusted.
We’re better off knowing that government deceives us for its own reasons, and that those reasons are not necessarily knowable. Falsus in unum, falsus in omnibus. (Or at least in omnibus propinquus. That the government is not telling the truth about TWA 800 makes it much easier to believe that the government is not telling the truth about 9/11.)
We’re better off always cutting the cards.
Apropos of that, consider the US Department of Agriculture, which we for some reason allow to tell us how to eat. In a demonstration of the politicization of its food recommendations, the USDA endorsed “meatless Mondays” for its employees and then, when the meat lobby complained, retracted its endorsement.
The USDA’s “MyPlate recommends that someone my age eat seven “ounce-equivalents” of grains per day—that’s seven slices of bread, for example, or three and a half cups of rice, oatmeal, or pasta, for example. That’s about 140 grams of carbohydrates. The USDA also wants me to eat two cups of fruit a day, for maybe another 50 grams of carbohydrates. Along with this, the carb equivalent of three cups of Chunky Monkey, the USDA wants me to eat lean or low-fat protein.
I happen to know, because I have experimented, that if I eat lean meat and 190 grams of carbohydrates a day I’m going to get fat. If, on the other hand, I go light on the carbohydrates and get my calories from fat (mmmm bacon) I’m going to get lean and feel good (I’m down 30 pounds in 18 months). I also know, because I have read, that this is the outcome predicted by sound science.
So here’s the question: if we have an obesity problem in America (we do), and if consuming carbohydrates makes us fat (it does) and if the meat lobby is powerful enough to get the USDA to change its recommendations (it is), what has to happen before the government stops deceiving us about how we’re eating ourselves to death?