Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hunger Strike

From the folks who brought you ketchup as a vegetable comes another Orwellian twist from Washington. The expanding problem of hunger in America has been redefined by the administration as an issue of "very low food security."

Until now, the federal government has had no problem using the word "hunger" to describe a situation in which 35 million Americans are "insecure" about having a meal on the table at some point during the year.

But, hey, let science rule. Let it overrule plain language and common sense because as the report's author says hunger is "not a scientifically accurate term."

To be fair, it was social scientists like him, along with health providers and evasive politicians, who started debasing the language a long time ago — to the point where we must recast Ben Franklin's dictum that the only certainties in life are negative patient care outcome and revenue enhancement. And it was well-intentioned weight-loss experts who replaced the simplicity of a diet with “controlled dietary intake.”

Maybe classifying hunger as "very low food security" is the best scientific language, but it is suspect coming at a time when the problem is growing and 58 percent of the voting public last week expressed a real hunger for governmental change.

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