Mandatory meal plan proposal indicates larger problem
Freedom is all about allowing individuals to make choices. No other country gives as much choice to the individual as the United States. While we do rank 12th in economic freedom, America's personal liberties compared to the rest of the world are indisputable.
Enter Arizona Student Unions, the arm of the University of Arizona responsible for various aspects of campus life including virtually all university dining facilities, which is proposing a mandatory meal plan for all freshmen. For the uninitiated, this would mean that the Union would force freshmen to dedicate to spending around $2,000 worth of food from restaurants and shops associated with the union during the year. Current meal plans are accepted at "over 30 campus eateries" according to the meal plan website, but they don't include a single supermarket in Tucson, let alone any off campus location except for Boston Market (across the northeast intersection of campus) and Domino's Pizza (if off-campus delivery counts).
For any principled conservative or libertarian, the prospect is appalling. Regardless of the prospect of never getting to enjoy mahi-mahi tacos from La Salsa or the negative dietary and financial consequences, it is a blatant denial of personal and economic freedom to do what one chooses. Instead of simply improving its own food, the union instead plays hardball with individual rights.
The idea first appeared in the Wildcat in September. Not only is the attitude of the Union quite revealing, but try listening to the students the Wildcat interviewed. Biochemistry sophomore Renee Yu, a non-supporter, states that the union would need to provide better food for cheaper prices, though she wasn't sure whether she'd support the plan if the prices were reduced by half. Media arts senior Luke Howell supports the idea, stating "A lot of freshmen don't eat the way they should...Freshmen take the easy way out with fast food."
Two of the following Monday's letters blasted the plan. Kudos to philosophy senior Melissa Haferkamp, who called it "financial coercion." Public health masters student Crystal Schemp blasts the Union's claims of "healthy options." "In an attempt to eat well," Schemp explains, "I ordered a large side of vegetables for dinner. Delighted with my healthy choice, I sat down to eat and found that the vegetables were saturated in butter. Fried chicken would have been better for me."
But most revealing is the opinion of UA student regent Ben Graff, who is supposed to represent students. He calls it "a form of increased tuition" and states that "The motivation for a mandatory meal plan has to help students save money and get nutritious food." Wonderful, our student regent thinks we're stupid.
The following day, columnist Karen G. Raz opined against the meal plan...for now. She makes the point that the union needs to improve before instituting such a plan. Sound almost...Republican. Raz opines "So with freedom only minimally restricted, I bet mandatory meal plans wouldn't be so bad, especially if they force the union to improve its services for students. [emphasis added]"
The principle behind this threat is simple: convenience for the collective is worth the liberty of the individual. Without winning the struggle for the rights of the individual, there is no winning this debate. In fact, there is no winning any debate for the individual.
The lost cause of the individual is the basis of why war served the people of Iraq as her people finally saw the ballot box today. It is the basis of the founding of this country. It's own basis is God Himself. And its threats are the foundation of every bad piece of public policy on the books, every piece of flawed logic in leftist politics, and every threat to liberty in the history of mankind.
And it's this kind of threat which reigns here at the University of Arizona. It's just on a smaller scale.
Did they Google for "Garrett O'Hara" before going along with this?
Google for yours truly. Seriously. Do it. What do you find?
Well, as of writing this there's my Blogger profile, two links to the Factor, a message board post about Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ", and something about me being a twenty-six year old drug dealer. Wait a sec...
After a two year sentence for supposed drug dealing, twenty-six year old Garrett O'Hara is released from prison, determined to get his life back on track. Upon returning home, he finds his politician father and media-conscious mother have all but disowned him. But when Garrett's younger brother Noah is missing, and may be heading down a very dark and familiar path, Mr. and Mrs. O'Hara must seek help from the very son they'd turned their backs on, learning a very hard lesson in the process.
Well, I suppose I should think about the bright side. If the movie isn't popular, there's no harm. If the movie is popular, then I get more hits from Google searches originating from Canada and Finland.
Obama bin Laden!!
An honest mistake by a not-so-honest man.
Just think about what the media would cry had Alan Keyes done it...
School starts in two days
Laura's comment was right. All this guy's doing is looking for attention. After getting to bed at 0100 messing with Linux, I had better things to do.
Things like endlessly messing around with wallpaper, styles, window decorations, Thunderbird, and Firefox.
Update: Not to mention my newly completed template. :)
In other news, MSN reports that the O'Hara Factor is the nation's leading Latino San Diego Xanga.
Protest Alert: Walkout scheduled for Inauguration Day
Food Not Bombs cofounder Keith McHenry reports on Arizona Indymedia that a walkout/protest is scheduled for Inauguration Day. The march from UA to the federal building starts at 1530. McHenry also reports that "some people are interested in occupying a congressional office."
Note that this will be during school hours. Not good.
I found the flyer from Food Not Bombs' website. Events include:
- "Memorial for Democracy": De Anza Park (Speedway and Stone) @ 1000
- "March and Critical Mass Bike Ride" to the University
- Old Main Rally @ 1530
- March to federal building
The flyer also notes to "bring pots and pans to bang with spoons". What??
This will be followed on Jan. 22 by a "Counter Inaugural [sic] Ball" from 1100 to 1500 at De Anza Park.
All in all, politics is back for a while. Somehow, to them, democracy has something to do with only Democrats winning.
No noticeable protest
I visited both First Southern Baptist and First United Methodist today and found no sign of protest. My status is unsure for tomorrow, but we'll see.
What the Phelps?
I recall coming across the website of Westboro Baptist Church, author of the notorious God Hates Fags and God Hates America, but I determined that it was some attempt by a homosexual group to stain Christ's name. Instead I find that it's real. Dumb.
What brings the issue to Tucson's table now is the arrival of Westboro pastor Fred Phelps to protest Rincon High School's live student performance of "The Laramie Project", a play/film about the Matthew Shephard murder.
TIMEOUT: Think about the reaction had Rincon done a performance about Jesse Dirkhising.
Westboro's Jan. 3 news release goes farther, even going so far as to call First Southern Baptist Church (of which I'm a member), St. Augustine Cathedral, St. Alban Episcopal, First Methodist, St. Andrews Presbyterian, and St. Andrews Episcopal "apostate, Arminian, [and] pro-gay". Really?
First Southern Baptist invited former homosexual Tim Wilkins of Cross Ministry for a one-day conference on "walking people out of homosexuality". Moreover, the homosexual community found out and protested!!
So as a result, there's going to be at least three events to cover within the week. Sunday at First Southern Baptist, Monday at Rincon High School, and the following Monday for the MLK march, the latter of which I hope is not as politically driven as last year's Democratic primary march.
Notice via: Rings of Benzene
Labour outpaces Republicans in improving economic freedom
Overall, economic freedom in the US is at the same level overall, but other countries have passed it, leading to the United States being tied for 12th with Switzerland in the Heritage Foundation's latest Index of Economic Freedom.
So who's beating us? Try Hong Kong, Singapore, Luxembourg, Estonia, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Iceland, Australia, and Chile. Not only that, but the UK (with Tony Blair's Labour Party in power), improved.
If the Labour Party is improving economic freedom faster than the Republican Party, then something's definitely wrong!