Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thinking About Activism: Food Orientation

Lately I've been thinking about my New Years resolutions and reading over my set goals, thinking where I should go next. It may not yet be time for me to set up for another major endeavor given that I'm still transitioning into my new life, but I should start thinking in order to prepare myself for the next steps. What has been most dominant in my thoughts is my promise to boost up my intellectual activism, which I set as a somewhat concrete goal to start writing letters to the editor on a regular basis.

I'm not sure if this disqualifies me as having officially kept a promise on my resolutions, but I want to revise this. Writing letters to the editor bothers me for multiple reasons, namely its effectiveness in my own realm. For one, I wouldn't be able to publish an appreciable volume of writing given the not-so-fast approval and editing process and the limit on how often contributions can be made, if my letter were approved for publishing, in comparison to what I could accomplish here on my blog sites. LTEs, while still a valuable option worthy of future consideration, just doesn't strike me as the most efficient and effective method for someone at my level, so I'd like to stick to blogging or at least work myself up to such writing, much like how Paul Hsieh has. I've built up a readership and know of some very effective methods of advertising my writings. (You'd be amazed at what good simply commenting on other blogs does.)

Additionally, I ought to be more careful in what I choose to be an activist for, for my knowledge and writing skills render me competent only on certain subjects, as such applies to all people. As you might know, my other blog, Benpercent, was dominantly activism oriented, and while I wrote some good essays it was a strain to keep up with since I worked on such a broad range of topics. It was difficult to enjoyably write essays, which in the end made Benpercent seem more like a chore and eventually brought its demise. If I want to be the best activist I can be, then I ought to pick a narrower range of subjects that appeal to my values and knowledge, motivating me to write better pieces and be more persistent. Obviously, that means I should orient myself towards more food-based subjects. For example, raw milk.

This would not only appeal to my interests, but also to my developing knowledge. As noted in Why I Love to Cook, one of the major reasons why I love food is because I love learning the science and causation behind what gives rise to what we eat (and what happens when we treat it in certain ways), which will mean that over the course of my lifetime I'll be interested in studying a great array of food science, including nutrition, chemistry (like for baking), math, biology, and other things, all as part of an integrated and life-long education in gastronomy. That will make me competent in speaking on such issues like the actual risks of drinking raw milk, the foolish regulations restaurants have the follow, the choices taken away from consumers, and so on. All this knowledge will be a part of my career, the line of work I have chosen, so obviously as the future advances I will become more and more knowledged on these matters, more and more able to comment on them and be an activist for individual rights in these realms.

I know matters such as healthcare and the financial sector of the economy are in need of some serious activism, but how potent a voice could I be given my specialties lay elsewhere? Sure, I could do well to post a comment on an article or share a link on my social networking websites, but to dedicate the time and effort to construct a blog post or LTE about such issues might be unfruitful since they wouldn't be issues striking the heart of my values or be in the realm of my knowledge. I'd give sub-par or poor arguments and wouldn't like the process of constructing them. Being a food activist would be something both practical and enjoyable.

Right now I don't want to commit myself to any writing goals since I'm both still ignorant of "the issues" and am transitioning into some other things, so as a first step I'd like to begin adding to Google Reader various blogs that touch on the legal issues revolving around food. That would work to establish the first requirement: Being up to speed on what's even going on to begin with.

Out of all the goals I've set for myself this year this is probably the most important one. The world is going to a bad place, and the only way to stop it is to speak up and offer better alternatives to the ideas being practiced now. Passivity is what the enemy wants: Without resistance, evil will win by default. In either of the win-lose scenarios, I don't want to be in moral contempt. If things go to Hell and I did nothing about it, then I will be partially responsible; if a better future does dawn and I have done nothing to bring it, then I won't deserve it and will be contemptible dead weight.

As Ayn Rand said, don't let it go.

1 comment:

  1. Your thinking seems to be leading you toward what might be called "in-line activism" -- activism that is, content-wise, in line with one's central purpose in life.

    For the meaning of "central purpose in life," some of your readers might gain from this post:


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