Skip to comments.PEANUT HOSTILITIES
Posted on 12/04/2008 8:45:15 AM PST by andrew roman
The sad tendency in America these days is that the needs of the few - in many cases, the very few - are given priority over the rights of the majority, and almost always at the expense of liberty.
Frankly, it is a repulsive trend.
I have, in previous articles, called this the Tyranny of Equality - born out of a sense of sick, arrant entitlement - with the devitalizing aim of making sure that every single human being alive in America is not only treated exactly the same, but that no one anywhere at anytime is inconvenienced, insulted, or made to feel in anyway inferior. This is the precise school of thought that foments the handing out of asinine "participation certificates" (suitable for framing) to kids who deserve no reward at all, while playing down genuine excellence. In effect, this all-consuming quest for equality über alles seeks to stunt the achievers instead of elevating the stragglers - a philosophy emphatically un-American.
As I have written about numerous times before - and will continue to - liberty and equality are not bedfellows. It is never to be assumed that they mean the same thing, because by definition, having more of one means less of the other. As Alexander Hamilton famously said, "Inequality will exist as long as liberty exists. It unavoidably results from that very liberty itself."
As much as this may sound as a repudiation of compassion for fellow human beings, it is not. Conservatives often get the "heartless" brand slapped on them when acknowledging the realities of the human condition namely, that some will succeed and others will fail.
Compassion is not the issue.
This is about control.
Enter the peanut gallery.
On Wednesday, talk-show host Dennis Prager read excerpts on his show of a column published at the Investors Business Daily (IBD) website entitled The War on Peanuts. An odd title, yes, but an important story that has been playing out in various places across the country. (Talk-show host Mike Gallagher also spent some time on this on Wednesday).
In Union County, North Carolina - which, according to the article, is the fastest growing school district in the state - school officials are asking parents not to pack anything made with peanuts in the kids' lunch bags, including the generations-old standby, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
This is because there are students at the school who suffer from peanut allergies.
According to the article:
If they (the parents) abide by the restriction, a certificate with their child's name will be placed on display at their school "in acknowledgment of the voluntary commitment to safety your family has made."
Being the certificate-crazed people we have become, this could have widespread appeal.
Ironically, in an attempt to "level the playing field" with a non-peanut proliferation award of "acknowledgement" on full display for all to see, more rifts will be created than unity.
"Look, Billy doesn't have a certificate up there. He must still be bringing peanut butter to school."
"What is wrong with his Mom and Dad?"
"They don't care."
"Neither do Jenny, Timmy, Bobby and Mohammed."
"I guess they want Toby to die."
Okay, that wasn't part of the article. It was purely illustrative.
The article continues:
The district's also shaming parents into washing their kids' hands in the morning before they go on the bus, lest they transfer the dangerous peanut molecule and endanger a seat mate. ... A Washington lobbyist group is behind the anti-peanut push. It's stalking schools with fears about children going into anaphylactic shock if they so much as touch something peanutty.
A lobbyist group?
You don't say.
(I wonder how much of the $700 billion bailout cash they're asking for).
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) confirms that peanut allergies are among the most common with kids today, but according to the IBD piece:
Nobody knows for sure what's driving the increase. But some doctors think it's media hype and parental neurosis.
CDC studies show about 25% of parents think their kids have food allergies when only about 4% really do. And only 1% actually have peanut allergies.
Another reason for the so-called epidemic is more parents are randomly removing peanuts in their babies' diets, thereby lowering their tolerance in later years.
CDC data show food allergy deaths are extremely rare, with peanut-related deaths almost nonexistent.
The CDC reports that there approximately twenty total food allergy deaths a year in the United States (although other sources have the total as high as 120) - tragic, to be sure, but not exactly a modern-day Black Plague sweeping across the nation. (On average, twice as many people die from lightning strikes per year in the United States).
Yet, schools across the country have actually banned peanuts outright - and more are joining the war.
In one Chicago area school Cotton Creek Elementary theyve taken a more common sense approach. Theyve created what could accurately be called peanut-free zones. It sounds a bit funny, but it is a practical and effective way of handling such situations.
Instead of banning peanut products for the 99.9% of the unaffected student body, each classroom is allotted two tables in the cafeteria, one of which is designated as peanut-free.
Students have the option of sitting at any table, however if they want to sit with their friends at the allergy table, they are going to have to drop the PB&J and other foods containing any sort of peanuts.
Nancy Wood serves as a lunch monitor at Cotton Creek. She said she likes the system and has even noticed that children purposely do not bring peanut products so they can sit with friends at the peanut-free tables. Young children are particularly good at dealing with other childrens food allergies, because they want to take care of their friends, she said.
The entire peanut issue is really just one symptom of a larger problem in today's society - that is, the renunciation of personal responsibility in favor of nanny-statism and a neurotic desire to construct a society where equality is the predominant value.
Indeed, there are children born with (for the want of better words) imperfections and maladies all the time - some obviously more serious than others. That a child is born with a specific allergy that must be dealt with by responsible parents on a daily basis does not mean - nor should it - that the overwhelming vast majority of those who do not have such issues should be denied their right to bring a food to school that is, for one, legal and, two, does not aversely affect almost everyone alive.
It is the obligation of the parents to teach an allergic child how to adjust to the rest of society. It isn't up to society to jump through hoops to accomodate the one child.
It is thoroughly unreasonable to think otherwise.
The fact is ... if I had suffered from such an allergy, it would never even have occured to me to have everyone else bend over backwards to accomodate me.
That there are people who do think that way is the real tragedy.
This all started with affirmative action.
Apparently, you either did not attend the brainwashing re-education camps known as public schools, or you attended prior to the day that students were taught that they have a "right" to demand that the majority (the dominant culture) bow to your every need and demand since you are a member of a minority group.
And, I am a parent of a child with a life-threatening peanut allergy.
However, it is good to have some safe guards in place to prevent accidental exposure, especially for elementary age kids. My wife and our child's school have worked well together in establishing sensible safeguards.
When my kid was 9, at home, he ate a couple bites of a washed apple that had been handled by someone who had eaten peanut butter and within a few minutes he wasn't moving air. Thankfully, epinephrine worked fast and well.
His reaction, as scary as it was, was a many-fold blessing: One, he was with us and we knew what was happening when he said that his "throat felt like it was squeezing"; Two, ever since it happened, he/we is/are much more careful and responsible when it comes to the whole issue.
Prior to this allergic reaction, his doctor (Johns Hopkins) told us that his allergy "was off the charts" and that he could die within 10-15 minutes of ingestion of a peanut/peanut product, which caused us alarm, but it became very very alarming after his first reaction.
His doctor also said that repeated exposure potentially leads to stronger allergic reactions, which may be irreversible, even with an epinephrine injection.
I don't agree with the approach in the article, but I do believe that if someone's child faced this level of significant danger on a daily basis, at their local elementary school, then that someone would be much less cavalier about the subject and how it was handled.
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