Quote Of The Day

“America gives a better life to the ordinary guy than does any other country. Let’s be honest: rich people live well everywhere. America’s greatness is that it has extended the benefits of affluence, traditionally available to the very few, to a large segment in society. We live in a nation where “poor” people have TV sets and microwave ovens, where construction workers cheerfully spend $4 on a nonfat latte, where maids drive very nice cars, where plumbers take their families on vacation to the Caribbean. Recently I asked an acquaintance in Bombay why he has been trying so hard to relocate to America. He replied, “I really want to move to a country where the poor people are fat.” — Dinesh D’Souza, in his column “What’s So Great About America?”

25 Responses to “Quote Of The Day”


  • Happy Fourth of July. :)

  • D’Souza isn’t he the dude that blamed 9/11 on FDR?

  • Don’t know about FDR but liberals in general, yeah. :-)

  • He did say that FDR was in part responsible for 9/11 on the Colbert Report.

    So, do you believe this? Do you believe that the real enemy to America is liberals and not Al-Qaeda or other Islamic extremists?

  • Nope. But I still like D’Souza.

  • Love this quote!! “I really want to move to a country where the poor people are fat.”

  • This is great. We sometimes forget how wonderful this country is and how many opportunities we have.

    I agree with Julissa, I love that quote “I really want to move to a country where the poor people are fat.”

    My first job out of college I made so little I survived off of Vienna sausages and ramin noodles. I lost a lot of weight!

    http://republicanhispanic.blogspot.com/

  • The Great thing about America is that YOU CAN BE anything you want to be.

    But like all good things in life, YOU GOT TO WORK AT IT.

  • Julissa, there are lots of countries where poor people are fat, Mexico being one of them. It’s hardly a thing to celebrate.

    HP, don’t you think that D’Souza’s claim to know what makes “a better life to the ordinary guy” smacks of liberal paternalism?

  • You miss the big picture here – while being fat certainly has its problems, it’s miles apart from countries that have a starvation problem, as D’Souza’s acquaintance in Bombay so aptly shows.

    In other words, living in a world where you can overeat is superior to living in a world where you are forced to under eat. The poor know this well, which is why so many of them want to come here, as opposed to the poor in the United States wanting to go there.

  • A bit old, but the numbers ring even truer today:

    Obesity Creeping Up on Less Developed Countries

    About 80 percent of all cases of cardiovascular disease now occur in less developed countries, with 17 percent of deaths in poor countries in 2000 attributed to nutrition-related heart disease.3 Countries with per capita GDP that are well under $5,000—such as Pakistan and Nigeria—annually face significant risks from obesity and high cholesterol leading to heart disease.

    These developments promise to widen the health disparities between rich and poor and further burden already overwhelmed health care systems in the developing world. “Poor people and poor countries are the most vulnerable victims of the emerging epidemic of noncommunicable diseases related to obesity.

    The rise in obesity and related diseases in less developed countries can be traced in large part to the rapid nutrition transition in these countries—the shift from a diet of simple and sometimes traditional foods with little variation to a diet more reliant on processed foods, animal-source foods, fat, and sugar.5 This shift has been facilitated by the increasing internationalization and commercialization of the food trade.

    The potential cost from obesity and overweight populations to poor countries is enormous. Health systems in less developed countries are not well equipped to treat large numbers of people suffering from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

    Have y’all already exhausted your list of things to celebrate to the point where you champion the unhealthiness of the poor as an example of success?

  • Maybe I wasn’t as clear as I thought, let me reiterate my point – I am not celebrating obesity, I am arguing that obesity is a superior societal problem than starvation – a problem that is far more common in history and has affected an overwhelming larger amount of people.

    So for you to address my point, you would have to show that obesity is a bigger (or equal) problem than starvation – a rebuttal that you would be hard pressed to produce.

    Also, for those interested, here are more varied opinions on why we are getting fatter…see here.

  • This whole point to me is kind of absurd. its like saying would you rather get killed by getting hit by a bus or getting hit by a train. I wouldn’t want either.

    to me it is symptomatic of a problem that I find with Americans in general since W. took office. We used to strive to be the best in the world at everything. Now we strive to not be the worst.

    - We may be a fat, lazy society of people killing themselves with trans fats, but at least we are better than Pakistan and India.
    - Iraq may be a dangerous, lawless hell, but at least its better to live there now than when Sadaam was in power.
    - America’s healthcare system is a mess, but its better than Cuba’s.
    - We have to sacrifice a large number of civil liberties in this country, but hey its not like China or anything.

  • The reason I make the difference is that the two are miles apart – countries that exhibit high rates of obesity have a significantly higher life expectancy than countries that exhibit high rates of starvation…it really is the difference between living in poverty in the United States vs sub-Saharan Africa, or as the original post demonstrates, Bombay, India.

    I don’t understand why it is so hard for others to see this point. Maybe the problem isn’t so much W as it is the comforts of wealth itself – we have lived so long in ‘relative’ poverty, that we have forgotten what real (absolute) poverty is like.

  • Michael,

    - We may be a fat, lazy society of people killing themselves with trans fats, but at least we are better than Pakistan and India.

    You’re ‘better’ than them?

    - Iraq may be a dangerous, lawless hell, but at least its better to live there now than when Sadaam was in power.

    That’s hilarious.

    - America’s healthcare system is a mess, but its better than Cuba’s.

    Nope.

    HP,

    Also, for those interested, here are more varied opinions on why we are getting fatter…see here.

    The neat thing about biology is that – like evolution, or the big bang – it’s a precise science, with rather well-accepted truths and facts. We get fat because we eat more, we move less and our diets are less balanced. That’s it. Yes, there are economic and other reason behind that but they don’t negate the dangers of obesity.

    In your linked post, you wrote:

    From the Civil War to the 1990s, the weight of a 6-foot-tall American male increased by about 30 pounds on average.

    Come on! You should know as well as anyone else that that ‘statistic’ is meaningless: You’re looking at a period when people marched and fought for days and survived on rations, and drawing a linear line to a time when we sit in front of our machines, drink 4$ lattes and eat fast food. Obviously if you ignore all the spikes and dips in between, the ‘average’ is that American males today are heavier. If you had used the Great Depression or World War II as an example, you would’ve arrived at the same conclusion. However, if you had used, say, the 1950s (when nearly half of America’s adult population was considered overweight), the results would be very different.

    In other words, living in a world where you can overeat is superior to living in a world where you are forced to under eat. The poor know this well, which is why so many of them want to come here, as opposed to the poor in the United States wanting to go there.

    I’m completely baffled by this statement. I don’t see how you can speak for the poor of the world and say that they can come to America and overeat, or stay home and starve. Immigrants that try and enter the US are rarely the most destitute or starving ones, but the ones that already have a decent living standard compared to their contemporaries in their respective countries. You’re introducing a tangential claim that ‘people want to come here because of food’, when there are (as you know) many other reasons they do (cultural hegemony, educational issues, etc).

    countries that exhibit high rates of obesity have a significantly higher life expectancy than countries that exhibit high rates of starvation

    Again, statistical failure. Instead of looking at entire countries, look only at the cross section of obese in any country, and you’ll find the numbers far closer. I know the point of the article is ‘USA #1 we rool lol noobs!!!1\\’, but it’s important to compare apples with apples – in this case, populations with inadequate nutritional intake.

    Starvation and obesity are both problems, and they both need to be addressed. I’d love to live in a country where they’re non-issues, where all the women have beautifully shaped legs and perfect posture and all the guys have six-packs and broad shoulders, but unfortunately internet connectivity and personal freedoms haven’t reached acceptable levels in Cuba yet. ;)

  • Steven,

    No matter how much you try to get away from the issue, you have yet to rebut my claim that living under starvation is worse than living under obesity. :-)

  • HP,

    You never answered my question:

    Don’t you think that D’Souza’s claim to know what makes “a better life to the ordinary guy” smacks of liberal paternalism?

  • you have yet to rebut my claim that living under starvation is worse than living under obesity

    .

    Since I’ve never lived with either, I cannot confirm or deny your claim that living under starvation is worse than living under obesity.

    But since I don’t know much about you (asides from Oso telling me that you’re a cool dude), I’ll assume that you’ve personally lived both extreme starvation and acute obesity, to be able to claim that one is better than the other. ;)

  • It’s a non-issue where are freedoms and liberties allows even the disabled “which would be considered throw aways in other countries” can achieve the american dream.

    The evidence is clear, it cannot be denied, people out there would swim through fire to get here, because of the very system that affords any one to make it.

    Add to that, that the ageing population will out number
    those working and will not peak till the year 2030 means that for the fore seeable future there will be less unemployment and greater opportunities for any group to fill those jobs.

    This aint called the Land of Plenty for nothing “You all”.

  • Oso,

    No I don’t – not any more than I think more economic opportunity is better than less economic opportunity, some things are so clearly better that it falls under common sense, not liberal paternalism. I think that living under obesity vs. living under starvation is also one of those things.

    Another thing to keep in mind when discussing obesity vs. starvation in the context of liberal paternalism is that obese societies include the option to live under starvation – after all, if you prefer starvation you can always not eat. However, societies that are affected with high levels of starvation have starvation forced on the citizens (usually because of some socialist type government program to ‘help the poor’, but I digress), not giving them an option. So to speak of liberal paternalism, in a context of choice, makes no sense to me.

    So to clarify, let me reiterate my point: while obesity certainly has its problems, I believe it to be a drastic improvement over starvation – with starvation being the way of the world for most of our history.

    Steven Mansour,

    Of course you haven’t. You need to talk to more people that have (like some Mexican immigrants), and you will see that the two are radically different. But if you consider this a ‘debatable point’ then I am perfectly fine to let others reading this make up their own mind.

    fernando,

    I’m hearing you amigo, I couldn’t agree more.

  • [quote comment="152472"]

    you have yet to rebut my claim that living under starvation is worse than living under obesity

    .

    Since I’ve never lived with either, I cannot confirm or deny your claim that living under starvation is worse than living under obesity.

    In this country, I am considered obese at 220lbs. Although I have never acutely starved, I have had hunger pains in my life, and I can tell you it sucks. I really don’t think you are being genuine when you claim that you are unsure what would be worse. I suppose being grossly obese would not be fun, however under commonly accepted definitions of obese, I would be considered that and for me life does not suck. In fact life is pretty damn good. I suspect that most obese people in America would offer similar sentiments as I.

  • oops, I was quoting Steve not HP. I dont know how that happened. Sorry HP!

  • [quote comment="152472"]

    Since I’ve never lived with either, I cannot confirm or deny your claim that living under starvation is worse than living under obesity.

    [/quote]

    In this country, I am considered obese at 220lbs. Although I have never acutely starved, I have had hunger pains in my life, and I can tell you it sucks. I really don’t think you are being genuine when you claim that you are unsure what would be worse. I suppose being grossly obese would not be fun, however under commonly accepted definitions of obese, I would be considered that and for me life does not suck. In fact life is pretty damn good. I suspect that most obese people in America would offer similar sentiments as I.

  • Hi All,
    I just started reading this blog – interesting discussion.

    One thing I wanted to add is that as far as the issue of obesity in America goes, some would argue that those who are economically disadvantaged are “forced” to eat unhealthy food that makes them fat.

    Sure, there is an element of choice, but as many of us know fast food and other “junk foods” are markedly cheaper than healthy alternatives – when those opportunities are even available in poorer neighborhoods. In many cases, they are not.

    To me, being able to afford deep-fried, sugary, salty foods is not a sign of prosperity; rather I see it as a matter of economic necessity coupled with a lack of education on what constitutes a healthy diet.

    There are ton of issues tied up in this matter and it would be interesting to investigate the topic further.

  • hexodus,

    Good point. That is certainly one aspect of it, but there are other factors as well. You may be interested in this link as well.

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