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Good Food, Good Meat

Cody_Franklin
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5/15/2015 2:35:59 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
As you may or may not know, I'm a reasonably heavy drinker, not necessarily in terms of magnitude of drunkenness per session, but certainly in terms of frequency--at least a couple a day, typically. In this light, I confess I don't have terribly much credibility when speaking about nutrition.

That said, I've been thinking about how to refine my diet. Specifically, food selection. As most of us are presumably acutely aware, incidences of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc. have spiked over the course of the last century as processed, desire-spiked foods have made their way into the typical Western stomach. I refer not just to fast food--your McDonald's, KFC, Burger King, etc.--but even to things we buy off the shelves.

For example: nuts are healthy. They're a good source of protein, saturated fats (which, despite what many nutrition blogs will tell you, aren't at all bad for you. Some evidence would actually make a quite contrary suggestion), fiber, vitamin E, etc. You can look for yourself, but you should trust me that the studies bear out the multiplicity of health benefits from a healthy level of nut consumption.

So, given this, you'd think that picking up a tasty pack of peanuts would be just the thing to do. I myself am a fan of spicy foods, so I might be inclined toward LANCE brand Hot & Spicy peanuts. Om nom nom, healthy healthy, right? Well, let's have a look at the ingredient list (hint: it's not just peanuts and seasoning):

Peanuts
Peanut Oil and/or Cottonseed Oil
Sugar
Salt
Maltodextrin
Monosodium Glutamate
Onion Powder
Spice
Gum Arabic
Garlic Powder
Paprika
Sunflower Oil
Citric Acid
Red 40 Lake
Yellow 6 Lake
Natural Hickory Smoke Flavor
Natural Flavor

Not all of these things are bad, mind you, so don't get the wrong idea. Unless you're rolling up $20s and snorting it, salt, for instance, is actually pretty good for you. Plenty of poorer cultures suffer from iodine deficiencies; thankfully, in our iodized salt consuming corner of the world, we don't have this problem. Unfortunately, we do have a lot of cancer and heart disease because most people know less than jack about nutrition.

So:

vegetable oils--hailed as a "health-conscious" alternative to butter, which, as it turns out, is actually pretty good for you. We've since debunked the whole "saturated fat is associated with higher cholesterol, which is associated with higher incidence of heart disease" thing, I assure you. Processed vegetable oils, on the other hand, tend to be super high in Omega 6 acids and trans fats. Most of the labels will tell you there are 0g of the stuff in there, but, as it so happens, this is literally what margarine is composed of. They take unsaturated fats which are liquid at room temperature, and, through the miracle of partial hydrogenation (i.e., artificial saturation designed to keep the fat solid at room temperature), you get a stick of I-can't-believe-it's-not-butter. Again, I encourage you to look up the studies, but consumption of these oils is pretty plainly (and directly) linked up with higher incidences of cardiovascular problems, cancers, and all-over inflammation. They ain't good, and, even worse, they're touted as good in relation to substances which are medically and nutritionally unproblematic.

sugar--yes, sugar. I don't think I have to say much about this, but this ingredient, heaped into most of the food we have the orgasmic pleasure of consuming on a regular basis, spikes your chance of developing diabetes, or at least of being obese. It is the paradigm of "empty calorie". Sugar has no independent nutritional content, so it gives you a bunch of energy without actually bringing in the things your body needs to function well. In addition, because sugar is so easy to digest, your blood sugar rides a roller coaster such that you're both craving something else to eat and, because of sugar's high addictivity potential, slowly wiring yourself to pursue, almost exclusively, similarly sugar-loaded foods. It'll ruin your body, rot your teeth, and, for whatever doesn't get digested, fatten you right up (this, I'm afraid, also includes fatty liver).

MSG--this one, I admit, is a bit hazier. Excess glutamate can be excitotoxic, but, in acute doses, it isn't necessarily all that bad for you. The body is pretty good at shoveling it where it needs to go before it gets to where it doesn't need to be. Problematically, though, this ingredient, like sugar, is pretty turbo-loaded into a lot of foods. It confers that savory, umami-type taste that really hits the spot. Hence the popularity of instant ramen. Since it's so loaded into a lot of things, you're likely taking that acute dose of MSG and multiplying it many, many times over, pumping up all the while your risk of neurotoxicity.

Red 40/Yellow 6--the Center for Science in the Public Interest did a study a few years ago linking a panel of these dyes to carcinogenic activity--specifically, the action of benzidene.

"Natural Flavor" / "Spice"--these are incredibly opaque terms which tell you nothing about what's actually going into your food. The definition of "natural flavor" is basically "anything extracted from a natural source and stuck back into the product." We know next to nothing of the process or specific chemical ingredients, usually because the specifics are protected under the pretense of proprietary secrecy. Like several of these ingredients, they're cleared as pretty safe by the FDA, but their nutritional authority has by this point been pretty well sullied.

And these, mind you, are fucking peanuts. One food items among many that we consume without thinking twice. Heaven forbid you get a prepackaged bear claw:

http://saraleefoodservice.com...

I mean, do you see this shit? Refined flour,natural and artificial flavors, corn syrup for days, more than 20 grams of sugar, our good friend Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, chemical preservatives (I have no earthly idea what calcium propionate is), etc., etc. That doesn't even vaguely sound like real food to me.

And this, my friends, is just what they bothered to put on the label. If the average person goes out to buy a cut of top sirloin, what would you give as the prior probability that they have any idea where their meat is coming from past the butcher's counter? Do you anticipate they know whether it's grass-fed? Whether they've pumped it up with growth hormones? Antibiotics? Do you imagine they know much about the conditions the cow was raised in? Was it out on the pasture or standing in its own shit in a pen hardly large enough to stand straight up in? I've actually tried, as in, put in the effort, to collect this information about my food. At the counter or at the table in the restaurant. About 85% percent of the time, if I don't get a frown and a hostile glare, I usually get some form of "I dunno". Of the population, I'd say I'm in the minority on trying to understand what I'm eating. Of that minority, far fewer still enjoy much success.

Does anyone have any experience tracking down whole, real foods? If so, how do you manage? How do you divine whether your meat is grass-fed, your veggies pesticide-free? If you enjoy any success at all, how diverse is your diet? How comfortable are you going out to restaurants? Having food made for you by family and friends?

If you've got a secret weapon, please share it with me.
Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
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5/15/2015 4:20:13 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/15/2015 2:35:59 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
To be fair, you should probably compare that brand to their normal peanuts.
You got a hot and spicy, so you get what makes it hot and spicy (like tabasco sauce), so it's going to have other things.

When I hit the grocery store later, I'll check the bulk bins and whatnot, but if you want "real" food, I'd look at organic and natural sections of the grocery store, or go to a coop-style organic place, like a Whole Foods. I don't know if these exist around you, but we've got a few of them.
My work here is, finally, done.
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,211
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5/15/2015 4:20:19 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/15/2015 2:35:59 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:

Does anyone have any experience tracking down whole, real foods? If so, how do you manage? How do you divine whether your meat is grass-fed, your veggies pesticide-free? If you enjoy any success at all, how diverse is your diet? How comfortable are you going out to restaurants? Having food made for you by family and friends?

If you've got a secret weapon, please share it with me.

I mean there's not alot of producers willing to mass produce triple cost and triple priced pesticide free crops where 2/3 of the crops get eaten by bugs.
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,211
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5/15/2015 4:21:29 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/15/2015 4:20:13 PM, Khaos_Mage wrote:

When I hit the grocery store later, I'll check the bulk bins and whatnot, but if you want "real" food, I'd look at organic and natural sections of the grocery store, or go to a coop-style organic place, like a Whole Foods. I don't know if these exist around you, but we've got a few of them.

Be aware organic almost NEVER means pesticide free.
Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
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5/15/2015 4:24:51 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/15/2015 4:21:29 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 5/15/2015 4:20:13 PM, Khaos_Mage wrote:

When I hit the grocery store later, I'll check the bulk bins and whatnot, but if you want "real" food, I'd look at organic and natural sections of the grocery store, or go to a coop-style organic place, like a Whole Foods. I don't know if these exist around you, but we've got a few of them.

Be aware organic almost NEVER means pesticide free.

Why do you say that?
Regardless, I don't buy into the organic hype, but organic meat does taste better than "store brand" meat. The produce I think tastes better simply because it is ripe and local, so it isn't shipped in ice for two days. An apple from a tree is going to taste better than that same apple a day (or three) later at the store.
My work here is, finally, done.
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,211
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5/15/2015 4:26:35 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/15/2015 4:24:51 PM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
At 5/15/2015 4:21:29 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 5/15/2015 4:20:13 PM, Khaos_Mage wrote:

When I hit the grocery store later, I'll check the bulk bins and whatnot, but if you want "real" food, I'd look at organic and natural sections of the grocery store, or go to a coop-style organic place, like a Whole Foods. I don't know if these exist around you, but we've got a few of them.

Be aware organic almost NEVER means pesticide free.

Why do you say that?
Regardless, I don't buy into the organic hype, but organic meat does taste better than "store brand" meat. The produce I think tastes better simply because it is ripe and local, so it isn't shipped in ice for two days. An apple from a tree is going to taste better than that same apple a day (or three) later at the store.

Do a quick google. Hundreds of articles debunking the (implied) myth that organic foods are pesticide free. (not that I can recall any organic foods actually claiming they are pesticide free)
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,211
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5/15/2015 4:31:42 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
As a matter of fact, many articles state that not only are organic foods un-monitored for the most part by USDA for pesticides, but also because the use of pesticides are restricted to organic pesticides only to retain the Organic label, turns out organic crops use more actual volume of pesticides than the alternative non-orgoes. (at least some of the articles claim that)

Now I don't really know whether having more of an Orgo Pesticide is a bad thing or not, but I do know it's DAMN hard to find a truly pesticide free crop in your local average grocery store, even under the Orgo section.
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,211
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5/15/2015 4:40:38 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
More disturbing thoughts for you,

Organic pesticides are those that are derived from natural sources and processed lightly if at all before use. This is different than the current pesticides used by conventional agriculture, which are generally synthetic. It has been assumed for years that pesticides that occur naturally (in certain plants, for example) are somehow better for us and the environment than those that have been created by man. As more research is done into their toxicity, however, we find this simply isn't true, either. Many natural pesticides have been found to be potential - or serious - health risks.

Turns out Organic actually is what it really is. It aint magic, it's Horseshit.
xus00HAY
Posts: 1,374
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5/15/2015 9:36:07 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
You can tell the difference between grass-fed beef and regular beef. A hamburger that was made from the fat filled beef tastes way better.
Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
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5/17/2015 1:50:51 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/15/2015 2:35:59 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:

I went to CostCo today, and it was just as I expected.

There was Wonderful Pistachios. Ingredients: Pistachios and sea salt.

There were Kirkland Mixed Nuts. Ingredients: Various nuts that were listed separately (Brazil nut, cashew, etc.) , peanut oil, and salt.

There was Blue Diamond Steakhouse Peanuts. Ingredients: peanuts, and a bunch of other stuff. (hence the smokehouse flavoring)

I would wager that Lance regular peanuts are likely just nuts and salt (and likely an oil to cook it in), and the one you had, had extra stuff due to the flavoring.
Oh, here is a link:
Ingredients: Peanuts, Peanut Oil and/or Cottonseed Oil, Salt
http://www.lance.com...
My work here is, finally, done.
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,278
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5/17/2015 10:00:44 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/15/2015 2:35:59 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:

Great post, I agree with most of it.

I get guaranteed pesticide-free veggies and fruits by growing them myself. I think that we would be much better situated to grow more pesticide/herbicide free produce if people stopped being such Luddites about GMOs, as the technology has the potential to vastly reduce their use by making the plants themselves pest resistant, or to normalize more harmless pesticides by creating resistant crop plants. I would say that the best bet in this regard is to buy locally, from roadside stands. This means eating produce in season, and sucks when it comes to winter, but its the most foolproof way that I can conceive of. I'm very leery of the authenticity of organic labeling.

As far as meat goes, it's very difficult. We have our own chickens, but we can't use them as a reliable source of meat, only eggs. I think that the problem here is that people want to eat meat everyday, but when you look at cultural history meat was always a rationed thing, reserved for feast days and big occasions, and preserved in some way for small volume, everyday consumption. I think that our current situation is a symptom of a culture so decadent that something as inefficient to produce as meat is seen as a daily necessity, and we have created a nightmarishly brutal and dangerous system to prop up that veneer.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,483
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5/17/2015 1:57:52 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/17/2015 10:00:44 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 5/15/2015 2:35:59 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:

Great post, I agree with most of it.

I get guaranteed pesticide-free veggies and fruits by growing them myself. I think that we would be much better situated to grow more pesticide/herbicide free produce if people stopped being such Luddites about GMOs, as the technology has the potential to vastly reduce their use by making the plants themselves pest resistant, or to normalize more harmless pesticides by creating resistant crop plants. I would say that the best bet in this regard is to buy locally, from roadside stands. This means eating produce in season, and sucks when it comes to winter, but its the most foolproof way that I can conceive of. I'm very leery of the authenticity of organic labeling.

As far as meat goes, it's very difficult. We have our own chickens, but we can't use them as a reliable source of meat, only eggs. I think that the problem here is that people want to eat meat everyday, but when you look at cultural history meat was always a rationed thing, reserved for feast days and big occasions, and preserved in some way for small volume, everyday consumption. I think that our current situation is a symptom of a culture so decadent that something as inefficient to produce as meat is seen as a daily necessity, and we have created a nightmarishly brutal and dangerous system to prop up that veneer.

I had considered myself having a home garden; besides the obvious problem of having to wait until everything sprouts out, however, it also is worth noting that I live in an apartment building, so access to arable land is pretty prohibitively low. Might you have any suggested way of getting around that constraint?
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,278
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5/17/2015 2:41:34 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/17/2015 1:57:52 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 5/17/2015 10:00:44 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
I had considered myself having a home garden; besides the obvious problem of having to wait until everything sprouts out, however, it also is worth noting that I live in an apartment building, so access to arable land is pretty prohibitively low. Might you have any suggested way of getting around that constraint?

If you have a balcony, get a lot of planters, and set up something hydroponic. Gravity fed systems are super easy to work with once they're set up. If not, there are also systems which include lights for indoor use.

You'll get a great harvest out of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, beans, peas, things like that. Root crops are a bit more tough. Romaine lettuce is workable. An herb garden is also a great, small-footprint investment. Stay away from cucurbits like squash, melons, and cucumbers/zucchini; they get humongous and you may run into size constraints. Potatoes may be a more workable root crop. Berry plants are always fun, you just need to keep them trimmed back and watch out for prickles. Strawberries are a beginner's best friend, but they will take over whatever container you put them in. Asparagus is really neat to grow, but you can't harvest it the first year, and you have to restrain yourself once the spears become more thin. That's all that I can think of off of the side of my head.

An interesting permanent option is ginger. You can move it indoors or outdoors, and it gets beautiful flowers. When the stalk withers you can harvest the rhizome.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,483
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5/17/2015 4:22:47 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/17/2015 2:41:34 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 5/17/2015 1:57:52 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 5/17/2015 10:00:44 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
I had considered myself having a home garden; besides the obvious problem of having to wait until everything sprouts out, however, it also is worth noting that I live in an apartment building, so access to arable land is pretty prohibitively low. Might you have any suggested way of getting around that constraint?

If you have a balcony, get a lot of planters, and set up something hydroponic. Gravity fed systems are super easy to work with once they're set up. If not, there are also systems which include lights for indoor use.

You'll get a great harvest out of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, beans, peas, things like that. Root crops are a bit more tough. Romaine lettuce is workable. An herb garden is also a great, small-footprint investment. Stay away from cucurbits like squash, melons, and cucumbers/zucchini; they get humongous and you may run into size constraints. Potatoes may be a more workable root crop. Berry plants are always fun, you just need to keep them trimmed back and watch out for prickles. Strawberries are a beginner's best friend, but they will take over whatever container you put them in. Asparagus is really neat to grow, but you can't harvest it the first year, and you have to restrain yourself once the spears become more thin. That's all that I can think of off of the side of my head.

An interesting permanent option is ginger. You can move it indoors or outdoors, and it gets beautiful flowers. When the stalk withers you can harvest the rhizome.

Very interesting. Do you have any supplemental reading materials to recommend, as well as a vague estimate of the commitment of time and money I would have to make for anywhere between two and six "easy" vegetables (i.e., pepper/eggplant/bean types of crops)? Logistically speaking, my apartment has no balcony, so I'd probably have to do some kind of indoor operation.
ben2974
Posts: 767
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5/17/2015 5:59:57 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/17/2015 5:58:33 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 5/17/2015 5:55:12 PM, ben2974 wrote:
This definitely doesn't go in the politics forum

why?

Lol.
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,211
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5/17/2015 6:05:56 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/17/2015 5:59:57 PM, ben2974 wrote:
At 5/17/2015 5:58:33 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 5/17/2015 5:55:12 PM, ben2974 wrote:
This definitely doesn't go in the politics forum

why?

Lol.

http://giphy.com...

Michelle approves of this garden.
ben2974
Posts: 767
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5/18/2015 9:44:58 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/17/2015 6:05:56 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 5/17/2015 5:59:57 PM, ben2974 wrote:
At 5/17/2015 5:58:33 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 5/17/2015 5:55:12 PM, ben2974 wrote:
This definitely doesn't go in the politics forum

why?

Lol.

http://giphy.com...

Michelle approves of this garden.

http://giphy.com...
xus00HAY
Posts: 1,374
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5/22/2015 9:34:32 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I don't know about the pesticides or those other risks, but what I do know about is people do themselves real harm by eating a diet that is high in fats and sugars, and has too many calories.
A good rule of thumb is if it tastes good , don't eat it.
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,278
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5/22/2015 11:01:52 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/17/2015 4:22:47 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 5/17/2015 2:41:34 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 5/17/2015 1:57:52 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 5/17/2015 10:00:44 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
I had considered myself having a home garden; besides the obvious problem of having to wait until everything sprouts out, however, it also is worth noting that I live in an apartment building, so access to arable land is pretty prohibitively low. Might you have any suggested way of getting around that constraint?

If you have a balcony, get a lot of planters, and set up something hydroponic. Gravity fed systems are super easy to work with once they're set up. If not, there are also systems which include lights for indoor use.

You'll get a great harvest out of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, beans, peas, things like that. Root crops are a bit more tough. Romaine lettuce is workable. An herb garden is also a great, small-footprint investment. Stay away from cucurbits like squash, melons, and cucumbers/zucchini; they get humongous and you may run into size constraints. Potatoes may be a more workable root crop. Berry plants are always fun, you just need to keep them trimmed back and watch out for prickles. Strawberries are a beginner's best friend, but they will take over whatever container you put them in. Asparagus is really neat to grow, but you can't harvest it the first year, and you have to restrain yourself once the spears become more thin. That's all that I can think of off of the side of my head.

An interesting permanent option is ginger. You can move it indoors or outdoors, and it gets beautiful flowers. When the stalk withers you can harvest the rhizome.

Very interesting. Do you have any supplemental reading materials to recommend, as well as a vague estimate of the commitment of time and money I would have to make for anywhere between two and six "easy" vegetables (i.e., pepper/eggplant/bean types of crops)? Logistically speaking, my apartment has no balcony, so I'd probably have to do some kind of indoor operation.

Time wouldn't be that much; once it's up and running it's just a matter of adding water and staking plants as they grow, plus planting it each year. If you have no balcony the lights might get expensive though. Highest estimation is ~$50 a month per 1,000 watt lighting apparatus apparatus. One light costs ~$200 dollars. A small multi-flow system will run about $400 - $500, and you'll probably only need one light for that (12-pot system) and could save money setting your own hydroponics up. All in all it'll be a pretty big start up cost with small maintenance expenditures and little time put in once it's running. Don't cut corners with lights though; incandescent bulbs will destroy the plants, and you need light which mimics sunlight in order for them to grow healthily. Reading material I don't know off the top of my head; I've never really read about it, just talked with professors and shopped around a bit.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -