I Hate Breakfast

by L. Neil Smith
Patronize Me!

Attribute to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise

First published in Issue Number 21, February 2, 1997.

Idon’t know about you, but it annoys the hell out of me that someone else gets to decide that I can’t have a cheeseburger and fries before eleven in the morning.

I hate breakfast and always have. Confronting eggs before noon—fried, poached, or otherwise—makes me bilious. Pancakes and waffles are worse. The one thing bacon is good for is sticking between lettuce and tomatoes in a sandwich (slathered with Miracle Whip—mayonnaise isn’t the same at all) you’d choose for that vastly more civilized meal, lunch. And to paraphrase Apocalypse Now, the smell of maple syrup in the morning reminds me of … napalm.

In my youth, I never ate breakfast. I was a night-person forced to suffer government indoctrination at daybreak. Eating anything under such conditions induced nausea; I was content to wait for lunch. I still rise early to get Cathy off to work before resuming labor on the current novel. I’m also a Type II diabetic who takes pills that make it absolutely necessary that I eat something. Still, the only thing the pimpled dimbulbs out along the fast food strip will sell me is exactly the kind of glop I’ve spent an entire lifetime avoiding.

For over a century, corporations like Kellogg, Post, and a dozen others have spent quintillions of advertising dollars in a horrifyingly successful attempt to persuade mothers that the cattle feed they manufacture is suitable to foist off on helpless children before they’re wide awake enough to defend themselves.

It’s enlightening to learn the history of these companies. Vegetarians today believe that consuming animal flesh spawns an urge to violence in the human psyche. (Keep in mind what I said about vegetarians in Pallas: you are what you eat.) A century ago, the overriding preoccupation was sexuality, especially what was politely referred to way back then as “self-abuse”. (This was later defined in the 60s as “doing your own thing”.) Kellogg and others claimed that laying off sirloins and stuffing yourself with hormone-absorbing cereal products closely resembling wood shavings would somehow prevent impure thoughts.

(For a hilarious examination of this topic, The Road to Wellville is a movie demonstrating that the goofiest garbage our grandmothers thought up—mine got undressed in her bedroom closet, even when she was alone in the house—are not too goofy for the hairsprayed heads of TV to attempt to convince us of today. Guess it proves you can hide as many bees in a bouffant as in a bonnet.)

Cereal magnates of the late 19th and early 20th centuries believed a lot of other goofy things, as well—in particular, in various trendy forms of socialism, which they gleefully advocated and subsidized in a variety of manners.

Which brings us at long last, I think, to some kind of point.

Today’s captains of the fast food industry are no more contented simply to make billions of bucks than their corn-flakey predecessors were. They gotta be socially conscious. They gotta fry potatoes up in some tasteless petroleum byproduct instead of delicious, natural lard. What’s worse, they gotta shovel mountains of mazuma over to those very social and political causes most grimly dedicated to reducing us—the ultimate source of all their largesse, already forced to pay for too much of this nonsense through taxation—under absolute despotism.

There are entire countries with gross national products smaller than the amounts that the founders of McDonald’s have bestowed upon Democratic Party grabbies who routinely confiscate half of my income, have spent half their lifetimes (and mine) trying to confiscate my means of self-defense, and who would even take away my right to choose my own doctor. They support criminals who want to kill me or make my life so miserable that I’ll kill myself. Small wonder, then, they also feel entitled to decide for me what I should eat for breakfast.

I suppose it’s possible that the fast food empires have never looked at things in quite this way before. (People say that a lot about what I write.) What’s more, if they feel right about offering me a rubber egg on a pasteboard muffin instead of what I really want, why shouldn’t I tell them what to do? And so, on the very remote chance that they may be interested in making up for their malfeasances, misfeasances, nonfeasances, upfeasances, downfeasances, sidefeasances, or whatever other feasances they may be guilty of, I have a few suggestions.

Remember that, as a corporation, in the act of seeking special privileges and immunities unavailable to mere individuals, you’ve made yourself nothing, more or less, than a branch of government. The Constitution (especially its first ten amendments) was written as an absolute limit on government activity. Be aware that there is an increasingly popular idea in this country today that corporations (as branches of government) should be limited in exactly the same way.

Ask your legal department what that would cost.

Back before Disney Corp got taken over by the AntiWalt, they reminded us, now and again, of what this country’s all about. Way back then, militias were politically correct; they did a nifty series on the Sons of Liberty. They did a swell mouse cartoon about the Revolution and the Declaration of Independence called Ben and Me. They did a great movie about an 18th century British tax resistor (and the Navigation Acts that sparked our own revolution) called The Scarecrow.

Forget 101 Dalmations, forget The Hunchback of Notre Dame, forget The Lion King and the sick, sappy substitute for philosophy that permeates all of them. Forget animal rights—animals are for breakfast. Let’s have a slick, appealing promotion based on the Bill of Rights. (And before you offer up all the usual suit-excuses, you’d better understand that we know that you know that it’s only boring if you try to make it safe; I’m sure we’ll agree wholeheartedly that the Second Amendment isn’t safe—it wasn’t meant to be—and the First Amendment is even dangerouser.) Relax, you don’t have to do anything Republican. Hell, you can be even trendier than Left, you can be Libertarian.

Try repairing the civilization you’ve worked so hard and spent so much to wreck.

And while you’re at it, fry me a goddamn cheeseburger!