When PopeWatch was a boy his mother once told him to eat everything on his plate because there were kids starving in China. PopeWatch looked down at his plate and advised his mother that he would be happy to have this food shipped to any hungry child in China who wanted it. Instead of the slap that cheeky comment deserved, PopeWatch’s mother said, good comeback, and told him to clean his plate. One of the salient, and tiresome, features about this current pontificate is just how much of a nag Pope Francis is:
According to data provided by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, approximately 1.3 billion tons of food — one third of the world’s total food production — are lost or wasted every year. In the United States, 30 percent of all food is thrown away each year.
“Consumerism has made us accustomed to wasting food daily and we are unable to see its real value,” Francis said, comparing this attitude to the frugality of “our grandparents” who “used to make a point of not throwing away leftover food.”
Go here to read the rest. The Pope’s constant nagging about everything under the sun would be more tolerable if it also were not usually accompanied with rhetorical excess and be factually challenged. Throwing out uneaten food has nothing to do with taking food from the poor, and a culture of consumerism helps to ensure that the poor are fed. It is in those countries that foster consumerism that the poor are best aided by private charity and public welfare and are far more likely to suffer obesity than hunger pangs. It is in retrograde Communist regimes like Cuba, or in states, Venezuela comes to mind, misguided enough to hate free markets as much as the Pope does, that the poor suffer keen want. If the Pope actually wanted to do something about hunger, he would encourage all states to embrace free market capitalism. That might not be emotionally as satisfying as yelling at the rest of us to clean our plates, but it would have the virtue of being a long term solution to the problem the Pope decries.