Strictly From Hunger

How heartening to see that a small group of Kansas high school students have taken a stand against the establishment. The issue at hand is merely their dislike of the lunches served at their school, and all they’ve done about it is post a homemade music video on YouTube, but it’s an encouraging sign nonetheless.

Griping about the food in the school cafeteria is a time-honored tradition of American students, of course, but the youngsters at Wallace County High School in Sharon Springs have the unprecedented complaint that there isn’t enough of it. They contend that a recent federal regulation limiting school lunches to 850 calories is causing them to go hungry through the afternoon. Given that most of the students in the far western Kansas town of Sharon Springs live a hearty and calorie-burning rural lifestyle, and that a leader of the protest also plays for the Wallace County Wildcats football team, we don’t doubt that the complaint is valid.

The video that the students have produced in response is a strangely wholesome affair, hardly the sort of angry agitprop that earlier generations have come to expect from a campus uprising, but we welcome any sort of challenge to governmental authority from the younger set. Our observation of today’s youngsters reveals they are a distressingly compliant and unquestioning lot, which is a most unnatural state for the young, and that whatever anti-establishment sensibilities they do have were indoctrinated into their empty heads by hippie civics teachers who peeled the “Question Authority” bumper stickers off their hybrid cars the moment a Democrat was elected president. Judging by the young cohort’s enthusiasm for Obama, they’re not just willing but downright eager to be led through life bureaucratic fiat.

At least until they wind up hungry on an afternoon full of math problems, English essays, and high school melodrama, apparently. One hopes that once the students realize they’ve been regulated into an unsatisfied appetite they’ll begin to look askance at the rest of massive regulatory state they’ve inherited and wonder what other problems it might causing.

It’s a sad state of affairs when grumpy old men such as ourselves are grousing about how obedient and polite the young folks are, and waxing nostalgic about how in our day we were so darned cynical that we didn’t even trust the hippie civics teachers with the Earth-friendly cars, but here we are. The kids in Sharon Springs seem to have an inkling, though, and here’s hoping that it spread. Prohibition started in the small towns of Kansas, so maybe this time it will be a yearning for freedom and an extra order of French fries that spreads through the country.

— Bud Norman