A reader writes:

As a progressive liberal parent, parenting in progressive liberal Seattle, I’m finding the lopsided caricature of liberal parenting presented recently on the blog to be rather unfair. In the specific case of fluoridation, it is by no means proven that fluoride is harmless –  some studies have linked fluoride to disruption of the endocrine system, leading to metabolic disorders and thyroid problems.  Could America’s obesity rates be somehow linked to its obsession with fluoridating its water?  The case against fluoridation is given here.

But in general, I would consider being against fluoridation to be a somewhat conservative stance. To me the idea of adding medicines to drinking water seems to be the nanny state operating at its finest (there is no other reason for adding fluoride to water beyond the prevention of tooth decay).  If I want to use fluoride, then it’s super simple for me to just buy a fluoridated toothpaste, giving me a degree of choice and control over what I put into my body that federally-mandated fluoridation just doesn’t give me.

On a more general note, I’m a firm believer in “you are what you eat”. I don’t think it’s an accident that my daughter is very rarely sick.

It’s because she generally gets her five fruits and vegetables a day.  But I have to be vigilant over what my eight-year-old daughter puts in her body because no one else is doing it for me.  Added sugars, salt, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated fats are routinely added to processed foods, often when you would least expect them. Why do juice boxes require added sugar? Wherever she goes – camps, after school activities, birthday parties – she is presented with an overwhelming abundance of boxed pizza, boxed mac ‘n cheese and processed sugary treats. Try finding a vegetable, or even fruit,  on any kids menu in America. And that’s before we get to the barrage of propaganda on behalf of (government subsidized) Big Ag that she’s subjected to every time she turns on the TV.

It seems to me that “conservatism” is all about preserving the status quo of Big Ag and Big Pharma, whereas it is we progressive liberals who are seeking to return to and conserve an earlier simpler world where we can all have access to nutritious food grown in proper soil by local farmers. If we occasionally seem paranoid and over-zealous – and we are sometimes – it’s because that simple goal is nowadays really difficult to achieve.

Update from a conservative reader:

It warmed my heart to see this self-described “progressive liberal” parent from Seattle rail against government-mandated fluoridation and government-subsidized Big Ag – it certainly isn’t the libertarians pushing this stuff. I only wish that more of my friends on the left would see the virtues of smaller government.