America Is Exporting Our Obesity Crisis One Nation At A Time

Gage Klipper Commentary & Analysis Writer
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America has long been exporting its love of fattening fast food throughout the world, but this “obesity crisis” is about more than just culinary choices.

The latest example of this phenomenon comes via The New York Times, in a profile of American doughnut chain Krispy Kreme as it prepared to launch in Paris at the beginning of December. Now, Krispy Kremes are great when someone brings them into the office or as an occasional treat at the airport. But it beggars belief that the nation that invented patisserie is lining up by the hundreds to suck down sugary American hockey pucks packed with ultra-processed chemicals.

“The French love American products, and there’s a hype around American food chains,” one patron told the Times. He was one of 500 who anxiously queued outside awaiting the chain’s grand opening. Many camped out overnight.

Another said she knew of the brand through “The Simpsons” and other American TV shows and decided to show up for opening day after she saw Kylie Jenner eating a Krispy Kreme on social media.

“This is all about American pop culture,” said Alexandre Maizoué, the director general of Krispy Kreme France. The brand “appeals to Generation Netflix” because “[t]hey’ve seen all the American series. They like U.S. culture and the American art de vivre.”

Krispy Kreme is but the latest to join the club of American fast food chains popular in France, including Burger King, KFC, Starbucks, Domino’s, Chipotle, Steak ‘n Shake, Carl’s Jr. and Five Guys, the Times noted. It’s no wonder that obesity rates doubled in France between 1997 and 2020, impacting 17 percent of the population (eight million people).

However, France’s (and indeed the rest of the world’s) infatuation with American fast food is a symptom of a larger issue that extends well beyond this one industry. It is, in fact, part of the contemporary American “imperialism” that liberals love to denounce.

The leftist critique of American imperialism typically goes something like this: despite our high-minded rhetoric, the U.S. frequently weaponizes its economic and political influence to secure its own interests at the expense of the sovereignty and well-being of other nations. More often however, American imperialism amounts to a relatively innocuous, but totalizing, influence on culture. (RELATED: How Stupidity Became America’s Most Valuable Social Currency)

One of America’s greatest strengths in the post-WWII era has been our cultural influence throughout the world. With a coordinated public-private push, we rebuilt the international economy in our own image—  global interconnectivity reigned supreme. Sitting atop the system as the world’s economic powerhouse, our culture trickled down as well. Trends and ideas travel fast in our modern age, and new products and investments follow shortly after to meet the rising demand. What starts in America — blue jeans, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taylor Swift — often becomes a staple abroad as well.

From fast food to fast fashion, pop music, sports, and entertainment, American culture has had a homogenizing effect on global culture. World capitals once all had their own distinct flavor. Now, walk through any random shopping street in New York, London, Paris or Tokyo, and you will find many of the same boutiques and restaurants. Talk to teenagers in any of them, and you will find they have many of the same interests and obsessions.

American imperialism isn’t the cynical realpolitik the left imagines, but rather an inevitable downside to all the benefits provided by the triumph of capitalism. Capitalism excels at finding the most efficient way to satisfy the demand for all our desires. This is good when it abundantly delivers the things we need. But while the sugary surge of a Krispy Kreme doughnut might deliver the most efficient dopamine hit, it is detrimental to our overall health.

While the left pretends to hate capitalism, they secretly love the morality it inculcates. On the one hand, a homogeneous, cosmopolitan culture is said to bring about global peace. The “McDonald’s Peace Theory,” idiotically held that no two countries with a McDonald’s ever went to war with each other (the Ukraine war has since disproved that). Additionally, global elites revel in having more in common with each other than with the native populations of their countries.

On the other, the implication is much less explicit. It reflects the sensibility inherent to all who drink from the fountain of liberalism. Our age of prosperity hasn’t brought perpetual peace, but perpetual indulgence. When society becomes geared toward satisfying desires, all moral qualms fall away. Discipline — whether internally or externally imposed— becomes unjust coercion against your authentic self. Whatever you enjoy becomes an end to itself. (RELATED: Obama-Produced Movie Reveals The Future Liberals Have In Store For Us)

Eat the Krispy Kreme, it tells us. Have another. Indulge. Treat yourself. Why not bring home a box? It makes you feel good.

Whatever stimulates our most insatiable desires  —whether it be food, sex, drugs —  is the side of capitalism that the left will never critique. And that’s what America has really been exporting to the rest of the world.

Overeating is just the tip of the iceberg. Our obesity crisis is really a crisis of gluttony in the biblical sense. We are sick with an inability to control our desires, and we are spreading it like the plague.