My brother loves to cook. Loves to cook. He’s also very particular about getting the ingredients he uses in his cooking. (If we meet in meatspace, I’ll tell you the feta story.)

One of the companies he uses for spices is Penzeys Spices. Earlier this week, they sent out an email to their customers, the full text of which I’ve posted below. They’re making a big deal for Pi Day and want to make it into a day for science. Honestly, not a bad idea. They also want to combat the anti-science that’s so prevalent in society. Also not a bad idea. Here’s the part that triggered this post:

Where we still really need your help is in finding an economist or two to speak to why our deficit spending has left our economy and our humanity in so much better shape than what Europe is facing today. 

If Europe has proved anything, it’s that the Keynsian economic model of deficit spending doesn’t work. America’s economy has done well despite of the increased government spending, not because of it. In order for governments to spend more money, they must first take it from the private sector. 

What has government spending done for the economy? Propped up companies that should have failed and reinforced bad business practices. Taken funding away from innovation and investing. 

As for our humanity? I’m not convinced that indoctrinating people to believe that they can only succeed if their lord and masters in the government is beneficial to humanity. Take a look at the levels of private charity donations between the United States and European nations. 

In short, Penzeys is asking for data to confirm their biases, not a truly scientific measure of economics.

——— Forwarded message ———-

From: Penzeys Spices <>
Date: Tue, Mar 3, 2015 at 7:54 PM
Subject: We need your help

The Pi Day of the century, 3.14/15 is only a little over a week away. For a time now Pi Day has been all about fun and of course pie, but with the way in recent years, science and even reality itself have come more and more under attack, I’m thinking maybe this year it’s time for Pi Day to emerge as something more than just fun. 
For so much of our history, the people of our country and the world have benefited greatly from the science-based reality that has shaped America’s future. Science may be based on numbers, but science’s actual value is in its humanity. It’s beyond doubt that through science and the honest representation of reality our lives have become safer, healthier and happier. 
Yet today the very science that has done so much to reduce suffering in our lives is now under attack. From the climate, to vaccines, to Wisconsin’s own Governor Walker’s belief that there are more votes in denying evolution than there are in embracing it, clearly somewhere something has gone very wrong. There is more than enough blame to go all around for how we got here, but maybe this is one of those times that where we are is not nearly as important as where we need to be.
Maybe rather than a debate of our differences, what we need is a celebration of what we share. At Penzeys we think Pi Day could grow into just the holiday we need. There really is no time to lose to get on to celebrating the truth of science-based reality and the math behind it. And there is also no time better than now to get back to celebrating the kindness, compassion and the nurturing nature of our shared humanity that has always been behind the very best that science has brought to our lives.
In Pi, the number is all the value and beauty and wonder that is at the heart of the reality science holds. In the gift of a good slice of pie, the desert is all the kindness and compassion that our shared humanity encompasses. Pi Day really is ready to become so much more. And could there be a better day to relaunch Pi Day as the holiday we truly need than 3.14/15; the Pi Day of the Century?
So we are reaching out to our customers for help. We need your stories and a recipe or two. We already have good stories in the works for living with climate change, the value of vaccines, evolution, and the psychology/brain chemistry of why as humans we are so resistant to seeing the certainty of climate change.
Where we still really need your help is in finding an economist or two to speak to why our deficit spending has left our economy and our humanity in so much better shape than what Europe is facing today. And we could also use one more person with the knowledge to speak to the monetary cost and the human cost of sending to prison people who simply need treatment instead.
For recipes we are flexible. Pies are great but not necessary. Maybe you have another baked good you like to share. Or possibly you have a way you like to make some other circular item: a sliced carrot recipe, scallops are always popular, or even a beet salad that’s an old family tradition would do the trick. We really are flexible.
The important thing is if you have the science, or the numbers, or the knowledge that is needed for good policy making in the fields of economics or restorative justice please actually contact us. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Just email a phone number where we can reach you and I will have one of our friendly writers give you a call.
It’s time to get off the sidelines. We can’t let science and all the goodness it can bring to our lives be a victim of our cultural wars. I don’t mean to be overly dramatic, but the future really is at stake here. With your help 3.14/15 could be the turning point the world so very much needs.
We realize we are looking for a needle in a haystack here, and on short notice. If you know someone who fits what we are looking for, please forward this email to them, or better yet, give them a call.
Bill Penzey

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