Only The Sangfroid

Mark is of fair average intelligence, who is neither perverse, nor morbid or suspicious of mind, nor avid for scandal. He does live in an ivory tower.

These are his draft thoughts…

Some people can’t see what I can see… A review of McDonald’s Angus Mac in the style of @BarnsGreg

McDonalds (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

In the style of such classics as ‘A review of McDonald’s in the style of Alain de Botton‘ and ‘A review of McDonald’s in the style of Slavoj Zizek‘, I had intended to review the new McDonald’s Angus Mac in the style of Christopher Hitchens.  Instead, today’s article in The Drum by Greg Barns about Julian Assange has changed that plan…

Here we go…

Eating the new Angus Mac burger from McDonald’s, one was struck by a profound sense of disconnect between what many consumers of food thought it was, or wanted it to be, and the reality.

While many McDonald’s supporters could be characterised as consumerist slaves of the corporate food industry, McDonald’s is a far more nuanced and intelligent organisation that negotiates the space between ethical consumption and a duty towards its shareholders.

McDonald’s is a entrepreneurial hero to many in the world, and rightly so. Its extraordinary courage in standing up to the nanny-state aspirations of the powerful vegan lobby of which this little country is a supine follower, and its creation of a new form of consumption that does not rely on the filtering of nutritional information campaigns and their bias, make it one of the genuinely fine global corporations of the past few years.

McDonald’s trailblazing work has won it a large following in this country, and many have ordered its newly minted Angus Mac and supported its Son of Mac campaign. It is also fair to say that a number of those who participated in this journey assumed, or wanted to believe, that McDonald’s held corporate responsibility views similar to theirs – that is, at the apathetic end of the political spectrum, somewhere in the territory that is occupied by Monsanto and the military industrial complex.

When the campaign got rough over the issue of chopping down the Amazonian forest (no other company has had its destruction of the rainforest mulled over more than McDonald’s!), the gulf between what some supporters thought was the McDonald’s view of the world and what it is, and has been for some time, was made evident.

One of the reasons I admire McDonald’s – and it was part of the reason I was keen to review the new food qua marketing campaign – is that it represents a politico-corporate philosophy which is sorely missing in this country. Having spent a few minutes in a McDonald’s in June this year, one is struck by two matters. Firstly, it has a superbly supple and nuanced philosophy, which places it above the concrete thinkers of the Australian body politic. Secondly, McDonald’s has a fondness for making lots of money.

McDonald’s endorsement of making vast amounts of money is not new. I told anyone who would listen that they ought to read McDonald’s financial report where it eloquently set out the ideals and benefits of denying responsibility for the obesity crisis.

McDonald’s rightly opined that a perfect market is one in which all corporations are not responsible for the decisions of individuals to consume vast amounts of food, even when said corporations incorrectly identify their products as healthy. “To put it simply, in order for there to be freedom, there has to be responsibility. Perfect freedom requires perfect personal — not corporate — responsibility for consumer’s choices,” he said, noting that the benefit of McDonald’s lawyers is that it ensures litigants die of heart failure long before their matter is settled in court.

McDonald’s is anathema to the hard left and the conservative establishment in Australia, both of whom believe, albeit for different reasons and to achieve different outcomes, that government should regulate corporations in order to keep the population strong, and because they do not trust people to make sensible choices for themselves.

McDonald’s, despite the pompous rhetoric from some in the media and Twitter, has not imploded. And it is important it does not. It can be the only corporation in this country that is sceptical of the power of the state and which, in the spirit of John Stuart Mill, prizes the freedoms of individual from vulnerable groups, such as asylum seekers and Indigenous Australians.

McDonald’s is not ethical or unethical in the corporate responsibility context, and perhaps that is why some have struggled intellectually to support it and its clown.


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