Sunday, March 9, 2008

Fat Of The Land

It's taken as largely true these days that far more Americans are overweight than is strictly good for the nation's "health". I tend to view the various studies showing this or that trend toward ever greater obesity as a bunch of snuffly camel noses under the tent of gummint intervention. There is a "problem" so the "government" must perforce "do something". Looking to officiary to solve any and all issues is a lamentable and increasingy popular reaction. That this impulse is statist and fascist at its core should go without saying but very few look at it that way. The liberal interventionist approach seems so "normal" to so many these days that always looking to government is as natural as breathing. The idea that the government "should" do something is statist and quite popular. The idea that the government "must" do something is fascist and beloved of activists of all stripes. The idea that the government should as much as possible keep its frickin' hands off "problems" even at peril to the body politic is libertarian--and deeply unpopular.

The observation of a trend potentially deleterious to the public does not automatically require a governmental response. Write that 100 times on the blackboard please. Unless you disagree--in which case you are clearly not self-identifiable as a member of the radical center.

But it's true you whine. People are getting too fat for their own good so someone should do something. And it no doubt is true. The evidence is plain all around. So we simply must do something yes? Hmmm. So how does it feel to be a fascist-i.e. someone who thinks that people should be forced by the state to do what is "good" for them?

The thoroughly modern fascist doesn't dictate what ethnic group we should hate or what countries should be invaded. They are far too busy telling us what we should eat, drive, consume, watch, listen to, speak of, and think about. Fascists are the ultimate busybodies, the ne-plus-ultras of goodie two-shoes, the uber-nannies of the world. Flee from them and rage in anger the next time you hear about what we should do because it is "good" for us, or "the children", the "third world", or for pity's friggin' sake, THE PLANET!!, and if we don't then some governmental entity will force us to do the "right" thing.

I can't argue at all with the fact that the country is getting fatter. In the five decades I have been paying even periperal attention to this phenomenon the number of seriously obese individuals has skyrocketed. When I was in high school in the early sixties there was exactly one person who stood out because they were seriously obese. That's right just one--out of more than 700 in a graduating class. Not that more than a few were somewhat or even considerably overweight but for the most part really obese people stood out in sharp isolated constrast to their generational peers. The same seemed to be true for the adult world as well although we had rather less experience of this of course.

Walk down any street or cruise any supermarket today for 5 minutes and the likelihood of seeing a goodly number of people who are morbidly obese, and then some, is 100 percent. Rampant are immense balloon-like men and vast waddling pig-women who weigh 200-300-400 or more pounds. Big as friggin' houses are some--seemingly moving under their own power only by some miracle of endurance. We're not talking here of folks 20, 30, 40 or even 50 pounds overweight. I'm referring to people anywhere from one to three hundred pounds over any concievable reasonably healthy weight--people not 20-30% overweight but two to three hundred percent over. Even the average person seems to weigh well more than what any "height/weight" chart will infer as "normal". What is quite surprising is to see someone who actually looks significantly under weight-who isn't a teenaged girl.

There is little question that this is an unhealthy state of affairs not to mention unattractiveness sometimes pushed well past grotesquery. What combination of personal and social factors has resulted in all this I leave to others but the fact of it is indisputable. So what "should be done" about it? Not one damn thing. Leave the pudgy populace to binge in peace. Keep your grubby statist mitts off the roly-poly body politic. Watch your own weight you dink. Fix your own life. Leave trans-fat out of your own diet. Go save some whales or polar bears or titmice or something. As long as we leave you to your own obsessive devices then leave the rest of us the hell alone.

Lest conservatives get too smug on this issue I remind them of little things they'd like to have the government ban--recreational drugs, porn, violent flicks, hip-hop "music", morons burning flags, etc. etc. Long way to fall off that high-horse bud.

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