The Weight Of Opprobrium

When a political movement seeks to control behavior, an important first step is customarily to stigmatize the practice in question as morally offensive. For example, during the First World War, when criticism of the Wilson administration’s policies was suppressed by harsh restrictions of the press, it was common to hear calls for severe punishment, all the way up to execution, for dissenting voices. Likewise, nowadays one must be prepared to face vicious ad hominem attacks if one dares to express skepticism regarding prevailing political orthodoxies concerning multiculturalism, religious “tolerance”, race relations, global warming, etc.

One area where the net has been tightening lately has been obesity; where once it was merely awkward and embarrassing to be fat, in recent years it has come to be seen more and more as a moral weakness. Till now the stigmatization of the corpulent has had to do with health-care costs and a general Puritanism regarding physical fitness, but now a powerful new moral weapon is being brought to bear: it has been determined that being fat contributes to global warming.

This inspired move should provide ample political leverage for progressive social engineers to really get to work. Though we no longer, in these enlightened times, operate debtor’s prisons — after all, personal debt is now the government’s responsibility — dieter’s prisons may not be far off.

Learn more here.

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  1. JK says

    It will be interesting to see if Al Gore puts his money where his double meat, double cheese cheeseburgers and cheesecake are.

    Posted April 20, 2009 at 5:33 pm | Permalink
  2. Charles says

    I hope I don’t offend anyone with this comment, but I find the idea of Americans being offended by obesity to be similar to, say, sub-Saharan Africans being offended by dark skin. I realize that not every American is fat, but whenever I go back to the States I am always flabbergasted at how huge people are. The overweight people seem to far outnumber (I almost said “outweigh”) those who are not overweight. Is this some new form of self-loathing?

    Posted April 21, 2009 at 7:31 pm | Permalink
  3. Malcolm says

    “FLABbergasted”! Nice touch, Charles.

    I have the same reaction when I leave Gotham; it seems that outside the cities and a few affluent retreats the American populace has assumed planetary dimensions. It still startles me every time I get out to the “heartland” — easily three-quarters of the people you see these days are waddling tubs of goo. It wasn’t like that when I was a boy.

    For the reason, see here.

    Posted April 21, 2009 at 11:39 pm | Permalink