Written by Daniel Greenfield
The government wants to know how much your kids weigh. It wants to know how much salt there is in your ketchup and whether you're having a second soda with that burger. It wants to control what you eat and drink. For your own good of course.
So much of the current Nanny Statism has been focused on the "threat" of obesity. A movement that will only get worse with its prime movers having consolidated control over national health care with ObamaCare. Now that government can claim that everyone's individual health is no longer just an issue for them, but a public cost, they have a mandate to exercise complete control over what everyone eats.
But what's really behind liberalism's Obesity Obsession?
First of all, a War on Obesity justifies all sorts of micromanagement of the agricultural and food production sectors. Blaming America's food production sector for a public health problem allows them to play the same game with every company from Kraft to Heinz to General Mills to PepsiCo that they previously have with tobacco companies. To understand why the left would want to do this, you only need to look at the USSR in the past or Venezuela in the present, both of which imposed price controls over food products and tight control over farming. Controlling food production and distribution is essential to controlling the population. This brings us right back to Hydraulic Despotism or the Water Empire. If you can seize control over a major resource that the population needs to survive, you also control the population.
Rising government regulation squashes family farms and small farming, something that agribusiness is happy to aid and abet, until it's their turn. The left's strategy in the West is to destroy small businesses in order to put all of capitalism's eggs into a few corporate multinational baskets. And those multinationals are easy enough to paint as the villains and take down when the time comes. Or to just take them over with enough bailouts and grants so that they're too government dependent to resist incorporation into a corporate socialist state.
Secondly, a staple of the left's exercise of power is to "shame" the public for their abuse of resources. This is common in every Communist countries that run on the illusion of collective economies and constantly berate some group for taking more than "their fair share".
The Obesity Obsession has that same agenda, to suggest that a group of people are consuming more than their fair share and depriving others of food. Since the left hasn't managed to reduce American food production to a state of permanent food shortages yet, by "others" they mean other countries. Thinking globally and acting locally to them, means that everyone locally should eat less, so that starving children in Africa will have more. This obviously doesn't work as anyone with a grain of sense would know, but to the left it's a moral formula, a bit of pious economic flotsam which insists that Western greed for resources is the reason children are starving in Africa today. (Why children were starving in Africa for the entire history of the continent is a topic best not raised in their presence.)
But with the rise of ObamaCare, a War on Obesity creates built in scapegoats for why the system doesn't work. This is something the left has always needed to justify the failure of their central planning. In the USSR it was the Kulaks and then the Jews and the Georgians, and any group that could be targeted and accused of hoarding or black marketeering. In the US, it is to be the corporations, the small business owners and the overweight (this forms a neat trinity of cartoonish greed in the Socialist imagination which has always thrived on the image of the fat moneybags capitalist hoarding his ill gotten gains). By blaming ordinary Americans for the failure of Obama's "well thought out" system, people can be convinced to scapegoat each other for stealing resources, instead of blaming the government for seizing and mismanaging their resources.
The left has always thrived on this kind of "Divide and Conquer", on convincing people to resent and inform on each other, so that they view the government as their protector and their neighbor as their enemy. Furthermore by constantly making people feel insecure and unworthy, they are likely to not only blame their neighbors, but themselves for the system not working the way it should. "If only I ate less for breakfast." "If only I rode a bike to work." "If only I worked harder at the factory there would be food in the stores."
To rule over a people who formerly ruled over themselves, you must make them feel unworthy at every turn. You must make them feel guilty and hopeless to change. You must destroy their sense of self so that you can treat them as slaves.
Thirdly, the Obesity Obsession is class warfare. In the code of the leftist elite, obese means lower class. If you look at the comedy of the left, being overweight is associated with owning guns and attending church. It's part of their code for "White Trash" and such codes reveal much more about those who formulate them, than about their targets.
Let's consider the real source of the Obesity Obsession. Why is being overweight really portrayed as so awful all the time? It may not be good healthwise, but there are numberless that aren't good for you healthwise-- including men consuming large amounts of soy products or middle aged men riding bikes through midtown traffic because they refuse to get a car. But there's a great deal of selectivity in which unhealthy behavior is targeted for opprobrium. And there's a good reason why. A very old reason as a matter of fact.
150 years ago, extremely pale skin was considered attractive in a woman. Having a tan on the other hand marked her as ugly. Women would use arsenic to whiten their skins. This wasn't random fashion or whim. There was a reason for it. Pale skin meant upper class. It meant a woman who didn't have to go out of the house to work. By contrast a woman with a tan had to work outside. That meant she was from the lower classes. Pale skin vs a tan were codes for upper class, and lower class. But then everything changed.
In the 20th century, working no longer necessarily meant working outside. And the upper classes began to increasingly use their idle time to follow the cult of the body and pursue physical fitness outdoors. And so the code switched. Now having pale skin signified someone from the lower classes who spent all day working inside. And having a tan signified someone who had so much disposable time that they could lie on a beach all day.
Physical fitness used to signify lower class physical labor. But in a service economy, physical labor increasingly gave way to office work. And so the fitness craze became a mark of the upper classes. The people who had the time and leisure to pursue a great deal of exercise, vitamins and outdoor leisure time. Meanwhile obesity once signified upper class access to a great deal of food. But the revolution in agriculture meant that everyone could have access to plenty of food. And so the upper classes focused more on selective austerity, while everyone else had a good burger.
Seen in that light, the roots of the Obesity Obsession become obvious as class prejudice. And Michelle Obama's hectoring of Americans over obesity rings as hollow as Marie Antoinette's Let Them Eat Cake. Both represent upper class arrogance. Only the context has changed from Let Them Eat Cake to Let Them Eat Arugula. The point of such arrogance is not the actual improvement of the people that they consider the lower classes. It's about elevating themselves above them by making that mark of distinction. A particularly pathetic gesture from Michelle Obama who has no class at all, only money and status borrowed from her husband's usefulness as a political tool for the radical left and its non-profit camp followers.
America does not have an obesity problem. It has a left wing problem. The problem of the left wing is the age old one of an arrogant self-proclaimed elite that seeks power over the rest of the country for their own benefit. Their Obesity Obsession combines their lust for power over business and individuals, their desire to control the minds of men and their own revealing class arrogance when it comes to those same people they wish to control.
The obesity problem that we do have does not involve food, but government. Specifically liberalism's over-indulgence in regulatory bodies and bureaucracies to control us. The grossly expanded national budget, the corpulent deficits, the plump departments wallowing in insane budget requests, the greasy pork and oily union giveaways is America's real obesity problem. And it can only be solved by going on a liberal diet, not a diet in which government spends money liberally, which is what's on the current administration menu. But a diet in which we cut out the liberalism, and dramatically cut back on the fat. Results guaranteed in 365 days or your money back.
From NY to Jerusalem, Daniel Greenfield Covers the Stories Behind the News