Some days the world seems to have gone mad. Actually, most days the world seems to have gone mad.
Chris Snowdon in the Spectator:
In the pages of the Guardian today, George Monbiot claims that ‘obesity is an incurable disease’ that ‘resembles cancer’. Needless to say, capitalism and advertising are to blame.
He goes on to dispute with Monbiot whether it’s curable or not. But, whether it’s curable or incurable, I don’t think obesity is a disease. I don’t think being fat is any more a disease than being thin is a disease. Or being tall. Or short.
The simple truth of the matter is that some people find fat people ugly and unsightly. They have a set of ideal physical shapes and sizes for both men and women. Particularly women. Not too tall, not too short, not too fat, and not too thin. With a full set of brilliant white teeth. And good head of hair. But no hair on their chest. Particularly in the case of women.
Purely aesthetic judgments are in operation here. It’s got nothing whatsoever to do with ‘health’, and everything to do with appearances.
Disease entails some lack of comfort. Disease is dis-ease: lack of ease. And it is thus the diseased or distressed individual who must declare themselves ‘well’ or ‘unwell’, because only they know how they are feeling. Nobody can tell you that you are unwell: that’s up to you. You have to be asked.
And so the only reasonable question to be asked of fat people (or thin, short, or tall people) is: “Do you feel unwell? Are you in any pain?” And to the best of my knowledge, when fat people – even very fat people – are asked this question, they usually respond by saying that they feel perfectly well. For it seems that being fat is not in itself a painful condition. And if it’s not a painful condition, then it’s not a disease.
Anyone who calls being fat a disease is really just saying they don’t like seeing fat people. And anyone who calls smoking a disease (it isn’t, and as one of life’s pleasures is in fact the opposite of disease) is really just saying they don’t like seeing people smoking. And if vaping is now being lumped in with smoking for legal purposes (i.e. bans), it’s purely because vaping looks like smoking.
Medicine has ceased to be concerned with disease, and has instead become obsessed with superficial appearances. It has become cosmetic medicine. It has become fashion. And the fashionable man or woman is not just kitted out in the latest clothes and shoes and hairstyles and wristwatches, but has to have a fashionable body to go along with the clothes (not too fat, not too thin, etc, etc.) The body has become a fashion accessory. And the aim of medicine is to make everybody look like Charlton Heston or Marilyn Monroe (or whoever the latest pin-ups are).
Tomorrow morning I should receive a copy of Jung Chang’s Wild Swans, which documents the lives of her grandmother, her mother, and herself. Her grandmother had her feet bound to keep them fashionably tiny. In the talks she gave about the book, Jung Chang explained that binding the feet was the least of it: all the bones in the feet were broken (except the big toe), and not allowed to mend. Jung Chang’s grandmother lived a life of agony. But keeping up desired appearances was more important than lack of ease. And that’s exactly where modern ‘medicine’ is now leading us back to: ancient China.
It’s not hard to see the likely outcome of this madness. It was prefigured in Africa last year with the Ebola epidemic, which was raging at its height while the WHO ran a week-long antismoking bash in Moscow. They weren’t ready for that epidemic, and they won’t be ready for the next one either. Smoking bans won’t prevent the next plague. Nor will slimming pills. Running marathons won’t help either.
With luck, it’ll carry off the top echelons of our insane medical establishment. And if it doesn’t, an angry world will dispose of the useless survivors, and reconstruct a reformed medical profession that treats painful and debilitating diseases, not superficial appearances.