Inverted Healthist Values

I was toying yesterday with the idea that the antis and the healthists had an inverted value system to mine.

My value system is pretty much the one that’s inherent in Idle Theory: You arrange your life to do as little as possible. You find the easiest ways to do things, and the shortest route between places. You maximise your idle time, and minimise your work time. You drive things like cars, because it’s quicker to go places that way. You call people by phone because it’s easier than going to see them.

I think the whole of Western Civilisation is built on a Least Action principle. Pretty much all our technology enables us to do stuff more quickly, using less energy. We get freed up by it to do what we want, rather than what we must. Economic progress means increased idleness, and increased freedom. When it all goes backwards – as when a hurricane comes through – we have to work harder, and we become less free.

But the antis and healthists don’t seem to share these values. If nothing else, you never hear them talking about freedom – about the real freedom of being able to do what you want, as opposed to the inverted freedom of being “smoke-free” or “fat-free” or “alcohol-free”.

Take food, for example. Some of them advocate “low-calorie” foods. Supermarkets are full of the stuff. It’s supposed to be “healthier”. But the way I see it, if you eat low-fat, low-sugar, low-energy foods, you’re going to have to eat more of it, if you’re going to meet your daily energy requirements. To my way of thinking, what you need are high-energy foods, because they give you the biggest bang for your buck. And they’re essentially fast foods.   Ideally, food would consist of super-high-energy foods, that you’d take as tablets, no cooking involved, no plates or knives and forks.

I remember saying as much when I was about 5 years old. Because for me, aged 5, eating was a chore. I had better things to do with my model ships and dinosaurs than sit down at a table and spend half an hour eating. Clearly I had my value system in place long before I’d had the faintest inkling of Idle Theory.

I remember my father disagreeing with my food tablet idea. “Wouldn’t you miss having a nice plate of bacon and eggs and sausages and tomatoes and beans and fried bread?” he asked, conjuring up a delicious plate before my eyes. And, actually, I would have indeed missed those delights. And maybe I would have also missed the companionship of sitting around a table, talking to other people. I never talked to anybody when I was building my model boats and houses and dinosaurs.

Nevertheless, the entire thrust of Western Civilisation is towards work-minimisation with engines and cars and phones and computers. And one result of this is that people do a lot less work these days than they used to do. And they need correspondingly less food. But if they carry on having big breakfasts like the one my father conjured up for me, and big lunches, and big dinners, they’re eating more than they need, and they’ll end up storing the food energy as fat. And that’s one reason why we have the so-called “obesity epidemic” (which isn’t an epidemic, of course).

Back in my childhood when we had three substantial meals every day, we were living busy, active lives in rather cold houses. So we were burning a lot of energy, and we needed to replace it. Now that I need a lot less energy, I really only need about one square meal a day, rather than three.

This doesn’t bother me, because I still think that eating is a chore, just like I did when I was 5 years old. But my father liked eating. It was one of his favourite pastimes. He liked eating and drinking and smoking. And he liked talking as well. And that’s why he was always a rather fat man. He would have hated my one-meal-a-day lifestyle. And in fact, right to the end of his life, he insisted on having breakfast, lunch, and dinner – although never quite as substantial as those of 50 years earlier. And he didn’t eat “low-calorie” foods either. He always ate the real thing. He maintained his energy balance by getting lots of exercise, mostly by gardening and mowing the lawn.

And here’s where one kind of lifestyle emerges. In our Least Action civilisation, with less and less work being needed to be done, you can only justify eating a lot if you get a correspondingly greater amount of exercise. You have to go jogging, or to the gym, or do some gardening. My father’s (and mother’s) gym was their garden.

But there’s another, second way of carrying on eating lots of food, and that is to eat low-calorie foods. You spend just as long eating as you ever did, and you don’t do any exercise, but you always eat low-calorie, low-sugar, low-fat, low-energy food.

My own, third lifestyle is simple: eat less. And eat as quickly as possible. So I tend to eat high-energy, high-sugar, high-fat foods in small amounts. I never buy low-calorie anything. And it’s all fast food. It’s either food that is quick to prepare, and quick to eat. Or it’s fast food that I buy in supermarkets and can heat up in an oven. Or it’s hot fast food that I can buy in fast food outlets. My only objection to the last is that the portions they serve are all too large: a standard fish and chip dinner from the local fish and chip shop is usually about twice the amount that I want/need, and I usually end up eating half of it, and re-heating the rest the next day.

And also I smoke. And smoking is an appetite-suppressant. I think that there’s maybe a very simple reason why it’s an appetite suppressant, and that is that smoking is an activity which is almost indistinguishable from eating. You’re “eating” smoke. Or “drinking” smoke. And the smoke is hot just like hot food out of an oven. A cigarette is a little hot snack, which gives you the illusion of having eaten something, when in fact you’ve eaten nothing at all. The calorie content of tobacco smoke is zero (disregarding the temperature of the smoke). Smoking is an essential part of my lifestyle, because I can “snack” all day on cigarettes, and in that manner eat a lot less of my high calorie diet. Drinking tea is another essential part of my lifestyle, because the tea is another hot snack, and one that basically fills my stomach with hot very-slightly-sweetened water. Take away the tea and cigarette “snacks”, and I’d start to feel hungry.

The healthist antis are lifestyle police who are trying to impose their own particular preferred lifestyle on everybody else. And their lifestyle seems to be one that is high energy expenditure (lots of exercise), and so correspondingly high food consumption of “natural” foods rather than the processed foods found in supermarkets, or the fast foods from takeaway fish and chip shops. And of course no unnecessary appetite-suppressant smoking. I’m surprised they haven’t come out against appetite-suppressant tea and coffee, but they probably will sooner or later.

The healthist antis also look back nostalgically on wartime Britain, when everyone was all so wonderfully lean and fit, because they had to work hard on barely enough food to sustain them. In fact, the healthist antis seem to look back nostalgically on the Stone Age, when everyone was eating “natural” foods, and getting lots of exercise chasing “naturally-occurring” woolly mammoths.

What they really want is a society where everyone is kept busy, and the busier the better. They want to get people out of their labour-saving cars and onto labour-intensive bicycles and feet. They want to return to the past. And they want to reverse the entire thrust of the Least Action ethic of Western Civilisation.

And of course they want a society in which freedom is minimised rather than maximised, and in which people do as they are told by a managerial class, like so many conscripts in an army, or so many slaves on a plantation. And that’s why they want to dumb people down. And also why they keep changing the meanings of words, particularly ones that have anything to do with freedom (like “liberal” or “progressive”).

And that’s why they have an inverted set of values.

And that’s why they’re our enemies.


About Frank Davis

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15 Responses to Inverted Healthist Values

  1. Clicky says:

  2. smokingscot says:

    In fairness, perhaps your parents had similar experiences to mine – and of course many others.

    They were subjected to rationing during the war (pops only after he was discharged) and some did their level best to make up for it when things became freely available.

    One spectacular example, that’s not especially in keeping with the thrust of your piece was our family doctor in the late 50’s.

    He’d been taken prisoner by the Japanese and sent to one of the camps they had to keep prisoners they used to build that railway in Thailand. He was denied cigarettes by his captors, though they used him as a doctor.

    He saw good people die because they lacked access to the most basic medicines – and that did his head in – in a good way.

    Once released he worked demonically and every day he gave himself two tins of Players cigarettes – and most days he smoked the lot. No spare flesh on his skeleton, but he was kind and gave a damn.

    50 fags in each tin, never seen without one on the go somewhere, some still burning in an ashtray, the other hanging from his lips.

    Like these:

  3. Smoking Lamp says:

    And if you are always busy you don;t have time to think. The lack of thinking and reflection means you can be easily controlled. Smoking bans not only limit the time for thinking (after all smoking often brings out great ideas which is why many writers and artists smoked while working) but they limit the time for sharing these thoughts with others. I think the crux of smoking bans is control for the sake of control (the health rationale is increasingly being exposed as a lie).

  4. Smoking Lamp says:

    They are trying to ban smooching on outdoor patios in Winnipeg now (just like the rest of the US and Canada where outdoor smoking bans are the current antismoker initiative). There is a poll at the Winnipeg Sun; interestingly they never enabled the comments function! Check out the poll and coverage:

    • waltc says:

      Go vote there. It started as about 5-1 in favor and it’s now 54 yes vs 45 no. Of course they’ll still do it. As one legislator said in advance, “the public supports this” and (anyway) “it’s the right thing to do.”

  5. waltc says:

    On hurricanes, “climate change” and political murder. These two articles, one with examples of misc. liberal venom, another by that much-beloved folksy Garrison Keillor, are really alarming examples of the decline and fall of civilization. The second article prompted a long chain of fb comments from noted liberals (some, known writers) to the effect of–as one put it eloquently, “f’k Texas” — the state should get no aid and deserved its fate because it voted Republican and denied global warming.

  6. Frank Davis says:
    Coffee Could Soon Come With a Surgeon General’s Warning
    Sep 8, 2017 | 1:49 pm

    Warning: Consumption of coffee may increase motivation and mood (but also risk of cancer)

    Trouble is brewing in the courtrooms of Los Angeles — coffee, our country’s caffeinated favorite, could soon come with a cigarette-like cancer warning. The little-known Council for Education and Research on Toxics (CERT) sued around 70 coffee companies for not including warning labels on a product that contains carcinogens, and the 7-year-old suit finally kicked off in court this week.

    California’s Proposition 65 enforces labeling of all products containing substances linked to a significant increase in cancer risk, such as the chemicals from burning cigarettes. Pretty much any substance that’s been burned or charred is a reasonable suspect for carcinogen presence — including, evidently, roasted coffee beans.

    • Rose says:

      “CERT lawyer Raphael Metzger argued in court this week that the benefits of coffee are “just a bunch of hypotheses” and that Californians have been exposed to “really high levels of a carcinogen” by drinking coffee, according to Law360.

      Others say that this suit and similar ones are being pushed by increasingly aggressive lawyers.

      Prop 65 has resulted in warning labels in a host of unlikely places, including parking garages.

      CERT doesn’t have a Web site and shares the same address as the Metzger Law Group, of Long Beach, Calif., which filed the suit. The firm did not return a call for comment.

      Slapping warning labels on coffee would result in a “feeding frenzy for the plaintiffs bar,” Joe DeRupo, a National Coffee Association spokesman, told The Post.”

      • beobrigitte says:

        “CERT lawyer Raphael Metzger argued in court this week that the benefits of coffee are “just a bunch of hypotheses” and that Californians have been exposed to “really high levels of a carcinogen” by drinking coffee, according to Law360.
        I definitely would NEVER have this guy as a lawyer as I would suspect he bought his qualification on Amazon. Will he have a heart attack when someone tells him what is in the “fresh” air he breathes?
        That “bunch of hypotheses” must have been created by the “addicts” 5000 years ago to kill humanity?

    • Joe L. says:

      Pretty much any substance that’s been burned or charred is a reasonable suspect for carcinogen presence — including, evidently, roasted coffee beans.

      Sure seems that’s what they want us to believe. However, most studies agree that incidence of cancer is much greater today than it was a few hundred years ago when nearly everyone was exposed to smoke and charred food day in and day out because pretty much all heating and cooking was done via wood and coal fires.

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