Disempowering The People

Something I noticed a day or two back:

‘Lecturing people about smoking and drinking doesn’t work’ – warns Cumbria health boss

Colin Cox, director of Cumbria County Council, said that putting pressure on people to change their lifestyles could do the reverse.

Mr Cox was updating Cumbria County Council’s health scrutiny committee meeting in Kendal.

He said: “If it was about telling people what to do, all our health problems would be sorted out by now. Everyone has known for many, many years about the dangers of smoking and what they should be eating. Telling people what to do, doesn’t work, it’s about empowering people and giving them the power they need to make the right decision.”

Health officials are working up far-reaching plans to tackle the county’s major health challenges over the next decade.

But committee member Phil Dew, from Kirkby Stephen said any push to “change behaviours” in people carried a danger of being “Orwellian”.

Cllr Dew said: “It’s a bit Clockwork Orange to be trying to manipulate people’s behaviour,”

He said some people stopped visiting GPs because they were “fed-up” of lectured about their lifestyles.

It almost sounds like common sense might be making a small comeback in Cumbria. But only almost.

I’m one of those people who do the reverse when pressure is put on me to change. I dig my heels in, and push in the opposite direction. So rather than, say, following any diet advice, I’m reverting to the kind of food my parents used to eat. Stuff like grilled lamb chops and boiled carrots and butter-laden mashed potato.  And it’s surprising how much butter can be absorbed by mashed potato.

I’m also one of those people who stopped visiting GPs. I haven’t been to one for 12 years. I even wrote my last GP a letter to explain why. I still have a copy of it somewhere. She was a perfectly nice doctor, but she was being slowly converted into an agent of the state, tasked with intervening in patients’ lives even when they weren’t unwell, telling them what they should and shouldn’t do.

I never had any real need to visit a doctor anyway. The only thing I ever wanted was sleeping tablets, and since I stopped using them 12 years ago I’ve been using whisky instead. And whisky is much, much nicer than any sleeping tablet. So Big Pharma has lost a customer here, and Scottish Distilleries have gained one.

But this Cumbrian Mr Cox could still improve further. He says:

“Everyone has known for many, many years about the dangers of smoking and what they should be eating.”

That’s one of those “Everybody Knows” assertions which are almost invariably untrue. What he should have said was:

“Everyone has been told for many, many years about the dangers of smoking and what they should be eating…”

And he might have added:

“… and they still don’t believe a word of it.”

 But it’s the last sentence that gives the game away:

“It’s about empowering people and giving them the power they need to make the right decision.”

!!/<<__  EMPOWERING  __>>\!! is a word that should be written in  bold red capital letters, and hedged around with health warnings. It’s Orwellian Newspeak. It’s a word that needs to be given a very wide berth, because it means the exact opposite to what it seems to mean. So:

“It’s about !!/<<__  EMPOWERING  __>>\!! people and giving them the power they need to make the right decision.”

Because you always know that when people talk about “empowering” people, they don’t actually mean giving them the power to do something: they mean taking away the power, disempowering them. And when they’re telling them “to make the right decision”, they’re saying that they know what all the right decisions are, and the people who’ve been making those decisions don’t. They want to make other people’s decisions for them – and they usually also want to use other people’s money to do it.

Following on from yesterday, it’s the state in place of the parent, the state as Daddy. But while you could escape from Daddy when you finally left home, you can never escape the Daddy state. There’s no opt-out clause. There’s no EU Article 50.

About Frank Davis

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9 Responses to Disempowering The People

  1. slugbop007 says:

    Power to the People!

    slugbop007

  2. Smoking Lamp says:

    Tobacco control is absolutely about dis-empowering people while empowering itself.

  3. beobrigitte says:

    Colin Cox, director of Cumbria County Council, said that putting pressure on people to change their lifestyles could do the reverse.
    Finally that bit has been understood.

    He said: “If it was about telling people what to do, all our health problems would be sorted out by now. Everyone has known for many, many years about the dangers of smoking and what they should be eating.
    Correction: Everyone has known for many, many years about anti-smokers’ lobby army’s dislike of smoking, and “advice”on what people should be eating perhaps could be viewed a little more critically considering that e.g. some 50 years after demonizing fatty foods, the common consensus is that we people DO NEED to ingest fat in order to facilitate vitamin uptake.

    Telling people what to do, doesn’t work,
    It worked pretty well in the case of fat. It took just a few years longer – and when vitamin deficiencies mysteriously appeared and increased, it was found that: ‘Actually, we do need to eat fat…’

    it’s about empowering people and giving them the power they need to make the right decision.”
    Smoking bans and increased alcohol prices etc “empower” people? Really??? In that case I don’t want “power” I would much prefer to be treated as what I have been for a long time: AN ADULT, perfectly capable to make the decision that is RIGHT for ME.

    Cllr Dew said: “It’s a bit Clockwork Orange to be trying to manipulate people’s behaviour,”

    He said some people stopped visiting GPs because they were “fed-up” of lectured about their lifestyles.
    Except the one they should start lecturing the greedy ones about: the 24/7 work life style.
    Needless to say, I’m giving GPs a miss.

  4. Rose says:

    OT

    Place bets now.

    UK weather forecast: Britain braces for ‘SEVERE snow’ – FREAK SOLAR STORM warning
    Oct 15, 2018

    “A SEVERE winter blast will blanket swathes of Britain in thick snow while pushing temperatures to record lows THIS MONTH, shock long-range weather forecasts warn.
    Freak changes in the composition of space around the sun are about to drive a chain of meteorological events locking the UK into a savage early Arctic freeze, it has been claimed.

    The so-called solar corona has become dotted with holes on its Earth-facing side threatening serious knock-on effects to the flow of the jet stream and the weather this winter.
    Temperatures are expected to nosedive towards the end of October bringing ‘substantial snowfall’ across Scotland, northern and central England.

    It could herald the start of a four-month Polar assault with snow and sub-zero temperatures threatening to grip the nation until February.”
    https://www.express.co.uk/news/weather/1031836/uk-weather-forecast-latest-met-office-forecast-long-range-forecast-uk-winter-forecast

    I do enjoy Daily Express long range weather forecasts.

  5. jaxthefirst says:

    “THIS MONTH” and “long-range weather forecasts.” Err – bit of a contradiction in terms there, methinks. I’m not sure I regard “this month” as exactly “long range.” Or are they saying that they’ve had all these “long range” forecasts for ages, but have only just now decided to tell us about them? Thanks a lot, Daily Express!

  6. Joe L. says:

    OT but related, as another method of disempowering the people is to take away their access to information. It seems the big social media platforms were merely testing the waters by deplatforming of Alex Jones/Infowars for “hate speech.”

    Over the weekend, within hours of each other, both Facebook and Twitter apparently banned ~800 politically-oriented personal accounts and anti-establishment alternative news accounts. This time Facebook cited “inauthentic behavior” as the reason they purged their accounts. Unsurprisingly, this received no coverage in the mainstream media, as they are the greatest benefactors of this censorship. More at the link below.

    Internet Censorship Just Took An Unprecedented Leap Forward, And Hardly Anyone Noticed

  7. slugbop007 says:

    How interesting that these companies support anti-smoker campaigns then rant and rave about ‘hate speech’. Tobacco Control and all their subgroups should be sued for defamation of character. Where are the human rights groups that would find that a logical position to take given the virulent hate campaigns conducted by antii-tobacco groups and their taxpayer subsidized parasites?

    slugbop007

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