Case-building: Making Fatties the Deviants

In every good moral panic one needs a deviant group on which to blame the ills of the current moral (financial, political) crisis. Since moral panics seek to fix some broken part of society, it makes sense that a group of people is singled out to symbolize the ills associated with the crisis.

Since the late nineties (around the time of the last BMI revision in 1998), the number of news stories about the so-called “obesity epidemic” increased exponentially, reaching a fever pitch in 2004. Check out the timeline chart on the top of the Google News results for “obesity epidemic”:

Frequency of "obesity epidemic" in news stories from 1990 - 2009, via Google

(I can’t find the chart, but I think this somewhat parallels, oddly, the average BMI increase in that same time period, which topped off in 2004 or 2005)

A recent example of the creation of a deviant group to take the brunt of the latest healthism/healthcare panic is the assertion that cases of diabetes are going to keep rising, with a concomitant soaring of costs. (h/t Andy Jo)

Blaming rising healthcare costs on us fatties is one way of covering one’s ass when one isn’t willing to institute any meaningful healthcare reform, just new entitlements.

This is case-building: so that when people are pissed off that healthcare costs haven’t dropped under a new system of entitlements, they direct that anger at some deviant group, rather than where it belongs — at the philosophy of entitlement with its false utopian vision, and the proponents of that vision.

I’ve said it before, and will say it again. When you make your body the financial business of your neighbor, get ready for your neighbor claiming the right to have say over your body. In other words, making healthcare a public financial burden makes your body public business, and thus erodes the most fundamental right of living in a free society.

This is merely the tip of the iceberg, folks. The government takeover of healthcare hasn’t even passed in the Senate, yet, and there’s already talk of reigning in costs by discriminating against particular groups of people, in this case a popular deviant group of the Healthistic moral: fat people. Do you think it’s going to stop at higher taxes for fat people, if that isn’t bad enough? I predict it will not: forced interventions, children being taken away from their parents, fat people being practically barred from some kinds of  employment, and the ultimate loss of the freedom to pursue happiness in the confines of liberty will be the end result of this government takeover of healthcare. And it will start with fatties, but it won’t end with us, because we are not the source of all healthcare-related ills.

Stay tuned. It’s going to be one helluva ride.

4 comments on “Case-building: Making Fatties the Deviants

  1. When you make your body the financial business of your neighbor, get ready for your neighbor claiming the right to have say over your body. In other words, making healthcare a public financial burden makes your body public business, and thus erodes the most fundamental right of living in a free society.

    This is the most worrying concern I have heard about socialized healthcare in the US, and I take the idea pretty seriously.

    Luckily, I can say that, having lived under the Canadian healthcare system for many years now, that hasn’t been my experience here.

    Not to say it couldn’t happen, here or there, and I do think it’s a valid concern. Just not one I’ve seen play out, as yet.

  2. doomgloom says:

    Health care paid for by the government does NOT make your body public business because is does NOT pay for anything cosmetic. It is not necessary to punish people for unhealthy habits in order to contain costs because sickness is its own punishment. Even with state-of-the-art health care available at no charge, nobody, save a few mentally ill persons, wants to get sick or get injured.

    However, vanity, greed, lust, and rage may drive people to put their health in danger for the sake of the objects of their pathological passions. Other people, or even the same people, may put their health in danger for love of truth, justice and humanity. Penalties for unhealthy behavior would punish both, but would also punish behavior that is not unhealthy, but is believed to be so by the punishing authorities, or perhaps is not believed by the authorities to be unhealthy, but merely displeases them.

    Therefore the wisest policy seems to be: that the government pay for health care and not ration it, but give the doctors complete freedom to prescribe whatever they think is best for the patient. And as long as the doctor is not convicted of criminal malpractice, let the doctor continue to practice and be reimbursed by the government, to a degree sufficient to maintain enough doctors with the needed qualifications to create some competition for patients. Let the patient also, if his condition allows, choose from among all the licensed doctors who are qualified to treat his condition, and pay only for transportation. If his condition does not allow that, he should be rushed to the nearest suitable facility free of charge.

    If anyone thinks the above policy is too expensive, he should consider the cost of the mentality that puts a price on human life. Consider the impact that lethal denial of care to the poor, or total financial ruin of the under-insured, including many who thought their insurance was adequate, has on our mental health, and look at the cost of what we tolerate: speculator bailouts greater than our Gross Domestic Product, biofuels, wind and solar, rejection of nuclear power, rejection of nuclear rockets, outsourcing everything from manufacturing to airplane maintenance to technical support, laying off all the people with the right stuff at NASA, “preventative” war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the staggering administrative costs of private HMOs, much of which is borne by doctors who have to maintain bill-collecting and litigation agencies because of the HMOs, and the cost of malpractice insurance, driven sky-high by the feeling of victimization that results when a sick or injured person has to pay medical bills out-of-pocket, and the desire of judges to get re-elected by a constituency that feels victimized. For President Obama to uphold the statement of his Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Peter Orszag, that health care is the cause of the budget deficit, and not bailouts, lack of productive employment, and perpetual war, demonstrates his hostility to the human species! Why on earth do we let Obama be President? Victimization.

  3. […] wouldn’t seem as horrifying if the nanny-state wasn’t continually making its version of ‘health’ a public responsibil… (thus placing people’s bodies into the black box of common ownership and hence critique). The […]

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