Predictions: American Health Care and Fat People

Now that the ‘reform’ of Healthcare, i.e., delivering 1/6th of the American economy into the hands of government, has passed the House and been signed by the President, I want to make a prediction or two. These predictions are nothing new for this blog, and if you’re interested in my more general thoughts of the connections between various kinds of heathcare systems and the obesity epipanic, please read:

  1. Case-building: Making Fatties the Deviants
  2. When Other People Pay for It, They Can Claim the Right to Control It
  3. Government Healthcare is Bad for Fat People
  4. Universal Healthcare and Fat
  5. Libertarians and Obesity, Take Two
  6. Eliminate Fat People?
  7. When Your Body is No Longer Yours
  8. Why Universal Healthcare Should Be Opposed By Fat Activists
  9. Universal Healthcare is Not Automatically Fat Friendly

But I’m not here to yet again debate the merits (or demerits, in my view) of a universal system. We didn’t get a universal system with Sunday night’s signing: we got more of a Delayed Trojan Horse, which lays the groundwork for the system to be pushed in the direction of going single-payer, during Democrat-controlled Congresses and Administrations. But I’m not going to explain that right now, either, though there are scads of lovely posts on it on WSJ, Econ blogs, Cato, Mises, etc.

That being said, comments are closed.

So here my predictions on how we’re going to start seeing this new law change the cultural conversation about fat people.

  • In the short term: “You mean, I have to pay for YOUR fat ass, now? This sucks. I hate fatties, but I hate government more. Damned health insurance bill.” — oh, hai evidence, relying on the new Donna Simpson Straw Fatty Model, no less.
  • In the medium term: Increase of employer/government weight-loss ‘health’ initiatives; pouring money into weight-reduction schemes (esp. in public schools) sanctioned at a higher rate, getting more general public support; general stigmatization of ‘fatties’ for being fat, but a sense of compassion. Open derision of fat people as costing ‘more’ health dollars, as premiums skyrocket even higher, choice becomes less, it’s harder to find a good doctor, waiting times for appts increase, and so forth. Talk will begin to filter down that the regulatory boards should consider charging fat people more for health insurance, or not allowing them access to certain procedures because fatties who undergo those procedures ‘cost more’ than thinnies.
  • In the long term: When the anti-obese people ‘health’ initiatives don’t work to make fat people permanently thin, more drastic measures will be taken, all at high cost (which will gain the ire of taxpayers), with the ‘reasoning’ that some high cost, drastic measure like surgery is ‘necessary’ to ‘save lives and save more, chronic health expenditures down the road.’ We might have single payer by this time, which would compound the issue. Costs aren’t going to go down, so what you’ll see instead is rather than the government take responsibility for the fact that they’re going to destroy the system and explode costs with inefficiency and regulatory schemes, they’ll point the finger at some kind of scapegoat — you guessed it, the fatty. (cough, NHS, cough) Fatties will be banned from undergoing lots of ‘elective’ procedures (like fertility treatments, knee replacements, etc) unless they lose weight. There will be no competition, no recourse: the fatty will have no ability to go to another doctor or institution and perhaps be able to get it there, since the regulatory measures anti-competitively are ‘blanket’ measures (in order to ensure healthcare ‘equality,’ you know. Less for everyone, but especially those we deem to cost more by nature of their existence!). Government-controlled research institutions will, like the Big Pharma-backed institutions of yore, churn out anti-fat ‘research’ which is carefully structured in order to support their inevitable open discrimination against fat people. And so forth, however far down this slope you feel like sliding.

On Saturday I felt like much more of a human being than I do today, in America. Now, I feel a target on my back, because my government has decided that the way to cover the 10-15 million uninsured that have fallen through the cracks of the system (the 30 million number counts those who purposefully don’t buy insurance, as well as those who qualify for assistance but aren’t utilizing it) is to redistribute a massive chunk of wealth and regulate 1/6th of the economy, all the while ignoring smaller, more market-friendly steps that could have immediately increased access and lowered costs.

Thanks for giving the obesity epipanic in America a government club. Can’t wait for this to all pan out, surely in the fatties’ favor, if other countries with government medicine are any indication.

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Magically Thin!

There is an oft-repeated anti-fat trope which runs along the lines of:

“Well, if there was some magical way for you [fatty] to get thin that didn’t require diet/exercise/surgical mutilation/etc, you’d do it.”

Frankly, if there were such magical powers in our great ‘Verse, I wouldn’t waste them on becoming thin. If one could say, wake up the next morning and have some kind of new magical body part or body alteration, think of the possibilities! It’s magic. One could wish for:

  1. The ability to breathe fire / ice at will
  2. A dragon tail
  3. A unicorn horn
  4. Wings (working, of course)
  5. Knuckle knives a la Wolverine / Edward Scissorhands
  6. Laserbeams out of eyes
  7. Lightning bolts out of fingers
  8. Perfect pitch
  9. Horse-body (centaur)
  10. And so on….

What about you? What kind of magical body parts/abilities would you take over being magically thin?

Fat Liberation Feed Update

Hi all! I just wanted to run through a couple items about the Fat Liberation feed.

  1. Atchka! is no longer on the feed. I apologize, this probably should have happened sooner.
  2. There has been some concern about elizebeth’s blog, Fat Activist. Do you have any concerns about this blog remaining on the feed?
  3. And, of course, if anyone wants to join the feed, please let me know, and I’ll review your blog to see if it fits. The feed generally doesn’t have a strict requirements to adhere to FA topics, though the blogs should be fat positive (no diet talk, no WLS talk, no fatphobia).
  4. Are there any other blogs on the feed that concern you?

Thanks for your input.

On Being Pro-Liberty and Anti-Dieting

elizebeth has a post today, in which she says:

The conflict comes when I think about suggesting that path for others. It’s one thing for me to say “I’M” fine with accepting my fate…but am I promoting the idea that others should too?

What if the science is suggesting that being naturally fat ALSO means I’m naturally meant to die a little earlier than my thin counterparts?

Am I suggesting that EVERYONE should just accept that? Do I think we’re just supposed to accept our genetic destinies, regardless of the possible outcome?

It’s a hard question.

At the very same time, I also can’t imagine trying to DICTATE how people SHOULD live their lives. Which is why I take a diet neutral stance.

If people can find some way to be happy with who they are AND diet with the goal of weight loss, who am I to say their choice is wrong?

So, if I am to say that I’m “pro-fat”, I have to add the addendum that I’m also “pro-liberty.”

I think there are a few things going on here. First off, there is the murky suggestion that ‘science might say…’ and then a hypothetical decision being made based on what you’re hypothetically positing science is saying at the moment. Namely, that certain fat people ‘will’ die sooner than other people, due to their fat.

Many studies have shown a J-curve relationship between BMI and mortality (here’s one). They each suggest that underweight is the most risky category in which to reside throughout life, and overweight the least risky. ‘Normal’ and small fats (BMI 30 – 35) have the same risk. BMI > 35 has more risk than the others except underweight. I would guess that further partitioning the BMI >35 range would show most of the ‘increased risk’ was at the far higher end. I would also suggest that most people at the higher end of the BMI range are fat due to illness or some kind of condition (that is, fat as a symptom). And it would be the illness or condition that’s a greater predictor of early mortality, which would be conflated with fat in most risk-factor analyses (which don’t care about chicken-and-the-egg causation, just correlation).

So, that being said, your blanket implication (without any real analysis of the gravity of that implication) that ‘science might say…fatties are doomed to die earlier,’ and how you as an individual process that pseudoscienterrific statement, doesn’t really fall out of the evidence.

What I’m seeing a lot of in this post is this fake-skeptical balancing act which seems to grant the fatphobics their arguments in the name of ‘skepticism,’ then goes on a hypothetical walk around the pond to sort out implications. It just doesn’t mean anything. It’s not like we’re in the nineteenth century, when no real science had been conducted on this subject. You don’t have to sit around and ‘wonder’ what might be true. Go out there and read the evidence (The Fat Nutritionist has a superb list of links…magnifica, amica!), and then sort it out on your own. It’ll make your arguments on the implications of science a lot more rational. I mean, I could sit around and say, “Hey, what if unicorns do exist?” and write a blog post about the implications, but it wouldn’t really mean anything in reality, would it?

It’s your blog, you can say anything you wish on it. But as a fat acceptance activist, I take issue with some of your claims (especially since you’re on the Fat Liberation feed), and the way you choose to argue them.

Okay, time for the next point here — on why being pro-liberty doesn’t mean one has to be diet-neutral (or anything-neutral).

There’s a false dichotomy being built in elizebeth’s argument above. The suggestion is that those of us who don’t take a diet-neutral stance want to dictate to others how they should live. But, of course, that simply isn’t true. I can root for you to have the power to make any choice about your body you deem expedient, or not, for whatever, or no, reasons. All being pro-liberty means is that one is anti-interventionist. It doesn’t mean that one has to sit twiddling their thumbs in a dieting-obsessed, fatphobic world, and not speak out against these things.

As an anti-interventionist pro-liberty gal, I think I can speak to this point with some kind of expertise.

The evidence suggests that dieting doesn’t work. The evidence suggests that we are in a moral panic where fat people play the part of folkdevil. The evidence suggests that the vast majority of fat people are programmed to be some degree of fat. Many pro-interventionist, anti-fat studies are conducted in a non-rigorous manner, play fast and loose with the statistical analysis, are meant as anti-fat propaganda/marketing pieces which go straight to AP press-release and then to your local nightly news, or feature giant conflicts of interest in funding or authorship.

Okay, let’s check — yep, I’m still pro-liberty. Now, what just happened here?

I was able to define clear points on why I’m fat accepting, and how the evidence plays a crucial role in that state of being. I didn’t breathe a word about what other people should or shouldn’t do—in effect, I was engaging in education and promotion, not public policy. There’s a difference. I didn’t assume that my fat readers fell into any particular categories, nor did I feel the need to talk out of both sides of my mouth in order to appear as some kind of ‘moderate.’

What I don’t think is understood clearly is that this ‘skepticism’ being employed on some pro-fat blogs is not making your arguments appear more reasonable, it’s just watering down their meaning to nearly nothing. I can still give my opponent his best argument while fashioning one of my own. For instance, even if fatness qua fatness is associated a higher risk of death in some fat populations, that doesn’t meant the ‘obesity epidemic’ is a reasonable movement of any kind. Because, quite simply, there are other populations that experience this same kind of J-curve relationship with respect to mortality, with respect to other characteristics. Athletes and tall people, for instance. Yet, I don’t see people talking about a Tall Epidemic, or angrily protesting outside Olympic stadia that they have to support these athletes and their irresponsible, health-costly lifestyles.

We’re in a moral panic. Moral panics infuriate pro-liberty people like me. The vastness of the ignorance that needs to be put in motion in order to force society to evolve to this state is astounding. Additionally, moral panics often result in some kind of intervention forced on deviant groups by the other groups in power.

So what does being pro-liberty have to do with taking a neutral stance on dieting? Well, nothing. I can be pro-liberty and anti-dieting without contradiction. However, one cannot be pro-dieting and anti-dieting without contradiction. And one certainly can’t be fat accepting while weakly arguing the other side’s case without necessary logical and evidential caveats, under the guise of ‘skepticism.’

Real Fucking Fat Acceptance

(this post has NO TRIGGER WARNINGS, no diet ratings, or anything. It’s just FA, baby.)

There is an unavoidable plethora of diet-talk, fat-negative-talk, and pro-weightloss-intervention-speak  nearly everywhere in Western society. What actual fucking fat acceptance (FA) does is first off give you a break from all of that. Secondly, it challenges those negative, hurtful, and hateful messages. But, most importantly, it does a third thing: through discoveries and analyses of medical and sociological literature, it provides convincing evidence that:

  1. diets don’t work for the vast majority of dieters,
  2. fat is largely genetic,
  3. the correlations between fat and certain conditions haven’t yet been shown to be causative,
  4. the ‘obesity epidemic’ is a moral panic.

I personally best summed up the reality of the ‘obesity epidemic’ in my post, The Tall Epidemic. Tall people are at greater risk for certain conditions, too; tall people could be argued to cost more health-dollars that normal-height people; and tallness, though largely genetic, is not entirely so (one’s height can be stunted by means of poor nutrition during childhood, for instance). Like fatness, tallness is hard to correct, though due to the nature of the tissue only the most drastic means of correction can be undergone, like surgery (but there is also surgery to ‘correct’ fatness, mind).

Not to plug, but you should really read it if you’re teetering on the edge of uncertainty about whether, goshdarnit, perhaps certain people or populations should try to reduce their weight, or that perhaps maybe us fatties are doomed to a shorter lifespan due to our fat, and why that’s alarming and perhaps should be corrected, if not through dieting now, ultimately through the next-gen ‘safe’ anti-fatness measure that’s coming down the pipeline.

Because hiding under the veil of the concerned skeptic doesn’t wash with me. Because, ultimately, the ‘obesity epidemic’ doesn’t have a darned thing to do with actual health. If it did, other populations who arguably engage in ‘risky’ lifestyles, like being tall, or male, or an athlete, would be focused on, too. Once you accept the premise that one doesn’t choose to be fat, then giving credence to arguments that the weight of certain populations should be reduced for their own good is no different han giving credence to arguments that the height of certain populations should be reduced for their own good. Silly, no? And yet, here we are.

Real fucking fat acceptance. Riff-raff. Extremists. Those hard-liners in the community who recognize that lending credence to anti-fat arguments is not only usually at odds with more rigorous arguments and scientific reasoning, but also it is at odds with sociological realities. It doesn’t take much digging and studying to come to this conclusion: that’s why there’s a bevy of FA 101 posts floating around the ‘sphere which many of us link to religiously. Because we’ve made these arguments before. We’ve read these studies. We’ve lived our experiences. And, despite our best skeptic sensibilities (or perhaps due to them), many of us are coming to the same conclusions, namely, the four points listed above.

I always find it kind of amusing when I get the occasional troll or even attack-post on an external blog which loops back around to this argument that us riff-raff hardliners are delusional and enforce an echo-chamber precisely because we can’t handle opposition to our ideas, which to them is the veritable house of cards that blow down with a single strong whuff of anti-fat logic.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The trolls, anti-fats, and concerned skeptics tend to be the delusional ones. And lazy, to boot. See, the reason why I personally (and I’m sure many of my FA brethren) sift out these common anti-fat arguments is because we:

  1. have already heard them and responded to them earlier in our blog, or there exists an awesome FA 101 post on another blog (the trolls are too lazy to read, especially links)
  2. know that we’d be engaging in a particularly prolonged game of bash-head-on-wall if we choose to argue with these trolls (they are impervious to logic)
  3. understand that these knock-down-drag-outs in comments sections sap our energy to make more posts and tackle new subjects, which is ultimately more important (they are unreasonable)

A mentor of mine, a philosopher and economist, once told me that you have to give your opponent his best argument if you are to argue effectively. Most riff-raff hardliner FA blogs do just that: we are not burying our heads in the sand with respect to actual fucking medical research and actual fucking reality. In fact, most of these ‘skeptics’ engaging in balancing acts between calling themselves fat accepting and lending credence to the same tired old points the riff-raff have debunked years ago and over, and over, and over again are the ones burying their heads in the sand. It’s even worse than the ignorance perpetuated by the true pro-weightloss anti-fat ubiquity, because you’ve ostensibly had the opportunity to educate yourself in that you have access to challenging arguments, and still you cling to hope?– fear?– loathing?– whatever it might be to make you uncomfortable with the strong body of evidence gathered by us actual fucking fat acceptance riff-raff hardliners.

Because, your arguments? Heard them before, debunked them last weeks, probably multiple times. Our credentials? Well, I can read and understand scientific literature — logic and rigor are my two oft-used watermarks, and you know what? Most anti-fat pro-interventionists studies, they don’t measure up. From the sociological angle, there is the impeturbable elephant in the room mentioned above: all signs point to us being in a moral panic, and not just the media or the great unwashed, but the research community, as well. And we all know what great science comes out of the research community operating within a moral panic.

I’m not sure exactly what I’d term this new pro-FA-while-skeptical-of-FA-while-ignoring-the-body-of-evidence-FA-has-built community, but I know what it’s not: real fucking fat acceptance.

Note for the comments: I famously have little patience for bullshit I’ve already argued seven thousand times. New angles are interesting, but old stuff? Boring. And arguing old stuff already debunked because it’s some kind of chesnut you fear to abandon? Trolling, and will be moderated into the ether. Because I’m not here to hold your hand through FA 101. And if you’re too lazy to do your homework or too delusional/irrational to understand it, that’s not my fucking problem.