A Most Interesting Article.....


....by Theodore Dalrymple can be found here. He addresses articles from the New England Journal of Medicine, one about capital punishment and two about childhood obesity. I think the musings on both subjects are good.

Here are a couple of paragraphs about the childhood obesity epidemic:

But whatever the reason, the fact that two articles about the problem of childhood obesity in the NEJM could fail even to mention individual parental responsibility is indicative of what one can only call a totalitarian mindset. According to this mindset, it is for the government to solve every problem, either by prescribing behaviour, or forbidding it, or of course both. It is not that I think that the proposal that the government should ban the advertising of noxious products to small children is wrong; what bothers me is the failure to recognise that there is any other dimension to the problem, a dimension that is in fact much more serious.

No doubt the NEJM does not want to court unpopularity, or even notoriety, by suggesting that millions of American parents are, at least in this respect, failing their own children (I suspect that they are failing them in other respects too). It is always safer, from the point of view of gaining the esteem of the intelligentsia and of avoiding their censure, to blame those in authority or large corporations rather than ‘ordinary’ people, who are by definition blameless victims. But to absolve ordinary people of all blame for the obesity of their own children, by simply omitting to mention it altogether, is to deny them agency as full human beings. Far from being generous towards, or respectful of, ordinary people, it is extremely condescending towards them. Poor things, they are but putty in the hands of television companies and the food industry.

(HT to the Independent Women's Forum blog, Inkwell for the heads up on this article.)



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This page contains a single entry by MamaT published on July 13, 2006 4:26 PM.

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