Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A new form of fascism?

Well, not that new, but a scary form nonetheless. I follow the blog Weighty Matters of Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, a family doctor and assistant professor at the University of Ottawa and a founder of Ottawa’s bariatric clinic. His latest article discusses a fellow Ontario pediatrician, Dr. Mickey Lerner of Toronto, who appeared with Dr. Freedhoff on a call-in show on CTV Newsnet regarding the role of government in obesity prevention policy.

Dr. Freedhoff has many articles on his blog that point out opportunities for government and industry to alleviate the inundation of extremely unhealthy foods that has created an easily-tracked epidemic of obesity across the world. Western society has taken the rap for it, but in fact all societies are feeling this pain.

There are many ways to address the problem, but the most promising way is to reduce the change over from healthy foods to junk foods that has been roaring along since the mid-20th century with companies selling sugary drinks and hamburgers and fries becoming ubiquitous world-wide and utterly dominant within the food lobby.

So back to the call in show … Dr. Lerner proposed – instead of taxation on foods that are known to be extremely unhealthy – taxation based upon BMI, or with more clarity — the taxation of the fat. This profoundly intolerant viewpoint is simply a form of fascism, often called “body fascism” for the extreme intolerance it represents. It is one thing to be disgusted by a person in your private thoughts, but it is quite another to publicly call for one small segment of society to pay higher taxes because you don’t like them. That is what leads to real fascism and is the antithesis of freedom and empowerment.

Dr. Freedhoff goes on to point out that this intolerance is masked as concern for the costs incurred by fat people later in life. He then points out the many examples of more hidden non-compliance with others’ views that also lead to higher societal costs later on … including non-compliance with anti-depressants, excess sugar eating leading to type II diabetes in a thin person, people who stop their antibiotics too early and require hospitalization, people who consume trans-fats and eventually require a heart bypass, and well, you get the idea.

Fascism is not a joke. Dr. Lerner’s position, however, is.

By the way, there were plenty of call-in supporters of the idea. These profoundly uneducated people are no surprise to those who have watched the dumbing down of society as “toys” like iPhones have replaced thinking and reading as the national pastime.

But there is no excuse for such profoundly uneducated views in an educated man.