Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Bio ethics sans ethics, sans much bio either

A bioethicist named Daniel Callahan wrote an essay about the crisis of fattery called "Obesity: Chasing an elusive epidemic". It was well written yet left me too dissipated to deal with it due its skewered reasoning.

So I left well alone. And wouldn't you know, open access to it has now been revoked, so, no intimate dissection!

He argued health professionals need to raise the bar on stigmatizing fat people, insulting us openly and directly through campaings. Rather than more the more snide approach of  now which consists of venting their feelings through hoi polloi as the sockpuppets disseminating their displeasure.

Apparently, health professionals ought to break cover jettisoning an important facet of their influence, the appearance of authority as inherently benign and just go for the jugular.

Perhaps that's the missing ethics. Professionals, put aside your self serving impulses in order to save civilization from doom. How heroic! I doubt they're not up for it.

An ex-smoker, Callahan tries the DOA tacit of pointing to anti smoking campaigns by way of comparison. Smokers are treated poorly. They could have learned from the experience of fat people or even those some of them currently appropriate from, drug addicts.

If you're in confessional mode you are in a weakened position vulnerable to a contemptuous response even from nice people. It seems to be some kind of animal impulse. In this situation, you have to police the response to you, ensuring you allow people to let off steam without allowing them to go too far.

Those who know authority up close when it's baring its teeth, such as some addicted to illicit substances know this. Which is why everyone's addicted to something nowadays, despite the stigma still attached to real addicts.

Smokers have fallen far socially, partly because they assumed they'd be treated better than fat people. That the stigma against us was to do with being fat, when it was actually more a facet of the position we were put in by cynical medical professionals and obesity research.

This fall from grace bears no comparison to fat people. We've been in a similar position when smokers were high toned, which is part of why we couldn't warn them, they looked down on us.

That's leaving aside the obvious fact that smoking is a hazard and for many a nuisance. This theme of smokers, ex and current who feel their resentment about their unrewarded repentance, has somehow got to be avenged on fat people, due to their erasure of our experience, is tedious. Butt out!

Fat people have already accepted that we need to diet and become slim. Messed ourselves up, woken up to the horror only to begin a magnificent potential triumph, surprising everyone by showing why each human brain is wholly contained in each individual.
All without any real public money being spent to achieve it. Money has mostly been thrown around after the fact. It's not what got fat people narrowly focused on calorie restriction for the last 40-50 years, in the West at least. 

Callahan asks, how far can government and businesses like firms that employ go to change behaviour that's harmful. I'd answer, if the supposed change to the presumed harm actually was effective, that would be a question.

If you have to threaten the health and liberty of others, to make them healthier you have the wrong approach. War on drugs anyone? Especially given that enough of us have woken up and will no longer take this and just say ouch inside our heads anymore.

That's a difference those who leave us out ignore, we consented in the past. Actually we led. However much of a cheat that consent was based on this co-operation is no longer guaranteed. The honeymoon is coming to an end.

That puts the ball in the obesity wallahs court and all they can do is repeat. That's the nub of the issue. The refusal to accept reality. 

For instance, he referred to the effects of anti fat stigma already in evidence, then directly contradicted it by stating his 'new' proposal of more effort towards degrading the humanity of fat people, would be "stigmatization lite."

Say what?

I repeat, he pointed to something that was happening and said, it should start happening and that this would be a lesser version of the worse version already in effect. Less is more and would work better, yet would in reality add something worse.

This was the pattern of the essay and what I found most remarkable. It read like incompatibly opposite narratives advancing one way then sweeping the traces of it away and behaving as if it hadn't.  Like leaving footsteps in the sand, sweeping them over then stating you wish to walk that path, again, for the first time.

It epitomized the whole mentality of the crusade. Because it cannot do what fat people have done, accept the remotest possibility of its own fallibility, even when it describes it as accurately as Daniel Callahan.  

Reading had the mind numbing effect of an on coming headache. 

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