Time & Newsweek Need Fat Kids, But What Do Fat Kids Need?

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Michael McGough at the LA Times whoops up on Time and Newsweek for featuring fat kids on their covers:

Sure, Time and Newsweek come across as desperate smack fiends looking to score when they plaster obese children on their covers instead of facing facts, but I disagree with Michael McGough, whose argument says a lot about his childhood years:

Asking a fat boy to pose with a gargantuan ice cream cone is demeaning to him and to other chubby kids who might see the magazine — or have it brandished at them in the schoolyard. At least they didn't show him patting his belly or slobbering.

McGough seems to be saying that the best an overweight kid can hope for—that is, if he can't lose weight—is to be ignored. But why not give a fat kid his chance to shine? Slim kids get to do clothing ads for K-Mart catalogs, athletic kids get to star on the Disney Channel. Let the fat kid do his thing for the dying newsweeklies, but for Christ's sake—I'm talking to you here, Meacham and Stengel—put something slightly less filling on the cover.

Especially since the childhood obesity epidemic turned out to be something less than, er, an epidemic.

Tim Cavanaugh chews the fat here, in what may be Senior Editor Kerry Howley's favorite blog post of all time.

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  1. This being Newsweek, I’m guessing the answer is a delicious and nutritious gov’t program.

  2. I’ve got to question whether something that isn’t contagious, or communicable (ignoring the genetic factor), can even be an epidemic.

  3. It’s pretty obvious that Big Ice Cream is responsible for this trend, with an outside chance of Big Bendy Skateboard playing a roll.

  4. People from LA apparently have no concept of what a “gargantuan ice cream cone” really is. Come to New England and order a “Large” at an ice cream stand. Go on, I dare you.

  5. People from LA apparently have no concept of what a “gargantuan ice cream cone” really is.

    This may be true, but McGough is from Pittsburgh and lives in DC.

  6. I’m disappointed that I have to be the first to say…

    Do the Truffle Shuffle!

    Nephilium

  7. Mr. Riggs is obviously shilling for Big Scoop.

  8. Isn’t saying that asking a fat kid to pose with an ice cream cone “demeans” him a lot like saying it “demeans” Charlie Sheen to ask him to pose with a hooker?

    It’s a little late for either one to start worrying about being seen with the other.

  9. This may be true, but McGough is from Pittsburgh…

    Birthplace of the Klondike Bar, no less…

  10. Is that Chunk from Goonies on the cover?

  11. Our Super-Sized Kids

    Hardy har har.
    The committee that thought that up is brilliant.

  12. They should have gotten William van Landingham III for the cover, but I think he’s all grown up by now.

  13. Art,

    From what I have read I don’t think that is a required part of the definition. In other words, there are epidemics that occur because of contagious diseases and those that occur from non-contagious diseases.

  14. But What Do Fat Kids Need?

    A few pushups perhaps.

    But hey, I love fat people. I especially love going camping with them so that if we get attacked by bears, my scrawny tofu looking ass can out run their filet mignon looking blubber butt.

  15. So, when is reason going to run a cover with a slender, very late-teen, female to demonstrate that this is all nonsense about all youngsters being chunky?

  16. troy,

    True. You need not have to outrun the bear, you only need outrun someone in your party.

    Make sure the second slowest runner has the car keys.

  17. The aesthetics of that person’s body-type displease me. Alert the government, we need to do something!

  18. From what I have read I don’t think that is a required part of the definition. In other words, there are epidemics that occur because of contagious diseases and those that occur from non-contagious diseases.

    Fair enough. It just seems the latter use is primed for abuse.

  19. I wasn’t the fattest child in the world, but I definitely had to go for some “husky” clothes 🙂
    But seriously – fat children need to be locked out of the house as long as the sun is up, and have parents who are good examples

  20. Oh, and not to be protected from the ridicule of other children – that’s a big motivating factor

  21. Are any of the raw meat nuts advocates here, or do they live on Slashdot?

    These kids certainly need more DHMO, the ultimate performance enhansor.

    Is that skateboard made of indestructium or something?

  22. Reinmoose,

    Parents won’t let their kids play outside until Sony develops a solar-powered Playstation.

  23. is demeaning to him and to other chubby kids who might see the magazine – or have it brandished at them in the schoolyard.

    What? Kids are brandishing magazines in the schoolyard?! How threatening! Must be a tough neighborhood. Better try to sneak a newspaper past the metal detectors for defense.

  24. Perhaps we need laws regulating the content of foods that children may consume.

    A government study is our only hope.

  25. “Especially since the childhood obesity epidemic turned out to be something less than, er, an epidemic.”

    I clicked on the link provided and it was the same news that Mike Riggs in his post below cited to show there was no kids-obesity problem in the US. The link says that recent research shows that the % of kids in the US that are obese stopped going up, but it stopped going up at 32%, that’s a third.

    Personally fat kids are something I don’t get oo worked up about, but drawing the conclusion “see, the epidemic was not an epidemic” from this news seems a lot like saying “hey, the murder rate here is ten times what it is elsewhere and 10 times what it was 20 years ago, but it hasn’t increased recently so see, no epidemic!”

    “Is that skateboard made of indestructium or something?” The same stuff that is between your ears, Guy? Just guessing…

  26. I do wonder about the person who said “OOOhhhhh, Pick Me! Pick ME!” when Newsweek asked who wanted to be the poster child for juvenile slobs.

  27. “Perhaps we need laws regulating the content of foods that children may consume.”

    Hey, Guy, maybe we just need the government to detain fat kids, slap them around and abuse them a bit until they lose weight. You seem all for that “libertarian”.

  28. “I do wonder about the person who said “OOOhhhhh, Pick Me! Pick ME!” when Newsweek asked who wanted to be the poster child for juvenile slobs.”

    I worry more about their parents, who should have stepped in before they became fat and cut off the twinkies, but barring that should at least be looking out for their kids dignity.

    As for the “let fat kids have their moment to shine” I should hope Riggs is joking. When they pick your image to emblazon a cover with the captions to the effect “Horrible Epidemic” they are not letting you “shine.”

  29. It’s just possible that Mr. Montag is making a funny.

  30. PL,

    Is one of those folks I ignore having a big hissyfit over the joke jabbing at people who want government studies for everything?

  31. Epi,

    I do not dare click that link at work, can’t wait until I get back home.

    Description please?

  32. If by “demean” he means free ice cream, bring on the demeaning.

  33. “hey, the murder rate here is ten times what it is elsewhere and 10 times what it was 20 years ago, but it hasn’t increased recently so see, no epidemic!”

    Something that is no longer expanding can no longer be rhetorically classified as an “epidemic”.

    Of course, you can harp on Mike for seeming to claim that there never was an “epidemic”, but that doesn’t appear to be what you’re doing.

    (And I’ll put the word in quotes every time in reference to this topic, because I hate using epidemiological words to describe social conditions.)

  34. MP,

    A social condition? Can’t you think of the children? These poor children are being teased for the way they were born! Must you be so cruel to people who are different than you?

    An epidemic could get them grants from the government you know. Then we can begin our healing process as a nation.

  35. Does the Newsweek cover remind anyone of the music video for Black Hole Sun?

  36. Guy, it’s just an episode description, so feel free to click.

  37. Attn: christians

    Is obesity a sin?

    ok,ok, all you omniscient athiests can answer if you like.

    You folks suggesting letting the kiddies outside? Have you forgotten about the pervs that like kids that live on every block? HUH?HUH?

  38. Attn: [C]hristians

    Is obesity a sin?

    No, but I don’t care if others go to hell anyway.

  39. Is obesity a sin?

    I am a Christian only in technicality – but as I understood it, something about stewardship of your body as a temple, blah blah blah

  40. We pharmacologically astute individuals all knew that as soon as the “Meth Epidemic” waned that a “Fat Epidemic” would inevitably follow.

    Put Sudafed and other pseudoephedrine medications back on the shelves and this problem will go away.

    Better living through chemistry.

  41. Time & Newsweek Need Fat Kids, But What Do Fat Kids Need?

    Pie?

    As a once fat kid, a much skinnier college student, and a much fatter 27 year-old, I’d like to say that I’d be honored to be on the cover of Newsweek with an ice cream cone. Or a slice of pizza. Or any other delicious concoction that certain know-it-alls think would be degrading.

  42. Attn: christians

    Is obesity a sin?

    ok,ok, all you omniscient athiests can answer if you like.

    Although I don’t claim omniscience (mostlyscience is more apt), I do know that gluttony, not obesity, is one of the seven deadly sins. While gluttony may lead to obesity (bulimia nervosa anyone?), it is not required to be obese.

    I logically (and correctly) conclude that obesity, by itself, is not a sin.

    Some theists may disagree. But they’d be wrong. 🙂

  43. But why not give a fat kid his chance to shine?

    Reminded me of the King of the Hill episode where Bobby become a “husky” model.

  44. Michael McGough at the LA Times whoops up on Time and Newsweek…

    “Whoops,” indeed. That word, when used as a verb means to yell or hoot. Appropriately, it’s more commonly used as an exclamation, and is a variant of “oops.”

    I believe the word you were looking for is “whups” which is a Southern US English variant of “whips.” Usually spelled “whips” but pronounced “whups.”

    “He really whoops when a reader whups him for his usage whoops.”

  45. MP-Merriam Websters
    Main Entry: 1ep?i?dem?ic
    Pronunciation: \?e-p?-?de-mik\
    Function: adjective
    Etymology: French ?pid?mique, from Middle French, from epidemie, noun, epidemic, from Late Latin epidemia, from Greek epid?mia visit, epidemic, from epid?mos visiting, epidemic, from epi- + d?mos people – more at demagogue
    Date: 1603
    1: affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time
    2 a: excessively prevalent b: contagious 4
    3: of, relating to, or constituting an epidemic

    “Is one of those folks I ignore”
    I hope your ignoring works out better than refuting…

    “It’s just possible that Mr. Montag is making a funny.”
    No shit? I just myself thought it was funny that a man who thinks the government can torture people is aghast when it studies something.

  46. MP-Merriam Websters

    Oh for fuck’s sake, do you want to play dictionary wars? Fine. In my dictionary, the non-disease definition is secondary.

    And if you don’t think the busybodies have latched on to the disease related meaning of “epidemic”, so that they can argue that their efforts are simply to find a “cure” for this “plague” that is “infecting” our youth, then you’re out of your gourd.

  47. It’s on the covers of both Time and Newsweek? OK, now it’s *officially* bullshit.

  48. MP
    I’m sure they are using the word to mean “big fucking problem.” Something that affects 32% of all the kids in the US seems to fit that to me. From what I’ve read that figure is pretty high relative to other developed nations.

    I imagine the way they operationalize obesity is probably questionable. But even if it is, say, a 1/4 of the population, that’s a big figure.

    That said, I’d rather have fat kids than starving kids, but I’d also rather have neither.

  49. I think the libertarian need to discount this as a problem is because even their ingenious imaginations can’t think of a market solution for it…

    I know, let’s sell the kids (like people have suggested with whales here)! Noone likes their property to look shabby so there will be these incentives to keep the kids in shape.

    God I love the market.

  50. MNG –
    psst. Your bias is showing

  51. But seriously, you’re just not creative enough if you can’t imagine how people don’t want to spend forfrillon dollars on healthcare for their dying child because of how fat he is – – – people are always doing shit like getting their children dance lessons, putting them in soccer, and sending them to boyscout camp. *We* need to look out for our own children, godchildren, nieces, nephews, etc., but that includes looking out for thier *actual* interests, not just perceived ones. If they’re fat, happy, and healthy…. what do you care?

  52. I can do better!

    Main Entry: epidemic
    Function: noun
    1 : an outbreak of epidemic disease
    2 : a natural population (as of insects) suddenly and greatly enlarged

    http://medical.merriam-webster.com/cgi-bin/medical

    I’m sure they are using the word to mean “big fucking problem.”

    No they’re using it to scare the shit out of the prols by intentionally and incorrectly using an emotionally laden word that conjurs up images of the dead and dying.

    You can use it as an adjective to describe magnitude, but not as a noun, as the “obesity epidemic” is used. It’s agitprop at best; an outright lie is more accurate.

    It also only affects the person who’s fat. True epidemics tend not to have that quality.

  53. I think the libertarian need to discount this as a problem is because even their ingenious imaginations can’t think of a market solution for it…

    Pssst… Jenny Craig. South Beach. Weight Watchers. Going to the gym. Slim Fast.

  54. Mister Nice Guy, the Market decided that fat kids should be plentiful. Our job on this thread is to justify why that’s a good thing. Remember,

    market_decided(x) == good(x).

  55. MNG started drinking early again today.

    (he gets like this when he gets in the bag)

  56. I think the libertarian need to discount this as a problem is because even their ingenious imaginations can’t think of a market solution for it…

    You should know better than that. The price of food is skyrocketing. People will eat less. This generally leads to less obesity.

    That was easy.

  57. If they’re fat, happy, and healthy…. what do you care?

    I don’t even care if they’re fat, sad and sickly. Don’t get me started on other people’s self-inflicted problems. I might start cussing.

  58. I might start cussing.

    Oh yeah, how’s that going, by the way? I forgot all about that.

  59. MNG,

    I think the libertarian need to discount this as a problem is because even their ingenious imaginations can’t think of a market solution for it…

    That presumes (incorrectly) that libertarians think all problems would vanish in a purely market-based world. Libertarianism isn’t utopian. It recognizes that life is full of “problems” and always will be. “The market” is not some utopian tool for fixing everything, rather it is merely a short-hand term for the aggregate results of individuals choosing to engage in transactions. As such it is viewed as simply a consequence of a fundamental moral right, not an implement to perfect social organization.

    e,

    market_decided(x) == good(x).

    Utter nonsense. Libertarianism makes no such claim. First, “the market” doesn’t decide anything — only individuals can make a decision as there is no collective sentience. Beyond that, even if we call it a “market decision” libertarians certainly recognize that there is no objective or universal definition of what is a “good” result so it would be impossible to make such a claim. Any market result is bound to be seen as good by some, bad by others and indifferent by many.

    God I love the market

    Snarky cheap-shots at “the market” might feel good or make for a nice “sound-bite” type comment, but they completely misconstrue both its nature and libertarian views of it so they’re of no substantive value.

  60. And what about children who are skinny and just as unhealthy as the fat ones? They’re going to slip right through the cracks with any solution that you find for fat kids – why do you discriminate against skinny unhealthy kids?

  61. *stands up and claps for Brian Courts*

  62. ObTruffleShuffle:
    http://chunkpicard.ytmnd.com/

    And yeah, if you’re gonna force parents to “behave”, you may as well force them to get licensed by the State to have children.

  63. Oh yeah, how’s that going, by the way? I forgot all about that.

    Not real fucking good. It seems that assholes bring the sailor out of me. I went like 17 goddam days before some cocksucker really pissed me off. Leopards/spots, y’know?

  64. Beyond that, even if we call it a “market decision” libertarians certainly recognize that there is no objective or universal definition of what is a “good” result

    Brian Courts, how do you know this? I think Ayn Rand would disagree, BTW, what with her, uhh, what’s it called, oh yeah ‘objectivism’..

  65. We have the diet industry and all that, and still all these fat people, so no I’m not impressed by the market’s “answer” to this. Of course the reason is that there are strong market forces at work to try to get producers of foods to get consumers to eat as much as possible, no matter how bad for them.

    “That presumes (incorrectly) that libertarians think all problems would vanish in a purely market-based world.”

    Uhh, you did see JW’s, J sub D’s, etc., posts right after mine claiming that if the market will indeed fix this problem?

    “MNG started drinking early again today.” I wish (and hey, it’s late somewhere…)

  66. “MNG started drinking early again today.” I wish (and hey, it’s late somewhere…)

    I had duty on New Years Eve in the Phillipines once. A friend and I, just celebrated by PST (San Diego = home port) stating around 0830, 1 January, local time. I think it worked.

  67. Uhh, you did see JW’s, J sub D’s, etc., posts right after mine claiming that if the market will indeed fix this problem?

    I never claimed that anything I listed would “fix” this so-called problem. Merely, that a market to reduce obesity already exists, something you claimed that we were mentally challenged to come up with, not that any of these are “libertarian” in any real sense.

    People will continue to be fat-asses regardless of the political structure in place. Cleverer people will find a way to make money off of that.

  68. “People will continue to be fat-asses regardless of the political structure in place.”
    Then why do most other developed nations have much fewer obese people as a percentage of their population? I mean, if it’s just an immutable part of some people’s human nature then why the disparity from country to country?

  69. then why the disparity from country to country?

    Culture? Diet? Economics? Genetics? Pick one. Pick two.

    Obese are everywhere in the developed world. Whether it’s 10% or 50% of the population, I really don’t care, as it’s not my problem no matter how much the nannies and the meddlers want it to be mine for their own self-interested reasons.

  70. Seriously, if you don’t want to be fat, lay off the High Fructose Corn Syrup. If you don’t care, then I don’t either

  71. “Especially since the childhood obesity epidemic turned out to be something less than, er, an epidemic.”

    Anything that isn’t related to a highly contagious and deadly communicable disease isn’t an “epidemic” in the first place.

    Real epidemics are a serious enough threat to the entire population to warrant extraordinary government power to deal with it that could not be justified in other circumstances.

    Big government busybody types have swiped the word “epidemic” as a deliberate propaganda tactic to try and equate whatever issue they want to start dictating to others about with real epidemics in an attempt to justify the power grab they want.

  72. Reinmoose,

    And what about children who are skinny and just as unhealthy as the fat ones? They’re going to slip right through the cracks with any solution that you find for fat kids – why do you discriminate against skinny unhealthy kids?

    If we had a federal standard for cracks then they could be made uniformly small enough as to prevent the anorexics from falling through cracks and they could seek the help of government programs that could prevent the 100,000 senseless annual deaths from this epedimic.

    As for the free market creating fat people, we must end the practice of having children enter the free markets because it obviously causes gluttony and is a serious drag on our culture and the environment. The free market capotilistic robberbarons are addicting young people to fatty foods so that they can be exploited in adulthood. A federal program should be initiated immediatly requiring two photo IDs from all people entering a free market and prevent anybody under the age of 21 from being poisoned by the free market.

    It is all for the children. Why do capitolistic robberbarron free marketeers hate the children now that they can no longer work in the mines and factories?

  73. “Culture? Diet? Economics? Genetics? Pick one. Pick two.”

    Sorry, at least 3 of the 4 are largely shaped by the political structure. Ain’t it’s very doubtful that the genetic structure of hte Frenchman is different enough than the genetic structure of the American to explain the disparity.

    “Obese are everywhere in the developed world. Whether it’s 10% or 50% of the population, I really don’t care, as it’s not my problem no matter how much the nannies and the meddlers want it to be mine for their own self-interested reasons.”
    Some people care about others in their community and nation, especially children. I guess we are sentimental fools compared to a hard nosed rugged individual like you…

  74. Brian Courts,

    I agree with everything you said (unless I missed something silly). However, I must disagree with the “tone” if I am interpreting it correctly.

    Often times commenters or contributors on this site tend to go all out arguing why a free market solution provides for a measurable benefit (aside from increased liberty), or similarly arguing that a negative consequence is illusory or false. I find most of these justifications interesting if correct or at least a strong position, but others are far less likely. I still agree with the fundamental libertarian thoughts, but the justifications that things would be all rosy, or are rosy when they aren’t just because something is more the result of a market is a bit insulting.

  75. Hypo: You live in your house with your wife and your 22 year old college son (who pays rent). Your sister divorces her husband and you take her and her three teenage kids in.

    You find out that your sister’s kids have developed a drinking problem. They are getting into your liquo cabinet and drinking the stuff that you, your wife and son have always enjoyed responsibly. You visit a shrink (or whatever) and he tells you that while the kids are working through their problem you should get rid of booze in your house.

    I wouldn’t say “hell, they should not have developed this problem, this is their or my sister’s fault” I would get rid of the booze and tell my wife and son no booze in the house. And if my college son came in the door, pimply faced with a copy of Anthem in his had, and cried “you are restricting our freedom for these freeloaders” I’d say I was doing this for the good of the whole family and that it was a reasonable restriction given the harm that could come. He could always move somewhere else.

  76. Then why do most other developed nations have much fewer obese people as a percentage of their population? I mean, if it’s just an immutable part of some people’s human nature then why the disparity from country to country?

    One word: automobiles.

    In the US we started earlier, and went further, to rebuild our society around the automobile than any other developed country.

    In places where people walk, people are thinner. In places where every single opportunity to leave the house involves getting in a car, people are fatter.

    People are determined to blame evil advertisers and evil people who sell food for obesity, but advertisers and people who sell food exist everywhere. The difference in the US is that people are lazy bags of shit who chauffeur themselves everywhere they go. So if you want to blame someone evil for people being fat, blame the people who do what Joe does for a living, because they’re the evil sons of bitches that did it.

  77. I think the libertarian need to discount this as a problem is because even their ingenious imaginations can’t think of a market solution for it…

    My market solutions are:

    Stop building roads with state funds.

    Remove all restrictions on density of land use, particularly design requirements to include parking spaces, setbacks, etc. – basically anything designed to make it easier for people to use their cars.

    Get the state out of health care.

    The first two may or may not solve the obesity “problem”, but the third one definitely solves the problem that concerns me more – that thin people have to pay for the health care of fat people. Actually, if you can only do one of these, do the third one because the exploitation problem is the only real problem here. Then the fat are free to be fat and if it’s a problem it’s their problem.

  78. “Then the fat are free to be fat and if it’s a problem it’s their problem.” Again, some people care about the suffering and misfortunes of other people in their community or nation, even if those people may be somewhat responsible for their misfortune and to the extent that we are willing to restrict our freedom, and to the extent necessary to help these people and to the extent it is reasonable to do so, to restrict your freedom too.

    “In places where people walk, people are thinner. ” I think you’re probably on to something for sure fluffy, and your policy recommendations in this area sound reasonable.

    “but advertisers and people who sell food exist everywhere” There are more regulations on them in many thin places though

  79. Sorry, at least 3 of the 4 are largely shaped by the political structure.

    So what?

    Politics has an influence on culture, no doubt, but is sure as hell doesn’t spring from it. Diet? Ya, sure, where the uber-nannies have gotten their hooks in or the farmers guild calls the shots. Economics? I’ll buy that, not that it makes it a good thing necessarily.

    Some people care about others in their community and nation, especially children.

    Some people care, as in “Gosh, that’s a shame, I wish the parents would do something. Maybe I’ll mention it next time I see them. I mean, it’s not like they’re beating them or something awful.” Others care a little too much, As in “Gosh, that’s a shame. I wish the state would come in and force them to do something about it.” Spot the difference?

    When I want you to worry about my kids, I’ll ask you. Till then, keep your shithooks off of them.

    I guess we are sentimental fools compared to a hard nosed rugged individual like you…

    Fools? Yes. The rest has little to do with sentiment.

  80. Again, some people care about the suffering and misfortunes of other people in their community or nation, even if those people may be somewhat responsible for their misfortune and to the extent that we are willing to restrict our freedom, and to the extent necessary to help these people and to the extent it is reasonable to do so, to restrict your freedom too.

    I know. And those people are called “tyrants”.

    There are two main flaws in your argument. [Other than the simple fact that those “caring” people are, in fact, properly called tyrants, that is.]

    The first is that I am thin. Not as thin as I once was, but thin nonetheless. And that means that you actually don’t have any justification for restricting my freedom at all, if your basis for doing so is “fat is bad”. I’m already thin, and that means that my conduct is just fine, and the conduct of people selling and/or marketing food to me is just fine.

    The second problem is that your argument fundamentally condescends to the voluntarily fat. If I ever get to be fat, I imagine it will be on the basis of voluntary behaviors like really enjoying gigantic liverwurst sandwiches or deciding that I want to take up drinking beer again. If I do that, I will also refuse to concede to you that my weight is a “problem” it is up to you to solve. And unless you can personally interview each and every fat person in the country and get them to sign on to the notion that they are less able to regulate their own affairs than you are, I will default to assuming that every other fat person also doesn’t consider their weight a problem, until it’s proven otherwise.

  81. Hypo: You live in your house with your wife and your 22 year old college son (who pays rent). Your sister divorces her husband and you take her and her three teenage kids in.

    MNG. Do I really need to waste our time rebutting such an asinine and absurd hypo? Or do you actually have something meaningful?

    Note: My “community” stretches as far as my neighbor’s house and anyone else I might directly affect near where I live. Even then, what they do with their own lives is of little concern to me, barring violent behavior or letting their house go to pot so much that it drags down housing values. I don’t have the Gladys Gravits gene and have the urge to shove my unwelcome nose into everyone’s business. I generally tell those types to fuck off.

    I’m not fat. Even if I were, it’s not your problem, even if you lived right next door to me. Care all you want. Just keep it to yourself.

  82. fluffy and jw

    I’m glad you’re not fat, neither am I. But I don’t care if you are fat or not, my point, as evident in my hypo, is that if my wife and I love my sister’s kids and we think that removing alcohol from our house will help prevent misery in them, then we can not only decide not to have alcohol in the house ourselves, but we can tell a person who rents a room in our house he can’t bring it in the house, even if he has no drinking problem, and this can and is moral in my opinion. We’ve put a reasonable restriction on him to prevent great misery on many others.

    Me and my wife are the majority of voters in the U.S. You are the boarder. The sister’s kids are the other fellow citizens, members of our family, that we are concerned with. And the house is the U.S.

    If you don’t like our house and the rules we make for the good of EVERYONE in it, then you are free to leave it and find another house that would set up different rules for you (judging from Moynihan’s constant reports I wouldn’t try Cuba though, there seems to be some problems there he’s got the scoop on…)

  83. “Note: My “community” stretches as far as my neighbor’s house and anyone else I might directly affect near where I live.”

    Good for you. But I, and I bet most Americans, can and do care about people who live hundreds, and thousands of miles away. We love America and Americans, and we would be willing to restrict, in a reasnable way and to a reasonable extent, some of our freedom to lessen their misery. And yes, we’d not only feel willing to coerce you to act in such a way if it meant less misery to them, but we would feel morally obligated.

  84. We love America and Americans, and we would be willing to restrict, in a reasnable way and to a reasonable extent, some of our freedom to lessen their misery.

    You win. You care more than anyone else. You must just glow with goodness.

    Restrict your own freedoms all you want. Go nuts; take a vow of poverty. But, I happen to like mine, at least what’s left of them.

    And yes, we’d not only feel willing to coerce you to act in such a way if it meant less misery to them, but we would feel morally obligated.

    How’s that workin’ out for the Iraqis? I mean we cared so much about them that we just had to invade their community and blow the shit out of them.

    BTW, let me know how the coersion goes when someone else gets a wild hair up their ass to force you to care as much as they do for their pet cause.

    I’m thinking religous oppression for mine. Cuz’ your God sucks and I really care about mine.

  85. If you don’t like our house and the rules we make for the good of EVERYONE in it

    We need your house. I’m taking it. It’s for the good of everyone else.

    At this point, you’re either drunk and trolling for the hell of it or a blithering idiot. Either way, I’m a’through feeding you.

  86. If you don’t like our house and the rules we make for the good of EVERYONE in it, then you are free to leave it and find another house that would set up different rules for you

    I’m also free to shoot you and your wife in the fucking head and then declare myself the majority. And it would be absolutely moral for me to do so.

    And before you faint dead away and gasp, “How can it be moral for you to shoot me and my wife?” I’ll tell you. There are a limited number of things I acknowledge your right to criminalize. If you seek to criminalize things that aren’t on that limited list, it is moral for me to cut you down. Absolutely moral. I know Socrates didn’t think this, but he was absolutely morally entitled to kill every last Athenian rather than accept a death sentence for practicing philosophy. If the death of every Athenian was what it took to defy an unjust declaration that his conduct was criminal, he was entitled to make that happen. And it really doesn’t matter if the Athenians thought it was “their house” and they were making rules for the benefit of “everyone” in their house. And if one is morally entitled to kill rather than accept injustice, then one is certainly entitled to let people be fat or be no-good drunks rather than accept injustice.

    Seriously, your argument is literally as absurd as saying that because some people are allergic to peanuts, all peanuts must be plowed under and peanuts must be made illegal. Hey, people who are allergic to peanuts: deal with your own fucking problem, losers.

  87. MNG,

    Do you seriously not understand what’s wrong with your Hypo? It’s the difference between economic force and physical force. ou *own* your house and are entitled to set the rules. Similarily, everyone who owns his or her house, store or fast food chain *owns* it and is entitled to set his own rules.

    A more accurate hypo would be if your son *bought* your basement – no strings – and you threatened to lock him up in a closet if he starts storing beer down there.

  88. I hope you don’t counter with some wierd simile involving *your* lawn

  89. OK, I lied….

    Mister Nice Guy? Shouldn’t that be Massah Nice Guy? You seem to have a lot of unrealized plantation owner potential lurking not-so-far beneath the surface.

  90. “It’s the difference between economic force and physical force.” I realize that is a big issue for some, but not for me. If the consequences of economic force and physical produce similar levels of misery, then they are both morally equal. You draw a line that economic force is magically OK and physical is not, and declare acts of the former OK and the latter morally wrong. But my philosophical viewpoint says that wrong acts are ones that cause misery, period. In other words the moral correctness of an act lies not in its classification as “involving physical force” or “respecting property rights” but in “does it maximize welfare (well being)?”

    fluffy-This is where I’m missing you. From previous conversations we’ve had I know you recognize some kind of rights that trump human welfare. As I’ve said before I’m not sure if that concept makes any sense to me. Our coercion of your behavior is not right or wrong because it is coercive, it’s right if it maximizes welfare and wrong if it does not. Any other concept of right and wrong, one divorced from overall human welfare, strikes me as quite bizarre…

  91. JW-If there were slavery you wouldn’t care about it, right, as long as it wasn’t being done to your family and neighbor…That’s your logic.

    fluffy
    If hte Athenians were in the right, that is that Socrates teaching were harming the welfare of Athens, then he’d be wrong to kill them, and if they were in the wrong, that is that his teachings were increasing the welfare of Athens, then they would be wrong.

    You say they’d be in the wrong because they criminalized “something that shouldn’t be.” But where do we get the list of things that should and should not be criminalized? What makes these “rights” you speak of right (that is, morally correct)?

  92. JW-If there were slavery you wouldn’t care about it, right, as long as it wasn’t being done to your family and neighbor…That’s your logic.

    Yep. You got me allllll figured out. That’s their problem that they can’t run fast enough to not get caught.

    But I gotta hand it to you, you succeeded where other repeatedly failed: you single-handedly showed what is wrong with democracy. Power concentrated in 50.1% of the population with no underlying moral or ethical rules is an unmitigated disaster. Congratulations, you’ve set democratic principles back about 600 years or so.

  93. But my philosophical viewpoint says that wrong acts are ones that cause misery, period.

    It’s official. You just don’t fucking get it at all.

  94. A) If someone’s obesity doesn’t bother them, who are “we” to try to control them?
    B) If someone’s obesity does bother them, who are “we” to assume that they lack the moral fiber or verve to do something about it?

  95. Art-POG I don’t think we should legislate thinness or punish obesity.

    In fact, all I recommend would be restrictions on ads aimed at children and possibly restrictions on what kind of foods could be sold at school cafeterias.

  96. “Anything that isn’t related to a highly contagious and deadly communicable disease isn’t an “epidemic” in the first place.”

    Actually, any disease that appears in the population at an rate considered higher than usual is an epidemic. Please don’t whine about people stealing words and changing the meaning if that’s what you’re doing yourself.

  97. “It’s official. You just don’t fucking get it at all.”
    I thought libertarians were fond of J.S. Mill? To say that the worship of property as an absolute deontological right isn’t a moral imperative is not “not fucking getting it”, it’s a different ethical system.

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