Many Americans are obese. Not exactly shocking news, I know - especially since the president's wife has made it her signature mission to try and reduce childhood obesity. You know, the whole Let's Move thing - encourage kids to eat healthier, get more exercise, etc. Pretty basic stuff, not entirely surprising. Yes, yes, I know, she's done some controversial (or intrusive, take your pick) things with school lunches, etc. Put that aside for now, it's not important. The point is that Michelle Obama's main thrust with regards to childhood obesity has been focused on getting children to eat less, exercise more, abstain from unhealthy foods or at least control the intake of them, etc.
Straightforward. Common sense. Nothing new here.
Now for a thought experiment.
Imagine if Michelle Obama's approach to childhood obesity was something like this:
Children should be able to eat whatever they want, whenever they want. So long as they want it, and it isn't actually killing them, this is sacrosanct. What we need to do is find ways for children to eat whatever they damn well please while not gaining weight.
Exercise? The subject never comes up. NOT eating an entire box of twinkies in one night? The idea of bringing that up is seen as pointless, even counterproductive. People should be able to eat what they please. The problem isn't how much these kids are eating, it's the calories. What we need is more research in food science. Let's find a way to make a tasty 40 or 30 or even 0-calorie twinkie! Or perhaps a way to be bulimic that minimizes the negative side-effects.
Let's go a little further. People who are encouraged to be selective with what they eat are... well, rather weird. It's as if they have some kind of special obsession about food. Surely they WANT to eat six candy bars in a sitting now and then, or at least gulp down a few shots of bacon grease, but they've been mind-controlled by society to repress these desires. It's not very healthy for them mentally, even if there may be some incidental health benefits like avoiding a triple heart bypass down the road.
Does any of this sound insane? I mean to me it's straightforwardly bonkers right out of the gates. No, it's entirely sensible to regard diet as something one should be selective with, something a person should have self-control with. There is such a thing as a healthy approach to eating, and the problem is manifestly NOT a lack of 0-calorie twinkies or healthy bulimia regimens.
Now, if that does seem insane, I ask the following... why does sex get treated differently? Why is sex sacrosanct?
When Bill Gates reasons that a major problem in the world is overpopulation and an abundance of babies - even assuming for a moment that this is at all reasonable or true - why is his response automatically to try and innovate on the condom front? Why is the very idea of promoting any kind of self-control alien to him? Hell, why is he innovating on contraception, rather than coming up with pills or technology to decrease sexual desire or activity? I mean if your goal is what Gates wants, you'd think that would be next on the agenda.
And yet it's not. In fact, if Gates pursued any of these things - even ways to encourage people to reduce their sexual habits - I think the world would react with horror and anger. How DARE he consider the solution to such problems to be altering of habits. That's not the problem! It never was the problem! No, don't talk about sexual control or reduction at all - find a way for people to have sex whenever they want, as often as they want, with whoever or whatever they want, but eliminate the downsides! Anything else is unacceptable!
I humbly suggest such an attitude - such a pervasive mentality - is indicative that somewhere along the line, we've all gotten a bit fucked up and aren't thinking clearly. Something has gone wrong.