DrRich deeply, humbly, sorrowfully and most abjectly apologizes.
When one fancies himself an ironist, a satirist, one must be very, very careful. The ironist attempts to illustrate the limitations of a point of view with which he or she strongly disagrees, by purporting to adopt that point of view, and then taking it to its logical and outlandish extremes, in order to demonstrate how absurd it is at its root. But the irony only works when the people who actually hold that absurd point of view would somehow be brought up short, or embarrassed, or angered by it.
“That’s not what we’re saying at all!” is the response the ironist hopes to elicit. Because once the opponents make that response, it then becomes their obligation to attempt to explain exactly how their point of view does not logically lead one to such absurd, counterproductive, or stupid conclusions. And, if the ironist is correct, his opponents will be unable to do so, and will be left with name-calling, labeling, and vituperation – which, by any objective measure, is a form of capitulation.
And judging by the names he has been called, the labels that have been hung upon him, and the vituperations with which he has been pasted, DrRich has generally been quite satisfied with the results of his occasional attempts at irony and satire.
But his most recent effort has failed, and failed badly, and for this he is most grievously regretful.
For, no sooner had DrRich penned his most recent post patiently explaining why Governor Christie is simply too fat to run for president, than sundry Progressives (the very target of DrRich’s badly misjudged piece) began publishing exactly the same opinion, using the same arguments which DrRich had considered to be the fruits of irony. In fact, one or two of them actually predated DrRich’s publication date. (Had he known this, he would have aborted his effort altogether.)
Regular readers will know that DrRich has long railed against the demonization of obesity, and has liberally employed irony to do so. By ostensibly supporting those who would cast the spirits of fat people into herds of swine, DrRich has (until now, he thought) effectively shown the moral bankruptcy of the anti-obesity movement.
The anti-obesity movement, DrRich thinks, is like many of the crusades which have been taken up by Progressives (for instance, the environmental movement and the deification of “diversity”), in that it takes what at its root is a good idea (in this case, the unhealthfulness of extreme obesity), and converts it into a sledgehammer with which to beat the populace into compliance with top-down, expert-driven controls over individual freedoms.
It is an unavoidable result of publicly funded healthcare that any behavior of any individual which increases the likelihood they will need “extra” healthcare services, will potentially rob those of us who do not choose such unhealthful behaviors of medical services which might otherwise be available to us. Therefore, when healthcare is entirely publicly funded, it is inevitable that individual behaviors will need to be controlled by some Central Authority.
The obese are the chosen first target for asserting such controls. To render those controls publicly acceptable, it is necessary to reduce obese individuals to a state in which limiting their individual freedom of action is widely considered acceptable. That is, they need to be demonized.
So we ignore that gross obesity is almost always genetically mediated, greatly enhanced by environmental factors largely out of an individual’s control. We choose to blame obesity entirely on a lack of self-discipline, on a fundamental failure of the individual himself, and we behave as if this failure renders fat people beneath contempt. We do not do this with smokers, or drug abusers, and even seem reluctant to do it with child molesters. But fat people are fair game.
So when DrRich said that Governor Christie is just too damned fat to be a candidate for president, because fat people are lazy, slothful, lethargic, and self-indulgent; and because allowing a fatty to aspire to such a high position would create the false impression that obese people are worthy of any consideration whatsoever, and would make people think that the obese ought to have the same individual freedoms as the rest of us; and when DrRich concluded that Christie’s candidacy would therefore be a serious setback to the Progressive program (which is to say, controlling individual behaviors for the great benefit of the collective); and when he therefore urged the Governor to stay in New Jersey, except perhaps to occasionally cross the state line just long enough to stock up on Philly cheesesteaks; he thought he had taken the thing to the outlandish extremes customary to a master of irony.
So imagine DrRich’s dismay when, just after publishing his diatribe, he saw Michael Kinsley’s article on Bloomberg also declaring Christie too fat to be president. The reason? Because “a presidential candidate should be judged on behavior and character, not just on policies.” Fat people, Kinsley elaborates, are a “perfect symbol of our country at the moment, with appetites out of control and discipline near zilch.” In other words, fat people have shown themselves, by their very obesity, to be entirely unworthy characters, and being unworthy, should not aspire to the presidency – or presumably, to any other position of importance.
Then there’s Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post, who agrees that Christie’s weight should prevent him from running, but does so for kinder reasons than Kinsley’s. Robinson is worried about the Governor’s health. That’s kind of him, but he also can’t help remarking that the “obesity epidemic” is costing the government a lot of money, and indeed, he implies that people like Governor Christie are responsible for the massive federal deficit. Since Christie is likely to remain fat whether or not he runs for president, when one parses Robinsons’ sentences one can only conclude that his real argument is that it would simply be wrong for a person whose behavior is costing us so much money, and is thus endangering the future of the nation, to aspire to the presidency.
So there you have it. Actual Progressives are making the very same arguments for Christie to stay out of the race that DrRich made, in what he thought was a brilliantly ironic blog post.
DrRich’s description of how the obese are regarded is no longer an outlandish extrapolation of prior statements and policies. It’s now official. The party line on obesity is this: Fat people have chosen to become fat, and by so doing, have overtly displayed, for everyone to see, their utter lack of discipline, self-control, self-regard, and concern for their fellow citizens. So the obese have no reason to expect the same rights, privileges, freedoms and considerations enjoyed by us thinner (or at least, less fat) citizens.
DrRich unwisely tried to satirize the Progressive position on obesity, without realizing that this position had already “progressed” well beyond irony. His readers ought to expect more from him than this, and so he abjectly apologizes.
DrRich only asks his readers to please take into account, when you consider the Progressives’ actual behavior and their own words, how very difficult it is becoming to satirize them. DrRich may soon be reduced to straight reporting.