Thursday, December 14, 2006

Is obesity good?

Megan McArdle has some thoughts on obesity, both compassionate and pragmatic, at her blog, Asymmetrical Information:
It seems like they're taking a true statement--"society shouldn't assume that the overweight are simply lazy slobs with remarkably little willpower"--and extrapolating it to a ridiculous result: "which means that seriously overweight people shouldn't try to lose the extra weight". Even if we shouldn't judge obese people, that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to encourage them to do something they find very, very hard. Most people find quitting smoking or giving up sugar really, really hard, but we don't tell them not to bother treating their diabetes because it's not their fault their pancreas isn't pumping out any insulin. Fair just isn't very relevant. It isn't fair that every cold I ever get goes straight to my lungs and hangs out there for a month, and I have to carry an inhaler with me everywhere I go, because otherwise I could die. It's certainly not fair that I could go blind in my eighties like my grandmother. Nature doesn't care about fair. That's why it's called natural selection, not natural distribution.
Do read the whole thing.

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