Friday, June 21, 2013

Obesity and History

Fascinating article taking a long view on obesity around the world. The final paragraph reads:

Today’s priests of obesity prevention proclaim with confidence and authority that they have the answer. So did Bruno Bettelheim in the 1950s, when he blamed autism on mothers with cold personalities. So, for that matter, did the clerics of 18th-century Lisbon, who blamed earthquakes on people’s sinful ways. History is not kind to authorities whose mistaken dogmas cause unnecessary suffering and pointless effort, while ignoring the real causes of trouble. And the history of the obesity era has yet to be written.
That maybe true, but I have a long file of people who sound just like the clerics of 18th-century Lisbon, most of whom are millionaires, and many of them in public office. History is not linear. But I like the infusing of historical perspective on the current issue.