George Orwell may have been slightly off the mark when he predicted 1984 as the year government transforms into Big Brother. In 1994, the British government launched the Foresight program — an initiative responsible for forecasting future social predicaments and recommending public policy to prevent those problems. Today, Foresight released a widely publicized report on obesity.
The forecast: Only 10 percent of men and 15 percent of women will have “healthy” weights by 2050.
The recommendations: The think-tank suggests everything from “fat quota” ration cards for regulating individuals’ food purchases to government-mandated fat camps for thinning overweight teens.
While much of the report seems to be a scary combination of Orwell’s book and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, its most shocking notion is the near-complete dismissal of personal responsibility: “Obesity is a result of modern life and individuals cannot be blamed for being obese due to overeating and lack of exercise.”
Bolstered by this it-takes-a-village-to-raise-BMI concept, the report outlines familiar food cop initiatives like taxing “junk” food and “creating a credible threat of litigation” to combat the party allegedly responsible for every pending potbelly: the food industry. Thankfully, Spiked editor Rob Lyons is quick to spot the fatal flaw in Foresight’s plan:
[D]espite suggesting that there is a need for a national, we’re-in-this-together approach to tackling the problem of obesity and exercise, there is no proof whatsoever that government intervention in these areas has a positive effect—a fact that the report admits.