Ban it! Tax it! For the children! Climate change! Obesity! Cancer! What about the animals!
Hardly a day passes by without the boundaries of fussbucketry being pushed a little further. It began with fags and (I speak as an ex-smoker here) it was hard to argue that smoking wasn't bad for our health. Or rather the heath of those people actually smoking. Now, however, the New Puritan, "ban all the good stuff" has reached into every corner of our lives with its relentless message about "health", "climate change" and "ethics".
In an edition featuring, in huge black type, the words "The Return of Fascism", the New Statesman lives up to its front cover with a spectacular piece of food fascism:
What does need addressing is the excessive consumption of this potentially carcinogenic product, which not only causes cancer and life-threatening illnesses, but is damaging our environment, antibiotic effectiveness, and the NHS.In these few short sentences, the left's full embrace of a controlling fascistic agenda is captured - health, environment, government, NHS and obesity stirred together creating a toxic mixture of statist absolutism. And the solution, just as with booze and sugar, is to tax meat. Make it so those chubby working class people can only afford meat on special occasions (like it was in the old days) while telling them it's for their own moral and physical good.
Indeed, it is the excessive consumption of meat that we should be acting to reduce.
Consuming just 50g of processed meat (a hot dog, for example) a day raises the risk of developing bowel cancer by 18 per cent over a lifetime. With the average UK adult consuming 70g a day and one in four now obese, the burden of meat consumption on the NHS is real. More funding is needed.
There was a time when I'd engage with what the left laughingly call "the science" of all this but I now realise that this is just a a circle jerk of self-referencing literature produced mainly by sociologists, left-wing journalists and 'public health' organisations astroturfed by big pharma 'philanthropy'. Suffice it to say that telling people eating bacon gives a slightly increased risk of bowel cancer is fine, saying that eating a hot dog a day will doom you is hyberbolic nonsense. No-one denies that cow farts contribute to the world's production of greenhouse gases but it is simply a lie - a huge lie - to claim (on the back of deforestation not bovine flatulence) it's the second biggest source of those bad gases.
But enough of all this - it's not about science, it's about the ideology - nay, the cult - of health. Our collective obsession with how minor variations in diet might just be increasing our mortality risk. We've no real way of telling whether this is true or not since removing confounding factors from epidemiology is nigh on impossible, especially when it comes to diet. The cult, at least in the UK, has an ally in our health system - the cultists tell us it's our fault that the NHS is under pressure. We are too fat, too drunk, smoke too much and generally live such dissolute lives the poor, desperate nurses and doctors can't cope. It's rubbish, of course - it's still our fault but because we're living too damned long not because we're fat drunks with a smoking habit.
You're not going to die because you're eating meat. And neither is eating meat some sort of terrible, irresponsible and unethical idea despite this being what the cultists want you to think. Cows aren't destroying the planet - rice farming alone produces more greenhouse gas than the entirety of the world's livestock farming. And killing and eating other animals is an entirely normal, reasonable and ethical thing for humans to do (as, for that matter, is wearing their skins on our feet and our backs). I know there are some folk who've adopted some sort of self-denying, bunny-hugging philosophy and that's cool (and unhealthy), but they are not better people than us carnivores, they are not more ethical, and they're not saving the planet by doing so.
We - the meat-eaters - need to start challenging the health cultists, the vegans, the swivel-eyed environmentalists and the tin-pot little fascists in government departments churning out policy at the behest of these ghastly fussbuckets. And, in doing so, we need to start pulling apart the offensive idea that it's in any way ethical to use taxes as a sledgehammer to get people to change what they do. Not only are these taxes regressive - it's not well-paid newspaper journalists or academic sociologists who won't be able to afford the meat after you've taxed it, it's the poor. Just like minimum pricing for booze and the sugar tax, what we have is a sneering attack on the ordinary family. It's not grass-fed, wagyu steak that the fussbuckets hate, it's the burger (just look at the picture the New Statesman use), the hot dog and the bacon sarnie from the roadside caff at 5am on the way to lay concrete or clean out sewers.
It has become received wisdom among the great and good (despite all the evidence to the contrary) that the real problem facing our world is that people are living bad lives - we are all, in the eyes of the New Puritan Cult that has captured too much of our government, sinners against the twin gods of heath and the environment. Of course, the great and good don't speak of themselves here but of others, of the great unwashed majority who like cheap food, enjoy a drink and have the audacity to enjoy themselves in an manner not approved by those great and good. Calls for a tax on meat ("we don't want a ban" - the prohibitionists cry of old) represent the endeavour of a minority to impose their bigotry on the majority, the very definition of fascism: fat, poor people must be stopped from eating so may burgers.