Light is Right Joe Campbell

Light is Right Joe Campbell

Am I ever naive. I used to think that overeating is about catering to an unruly appetite. It isn’t. It’s about promoting world peace. Because of it, thousands fail to qualify for military service every year. They’re too fat to fight.

Of course, only a quarter to a third of adult North Americans are obese. Never mind. If present trends continue, before long we’ll all be too fat to fight. Now, if we can just persuade the rest of the world to join us, no one will be fit to fight and peace will break out all over.

Can you imagine what this will do to Darwin’s theory? I can. No longer will evolution mean survival of the fittest. It will mean survival of the fattest. The fittest will be at war getting killed.

When I was growing up, one of the attractions at the annual summer fair was a woman called “The Fat Lady.” She didn’t sing, dance, stunt or joke. She just sat or lay there. She was a curiosity, and fairgoers, including me, paid to see her. She couldn’t make a living doing that today. Fairgoers wouldn’t pay to see obesity at the fair when they can see it free of charge all over town.

Nowadays our mentors consider obesity a prohibited ground for discrimination. To make a spectacle of it, as we did when I was growing up, could get us sued. The obese are a protected minority. If we’re serious about promoting world peace, they’ll soon be a protected majority.

Clearly, our worst enemy is dieting to control what we weigh. Sinister forces intent on seducing us into taking off weight if we’re fat and keeping it off if we’re not have infiltrated politics, nutritional science, physical education, and medicine, among other agents of darkness. With help from the food processing and restaurant industries, we must do our utmost to stop them.

Fortunately, the Supreme Court is on our side. It upheld a regulatory decision requiring Canadian airlines to provide obese passengers with extra seats at no charge. Rulings like that could encourage the obese to stay the course or lose their privileges. The same rulings could encourage the rest of us to bulk up or forgo their privileges. So, if not for world peace, in our own self-interest, we should pack on the pounds.

Pay no heed to spoilsports who say that genetics is key to the obesity surge. They want us to believe that whether we’re fat or thin is significantly beyond our control. If we take them seriously, they could undermine our resolve and discourage us from overeating for peace.

For genetics to trump choice, our genes would have had to change dramatically since the days when obesity was so rare we paid to see it. We wouldn’t call that kind of change evolution. We’d call it revolution. But changes in eating habits and physical activity are the only revolutions I’ve observed. Both deserve credit for making us too fat to fight.

I used to think that universal love, a virtue, would bring about world peace. I never dreamt that universal gluttony, a vice, might do it. Gluttony is not just any vice. It’s one of the seven deadly sins. It’s right up there with avarice and pride.

I’ve heard clergy preach against avarice and pride. I can’t recall when I last heard them preach against gluttony. And yet gluttony seems the more obvious. You may see it in the various congregations which, though declining in numbers, still fill the pews, sometimes to overflowing. You may even see it, dare I suggest, in the clergy themselves.

If so, I suspect it’s because they’re emissaries of peace and lead by example. This may be why food plays a central role in parish functions and children bring snacks to church to eat while worshipping.

I’m not saying that everyone who’s obese is a glutton anymore than everyone who’s a glutton is obese. Besides, it’s not up to me to judge. It’s up to the obese to judge themselves, and they do. When they want to lose weight, they diet. But if excessive eating (gluttony) isn’t the cause of obesity, how can diminished eating (dieting) be the cure?

Maybe the principle of double effect justifies gluttony. One effect, world peace, is intended. Another effect, obesity, is foreseeable but unintended. For the sake of the first, we tolerate the second.

Am I missing something?

Am I ever.