on 'Political Correctness'

It is often said that 'overweight' people are a burden on the NHS, in that they are more likely to require hospital treatment is areas such as diabetes. Yet at the same time it is said that our ageing population is crushing the NHS. It gets forgotten that people with larger waistlines will statistically die younger and therefore contribute less to the ageing of the population.

To be honest, I have not researched whether the additional costs of treating illnesses attributed to obesity are made back by the fact that such people will, on average, draw the state pension for fewer years and be less likely to require expensive nursing home treatment before they die. It may or may not be the case that, in fact, unheathly people, be they smokers, drinkers or big eaters (or a combination of these), actually end up costing less over their lifetimes than healthy people who live for thirty years in retirement and then die expensively in a nursing home of alzheimers, when you take into account pension costs as well as direct healthcare costs.

But it never seems to have even been considered, and I can't help thinking that this is due to the general prejudice against fat people in our society. You can't be racist, homophobic or sexist anymore and, sadly, too many people feel the need to have some people to pick on and ridicule to boost their own pathetic levels of self-esteem. Political Correctness deems certain groups to be beyond reproach, but leaves certain groups unprotected and therefore open to bullying and insult.

Now people might say that one can influence one's waistline whereas a person's gender, sexuality and skin colour are fixed and therefore prejudice against fat people is acceptable whereas prejudice against the others is unacceptable. Notwithstanding that a frontier of biochemistry is beginning to uncover that bacteria in the gut can influence a person's weight and physical make-up; that we all know a fat person who isn't a big eater and a thin person who eats loads and doesn't exercise; and that therefore there is a genetic and uncontrollable factor in a person's body shape, should it not also be the case that people should be free to do as they please in a free society without comment or prejudice? It may not be against political correctness today to insult fat people but it is surely against any civilised person's notion of decent behaviour.

Sixty years ago it was politically correct to believe that homosexuals were deranged perverts, a hundred and twenty years ago it was politically correct to believe that giving women the vote would lead to the end of civilisation as we know it, and one hundred and eighty years ago that white Europeans had a duty to go out and 'civilise' the savage African. I believe that in the not too distant future people will look back today at fat prejudice and be thoroughly ashamed of it.

Politcal Correctness is shaped by the opinions and views of the time that may change in the future and it is merely an opportunity for narrow-minded people with empty heads to latch on to something to make them feel superior. It would be better if people just generally approached other people with respect and understanding.

There is Political Correctness and just plain Correctness, and a little more of the latter and a little less obsessing with the former would make the world a better place.