In times gone by there was a tendency of the political class to jump onto the moralist’s bandwagon, and offer diktats from on high as to the way the ordinary people should live their lives. Whether it was the old-school moralists railing against the ‘excess of hedonism’, or – perish the thought – American divorcees running off with a sitting Monarch, the political class took a dim view.
However, as a healthy dose of logic and reason took over from the well-plumbed tomes of the old-fashioned thinker, the modern politician can rest easily on the laurels of a new type of moralistic policing – finding a steady stream of well-worked sources and scientific experts to support what every modern tract they seek to enforce.
In more recent times, the new hedonism we seek to the police is that of smoking, drinking, and the consumption of sugar. A sign, no doubt, of the increasing fragility of the political class to hold a robust debate on just about anything, we are instead reducing to holding structured discussions on the merits of the drinking Cola.
Whilst in ages past, it was the powers that be, the entities from above that we risked offending (I speak of God, not Parliament) wherein misfortune was not cured or aided, it was instead blamed on the victim, who had, no doubt bought it upon themselves, today we live in a world in which the rack has lost its appeal, and the inquisition no longer comes calling.
Not publically anyway.
Instead, we find anew inquisitor knocking at the door, the Twitterati, so quick to offer comment on matters they understand little, the war against excess has been taken up by the unlikeliest of people – internet health nuts and yoga enthusiasts. Fresh off their mid-morning meditative movements, they take to the web as if by some hell-bent directive to seek out, and humiliate, those who dare feed their children syrupy libations at noon.
We’ve sped trough the dark-ages, and cast away the national adoration (and perhaps fear) of the Church, and replaced it instead with a new state religion of the National Health Service. Today, debauchery risks not taking up the time of the priest but risks a far greater crime indeed.
Devouring the time of ones local GP.
Those who would drink, smoke or have the audacity to drink one too many Colas are deemed to be a drain on the new Church, not so much heretics begging for the pyre, but almost certainly sinners in dire need of repentance.
Every so often the experts trump up a new report as to how drinking red wine on a Tuesday triples your chance of an aneurysm, or how drinking three sugary drinks a hear could kill a panda, and soon after such reports are debunked for lack of evidence, or in the latter case, lack of Pandas. But the cycle continues, the news slows down and the pitchforks come out.
However, as was the way in the Inquisition of old, the modern-inquisition is gaining traction as the red-hatted rack-tighteners whisper in the ears of the political class, convincing them slowly but surely, that interventionism will save the day. A little more money here m’lord, another committee or quango perhaps?
A sneaky sin tax for your troubles Sir?
The engine of the inquisition thrumbs to life, an excuse for the Government to invade the lives of the honest family, throw some money to some quangos and slice a little off in a new tax, and the engine roars. A sugar tax is already here, chocolate bars get smaller, packaging goes from being graphically animistic it’s a depiction of a lung, to ghostly blank, as the crusade against debauchery continues.
And throughout it all the Lobbyis….Experts take more and more, fattening their pockets as they seek to thin the people. Yet, with obesity rates on the rise, one has to wonder if this latest inquisition may claim more lives than the last?
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