The route to political correctness is familiar. It starts with some supposed ill (fat, meat, sugar, carbon emissions, climate change, oil, motor cars, Maori are hard done by…these days the PC list is endless). An ‘action’ group is formed to ‘fight’ the supposed evil. Pseudo scientific data is dragged out to support the hypothesis. Activist students and professors write more pseudo scientific theses to gain credibility. They prosletyse their wares in order to get published and make money backed by vested interests. Obedient, lazy journalists wanting to be ‘in with the in crowd’ fall in love with the latest theory and perpetuate what is on the road to becoming conventional wisdom. The blame game swings into full action as the ‘problem’ is exaggerated beyond all reason. Governments begin taxing and/or banning whatever it is that the PC brigade are attacking. Schools latch on to each new fad and ‘teach’ it in social studies class. Finally, any opposition in the form of sceptics is silenced, marginalised and called ‘deniers’. An intolerant consensus has been formed leaving the ‘deniers’ to whisper the truth behind closed doors.
It takes courage to stand up to PC bully brigade but ‘deniers’ of all kinds are beginning to strike back. Many have found a new voice through on-line media. The first thing, and perhaps the most important, sceptics discover is that they are not alone. Suddenly they find a community of like-minded people. This community questions the very basis on which the new conventional wisdom has been founded. They start myth busting. Because PC myths are based on underlying fallacies the result of years of PC action is to perpetuate the very problem they sought to ‘solve’ and make them worse. Here’s an extract from Ridley’s blog.
The flimsy evidence behind low-fat diets The diet police are on the prowl: if you hear a knock on the door, hide the sugar bowl, the butter dish and the salt. A draft report from the scientific advisory committee on nutrition said last week that we should halve our intake of sugar. The campaign group Action on Sugar wants “a total ban on advertising of ultra-processed foods that are high in saturated fats, sugar and salt, and sweetened soft drinks, to protect children”.
I have been curious about this new demonisation of sugar. I now realise that it conceals a grudging admission that fat is not bad for you after all, but the experts cannot bring themselves to say so. There is a strong possibility that the “diabesity” epidemic has been caused largely by the diet police themselves.
So argues a devastating new book: The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz, an experienced journalist who spent eight years tracking down all the evidence for and against the advice to eat low-fat diets. She finds that it was based on flimsy evidence, supported by an intolerant consensus backed by vested interests and amplified by a docile press. And it made us fatter.
My advice when dealing with PC bullies is to fight back. Whenever you come across some PC vigilante who insists on throwing their myths in your face - food, fat, sugar, climate change, plastic bags etc. - politely but firmly tell them to mind their own business.