Someone mentioned in comments that he read The Vision of the Anointed after I talked about it in my most recent speech and it “blew my mind” … but it’s also depressing to see The Anointed following the same pattern over and over.
Yeah, I suppose. It’s like watching the same bad plot play out in dozens of movies. But I still think it’s better to recognize the pattern.
In case you didn’t see that speech, here’s a quick recap of how Thomas Sowell describes The Vision of The Anointed at work:
- The Anointed identify a problem in society
- The Anointed propose a Grand Plan to fix the problem
- Because they are so supremely confident in their ideas, The Anointed don’t bother with proof or evidence that the Grand Plan will actually work
- If possible, The Anointed will impose the Grand Plan on other people (for their own good, of course)
- The Anointed assume anyone who opposes the Grand Plan is either evil or stupid
- If the Grand Plan fails, The Anointed will never, ever, ever admit the Grand Plan was wrong
I wrote six posts recently explaining why I believe losing weight (or not getting fat in the first place) is mostly about chemistry, not character. That’s why the current Grand Plans designed by The Anointed to battle obesity are going to fail: they’re based on the belief that losing weight is a matter of character. Stop being a lazy glutton, get off the couch, go move around more, stop eating so much, and all will be well. (And don’t forget your whole grains.)
One of those Grand Plans is, of course, the Let’s Move! campaign. Just tell those kids to move more. Get some pro jocks to encourage them to move more. After all, we The Anointed know kids are getting fat from sitting around too much.
Except that’s not what the evidence shows. Kids don’t get fat after they start sitting around. They sit around after they start getting fat. Here’s what one study concluded:
Decreased physical activity may have little to do with the recent spike in obesity rates among U.S. adolescents, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Prompted by growing concern that the increase was due to decreased physical activity associated with increased TV viewing time and other sedentary behaviors, researchers examined the patterns and time trends in physical activity and sedentary behaviors among U.S. adolescents based on nationally representative data collected since 1991. The review found signs indicating that the physical activity among adolescents increased while TV viewing decreased in recent years.
And here’s what another study concluded:
Physical inactivity appears to be the result of fatness rather than its cause. This reverse causality may explain why attempts to tackle childhood obesity by promoting physical activity have been largely unsuccessful.
So telling kids “Let’s Move!” to battle obesity isn’t supported by the actual evidence. But once again, The Anointed don’t believe they should be bothered with little annoyances like evidence that a Grand Plan will work before instituting it. If their intentions are good, then by gosh, the results will be good too. So we have a national Let’s Move! campaign, and organizations like the NFL have been recruited to promote it. That’s why you see those Play 60 ads during football games now.
I respect NFL players who donate their time to what they consider a good cause. But … does anyone really believe these guys are so athletic and full of energy because they were active kids? I’d say it’s more likely they were active kids because they were athletic and full of energy.
Chareva’s not a sports fan at all — perhaps the biggest flaw in her otherwise fine character — but once in awhile she’ll plop down next to me when I’m watching football and ask how many home runs the Titans have scored. (Since she doesn’t know diddly about the game, I’ve explained some terminology to her: when a player runs the ball into the end zone, it’s called a home run. When a player catches the ball in the end zone, it’s called a fly ball. When a player kicks the ball through the uprights, it called a three-point shot or a triple – take your pick.)
Anyway, after a dramatic home run, some Titans players were running around and fist-pumping and leaping into the air to chest-thump each other in the end zone, and Chareva turned to me and said, “I bet when these guys were in grade school, they were the little boys who couldn’t sit still and drove their parents and teachers crazy.”
Yup. And I’ll bet you a year’s pay nobody had to encourage them to go play outside. Then I’ll bet you another year’s pay nobody involved with Let’s Move! or Play 60 stopped and asked themselves: Hey, if exercise is the key to battling obesity, why are so many NFL linemen fat? Does any sane person think those guys don’t exercise enough?
That being said, Let’s Move! doesn’t annoy me all that much. I don’t think it will accomplish anything, which makes it a waste of taxpayer money, but at least it’s not a case of The Anointed imposing a Grand Plan on us. But school lunches are another matter. The USDA’s “healthy” choices are being imposed on kids.
As I explained in my speech, The Anointed are so inexplicably confident that the Grand Plan will bring about The Good, they view anyone who resists having the Grand Plan imposed on them to be opposing good itself. That’s why anyone who resists the Grand Plan must be either evil or stupid. (As in: you only thought that inexpensive, high-deductible insurance plan we took away was a better choice than what we’re ordering you to buy now because you’re stupid and can’t spot bad insurance.)
It couldn’t be that people who oppose the Grand Plan are convinced by evidence that it’s a bad idea – The Anointed don’t come up with bad ideas. And of course, it couldn’t simply be that people who oppose the Grand Plan believe in that silly “it’s a free country” concept and don’t want other people’s ideas imposed on them, good or bad. Nope. Evil or stupid are the only explanations.
I didn’t want to give actual examples in that part of my speech, so I used a generic and silly version of The Anointed imposing a Grand Plan: mandatory bleeding in schools to release the bad humors that experts say are making kids lethargic. Here are two of the slides:
Now let’s take the actual example of the USDA’s new “healthy” school lunches, which were mandated by the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act. Kids are rebelling because they’re hungry. Understandably, they don’t like the low-fat foods. Look at how this article describes the result:
More than one million U.S. schoolchildren stopped buying school lunches during the 2012-2013 academic year, after new nutrition standards championed by first lady Michelle Obama took effect.
The stunning drop in cafeteria meals came despite annual increases in the number of children who receive free, taxpayer-subsidized lunches every weekday, the GAO report concluded.
They almost can’t give the stuff away, and parents are complaining about their kids going hungry. So what should we conclude? That the new lunch rules were a bad idea? Of course not. The Anointed don’t come up with bad ideas. Take another look at part of the newspaper editorial I quoted in my previous post:
Yet here we are in 2014, grappling with a troubling childhood obesity epidemic but allowing children to reject nutritionally balanced fruit-and-vegetable laden lunches that are designed to be filling and healthy. Not only are children rejecting the food outright, parents and schools are actually complaining to elected officials about the guidelines.
The conclusion from The Anointed: those parents must be evil or stupid. Let’s update my slides.
Like I said, it’s all very predictable. Same old pattern, over and over. That’s what makes books like The Vision of the Anointed so useful. If nothing else, you learn to quickly spot The Anointed at work and can predict their next move.
The next move, as I explained in my speech, will be to blame anyone but themselves when the Grand Plan fails – which it will. According to The Anointed, when the Grand Plan fails, it can only mean that:
- The plan was good, but people didn’t implement it correctly because they’re stupid.
- The plan was undermined by people who are evil.
- The plan didn’t go far enough … in other words, we need to do the same thing again, only bigger.
So stay tuned.