Like many of you folks out there, I’m currently engaged in the thinly-disguised admission of alcoholism that is ‘Dry January’. I’m also on a diet, and this week have eaten what looked like two shrivelled gonads for lunch, (they were boiled potatoes, I think) and yesterday a ‘salad’. The goal is to be down to Class I Obese by the summer.
The diet means no white bread, no pasta (white pasta but I don’t recognise brown pasta as such) and most of all no sugar, which is now thought to account for a large number of deaths from heart disease. The Telegraph’s Tom Chivers makes the perfectly sensible, if thoughtcrimey, point that it’s reasonable to make some laws restricting our consumption because we don’t all have the same power of impulse control: ‘We are not equally “free”. And addiction and compulsion are obstacles to our freedom.’
Indeed, although the same could be said of a range of issues relating to the permissive society; progressive education, sexual freedom, reduced prison sentences, the liberalisation of gambling and drinking laws, plus the proliferation of payday lenders, all of which have a disproportionately harmful effect on the poor, who tend to have lower levels of impulse control.
But does poverty damage your ability to control yourself or does lack of control and judgment lead to poverty? That seems to be a clear case of one of those things where people have invested a lot of their worldview in believing it must be all of one, when it’s most likely a mixture of the two. Life is one big drinking game – the more you lose, the harder it is to win.