“Why isn’t there any fun anymore?”

John Brignell, in March of the zealots, explains why fun has gone out of style. In doing so he also explains a lot of other stuff. Consider yourself warned.

Every age has its dominant caste. This is the age of the zealot. Twenty years ago they were dismissed as cranks and fanatics, but now they are licensed to interfere in the every day lives of ordinary people to an unprecedented degree. When Bernard Levin first identified the new phenomenon of the SIFs (Single Issue Fanatics) many of us thought it was a bit of a joke or at most an annoyance. Now the joke is on us. In that short time they have progressed from being an ignorable nuisance to what is effectively a branch of government. They initiate legislation and prescribe taxation. They form a large and amorphous collection of groups of overlapping membership, united and defined by the objects of their hatred (industry, tobacco, alcohol, adiposity, carbon, meat, salt, chemicals in general, radio waves, field sports etc.) Their success in such a short time has been one of the most remarkable phenomena in the whole of human history.

He may be wrong on his timeline, as I remember hearing as a child, “If it’s fun, you better do it now before it goes out of style.” Back then “style” meant “approved,” but today it’s called “political correctness.” I also remember coming to the conclusion nearly 40 years ago that everything caused cancer.

I’ve been fed up for quite a while, it seems.

The common factors in these campaigns of zealotry are:

  • Creation and maintenance of a myth

  • Ignoring all evidence countering the myth

  • Ad hominem attacks on opponents

  • Encouraging authoritarian governments to impose taxes and reduce individual freedom

  • Promotion of limits and constraints that are simply invented without reason

  • Collusion by the establishment media

  • Damage to science and its methods

  • Elimination of things that make life bearable

  • Making some people very rich whilte impoverishing the lives of almost everyone else

They will not be satified until they have you shivering in a cave, sipping thin gruel.

It’s rare that I come across an essay this long in which I find almost nothing to disagree with.

(via Junkfood Science)

6 thoughts on ““Why isn’t there any fun anymore?”

  1. I totally agree with everything you cite except one point. Interfering in the everyday lives of ordinary people is in no way “unprecedented in degree.” From the Spanish Inquisition through the witchhunters of Salem up to the deadly isms of the 20th century and Islamofascism/”Liberal” Leftism today — as I am forever blogging — the totalitarian impulse runs deep and dark in our species.

  2. This guy leaves me cold. Smoking is harmful; Global warming is happening. But if he is talking about the over-
    reaction and pandering of city councils, etc., to Correctness, he has a limited point. Joseph Lister had a better
    point about sterlization. Sabin had a better point point about innoculations.
    If he is talking about the wrongful suppression of our liberties, I am all for him. If he is talking about the
    re-introducton of DDT into our drinking water, then he is an idiot.

  3. RDB, did you read his article? He’s talking about the “2nd hand smoke causes asthma” meme and the generally bad reporting on the generally bad science done.

    He’s not talking about legitimate scientific progress such as vaccinations. He’s talking more about the people who are now refusing to vaccinate their children based on bad science saying vaccines cause autism.

    As for DDT, I’m guessing you haven’t kept up with the science there, either.

  4. The “common factors” list is dead-on. It definitely applies to zealots such as those opposed to reproductive choice, stem-cell research, evolution, sex education, …

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