20 January 2007

Ooh, why don't we redefine the word "pollution"!

If final proof were needed that the New Tories are acolytes of Blairism, here it is. The redefinition of terms for left wing propaganda purposes, which I highlighted in my book Mediocracy: Inversions and Deceptions in an Egalitarian Culture, is now being applied by the Cameroons.

I didn't have an entry for "pollution" in the book, but here is one, free of charge.

Here's what the "Corporate Responsibility Working Group", set up by our dear Tory leader himself, has to say in a recent paper about naughty companies who manufacture the things we all love to eat, e.g. choccie bars. (My emphasis.)

The concept of environmental pollution is widely understood – the emission of toxins into the natural world in such a way as to cause damage to the eco-system. Polluters are increasingly expected to clean up the pollution that they cause.

It seems logical therefore to apply the term ‘pollution’ to emissions into society of things that cause harm. Obesity might be seen as an effect of social pollution in the same way as global warming is the effect of environmental pollution.

In the case of obesity, the pollutants are numerous. Of course they include the sale by food and drink companies of foods that are high in salts, sugars and fats and lack nutritional value. They also include the glamorising of these products through advertising and product placements.

However, pollutants that lead to obesity also include poor education about healthy eating, and the provision in schools of often poor quality food. Pollutants also include parenting that fails to provide children with an understanding of the need for a balanced diet; and the personal choices that place convenience and comfort above health and well-being.
Note to the Cameroons: please don't corrupt the English language. We already have enough people doing that for us, thanks. It's nothing more than propaganda to equate:
(a) making chocolates available for those who want to buy them
with (say) (b) building a nuclear power station near a country town.

The same goes for trying to treat:
  • the state not providing education about approved dietary habits, or
  • parents letting their children have fizzy drinks
as types of pollution.

Perhaps all politics has a propaganda element, but is this the kind of propaganda you want associated with the "Conservative" brand? Or the kind which will persuade voters that you're a genuine alternative to Labour?

And re your "Question for consultation: Does the analogy of ‘social pollution’ with environmental pollution work?"

The answer is "no".


Paul said...

"...and the personal choices that place convenience and comfort above health and well-being."

Woe is me, for I am undone! For I am a man of unclean lips: I've just polished off the remainder of a tin of chocolate biscuits from Christmas. There ought to be a law or something against that: perhaps
Lord Layard
can pop round and tax me for my furtive little act of pollution.

Paul said...

...But this morning I have atoned for last night's turpitude with a bowl of wholegrain, sugar-free, low-salt, probiotic psyllium husks with organic skimmed soya milk. So where can I claim my rebate?

Paul said...

Whence comes this determination to redefine words? Have iDave and the laughable Lord Layard been "hanging out" together? Perhaps they've been putting the world to rights over a pint (of ethically sound tomato juice, no doubt) in the snug down at the Consensual Tosh.

Can anyone have a go at this? If so, I'd like to offer another form of pollution for consideration: "psychic pollution" --- the pollution of mind, practised routinely by our envy-of-the-world media. I believe a stronger case can be made for this than for either of the previous (re)definitions.

...And one doesn't need to be Noam Chomsky to see that one of Britain's largest corporations is the worst offender: its bias is openly discharged into the public consciousness at regular intervals (1 p.m., 6 p.m., and 10 p.m. daily). As one would expect, this corporate Leviathan has a pretext for committing its crimes: it purports to be relaying news. However, the "news" is generally a highly partial hodge-podge of extremely serious and extremely trivial: thus last evening's toxic outpouring, for example, included items about an ongoing war and a bad-taste TV gameshow.

The neo-Decadents who distil this effluent are fully aware that they pollute, and are wholly unrepentant. Indeed they can continue to do so, safe in the knowledge they'll never pay for their acts --- it is the masses who'll pay, through the Licence Fee.

Surely this form of pollution is the worst facing us today: it seems perverse to be worrying endlessly about what the British are putting into their stomachs, whilst completely ignoring what's being put into their brains.