"Each day a few more lies eat into the seed with which we are born, little institutional lies from the print of newspapers, the shock waves of television, and the sentimental cheats of the movie screen." Norman MailerIf I were a BBC website editor, I couldn't have engineered a more apposite article to complement my recent efforts here than this.
One in five people aged over 50 lie to their GPs about their lifestyle, according to a new survey by Saga.Well, of course they would. It's a natural human position when faced with a government tabling policy on the back of game theory, as I do believe I talked about last month.
The UK-wide study asked patients about their visits to the doctor and found a huge number are covering up their health habits.
A quarter of men lie about the amount of alcohol they drink, while one in five women avoid the truth about their diet.
One in five people tell fibs about their stress levels, while 7% refuse to divulge the truth about the number of cigarettes they smoke.
As a concept of social control, [game theory] fails miserably since it relies on people acting as a homogenous, computer-generated, mass of unthinking drones with no outliers or rebels.The state can advise with no problem at all, but once the wagging finger - or, the more prevalent 21st century state bully's rough prod - is unsheathed, unintended consequences abound.
Humans are not machines. They cheat, they avoid, and they self-administer in a society which has been accustomed to a semblance of freedom. In short, the British tradition of self-determination has never been compatible to the application of a one-size-fits-all measure of the perfect lifestyle.
People will lie because they feel intimidated, threatened even, by the approach public health is taking. Is it really so surprising, then, that the reaction to the wildly out-of-control nanny state is personal self-preservation by way of fibs, or a refusal to reveal personal information?
Now, let's just apply this to the recent series of articles I posted surrounding dentist enrolment forms and the insistence on garnering info on alcohol and tobacco intake.
If the dentist is unable to access the information he may feel necessary to maintain your oral health and dental care he could decide that he would therefore be unable to treat you.I suggested that this defence was overly melodramatic, but the BBC ramped up the scare exponentially when talking of GPs.
Doctors have warned that lying during medical visits can have dangerous consequences.Dangerous, so it is. Patients are in mortal peril if they don't tell doctors what is going on in their lives. And they may very well be correct, who knows?
Yet it is precisely the hectoring, condemnatory attitude of many GPs which provokes such a defensive stance in their patients. And how have GPs been manoeuvred into acting in such a way? Well, by the abrupt, rigid and over-weening policies of organisations such as the Royal College of GPs, the Royal College of Physicians, the Faculty of Public Health, and the National Obesity Forum, amongst others.
The health professionals who are now talking up the danger of lying to one's GP are the very same people who created the problem in the first place.
Now, come on guys and girls, let's place the blame where it truly belongs, eh? If the public's health is in danger, it's your arrogant self-indulgence which has caused it.
But that's not the end of the chain, now is it? Because their irresponsible (if their own risk assessment of lying is to be believed) tactics are dictated by a practice which brings us full circle.
That being the bare-faced mendacity of fake charities, vested interest quangoes, pharmaceutical profiteers, mortgage-funding civil servants, rent-seeking lobby groups, funding-hungry faux scientists, and generally obsessive health freaks with a profit motive. In every area mentioned above, from tobacco control, through alcohol temperance, to fast food restriction, salt hyperbole, and exercise regimes, the lies spew forth on a daily basis.
They lie, sometimes outrageously, and it leads eventually to GPs being fed lies as an antidote. It's a great big game of 'quid pro quo', with cash flying into healthist bank accounts while everyone's life is rendered that little bit more miserable and poorer as a result.
As Mailer said, "each day a few more lies eat into the seed with which we are born"; and our spirit; and our way of life; and our enjoyment of it. But while the state still promotes the professional lying industry, they will increasingly reap the same by return from the public.
Thereby rendering future intentionally dodgy health stats even more meaningless than the dodgy ones already used to dictate policy. Fake health statistics have led to even more fake health statistics which make any public health initiative by Westminster flawed from the outset.
If any government wants to tackle health problems, perhaps the first thing they should be doing is clamping down on the dangerous liars who produce bullshit for a quick buck.