Is it really the Government stopping us calling each other fat?

The Government’s recent call for GP’s to address overweight or obese patients as fat may upset many but it has implications that reach far beyond the populist debate on political correctness. What actually makes this announcement interesting for me is the expected effect of such an initiative.  GP’s would be allowed to choose between calling their patients fat or obese and they would do so according to their own personal beliefs. I seriously doubt though that many of them would resort to using ‘fat’ for a longer period because as long as some GP’s carry on refusing to call their patients fat, patients would eventually re-register themselves with the ‘less offensive’ GP’s, and probably leading to worse NHS performance measures for users of ‘fat’. (Also, surely, using ‘fat’ excessively would diminish its pejorative and derogative notion and would defeat the objective set out at the first place).

For this reason I would expect even after allowing the use of ‘fat’ would not result in a change in the long run, the resulting equilibrium still remaining the preference for using obese as opposed to fat. This of course raises the more important question: in a country where trying to avoid being openly offensive towards others so clearly dominates, what is the point in trying to enforce political correctness by law at the first place, when clearly there is a higher level of natural law, which dominates our behaviour and stops us from being offensive in most social situations anyway.

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