Karl du Fresne slams Otago troughers

The more I read the work of Karl du Fresne the more he reinforces the view he?s a good bloke and says it how it is.

In his piece published today ?The rise of the moral crusaders of academia? he reinforces the view that Otago University is fast becoming the home of the nanny state idealists.

He says:

?But I have to accept that my romantic view of Otago is hopelessly outdated.

Because far from being a place associated with useful, functional things like stoves, houses and trousers, Otago has ironically become a name synonymous with the 21st century phenomenon of academic busybody-ism.

Unlike the business enterprises of those early entrepreneurs, this is not a field of activity intended to ease people’s lives or make a raw, young country more liveable.

On the contrary, it sets out to frighten and discomfort New Zealanders with an almost constant campaign of shrill hectoring and haranguing.

Then he hits at the heart of the shrill makers. ?

?I refer specifically to Otago University’s once-admired medical school, which gives the public impression of having become a nest of tiresome academics whose lecturing, sadly, isn’t directed only at their students.

Sad but true.

?But the most publicly visible Otago University academics are those on a self-appointed mission to save us all from our own folly ? people like professors Doug Sellman and Jennie Connor, neither of whom misses any opportunity to whip up alarm over our alcohol consumption (which, by international standards, is actually quite moderate).

The odd thing about their highly-emotive rhetoric is that most of the people at whom it’s directed have nothing wrong with them.

Most New Zealanders are sensible enough not to binge on things that they know are bad for them if indulged in to excess, but the New Puritans in the universities don’t trust ordinary people to make their own decisions.?

Good to see others honing in on my good friend Doug Sellman. ?Feeling unleashed, Karl du Fresne, continues his slamming.

?They think the state ? guided of course by learned experts ? should determine how we live.

Alcohol isn’t the only supposed scourge that gets these moral crusaders fired up.

Fatty foods, sugar and salt are all on the list of addictions that we’re apparently powerless to resist.

But it’s unquestionably the go-to institution if you want to be badgered about your eating and drinking habits.

The Dunedin campus produces self-righteous finger-waggers the way Ethiopia produces marathon runners.?

That line will have all the wowsers up in arms.

I?ve blogged about Lisa ?Yeah F*** the police? Te Morenga before, but Karl du Fresne singles her out for a smack saying:

?Dr Lisa Te Morenga of Otago’s Department of Human Nutrition said an improvement in Maori health required a reduction in the socio-economic gap between them and non-Maori.

Introducing class politics into the health debate is nothing new, but it was what she said next that particularly interested me.

According to Te Morenga, it’s difficult to make healthy choices when constrained by poverty.

This is nonsense. It recycles the tired old mantra that people are trapped into eating unhealthy food because it’s cheap.

Plenty of nutritious food ? potatoes, rice, pasta ? is much cheaper than the Big Macs and KFC that a lot of people eat.

If some Maori don’t know how to cook healthy food, then let’s address that.

If people are miraculously still unaware that fatty food causes obesity, heart disease and diabetes, then perhaps we need to find a new way of reaching them through education campaigns.\

But to suggest that people don’t eat the right food because they can’t afford it strikes me as lazy and simplistic, although of course it aligns with the prevailing ideology in academia.

It also absolves people of personal responsibility for their choices.?

And therein is the real push by these troughers. Remove the thought that people don?t have any personal responsibility.

Good on Karl du Fresne.

– Fairfax