Cutting down

According to the latest research, he writes facetiously, coffee may be good for your heart. It just might prevent cholesterol build-up in the arteries and … blah blah blah. I refer to some Korean study in the news this morning, but the findings (not of causation but of statistical correlation) are hardly new. There was for instance a big Dutch study five years ago, which redeemed tea as well as coffee, and I vaguely remember others. “More research is needed,” say all the people who make money from such pointless research. We are trained to nod sleepily in agreement. These hugely expensive, perpetually inconclusive, and very soft epidemiological studies are what most people have in mind when the magic word, “science,” is invoked: for we are living in an age of magic.

Actual science would show the mechanism by which a specific constituent in coffee, such as caffeine, operates within the human metabolism to produce specific reactions in a long, very specific chain, leading to a specific result. (I have over-simplified, because at each of these stages there are innumerable complicating factors.) The rest is, to be perfectly colloquial, bullshit, as a “spokesperson” for the British Heart Foundation made abundantly clear, when commenting on the Dutch study. She said having one cigarette with your coffee would cancel all the benefits. There was nothing about this in the study, it was a candid expression of her superstitious beliefs.

For decades, as most readers should now know, public health authorities condemned delicious, fatty foods on that plausible argument (all magic must be made “plausible” to convince) about clogging the arteries. Now they have quietly taken it back, without owning to the misery spread by their lies through several generations. They mounted collateral attacks on beer, wine, and liquors, which likewise proved false; and their continuing campaigns against tobacco depend on the same methodology.

What they have done is far more evil than this, however: for they have been exploiting the human propensity to guilt, which serves an irreplaceable purpose in the moral order. Compunction about sin and wrongdoing is distracted to meaningless dietary issues. The success of the nannying public health authorities has helped the principalities and powers to accomplish a complete moral inversion — in which abstinence and fasting to a spiritual end is now dismissed as silly, yet dieting for health is done with insufferably morbid gravity. We have, as a consequence, a society of obsessive dieters, deluded fitness fanatics, and low-calorie muffin eaters, who are utterly shameless in committing crimes contra naturam: that Culture of Death which Saint John-Paul identified with such harrowing accuracy.

It should also be noted, for the benefit of credulous materialists, that the time and money invested in gathering and analyzing inconsequential health statistics subtracts from serious medical research into suspected causes of disease — including the hard and focused epidemiology that can usefully assist. Resources for such work are always finite, yet almost everything I see flagged in the media is an example of resources bled away.

A deeper note needs to be sounded, however, against the consistent tendency of all this “pop,” or more precisely, “crap science.” The target will ever be some innocent human pleasure; genuinely sinful ones with direct and potentially grave health consequences (sexual promiscuity, for instance, or sodomy), are shied away from, for fear of the politically correct. Class is evident in each choice of target: typically some consolation, some little delight that makes life more endurable for the poor. (Smoking is a primary example.)

Soft science is then combined with moral posturing to provide cover for the politicians, and senior bureaucrats. They publicize supposed health risks to justify raising taxes on what are now identified in the public imagination as “corrupting luxuries” — using the argument of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, perhaps the most corrupt individual in the history of philosophy, before Heidegger. An impression is given of taxing the rich, while in fact sucking the poor dry: a basic principle of progressive democracy.

The moral reality is exposed in state lotteries, which do real, direct, and vicious harm to the poor, but on which the state increasingly depends for revenue.

I have no idea whether coffee is good for you, by the way, or in what amounts. I do know for a certainty, however, that going to Hell would be bad for you, which is why we must urgently cut down on our consumption of pseudo-scientific, liberal and progressive blather.