On Monday’s episode of “The Andrew Klavan Show,” Klavan discusses an article by a Philadelphia based therapist who claims that addressing obesity is “shaming” people who are out of shape. Video and partial transcript below:
One of the things that you’ve noticed is the attack on shame, on the very idea of shame. That shame itself is supposed to become a problem. There is a piece in The Philadelphia Inquirer to end fatphobia. “We need to dismantle Western civilization,” says Philly therapist Sonalee Rashatwar, all right. She hadn’t planned on being a therapist as her career path, she explained; the practice she co-owns in West Philadelphia just kind of happened. You see the picture, she’s overweight. She says she endured an abusive relationship in her early 20s. After college, she started volunteering for domestic violence response teams.
She says, “All my work is better to understand what I’ve experienced.” She’s become part of what is called the “fat positivity movement.” She says Rashatwar traces contemporary fat phobia to colonial brutality and how enslaved people were treated. Citing researcher advocate Caleb Luna, Rashatwar said, “Curing anti fatness would mean dismantling society’s foundation. I love to talk about undoing Western civilization because it’s just so romantic to me.” So, in other words, instead of just not stuffing her face so maybe she can get in shape, we’re supposed to get rid of Mozart and Shakespeare and Michelangelo and all the great achievements of Western civilization.
The attack on shame is an attack on the idea that there is a moral template, a human template. That we all feel bad when we veer away from that template. We feel bad, we feel shame. Shame is a gift. Guilt is a gift; it tells us when we have lost our way. All of us veer from this template. All men know they’re supposed to be strong and courageous. All men, even Navy SEALs, know that there are ways in which they’re not as strong as they should be, not as courageous as they should be. All women know that they’re supposed to be nurturing and tender. All women know that they fail at this sometimes, that they are not the ladies they wish they were in some deep part of their mind, and there’s no getting rid of that shame.
What the Left is saying, what these people are saying, is if only we could get rid of the society then we would get rid of the shame. This woman is coming right out and saying it. If we could get rid of Western civilization, I would no longer feel bad for being fat and that, of course, is a lie. That template is built into the human system. When you believe in God and when you believe that we are not just inventing morality, we’re not just inventing these templates, we’re actually receiving them. We’re learning to see them, we have evolved to see the moral world. We’ve evolved to see these templates.
Yeah sure they change, and good looks change and all these things but at the core, there is a moral core, a moral template, that when we veer from we feel ashamed. So, they want to destroy all these things that they feel ashamed about. Being a slut. Don’t slut-shame me. Nobody is slut-shaming; you feel bad because you know you’re not supposed to be a slut. Don’t fat-shame me. Nobody’s shaming you, you feel bad because it’s unhealthy to act that way. You’re out of control in the way you treat yourself. You need to lose a little bit of weight. They do not want to take responsibility for themselves, so they pile it on to everybody else.
Weirdly, what Trump has done has allowed that vision to come back into the public square. The reason they don’t want cheering, happy people waving American flags is because we all know that’s the way we’re supposed to be. We all know that those are the people we’re supposed to be. You can be black, you can be white, you can be gay, you can be Asian, you can be whatever you want but we all know that we’re supposed to love a country that has made us free and prosperous and powerful. We should love this country. We all know it.
Because the Left is seeking to get away from that shame, to get away from the God who has imposed those templates, who has created that moral template. They want to destroy the entire civilization rather than face the shame. I really do think that that’s at the core of it.
Donald Trump doesn’t know anything about this. He doesn’t think about this stuff. He just knows that he is not going to be taken down by their insults. He’s not going to be called racist, he’s not going to do what Joe Biden is doing. “Oh, I’m sorry I said that. I’m sorry I said this.” I mean all the Democrats do is apologize because that’s the system they’ve created. Because wherever you go that system, that moral system, is still in place and that’s what they’re attacking all the time. What we need to do is not come back at them with shame and say “oh yes you should be ashamed of being fat.” We don’t have to say that. We don’t have to say “oh yes you should be ashamed of being a coward.”
We don’t have to create recreate the culture of shame because it’s never gone away, it’s there. All we have to do is what those people did at that July 4th celebration on the National Mall. All we have to do is celebrate the good. If we celebrate the good, believe me, the left will expose themselves. They cannot stand it. It’s like a cross to a vampire. It is like sunlight to a vampire to them to see us celebrating the good because it makes them feel the shame.