The new intolerance

In: Uncategorized

30 Jan 2010

Janice Turner, a Times (London) columnist, does a good job of showing how British society has become less tolerant towards obesity at the same time as it has become more tolerant towards gays. The welcome news that homosexuality is more widely accepted was contained in the annual British Social Attitudes survey. But, as Turner astutely points out, it does not necessary follow that society has become more tolerant in other respects:

“Sometimes it feels as if the anger and intolerance upon our angry, always up-for-a-fight island, is just being funnelled to other targets: the fat, the poor, the white trash, the chavs and pikeys, the underclass on the fringes of society who we loathe almost as much as we fear.”

In my view the new intolerance is closely related to the elitist disdain for consumption that is pervasive in growth scepticism. It is seen as OK for the relatively wealthy to consume – as long as they do so in what is deemed an “ethically correct” way – but popular consumption is seen as truly disgusting.

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