"Think of a kid. A working class kid. Maybe he's black or Hispanic, or pale while."
Pale while... what? Pale while being white, I presume.
"She or he is standing inside a very dark room, so you can't seem [sic] her or him. Then she walks out the door. Suddenly, cymbals start to crash and the child becomes afraid and experiences stress; an unending inner monologue begins urging the kid to 'eat, eat, eat'; think of arrows sending pulses to the child's brain insisting that they consume more and more; think of a table of food in front of the kid, who has a few bucks to spend and can only buy the cheapest stuff; this new room is also a 360-degree high definition media experience, with television commercials tempting the kid by linking toys to the food on the table; think about the parents... where are the parents? They're at work; both of them; two incomes are needed to maintain a standard of living. Think of self-hatred and self-reinforcing stigma. The kid lives 24/7 outside the dark room, and grows up. Unless his or her genetic code has a lucky guanine where others have an adenine, there's a good chance — soon to be a better than even chance — that the kid will be fat or obese by the time he or she is in the second decade of life."
Ambinder is making an argument. It's an argument about the unfairness of obesity, an argument designed to justify new government policies and spending. Ambinder is disconnecting obesity from individual responsibility and tying it to race and disparities in wealth. After the quoted material above, he declares that "the social inequity is apparent." But where did that quoted material come from? His fervid brain? Ambinder is not being scientific. He's operating in a literary mode. Who is this kid, this he or she, in this abstract place in the world, this "very dark room"? He or she is an empty vessel, defenselessly filling up with information that pours in — from where? Ambinder is fumbling with the tools of the literary author. But he's no Charles Dickens. His literary character isn't a David Copperfield, but a nonentity, scarcely recognizable as human. Yet Ambinder calls upon us to identify or empathize with him. Or her. The methods and explanations of science and good journalism are needed, but Ambinder doesn't bother.
Meanwhile, the solution he found for his own obesity was bariatric surgery. Abdominal surgery fits snugly with the idea of obesity as the result of social and economic forces playing upon helpless humans (though Ambinder himself was not economically deprived in life). In calling us to make obesity the government's business, Ambinder says "It will involve some money, but not all that much." But do you feel confident that the government will not force insurance companies to cover bariatric surgery and spread the cost to all of us? Somehow I don't. I see big emotional manipulation pushing the democratic majority to take responsibility for every overeater in America and beneficently fund the scarily invasive procedure.
Ironically, after the drastic surgery, you only lose weight because you eat less. All it does is disable you from eating more by removing your stomach. It's based on the idea that you can't be expected to eat less on will and choice alone. You can't handle freedom. You need to be physically incapacitated. And, sadly, there are many people who need medical procedures that are in no way substitutes for things they could do for themselves. When health care is rationed — and it will be rationed — something will need to be withheld. Do you think it is possible that some people will be asked to go without heart surgery or hip replacement surgery while others get their stomachs removed so they can't eat so much? I certainly do, and I think writing — flabby writing — like Ambinder's is mushing up minds so that's what the democratic majority will clamor for.