Pundits and YouTubers these days love to warn of the inevitable civil war, as they sit in their comfortable, air-conditioned home studios, sowing division and unrest. And it is true: in recent years, America has faced a growing epidemic that threatens not only the health of its citizens but also the stability of society. But it’s not right versus left: it’s Dunkin’ versus Krispy Kreme, battling for the soul of America. Our nation’s obesity crisis has reached alarming levels, with a significant portion of the population struggling with weight-related issues.
However, I’d argue the physical limitations of an overweight nation could be the very thing that saves us from ourselves. Other, more conciliatory pundits and politicians will tell you that compassion and empathy are our biggest aids in our attempts to prevent another Civil War. I’d throw high-fructose corn syrup in there too.
It is no secret that America is battling the bulge. According to a recent Pentagon study, 77 percent of young Americans do not qualify for military service due to being drug-addled, fat, crazy or some combination of the above. Another study from late last year showed that 20 percent of active-duty military are too fat for active duty.
With fast-food chains on every corner and sedentary lifestyles becoming the norm, our waistlines have expanded at a frightening rate. The thought of a physically unfit population engaging in a civil war is hilarious. Just go to Disneyland or Atlanta International Airport, look at all the people laboring from point A to point B and imagine everyone around you in battle. Your mounted division is a bunch of fatties on Rascal mobility scooters.
Logistically speaking, the girth of the nation also presents a significant challenge in war. Amazon and DoorDash are not going to be able to resupply your forces when they’re on the waddle. The transportation of troops, supplies and equipment would be a nightmare. Military vehicles would need to be reinforced to accommodate the extra weight. The cost of fuel would skyrocket. Pilots would have to make multiple trips just to transport a fraction of the troops. Picture the chaos of trying to airlift a team of Gravy SEALS.
Have you toured any of those battlefields from the last Civil War? It’s exhausting. I recently went to one in Franklin, Tennessee, and I was melting under the sun, dying for some water, after about five minutes listening to the guide talk about how they walked all night long and then had to run uphill with all their gear another two miles for the final approach.
General Francis Herron led a four-day, 120-mile march over the Ozark Mountains in December 1862. The average foot soldier was able to walk thirty miles carrying a forty-pound pack. In the years since, we invented the drive-thru pharmacy so you don’t have to shuffle from your 4×4 to the checkout while you get your heart disease prescription.
Some fat dude squeezed into a plate carrier will always inevitably say, “Well, I’ve got guns and that’s all I need.” This only shows how little you know about war. It’s about gaining ground and conquering territory and engaging in warfare in different environments. War is kinetic. Everyone can’t provide covering fire — someone has to be maneuvering. Fit people with guns will beat fat people with guns every time. Your fat ass is just an expensive loot drop for someone equally equipped and in shape.
Eventually you’re going to have to move — and if you don’t require a forklift to get out of your home, you’ll probably be stalked and butchered like a three-legged gazelle on the Serengeti. It’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to walk miles on end to go meet up with the boys for the next battle. Hard to storm the Capitol if Beth Israel amputates your foot.
Imagine the letters home:
Dearest Mother, We lost the battle for the River Ranch Costco. In fact we never made it. Some of the guys’ moms couldn’t drop them off — they said the gas prices were too high. For those of us who did make it, we got lost immediately. Someone mentioned navigating by land using a map and compass — but how would we use those without the internet? After a grueling ten-minute march in full gear with only our Hot Pockets to sustain us, we collapsed, too exhausted to continue. Who knew that my Call of Duty skills would not translate to the actual battlefield. We lost Ralphie. He had a heart attack while putting up his pop tent. It’s one thing to be a fat cop. It’s another to be a fat soldier. War is Hell.
Napoleon Bonaparte famously said, “Fat people do not belong in war.” If wars were decided by eating contests — maybe I’d fear the coming civil war. Perhaps it’s time for the nation to focus on shedding pounds rather than shedding blood. After all, a healthy and united America is far more powerful than fat, crazy and depressed one.
This article was originally published in The Spectator’s February 2024 World edition.