A witty and wide-ranging investigation of the central problem of our time: how to save ourselves from what we want.
Freedom is dangerous. Half of all deaths in America come from overeating, smoking, drinking too much, failing to exercise and other deadly behaviors that we indulge against our own better judgment. Why are we on a campaign of slow- motion suicide? The simple answer is that self-control is tough-especially now, when more calories, sex and intoxicants are more readily and privately available than at any time in memory. Gambling, once against the law almost everywhere, is now legal and ubiquitous. Trying to work? If so, chances are you're also struggling to resist the siren call of the Internet-to say nothing of the snack machine.
But while temptations have multiplied like fast-food outlets in suburbia, crucial social constraints have eroded. Tradition, family, church and ideology have lost much of their capacity to circumscribe behavior, while financial limits, once a ready substitute for thrift, were swept away by surging affluence and the remarkable open-handedness of lenders (a confluence that recently ended in tears). The result is a world that puts more pressure than ever on the "self" in self-control, sorely testing the limits of human willpower.
How can we cope with our appetites in a landscape of such boundless temptation? We Have Met the Enemy is a brilliant and irreverent search for answers that delves into overeating, overspending, ...