Do you care about others? Concerned enough to say so? Or are you just a busybody killjoy?
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They're the New Puritans. A generation of young, educated and opinionated people determined to sidestep the consumerist perils of modern life. So if you own a 4x4, spend all your time shopping, or are simply overweight -- watch your back.
According to the Future Foundation, we are increasingly curbing our enthusiasm for profligate consumption, and health and environment-threatening behaviours. Gone is the guilt-free pleasure-seeker, to be replaced by the model well-meaning citizen, the New Puritan -- a tag interchangeable with neo-Cromwellian, if you really want to seal its 17th century origins -- who thinks through the consequences of activities previously thought of as pleasurable and invariably elects to live without them. Think of it as the dieticians' favourite adage, 'a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips' given socio-economic resonance.
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Test your responsibility radar with these eight everyday choices
1 Choose the sequence of events which most closely resembles your typical Friday night:
a) You retire to bed early with a copy of New Consumer
b) You get quite merry after a few wines
c) You imbibe around a dozen Bacardi Breezers, vomit on a bouncer's shoe, pass out on the pavement and come round to the Trevor McDonald Tonight crew making a binge drinking special, of which you are now the star
2 You see a pregnant woman inhaling deeply on a cigarette. Do you:
a) Demand that she stubs out the cigarette immediately, before calling the police and insisting the woman is given an official caution
b) Explain to the woman that she is unfairly damaging the life of her unborn child and rush into the nearest health centre for leaflets on quitting
c) Ask if she has any snout
3 You are organising the office Christmas party. Do you:
a) Insist it should be alcohol-free, to prevent a repetition of the photocopying of private parts and illicit sex that blights this event every year
b) Promote shandy as the Christmas party drink of choice
c) Give the party a Toulouse-Lautrec theme and introduce a mandatory absinthe drink-off
4 You complain about the vending machine at your sports centre on the grounds that:
a) It's a disgrace that multinational junk food companies should have a platform in a sports centre in a region with above average statistics for childhood obesity
b) There should be a greater variety of products and some fizzy drinks should be swapped with water
c) You've lost £2.70 in the last fortnight because the lever that dispenses the Crunchie bars keeps getting stuck
5 You are walking in the park when a large, snarling dog runs straight for you. Do you:
a) Render the dog unconscious with a large piece of timber (you don't believe in guns) then inform the dog's owners that dogs use up resources needlessly, and they should have it put down
b) Take video footage of the dog, so that the owners can later be prosecuted under the Dangerous Dogs act
c) Let your pit bull off its leash to meet the challenge head on
6 How do you react on seeing the following ad: 'Fly to New York for £18 inc. taxes
a) You are incandescent with rage that there is no tax on aviation fuel and that people are not paying the true cost of climate change emissions
b) You know you shouldn't... but you'll take public transport to the airport as penance
c) Get a cab to the airport immediately, and take an empty suitcase. That way you can hit the stores on Fifth Avenue and take advantage of a strong pound
7 Your best friend has been piling on the pounds. You bump into her in the high street - she's coming out of a fast food restaurant. Do you:
a) Throw her food in a bin - saving the plastic container for recycling - then lecture her on how you don't want to pay for her future diabetes treatment
b) Persuade her to go back in and swap the burger for a new Ranch salad and water
c) Cheerfully say hello and ask if you can have a chicken wing
8 A close friend is getting into a lot of debt to keep her wardrobe stocked with designer labels. Do you:
a) Remind her, as George Bernard Shaw once said, that fashion is nothing but an induced epidemic
b) Encourage her to think more creatively about her wardrobe, and shop in more cost-effective outlets
c) Ask her if she's thought about pyramid selling and tell her you know a great scheme
Congratulations. You are a New Puritan par excellence, prepared to be not just socially conscious but socially critical, even if it brings you into conflict with friends, lovers and/or dog owners. You have heightened ethical sensibilities which allow you to see the folly of competitive individualism and the prevailing consumerist madness. Never let anyone tell you this is single issue agit-prop, for you will have the last laugh.
There is no doubt that you mean well and are flirting with the temperate outlook, but you are still too frightened of being thought of as extreme. In your heart of hearts you know that we eat too much refined sugar, possess too many appliances and watch too much bad TV, but you cannot bear to acknowledge the demise of libertarianism. However, you show promise; all you need is the courage of your convictions.
Oh dear. You seek out impulse-led, environmentally damaging, unsustainable pleasure with the boorish commitment of a pig sniffing out truffles. Delayed gratification is an anathema to you, and unless you get some self-discipline, you will find the future increasingly mystifying, as the rest of the human race wakes up to its responsibilities. Possibly, you're in need of a role model. Think Chris Martin rather than Wayne Rooney.