Monday, 28 October 2013

The disease of public health and its cure

I've written a lengthy essay about the public health racket for Spiked. Here's a sample...

On the type of people who become 'public health professionals':

Today, if you are gripped by an urge to eradicate some bad habit or other, you no longer have to make a nuisance of yourself knocking door-to-door or waving a placard in some dismal town square. You can instead find yourself a job in the vast network of publicly funded health groups and transform yourself from crank to ‘advocate’.

On the longevity obsession:

This is not a health movement, but a longevity movement. It is true that almost every death is theoretically preventable, but only in the world of ‘public health’ is it seen necessary to move every mountain to prolong the lives of geriatrics. The concept of a “good innings” or “dying of old age” are anathema to them. When all the preventable causes of deaths have been controlled, we will be free to die from the only cause of mortality that their policies actively encourage: boredom.

On the bogus 'cost to society' excuse:

The uncomfortable truth is that ‘preventable deaths’ save the taxpayer a fortune in pensions, healthcare, prescriptions and nursing-home provision. This has been confirmed by so many studies that public-health campaigners can scarcely be unaware of it and yet they continue to appeal to financial prudence because it has a superficial plausibility and because it is all that stands between them and being told to mind their own business. On the rare occasions when they are challenged on the facts, the scoundrels sheepishly abandon their claims and accuse their opponents of boiling everything down to pounds, shillings and pence. Physician, heal thyself.

On the abnormality of public health demagogues:

‘Denormalisation’ is the name of the game. It began, inevitably, with smoking/smokers, but denormalising drinking and drinkers is now on the political agenda. Considering the profound impact such policies have in stigmatising the vulnerable, robbing the poor and trampling on ancient liberties, it is time to ask whether the assortment of neurotics and authoritarians that make up the modern ‘public health’ movement is best placed to decide what is normal.

John Stuart Mill’s opinion of the peculiar longevitists bears repeating: ‘It is not, naturally and generally, the happy who are most anxious either for prolongation of the present life or for a life hereafter; it is those who never have been happy. Those who have had their happiness can bear to part with existence, but it is hard to die without ever having lived.’

What the modern puritans call ‘health policy’ often involves profound questions of economics, law, ethics, constitutional rights and philosophy, of which they are largely, if not entirely, ignorant. These issues are too important to be trampled by monomaniacs who have not learnt the art of living.

Do go read it all.


Ivan D said...


nisakiman said...

A good article Chris. I shall no doubt be deploying snippets of it (with the link, of course) in future forays with the opposition.

Curmudgeon said...

Excellent piece there.

It's interesting, though, that there are some lifestyle choices where the tyrants of Public Health are strangely reluctant to apply the same analysis because it would be seen as politically incorrect to do so.