Friday, May 05, 2006


Public Health

While reading Jacob Sullum's "For Your Own Good: The Anti-Smoking Crusade and the Tyranny of Public Health" I came upon this paragraph:

The CDC's growth can be seen as a classic example of bureaucratic empire building. More generally, it is easy to dismiss public health's ever-expanding agenda as a bid for funding, power, and status. Yet the field's practitioners argue, with evident sincerity, that they are simply adapting to changing patters of morbidity and mortality. In doing so, however, they are treating behavior as if it were a communicable disease, which obscures some important distinctions. Behavior cannot be transmitted to other people against their will. People do not choose to be sick, but they do choose to engage in risky behavior. The choice implies that the behavior, unlike a viral or bacterial infection, has value. It also implies that attempts to control the behavior will be resisted.

I think it pretty much speaks for itself. What do you think?

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