Regulating Everything in the Name of “Health”

Regulating Everything in the Name of “Health” April 3, 2024

We all want good health.  Improving people’s health is surely a worthy goal.  There is a movement to declare that health is a “right.”  The problem, though, is that the right-to-health activists classify just about every leftist cause as a matter of “health.”

Wesley J. Smith writes about this in his post for National Review Online entitled Beware the “Right to Health.”  He observes that the over-riding call for health is being used to justify technocracy; that is, rule by “experts.”  His words remind us of the COVID pandemic, in which Americans were so concerned for their health that they allowed medical technocrats to shut down the economy, curtail their freedoms, and have their way in just about everything.  He notes that our old master Anthony Fauci has even greater ambitions, maintaining that the U.N. and the World Health Organization should be given the power to “rebuild the infrastructures of human existence.”

“We have been told, also,” comments Smith, “that climate change is a health emergency that justifies greater technocratic control. So is racism. Ditto, gun proliferation in the U.S. And we can’t forget the threats to biodiversity. On and on the proposed policy imperialism goes. This is why the seemingly good-sounding proposal for an international “right to health” is such a trap.”

Smith then examines an article by Volker Türk, who works for the UN Commission on Human Rights.  The medical journal Lancet published his article Revitalising the right to health is essential to securing better health for all.  I’ll just quote some sentences from Türk’s article (Smith’s emphasis):

The right to health is a duty held by all states under international human rights law and covers a range of entitlements, including available, accessible, acceptable, and good quality health care for mental and physical health, along with freedoms such as bodily autonomy.

Health is a fundamental human right that is indispensable for the exercise of other human rights and essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Newer challenges include the worsening impacts of the climate crisis and the potential harms emanating from digital technologies, especially generative artificial intelligence.

Efforts to advance the right to health must also involve consideration of the impacts of commercial companies.
A Human Rights Economy can also drive effective action to end power disparities—often the painful legacy of slavery, colonialism, and racist and patriarchal structures—that perpetuate discrimination and marginalisation, entrenching inequalities and inequities.

Let’s see. . .We’ve got abortion, transgenderism [both freedoms of bodily autonomy], environmentalism [sustainable development, the climate crisis], entitlements, regulation of information technology, anti-capitalism, critical race theory, anti-colonialism, feminism.  What’s left?
Every political, economic, and cultural goal of progressivism could thus be imposed, all in the name of health.
Illustration:  Giovanni Maki, Public Library of Science, CC BY 2.5 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5>, via Wikimedia Commons
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