November 23, 2023

Bioethics writer warns of ‘public health imperialism’  

After three innocent children were gunned down in three months in the American state of New Mexico, the Governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, announced a 30-day suspension of the right to carry firearms. “When New Mexicans are afraid to be in crowds, to take their kids to school, to leave a baseball game – when their very right to exist is threatened by the prospect of violence at every turn – something is very wrong.”

Naturally, fans of the Second Amendment were outraged and the Governor quickly back-pedalled on the ban. What’s interesting about this incident is not the ban but the reason put forward by the Governor – that gun violence was a public health emergency.

In the wake of Covid-19 restrictions, those three words – “public health emergency” – have become highly controversial.

Writing in The Epoch Times, bioethics commentator Wesley J. Smith claims that “the medical establishment is redefining our most contentious political controversies as “public health emergencies” so as to circumvent public resistance and impose policies on society unobtainable through normal democratic means.”

As evidence, he cites a growing enthusiasm in leading medical journals for declaring social or scientific issues “public health emergencies”:

  • “In 2021, 230 of the world’s medical and bioethics journals published an unprecedented joint editorial urging the elevation of climate change to the very top of the world’s public health agenda.”
  • British Medical Journal: “health [is] the highest law, and the highest policy objective.”
  • The Lancet: “racial consciousness” should become an “omnipresent factor influencing global health practice, research and outcomes.”
  • Nature: everyone should be assigned a “personal carbon allowance” to limit emissions.
  • New England Journal of Medicine: affirmative action is a matter of “population health.”
  • The AMA Journal of Ethics: gun violence is an “infectious disease”

Smith concludes: “If we value our freedom, we’d better push back against public health imperialism. Democracy dies in technocracy.”