Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the current Director of the Centers For Disease Control, released a statement last week that declared “racism” a public health threat.
Go ahead and read the statement if you like; that sentence above is all you need to know from an ethics perspective. If “racism”—it’s in quotes because the definition no longer has any coherent meaning, since it has been distorted to mean anything a social justice warrior or an unhappy individual who regards himself/herself/whateverself as a minority needs the word to mean at a given time or in a particular dispute, or, of course, a dictatorial-minded government—is a health issue, almost anything is. Maybe everything.
Walensky’s motives could be just about anything too. Maybe she really believes this and that it’s a legitimate topic for the agency under its mission. If she does believe that, she’s not very bright. The CDC Mission Statement makes it crystal clear that the agency’s purpose in to fight disease, stating at the outset:
Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC fights disease and supports communities and citizens to do the same.
Because that’s what the Mission states at the beginning, the mission cannot suddenly expand elsewhere. (You would think the agency’s name would have precluded doing so as well.) I write mission statements as an occupation (among other things); groups pay me to help them compose theirs. You can’t have an ethical, valid Mission Statement that begins like that, and then goes on to say that the organization is also concerned with cheating at Parcheesi and overcooking good steaks. “Race” is not a disease, and how people treat race is based on emotion, which is not subject to hard science.
But I don’t believe Walensky actually is so foolish that she believes race is a proper focus of her agency. I believe she is 1) virtue signaling to the Left, which sure is working out well for, say, Major League Baseball, isn’t it? and 2) deliberately aligning with progressive politics, meaning her pals, colleagues and neighbors.
The latter sabotages her own agency’s credibility, however, and the CDC’s credibility is decidedly at low tide, thanks to the feckless and inept Dr. Fauci and the agency’s atrocious, flip-flopping regarding and during the pandemic. The latest proof of its ineptitude is the news that Great Britain has achieved “herd immunity” through the sensible policy of prioritizing first dose vaccinations for everyone before giving second doses to anyone. The CDC pooh-poohed this approach, and it appears the CDC was, as usual, dead wrong. The agency is now like George Costanza on “Seinfeld,” who realized that he was so reliably wrong-headed in every decision that he would benefit by doing the opposite of what seemed sensible to him (And it worked!).
But I digress.
Racism is a health risk in the attenuated way speech can be a health factor, or success and failure, or wealth and poverty, or luck, or having two parents who stick around to raise you, or being tall, or smart, or curious, or cute. Where you are born can be a health risk, and what you choose to do as a living may bea health risk, and what your hobbies are can be a health risk. Bad taste in lovers, spouses and partners is a health risk. Poor choice of friends is a health risk. Whether people like you is a huge health factor, which meansbad manners are a health risk, charisma or the opposite of it is a health factor, and chewing with your mouth open is a therefore health risk. Heck, your accent, grammar and vocabulary are health factors, as Henry Higgins eloquently talk/sings in “My Fair Lady”:
An Englishman’s way of speaking absolutely classifies him,The moment he talks he makes some other
Englishman despise him!
When people despise you, you are handicapped in life—stressed, and stress can make you sick. Now stress is legitimately within the CDC’s purview. That does not mean everything that can cause stress is. The politicization of everything is stressing out millions of people, including me.
Being unpopular can result in one having to work twice or ten-times as hard to get where others arrive easily, if you can arrive at all. What do you do about your problems? Well, you don’t look to the CDC—at least not until it officially changes its name to the Centers For Everything Control.
We all get it, on all sides of the ideological spectrum, do we not: today, we can blame race for everything, and those who fail increasingly are taken seriously when they do. Life is indeed unfair. Hey! Life is a health risk!
What the CDC, an arm of the totalitarian-tilting Leftist government on the rise now is doing is to try to lay the groundwork for mandatory government measures attempting to control whatever the broadest definition of racism is that can be sold to the public. This is not not science, it’s rhetorical sleight of hand: deeply dishonest, deeply cynical, and deeply risky itself, because there is no reason to trust a “science” agency that behaves like this. It is playing racial politics when its priorities should lie elsewhere.
Come to think of it, though, having a politicized and untrustworthy Centers for Disease Control is a serious health risk!
22 thoughts on “Well THAT’S Cleared Up! Now We Know (As If There Was Reason For Doubt) That The CDC Is A Political Organization, Not A Scientific One, And Thus Not To Be Trusted”
We already knew they were tainted by the great stupid with their irrational decisions over the last year plus, but this endorsement confirms it. It’s getting so I wanna give awards to groups/businesses who just do their jobs without a fuss or grandstanding. I don’t believe any announcement that takes a stand unrelated to their reason for existence. Synchophants and big talk, little walk fill me with contempt. They just MIGHT believe they are being earnest, but it’s more like the little kid who won’t shut up when they keep embroidering a lie. The more they signal virtue instead of BEING virtuous, the less I trust them.
Absolutely spot on and share-worthy! The “Centers for Everything Control.” How fittingly progressive!
I think I knew this ever since they took a stand on gun violence.
Yeah, I had to work NOT to include that. But at least guns kill people directly. It’s still not disease, but its one step closer to “health” than racism.
I find it telling that going on 3 decades ago Bill Clinton fired Jocelyn Elders as Surgeon General for using the position as a bully pulpit to push progressive politics. This included saying that gun violence was a public health issue, although her saying public schools should teach masturbation is what finally tipped the scales. At the same time the GOP leadership in Congress warned him not to put someone equally out there in the position, at the risk of the position being done away with. Now, no one blinks at the idea of the CDC aligning itself with progressive politics.
The left has managed to feed this nation the idea that conservatives are not only stupid themselves (if they were not stupid they would not be conservatives), not only afraid of smart people, but that they hate smart people. Oh, there may be a few evil genius types like Antonin Scalia and Henry Kissinger here, and a few not-as-smart master manipulators like Karl Rove there, but they’re the exception. For the most part conservatives are backward-thinking, change-resisting, not-too-bright people who like things the way they are, don’t sort their garbage for recycling, own guns they barely know how to use to compensate for under-sized genitalia, and eat, drink, smoke and do everything that’s worst for their health. In normal times that would be just barely acceptable, but now it no longer is, and its time to put them in their place.
Quite the apt observation about the stereotype of conservatives that is built in their minds. Just last night I was reading a Twitter thread from a student researcher who was involved in analysis of anti-mask messaging via social media. The research found the anti-mask messaging was more diverse, more visually and information literate than posts that supported the “correct” message.
This person nearly defeated their cognitive dissonance with changing the premise about uneducated anti-maskers, but instead concluded that they had overcome some kind of “bad place” of doubts caused by exposure to non-sanctioned ideas.
Social determinants of health are increasingly a focus of modern medicine, especially in primary and preventative care, and many of these are legitimately studied and addressed by healthcare professionals. Racism is not a disease, but neither are smoking, sexual promiscuity, water sanitation, sedentary lifestyles, seatbelts, helmets, etc, and these are all things that the CDC and other medical organisations provide guidelines, recommendations and commentary on. I don’t think it’s reasonable to levy criticism on the CDC based on such a narrow interpretation of their mission statement.
My personal take is that racism is pretty far down the list of things to worry about from the health perspective, especially after controlling for covariate factors like socioeconomic status, education and family structure. Correspondingly, I do agree that Dr Walensky’s statement is borderline cringe-worthy (even if, based on my training, I would not be surprised if her statement genuinely reflects her position).
But Tony, “factors like socioeconomic status, education and family structure” are the progressive happy hunting grounds. They are never the result of actions by the individual, they are always the result of systemic factors. THAT’s the problem. If a person suffers from low socioeconomic status, lack of education or a poor family structure, they or their parents need to DO something about it!
And let’s not forget “gun violence” as a health issue. It’s not a health issue, it’s a behavior issue. Gunshot wounds are not a naturally occurring phenomenon treatable with prophylactic drugs.
And on a larger point, “experts” need to stay in their alleged area of expertise. Noam Chomsky needs to stick to linguistic theory. Paul Krugman needs to stick to economics. This wandering around by people with Ph.Ds is a recent and bad phenomenon. “Stick to your knitting” is good advice hardly anyone seems to listen to these days.
I hear you. Opinions are divided on whether medical professionals should wade into these issues or stay in their lanes. I think it’s reasonable for a passionate medical professional to advocate for (admittedly generally progressive) social policies if they can be reasonably expected to improve health outcomes. I hope we can agree that sentiments like “I am an MD and my research/experience shows that lower income leads to lower health outcomes, so therefore I support this cause” are acceptable.
As for gun violence, it is a behavioural issue, but there are ways for medical professionals to intervene. For example, I am trained to ask about guns in the home and to discuss gun safety at routine pediatrics visits. I think this is reasonable and can have benefit. This is to say that I think medical professionals do and should act in many areas that a layperson might consider outside their scope of practice, but how and why is obviously nuanced.
But Tony, isn’t asking about guns in the house paternalistic mansplaining? Just kidding. Sort of.
Gun safety is indispensable and a big feature of the NRA and any responsible gun owner. It’s when the AMA gets involved in Second Amendment policy that things get out of hand. If a physician says guns should be banned because they are a public health issue, that’s a problem, right?
Lower incomes leading to lower health outcomes is obvious on its face. When you’re poor, you’re at risk from all sorts of hazards. That’s why people do things, like working, to make sure they are NOT poor. That’s why people try to sneak into the United States. They know first hand that being poor is hazardous to your health. The problem becomes when medical professionals wade into how to ameliorate lower incomes in a population. Right? It’s not a physician’s position to re-distribute wealth or figure out short cuts to making certain groups better off. Somebody once said “The poor will always be with us.”
There is a clear difference between individual professionals opining on issues, and professional organizations doing so.
Tony C: “smoking, sexual promiscuity, water sanitation, sedentary lifestyles.”
These may not be diseases but can be causes of disease. I think these are fair game for the CDC.
Helmets? Seat Belts? Guns? Racism? No. (Hmmm…maybe helmets.)
Ironically, race, in its standard issue meaning, does greatly affect health. Peoples from drought-prone regions are genetically pre-disposed to obesity and diabetes when they live in modern societies that produce endless amounts of readily available carbohydrates in every imaginable form (and even some unimaginable ones). Obese people and diabetic people do not have good health outcomes. How long has the medical establishment been harping on the adverse consequences of obesity? What government program will get people to control what they put into their pie hole? Why am I guilty of racial oppression because I descend from people from temperate parts of the world with a steady food supply and I watch what I eat?
As a side note, I think the panicdemic has exposed epidemiology as quack science. Most epidemiologists don’t even seem to be medical doctors. They’re no more scientists than are economists. Epidemiologists seem to just generate computer models which invariably begin with “if current trends continue….” But they never do, Einstein!
Jack wrote, “Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the current Director of the Centers For Disease Control, released a statement last week that declared “racism” a public health threat.”
I can’t find it right now but I remember a discussion sometime last year (I think on Ethics Alarms) where someone, I honestly don’t remember who, basically predicted that the political left had learned the wrong lesson from the pandemic and that if they regained power in Washington DC in the House, Senate and White House that they could use their propaganda machine to convince the public that something was a “public health threat” and the public would allow them to get away with deeply restricting liberty and directly infringe upon the rights of individuals and businesses. Well this foggy memory has come to pass, we now are seeing what was predicted. This statement “‘racism’ a public health threat” from Dr. Walensky and President Biden’s statement that gun violence is an “epidemic” and a “public health crisis” are all extrapolations on that ends justifies the means kind of pure propaganda. What’s to stop these people from using this same kind of argument on anything they oppose?
I fully expect to see lots of the political left jump on this accusations of public health threat bandwagon and start using that ends justifies the means propaganda to demonize all kinds of things.
What are your thoughts on this?
Centers for Racism Control
Centers for Deplorables Control would still work with CDC though.
Jack, have you seen the Fauci Dossier? It is 200 pages long and one thing it contains are the Federal crimes he’s committed. I know a hard bound copy has been delivered to the AG and every Senator. And it’s online fo anyone to read.
I’m just starting and it’s pretty heady for me as I am not a lawyer but I thought you and your readers may like it. The Author is more than qualified to write as he’s done so much work (160 countries) on uncovering corporate and government crimes against their people.
I’d love to pass it to you and introduce you to him as well. He’s doing great things “behind the scenes” and I just think you both would be allies.
I can put the link here or send it privately to you. Let me know! btw, the authors brother is one of the head of the CDC. I think you’d be fascinated at what he’s currently doing which included being an expert witness at a hearing for an East Coast state (forgot which) but the state was being sued for declaring an “emergency state” when legally it did not meet the requirements.
I guess it won’t hurt to share it here, as I think your readers would like to dive in. 🙂
Click to access The%20FauciCOVID-19%20Dossier.pdf
Take a look at the doings of the American Public Health Association, their officers, directors and mission statement. You will have a ball with them. Instead of combating the organic and inherited causes of illness, especially the skyrocketing rates of obesity and diabetes [one does not cause the other by the way], they have gone all in for “anti racism” instructive classes. Look for APHA.com. Webinars.
As a former optometrist, I had been a member of lots of groups like this to enhance and widen my profession reading. I enjoyed my 42 years, but have been retired for eight. They must still have me on file, as I am bombarded monthly to attend “training on how to train others” sessions. I have countered these solicitations in no uncertain terms, but have not received any response from them. Before I unsubscribed, I should have told them to at least change their name to match what their blather has evolved into.
You will find a few interesting new phrases such as:
epidemiology and race
black maternal health
precision environmental decisions
antiracism as health policy
climate change health
just energy transitions
media advocacy through story telling
data driven reforms
health equity for kids
adopting a sexual health paradigm
This would almost be funny, except that these are just the general topics upcoming at their national meeting by webinar…… They also have a hard core, standard “Policy and Advocacy” standing wing to dispense “fact sheets” for the ancient topics such as Medicare for All and a cure for the ” gun violence epidemic”. The benefits of federal policy changes addressing these, have been already determined as indisputable. Nearly all Americans want these common sense changes, so newer topics are now being discussed within the organization to incorporate into our right think.
I couldn’t find any reference to actual voting rights, political parties, or pacs, so they wish to be seen as apolitical, and as such are not in danger of losing not for profit status. At least they’ve got that going for them.
Eye doctoring appears to have been good preparation for becoming dictator of Syria, so maybe there’s a case for a wider remit there.
It seems to me that in most cases the underlying precipitating factor of many health issues is government policy. Government programs lull people into a false sense of security and create dependence. We have for years assumed the CDC was standing between us and the evil diseases that seek to feed upon us to our detriment. Many hang on every opinion Fauci utters but ignore the fact that he not only changes from day to day but was RESPONSIBLE for ensuring the nation was prepared for a pandemic of any type. On day one he was caught with his pants down because the existing stockpiles of PPE were out of date and were unusable and what was usable was horribly insufficient to meet the need. He should have been fired for his poor management of resources. Beyond the CDC we have myriad policies and programs that affect individual behaviors that can be positively correlated to perpetual poverty as much as smoking is correlated to cancer and other cardio-pulmonary diseases.
Ironically, every department of natural resources, be they state or federal, warn us not to feed wildlife lest they become dependent on humans and unable to forage for themselves or they become acclimated to humans which often leads to deadly encounters whereby the wildlife more often than not comes out on the short end of the stick.
Do government programs which condition a person to stay in a measured lower socioeconomic position through assistance eligibility criteria that limit household wealth accumulation or promote gambling among those least able to afford it on government sanctioned lotteries and casinos act in the same manner as feeding wildlife to their detriment? Do lotteries and casinos create the illusion of obtaining wealth quickly and easily? Do these imposed wealth accumulation rules create the conditions for what I would call illicit activities to enhance actual purchasing power deemed desirable by lure of living the glamorous lifestyles of the rich as indicated in the marketing of state gambling programs? And, do these illicit activities often lead to deadly encounters with others? I say they do, so to me the number one public health issue is social welfare programs that perpetuate our underclass.
Just wait until they decide that racism is a mental health issue so that it can be classified as a disease. Then all of us convicted under the hate crime of racism for saying that social welfare programs have largely hurt the African-American community as opposed to helping it will find ourselves in mental asylums just like political dissidents sometimes did in the Soviet Union.
How would such convictions stand under appeal (assuming the case is not thrown out)?