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!