Using ‘public health’ as an excuse to control everything

The French‑Canadian free market economist Pierre Lemieux recently wrote a fine piece, critiquing ʻpublic healthʼ concerns as justification for paternalistic economic and social controls by governments. The entire piece, available at the Laissez-Faire Book Club website, deserves to be read, but in the first instance here is a noteworthy grab from the Lemieux post:

Hated minorities change with time. They are always hated for the good of the whole and thus for very good reasons. Imposing the public health utopia requires controlling bad lifestyles, which change with time and with the preferences of the rulers of the day. Today, hated minorities include drug and tobacco consumers, rednecks or “white trash,” disobedient youths, self-reliant types, unconventional entrepreneurs, contrarian hedonists, and other groups targeted by paper crimes.

Regardless of who the ‘public health sinners’ of the day may be, the modern public health lobby frequently resolves to ride down the slippery slope of increasing prescriptions, forcing everybody to join them in the process, rather than respecting the rights of individuals to make their own informed consumption choices.

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