Quote of the Day: Healthism Edition

Health education should provide useful, factual information to enhance rational decision-making, that is, reasoned choice. One of the possible outcomes of such a decision is to ignore the health warning and to accept the risk. Health promotionists would see such an outcome as the failure of their efforts and would describe such a choice as ‘irrational’. The resulting frustration of health educationists leads to the advocacy of more ‘efficient’ methods, that is various forms of coercion by means of legislation, moral pressure and the use of sophisticated, manipulative techniques developed by the advertising industry.

Petr Skrabanek. The Death of Humane Medicine and the Rise of Coercive Healthism, p. 142.

The book used to be available for free download from the Skrabanek Foundation, which has disappeared from the Trinity College Dublin site (I call paternalist conspiracy, by the way). A large (51.6MB!) pdf is mirrored here. Another of his books, Follies and Fallacies in Medicine is here. [Update: get ’em here.]

Devil’s Kitchen makes essentially the same point more directly in the final paragraph of this post.

3 Responses

  1. […] public health problems – they are not worrying about claptrap like obesogenic environments and coercively promoting health at the expense of individual choice. If swine flu is keeping the paternalists busy, they’re less likely to take my sweet, sweet […]

  2. […] to music sounds like fun, and it’s obviously worth the risk to those doing it. As Petr Skrabanek says: Health education should provide useful, factual information to enhance rational decision-making, […]

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