It is not unusual for people from my own field of knowledge to annoy me. In fact, they are often the most obnoxious, arrogant and authoritarian people in the world!
Public Health is leftist, it did not have to be so, but it is. Not just mildly leftist or welfarist, but heavily marxist. That said, it does not mean that its talking heads are scions of the proletariat (like me), much to the contrary, they usually come from middle class and up, which is like a whole different world in places with huge income gaps, like Brazil.
Those who have not come from middle class, belong to more structured families, or benefited from affirmative action programs of one kind or another and are thus intellectually bred by this elite. Very few are like me, people who could not benefit from any program, whose family was completely broken and who had to work and study since my teens, and, darkest sin of all, who have worked in the private initiative and is totally aware of what is civil service for who does not belong to it.
When they say that WHO made a pact to assure healthy life to people, they mean that it is a state duty to do so, by whatever means, and that it is the health sector privilege to lead the way. They mean that they should enact policies to shape people´s behavior that go far beyond nudging and when I listen to them, I think that Thaler and Sunstein manipulative proposition is even harmless compared to these people´s beliefs.
These people are truly shocked when their initiatives fail and they also fail to understand that socialism failed because Marx failed to understand human nature, so wherever a group of people tried to impose a form of marxist inspired socialism, there was no technological progress, no abundance, no freedom (socialism is opposite to freedom, by definition), only hunger, death and destruction. If Schumpeter was alive, he would make another chapter to his celebrated book and say, yeah, when put to the test, it failed.
Capitalism is not good, neither perfect, it is only organic to human nature and evolution, and it is incredibly adaptive. Deal with it. How? Aren´t we supposed to be the smart ones? Don´t kill the hen to get the eggs.
They also idealize the poor as bon sauvages, being all to prompt to find excuses for their cruelty in the capitalist system, instead of… well, humanity. Embrace humanity and there is a good chance you can harness its powers to constructive things. Don´t do it, and it shall eat you up. Pretty freudian, eh?
It is obvious that people who don´t have sanitation, paved streets and electricity won´t say they need a new drug for diabetes or for alzheimer (unless you ask them what they need in front of a hospital when they are sick and this hospital has no resources to treat them). Now, give them infrastructure, which tends to improve many health problems, and soon they will inquire about the new drug, the hospital, the vaccines… Poor people do not hold any higher knowledge, the researchers simply do not know what it is to be poor, and how hard it is to move up the social and educational ladder. In my humble opinion, the researchers are simply dumb.
They blame inequality for all the evils in the world, but suppose you seize the fortune of all those who have it and split it evenly with everyone: you won´t improve anyone´s life and will make millions ever poorer. Now, you can seize all that wealth and have it distributed according to each individual´s needs, but who is going to determine the individual needs? Worse, who is going to keep producing the wealth? Experience proved that it simply does not work; it does not work in a classroom, splitting grades among students, it won´t work to satisfactory levels for the masses. It also stifles creativity, cause an individual or group will not have resources to invest in their ideas as all assets are collective, and there is not mass creation.
Of course, they are an elite among the poor! I am the rabble of them, cause I did not inherit anything, did not come from a “good family”, do not have a double income household, nor do I have connections in political parties, so I do not travel abroad or make money from this thinking the revolution. I simply work to keep watch on the quality of the products on the market, their safety and efficacy, for the poor and the rich altogether, and that does not “change the world”.
Now, these fighters for freedom and equality have a problem with contrary ideas. Instead of taking those who think differently as legitimate, and consider their thoughts and ideas thoroughly, perhaps changing or negotiating their own, which is the rational thing to do, they seek something that scares me stiff, something called “democratic consensus” which roughly translates as a unified thought, herd behavior, one mind on one matter. And when someone disagrees and voices her concerns, raises questions, points their contradictions and failures, they bully, they harass and even insinuate she is insane, gaslighting her, and go the lengths of denouncing that dissonant creature to the department of human resources and mental health of their Institution, so that she can be somehow reformed.
Does it ring a bell? Stalin? Castro? Mao? No socialist is good when his beliefs are pushed to the limits, the lamb skin is shed and the wolf bares his teeth.
The two days of seminar on Health Promotion bored me to death, but mostly they exasperated me cause they showed the stark difference between my department, a little more than a couple of hundred people and the rest of the campus: we are the odd duck in the pond. I was also scared to see how they harass the dissonant, and fight for crumbs among themselves, and still make no real difference, how infatuated they are with their own voices to listen to anything else.
My mind drifted to perfume shops, shoe stores and sex toys, while at the same time made mute remarks on the conceptual mistakes, statistical flaws so obvious that even a lawyer could see, and crappy management and planning. Mute, cause one learn by example, and I´ve seen what these people do, and we are the smallest department and need some back up. We must work on it, and if crisis is opportunity we are seizing it.
I don´t question my choice of career, I love what I do, I don´t like what the rest of the field does, and we are the oldest area of public health to ever exist, so we have always been here and we will be here even after they´re gone. I can´t deny, however, that academia disappointed me: I thought it was a space for free thinking, and I realized it is the opposite.