Yes, my friends, WHO is on first. Which might not be so bad if WHO was not trying to steal second, third and home, and disqualify all the other teams in the process.
In pursuing this story, I tried to keep to the journalistic credo of “Who, what, when, how and why?” but I kept getting pulled back to WHO. So WHO are you going to believe, me or your own lying eyes?
WHO, of course, is the World Health Organization, a hulking bureaucracy based in Geneva that is a sort of “arm” of the United Nations, but in reality prefers to work at arm’s length in its own self-contained world of pill and paper pushers. It is a government without a nation, an authority without a constitution, a doctor without a patient, a ministering angel without portfolio, a censorious schoolmarm spinning the globe and yelling at it to eat its veggies.
You might expect that this squatting octopus would have its tentacles full with diseases, hunger, and war-ravaged amputation and disfigurement. But you would be wrong. The favored target of power-hungry quasi-medical conglomerates around the world is human behavior in all its facets. Your pediatrician wants to know if you have a gun in the house, if you smoke or use recreational drugs, if you prepare or take out high-calorie foods and if you engage in carbon-intensive activities which may aggravate global warming. By the time the doctor finally opens the kid’s mouth to say “Aaah” most parents have opened their mouths to say “Uggh!”
Believe it or not, the amount of seepage into American culture is a trickle compared to the deluge out there in the big world. The post-Communist quest for world domination runs straight through “health care.” Step one, health care is a human right. Step two, the government provides health care. Step three, every part of human behavior is subsumed under preventive health care. Step four, the government as health care payer and provider has the moral right – nay, obligation – to control all aspects of human behavior.
WHO is a proxy for government, a sort of super-government, and they are trying to move all this power and control up one level, away from national government to their brand of supranational dominion. We have enough trouble trying to keep national government honest, but at least it is somewhat answerable to the electoral process. Handing power to these guys puts citizens’ lives in the hands of nameless faceless bureaucrats, unelected and unaccountable.
The latest excess by these folks is as pernicious as it is officious. It targets everyone’s favorite vice, tobacco. Since cigarettes are the number one cause of preventable death, WHO places a priority on reducing smoking. Instead of curing diseases, they are repairing behavior. A secular exorcism, as it were; the doctor will shoo away the devil.
In this capacity, WHO encourages high taxation of tobacco products. Countries like that part, because it brings in money. But this makes the black market in illegal tobacco more profitable. At this stage WHO gives itself the authority to set security policy for countries trying to protect their borders and markets against tobacco smugglers, who bypass taxation and probably deliver a nastier puff to the smoker. Additionally, these smuggling routes can aid terrorism alongside organized crime.
Countries needing WHO and the United Nations’ help in other areas are pressured to cede control over policy in this area.
The results are a predictable bungle. As part of the narrative surrounding the evils of smoking, the tobacco companies are demonized. They are pilloried for poisoning the masses to line their pockets with filthy lucre. In keeping with this attitude, WHO will not allow the companies to play any role in the effort to fight illegal tobacco. Furthermore, WHO ostracizes companies or entities who do legitimize the tobacco companies by dealing with them. This includes Interpol, which naturally works with legal tobacco companies to fight illegal tobacco.
Add this up and you have Monty Python level absurdity. Countries that cooperate with WHO cannot cooperate with Interpol in fighting illegal tobacco imports and sales. The legal companies that sell the taxed products cannot help countries fight the illegal products which drive down both sales and taxes.
The bottom line is simple. In the age of Brexit, it is time to exit the whole Who’s Who of the WHO ilk. Authority needs to be localized to the extent possible. Certainly the notion of security policy falling into the hands of a medical bureaucracy is absolutely intolerable. Perhaps it is time to start a movement called “Borders Without Doctors.” Let the docs cure cancer and let the cops watch the bandits.
Even if, as Lamont Cranston might say, WHO knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men.