The World Health Organization Revisited; Individual Rights

Two things today (4/17/20). First, there is a vast misunderstanding of the World Health Organization around the US. (WHO) It’s been promoted unwittingly by the President’s own seeming ignorance.

WHO operates on two different gears. In times of crisis, like now, it’s usually found wanting. That’s because the top of its hierarchy takes over at such times and the top is composed of political appointees. Their appointment is the object of backroom negotiations between various Third World tyrants, China, and others, included the US, who are usually distracted. The current head is an Ethiopian communist. How did that happen?

Most of the time, the work of WHO is performed by professionals with no strong or visible political inclinations. With them, WHO managed to practically eliminate the scourge of small-pox, to reduce greatly the reach and danger of malaria. WHO has also been the main force behind campaigns of vaccination, including in areas where strong resistance exists. (No, I don’t mean loopy Santa Cruz, where I live; I was thinking more of Pakistan.) The pennies WHO costs me personally each year are undoubtedly one of the best investments I have ever made, its recent missteps notwithstanding.

I think, and I hope, that the president’s suspension of the major American contributions to WHO is only a pleasantly devious way to get the head of its head.

Second topic. For what it’s worth, here are the two things that triggered me to make the C-virus second fiddle in the concert in my mind. First was, the prohibition on surfing in Santa Cruz. Now, I am a water man but I never surfed and my surfing days would be quite behind me anyway. That prohibition demonstrated the sheer irrationality presiding over such decisions. And the panic among officials. Alternatively, as several FB friends have pointed out, the prohibition might have been a hypocritical way to keep “outsiders” out of Santa Cruz. That would have been a gross abuse of power: Punish me for the evil others might do which the authorities probably don’t have the right to repress anyway. (Go ahead, speak it aloud.)

The other thing that turned my head around was the growing impression that governments at the state and local levels were demonstrating a royal contempt for civil rights. The prohibition of surfing in my town was a first signal. (See above.) Then I began to realize that denials of civil rights were happening all over this great country. This very morning, Rush Limbaugh played a recording of the governor of New Jersey declaring that questions about civil rights were “above his pay grade,” a governor of a large state. (And his political affiliation is…?)

What worked most into the deep recesses of my lazy mind were the mention of several prohibitions of religious gatherings in different parts of the country. Yes, they sounded reasonable, sort of, in health terms. And, yes I am an atheist (even though I actually am in a foxhole). But look, the First Amendment does not say, ” …except when there is a risk of sickness.” And, if you disagree you should openly ask for a suspension of the Constitution and let those who ask for and implement it eventually pay the political price.

There can be no unspoken exceptions to the constitutional democratic order. Can there be?

No-smoking law in Russia

Сегодня первый день лета. День, когда наконец-то вступил в силу анти-табачный закон в России. Теперь у нас очень мало мест, где можно курить. Точнее, их почти не осталось. По этому поводу уже идут полномасштабные дебаты, мол притесняют людей, ущемляют права курильщиков. Но, на самом деле, это все “палка о двух концах”. С одной стороны идет притеснение курящих людей, с другой стороны – эти самые курящие люди притесняют тех, кто хочет – и имеет на это полное право! – дышать чистым свежим воздухом (со скидкой на общегородское загрязнение воздуха, конечно). Но, как водится, то что считается нормой, по каким-то причинам не рассматривается, и основное давление на Государственную думу идет именно со стороны противников принятия закона. Их конечно можно понять. Ограничение рекламы, оборота сигарет и прочее, и прочее. Но мне вот интересно, почему так мало людей поддерживают тех, кто не курит? Неужели свежий воздух – это некоторая “данность”, за которую не нужно бороться, мол “если тебе нечем дышать – отойди в сторону, там не пахнет табаком”. Я не курю, и никогда не курил, и в целом отношусь к проблеме нейтрально. Если человек хочет портить свое здоровье – это его личное дело. До тех пор, пока не ущемляются мои права на свежий воздух. У человека не написано на лбу “я страдаю от астмы”, или что-нибудь типа того. При этом 90% курильщиков можно легко вычислить по характерному запаху. И вот мне интересно, почему мы должны считаться с их слабостями, а они с нашими нет?

Этой короткой заметкой я бы хотел поднять дискуссию по тематике табакокурения. Кто как относится к проблеме, и какие законы приняты в ваших странах, чтобы не мешать одним курить, а другим – дышать свежим воздухом?

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