Political use of the aura of science at the CDC

A unhealthy dose of fear (commentary by Dan Gainor, Washington Times) is about the FUD mongering that has become so popular.

Once again, the CDC wanted to alarm people just enough so that agency bureaucrats would have a compliant public willing to take their advice. And again, reality wasn’t quite so alarming.

For at least a decade, CDC has been making suspect claims about what it views as vices – food, alcohol and tobacco. One CDC classic concluded its findings “suggest higher alcohol taxes and higher minimum legal drinking ages are associated with lower STD incidence among certain age groups.”

Inch by inch progress against the remaining real challenges to public health isn’t going to land congressional funding boosts after gushers of fawning publicity. Changing the subject and even changing the definition of public health fixes that problem for the CDC. That’s why the CDC’s public health mission quietly transforms into political health manipulation.

Sound familiar? The analogies to climate research are there. The taint of money, so often used to impugn, is here but, since it is government money, it is to be ignored. Warnings of extreme danger and catastrophe being used to implement policy and law are here, too. The persistence is another factor in common.

— We know what’s good for you and, if we can’t scare you into being what we think is an ideal person, we’ll legislate you into one. — It is an old and ancient human proclivity and we have not escaped it yet.

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