For his sins, Eric Crampton has been following the Twitter hashtag for a 'public health' conference being held in Australia and has produced an amusing compilation of the delegates' tweets for your delectation.
The humour of this sort of thing is increasingly of the gallows variety when you consider the extraordinary wealth and access to power these people have. Two things stand out:
Firstly, that the movement is now almost exclusively political. 'Political' is perhaps too flattering a word for the third-hand, pampered champagne eco-socialism that passes without question at such events, but the gathering is one of activists and activists only. The fact that Richard Wilkinson (of Spirit Level fame) gave the keynote speech probably gives an indication of the near-total scientific illiteracy in the room. Still, what need is there for science, including medicine, at such an event? This is 'public health', remember, not actual health.
Secondly, the concepts of personal liberty and self-determination are not just seen as alien or threatening, they are viewed as artificial constructs created by Evil Corporations. To take an entirely typical example...
It has been like this for years to a large extent, but the scope of these peoples' agendas now extends to everything from the food we eat to how much energy we use in our homes to whether we gamble (recall Gerard Hastings' recent call for a dictatorship of public health.) Moreover, the evidence they use to persuade themselves and politicians of the urgent need for action is of such a dismal standard (telephone surveys, wild extrapolations etc.) that they might as well not bother with it all. "The science"—as they would doubtless call it—is only bunting for a manifesto created in an echo chamber. The whole racket needs shutting down, and soon.
Be sure to read Eric's post and remember: there is no such thing as public health.