Health is the ability of a biological system to acquire, convert, allocate, distribute and utilize energy with maximum efficiency. The World Health Organization (WHO) defined human health in a broader sense in its 1948 constitution as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." This definition has been subject to controversy, in particular as lacking operational value, the ambiguity in developing cohesive health strategies and because of the problem created by use of the word "complete", which makes it practically impossible to achieve. Other definitions have been proposed, among which a recent definition that correlates health and personal satisfaction.
Cancer - A group of diseases caused by uncontrolled cell division leading to malignant growth
Health Care - Preventive, diagnostic, therapeutic and other services related to the health of an individual
Life Extension - Methods for slowing or reversing aging and extending human life
Medicine - The science and art of preventing, diagnosing and treating disease
Billions Served: Norman Borlaug interviewed by Ronald Bailey, by Norman Borlaug, Ronald Bailey, Reason, Apr 2000
Topics discussed include his current projects, Africa, roads, DDT, biotech, crossing genetic barriers in nature, biodiversity, monarch butterflies, organic produce, Lester Brown, Paul Ehrlich, India and the Green Revolution
Even if you could use all the organic material that you have–the animal manures, the human waste, the plant residues–and get them back on the soil, you couldn't feed more than 4 billion people. ... If people want to believe that the organic food has better nutritive value, it's up to them to make that foolish decision. But there's absolutely no research that shows that organic foods provide better nutrition. ... If some consumers believe that it's better from the point of view of their health to have organic food, God bless them. Let them buy it. Let them pay a bit more. It's a free society.
Booze Busting: The New Prohibition, by James Bovard, Freedom Daily, Dec 1998
Discusses various anti-alcohol laws and enforcement actions, including the law raising the minimum drinking age during the Reagan administration, and what medical research has to say about moderate alcohol consumption
The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has recognized the health benefits of moderate boozing; the institute declared in 1992 that there was "a growing body of scientific research and other data that seems to provide evidence that low levels of drinking decrease the risk of death from coronary artery disease." The New England Journal of Medicine recommended moderate alcohol consumption as one of the nine "primary prevention" methods for avoiding heart disease and concluded that low-to-moderate drinkers have up to a 45 percent lower chance of being hit by a heart attack.
Escape from Responsibility, by Sheldon Richman, May 1996
Discusses legal cases where victims attempt to hold third-parties (e.g., book publishers, gun manufacturers, tobacco companies) responsible for crimes or other harms
When government forces the taxpayers to pay for other people's medical care, it will inevitably try to control their behavior ... On such grounds, the government could outlaw tobacco ... But why stop with tobacco? Diets heavy in fat may contribute to the development of heart disease and premature death. Should the people who raise beef cattle and make ice cream have to repay Medicare? Should citizens be stopped from eating beef and other fatty foods? Should we all have to follow a government-prescribed diet so our fellow citizens won't have to pay for coronary-bypass operations? It is hard to see where the principle stops being applied.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Frosted Flakes cereal and Pop Tarts are healthy foods, but foods containing large amounts of nuts are not. ... Currently, in order to use the term 'healthy' on a product's packaging, the product in question must not exceed three grams of fat. ... this means products like almonds and avocados, which both have enormous health benefits, would be considered, 'unhealthy' by the FDA's standards. ... this is certainly not the first time government science has been found to be inaccurate, one thing that is certain, the FDA's current definition of 'healthy' is absolutely nuts.
Health Care, by Michael F. Cannon, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Discusses various aspects of healthcare from a libertarian perspective: control of contagious diseases, self-directed treatment, occupational licensing, sale of human organs, health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid
There exist more unjustified uses of the state's coercive power in health and medicine than in nearly any other area. In the United States, governments routinely forbid competent adults from making medical decisions that affect no one but themselves. Libertarians maintain that such laws are unjust and ultimately counterproductive. For example, the government denies patients, including terminally ill patients, the ability to determine their course of treatment. Proponents argue that such laws exist to ensure the safety and effectiveness of medical products. Libertarians argue that those laws cause more morbidity and mortality than they prevent.
Iraqi Sanctions: Were They Worth It?, by Sheldon Richman, Freedom Daily, Jan 2004
Analyzes the sanctions imposed on Iraq during the 1990's, and Madeleine Albright's memoirs, Madam Secretary (2003), where she attempted to recant on her 1996 statement that the sanctions were "worth it"
Moreover, for Albright to say that food and medicine were not embargoed is to evade the fact that critical public-health needs could not be addressed because of the sanctions. Preventing a society from purifying its water and treating its sewage is a particularly brutal way to inflict harm, especially on its children. Disease was rampant, and infant mortality rose, at least in part because of the sanctions. And let's not forget ... the U.S. bombing ... James Bovard documents that the civilian infrastructure was deliberately targeted and that the health risks to the Iraqi people were anticipated.
The ongoing Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) project has found both saturated and unsaturated fat intake linked to better heart health, that a high-carb diet is a better predictor of health risks than fat consumption, and that the health benefits of fruit, vegetables, and legumes like beans and chickpeas may plateau at three to four servings per day. ... Looking at the link between macronutrients and heart disease, researchers found high carbohydrate consumption—defined as diets where more than 60 percent of calories come from carbs—increased the risk of overall death ...
Pharmaceutical Prices, Patents, and the FDA, by Timothy D. Terrell, 17 Aug 2015
Comments on a Jeffrey Sachs' article criticizing Gilead Sciences for its pricing (far above production costs) of a hepatitis C medication
The American public tends to think of the FDA as a protector against dangerous side effects, as we saw with Thalidomide decades ago. But how many Americans have died because of lags in approval? A five-year delay in bringing the antibiotic Septra to the US market may have cost 80,000 lives. ... The FDA's ban on advertising aspirin as an effective preventer of first heart attacks may have caused the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans every year. But because it's easy to identify those harmed by side effects, and difficult to identify who might have been saved by earlier introduction ... the FDA tends to be over-conservative in its regulatory process.
Risk and Safety, by Aaron Wildavsky, Adam Wildavsky, The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics
Discusses the increase since the 1950s in government regulation of risks to health and safety, and the views of proponents and opponents of a "riskless society"
The health of human beings is a joint product of their genetic inheritance (advice: choose healthy and long-lived parents), their way of life (the poor person who eats regularly and in moderation, exercises, does not smoke, does not drink to excess, is married, and does not worry overly much is likely to be healthier than the rich person who does the opposite), and their wealth (advice: be rich). ... That individuals in rich nations are, on average, far healthier, live far longer, and can do more of the things they want to do at corresponding ages than people in poor countries is a rule without exception.
Proponents justify a ban [on smoking in all bars and restaurants] by arguing that secondhand smoke is a health risk. But all sorts of human activities are risky — from contact sports to rock climbing, from skiing to swimming, from riding a bike to having sex. Yet many people swim, bike and play football because they take pleasure in doing so, and that's their choice. In a liberal society, people are free to make their own risk and lifestyle choices — including whether to smoke ... all sorts of activities impose risks on others, and again, those people bear those risks willingly.
Historically, behavior classified as mental illness or a form of mental disorder has been wide ranging, including refusal to support oneself through work, reckless gambling, drug habits, unconventional sexual practices, dissatisfaction with one's physical appearance, impulsive violence, and political nonconformity (as in the former Soviet Union). ... Although Dr. Szasz never denies that people can have real problems coping with life and dealing with others, he denies that those problems are properly regarded as a form of illness. What is more, although he acknowledges that some organic conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease, can influence thought and behavior, he argues that the behavior is never a disease.
Talkers versus doers, by Thomas Sowell, 9 Jun 2004
Contrasts the pharmaceutical, automobile, housing and tech companies and entrepreneurs to those who create nothing yet criticize those businesses and are popularly regarded as heroes instead of those who truly improve lives
[I] remember from my childhood that old geezers in their 70s didn't go biking in those days. They sat around on the porch in their rocking chairs. Partly that was the style of the times but partly it was because old people did not have the energy and vigor that they have today. Much of that has been due to medical advances that not only added years to our lives but life to our years. Doctors and hospitals have helped but much of the improvement in our health has been due to pharmaceutical drugs that keep us from having to go to hospitals, and have enabled doctors to head off many serious medical problems with prescriptions.
Talkers versus doers, Part II, by Thomas Sowell, 10 Jun 2004
Explains how those who criticize businesses and entrepreneurs obtain an advantage over the "doers" and how that even affects corporate contributions to the critics' causes
'Safety' issues are ideal for talkers because nothing is absolutely safe. A vaccine may save the lives of 10,000 children but, if five children die from the vaccine itself, that can set off loud denunciations of 'corporate irresponsibility' and 'greed' on the part of the companies that produced the vaccine. Some people die from reactions to peanut butter. If the government banned every food from which some people can die, we would all die of starvation. If they banned every vaccine or drug from which people die, more people would die from diseases.
Winning the Battle for Freedom and Prosperity, by John Mackey, Liberty, Jun 2006
Updated from speech given at FreedomFest 2004; after a brief background on himself, Mackey criticizes the freedom movement from a marketing and branding perspective and suggests a different approach by de-emphasizing some issues and prioritizing others
First of all, health is not merely the absence of disease. It is vitality and a sense of well-being. Health is partly about eating a healthy diet. Regular daily exercise and minimizing the poisons we take into our bodies, such as sugar, alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine, are also very important. Health is about getting adequate sleep, and also about having a sense of personal life purpose and maintaining an optimistic and positive attitude. Most importantly, our health and well-being are our own responsibilities. Our doctors cannot assume these responsibilities. Nor can the bureaucratic "experts" controlling a health care system.
Reason: In the 1960s people like R.D. Laing and Michel Foucault agreed with you that psychiatry was a form of social control ... What would you say are the basic differences between their views on psychiatry and yours ... Szasz: Although we agreed on the criticism of traditional psychiatry, they somehow never made it clear that bodily diseases—pneumonia, cancer, and so on—are real, but mental diseases are metaphoric diseases, in the sense of a "sick" joke. They are problems, but they are not medical problems in that they do not involve somatic, organic etiologies and are not amenable to a somatic, organic resolution.
Insanity: The Idea and Its Consequences
by Thomas Szasz, 1987
Partial contents: Part One: Illness: Defining Illness - Being a Patient - Part Two: Insanity: Defining Mental Illness - Being a Mental Patient - Part Three: The Conceptual Dimensions of Mental Illness
ISBN 0815604602: Paperback, Syracuse University Press, Reprint edition, 1997
The Manufacture of Madness: A Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health Movement
by Thomas Szasz, 1970
Partial contents: The Inquisition and Institutional Psychiatry: Society's Internal Enemies and Protectors - The Witch as Mental Patient - The Manufacture of Madness: The New Manufacturer-Benjamin Rush, Father of American Psychiatry
ISBN 0815604610: Paperback, Syracuse University Press, Reprint edition, 1997
The Myth of Mental Illness: Foundations of a Theory of Personal Conduct
by Thomas Szasz, 1960
Partial contents: Growth and Structure of the Myth - Hysteria: An Example of the Myth - Semiotical Analysis of Behavior - Rule-Following Analysis of Behavior - Game Model Analysis of Behavior
ISBN 0061771228: Paperback, Harper Perennial, 50th anniversary edition, 2010
7. Health | Libertarian Public Policy with Jeffrey Miron, by Jeffrey Miron, 1 Jul 2016
Discusses government interventions in health-related areas, such as Medicare, Medicaid and ACA, the FDA regulation of medicines and medical devices, licensing of healthcare professionals and immigration restrictions on foreign-born U.S. trained doctors
Why are cities across America considering bans on e-cigarettes and vaping? Is it to protect public health? While that's what you typically hear, I think there's another important explanation. ... Many anti-tobacco activists have become anti-vaping activists. Saying that just like regular cigarettes, e-cigarettes could be dangerous for people's health or that they could send the wrong message to kids. ... Doesn't it seem wrong that these big businesses get to decide what you do with your body and your property? Isn't that for you to decide?