Logo @ World Health Organization @ Pregny-Chambésy
Image from Guilhem Vellut at Wikimedia Commons
Humanize From Discovery Institute's Center on Human Exceptionalism

The Lancet: You Are ‘Hardly Human’ If You Don’t Believe in the International Community

Originally published at National Review

The Lancet‘s editor in chief, Richard Horton, is furious at people who don’t believe in the international community. The “system” is failing, he says — and it’s the fault of evil right-wingers.

In a signed editorial in the world’s oldest medical journal, Horton bemoans the plight of Gazans and the fighting that has badly damaged hospitals — without once mentioning that Hamas terrorists hide and store lethal arms in these medical facilities or that they have stolen who-knows-how-many billions in aid over the years, directed at the Palestinian people, to construct intricate tunnel systems from which to attack Israel.

Then, Horton focuses on his real target. He blows a gasket while casting deep aspersions on skeptics of international institutions, particularly on those who participate in the Geneva Project. From “Offline: The system is not working“:

The prospects for this failing system look bleak. Donald Trump again as US President? The far right making electoral gains across Europe? Murderous political leaders able to act with impunity? Purveyors of disinformation, working under the rubric of The Geneva Project, who proclaim that, “We, people of the world, no longer abide by the tyrannical rule of unelected global officials and their vision of the future”? A collection of anti-vaxxers, right-wing activists, and conspiracy theorists gathered at the World Health Assembly on June 1 to declare their opposition to WHO’s efforts to negotiate a pandemic agreement.

I wasn’t aware of the Geneva Project’s work, but good for them. Reasonable people who believe in national sovereignty and individual liberty should oppose the pending pandemic agreement. The agreement would elevate the untrustworthy World Health Organization from an advisory institution to one with the power to declare an international health emergency, impose public-health policies on nations, and censor those who do not toe the party line. In other words, the agreement would enable the imposition of a technocracy.

Why, oh, why, Horton moans, are people so unwilling to docilely follow the lead of international institutions? The trite old standbys:

What is the cause of this breakdown of belief in an international community? There are many possible culprits. Racism. Populism. Nationalism.

Horton takes a hysterical step further, claiming that the system’s skeptics have lost their “humanity”:

But I think it was Dr Ghada who identified one especially important root cause: the loss of our humanity. The system is failing because our humanity — our compassion towards each other — has been eroded and, in some instances, erased. We are numb to one another’s pain. We refuse to see the distress of our neighbour. We turn away from the misery of others. We seem to be hardly human anymore.

No. It isn’t that people are “hardly human anymore.” Indeed, people care very deeply about the distress of their neighbors — such as the distress of children whose education was subverted, and of the grieving who couldn’t attend their loved ones’ funerals — because of public-health policies that we now know were not backed by “science,” as our would-be technocratic overlords then claimed.

In other words, the people’s loss of “belief” was the natural consequence of the international system’s failing and betraying those it was designed to serve. Indeed, if Horton wants to examine the many reasons behind our discontent, he should look in the mirror. The hubris of his rhetoric. The disdain he clearly holds for people with whose political and cultural views he disagrees. The two-dimensional thinking.

Trust and faith must be earned. They will not be docilely given.

Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism
Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.