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Richard Horton’s Diagnosis Of Society

Horton is a doctor and the editor of The Lancet:

A more equal society is a safer, kinder and more prosperous society. Specific policies to meet the urgent needs of these groups can lay the foundations for economic recovery and build resilience to future crises. We must demand parental support to improve prospects for child development and policies to advance adolescent physical and mental health. We should have stronger assistance and legal protections for women and children at risk of domestic violence and abuse. And we need more interventionist disease prevention and health promotion campaigns across people’s lifetimes, prioritising cancer prevention, heart disease and severe lung disease – and recognising the role that poverty and insecurity play in determining ill health.

Working conditions must be improved, and frontline workers must receive a wage that respects and recognises the critical role they have played in protecting our communities from collapse.

We’ve just spend two centuries doing all of those things. The result, by Horton’s own estimation?

She points out that we are suffering from a widespread disillusionment about our bewildering predicament, and describes how people are feeling anxious and angry. She argues that alienation and exclusion are breeding mistrust, that communication between people and politicians is broken, and that despite the crisis we face we are nowhere near being able to answer a question about how we want the world to be.

How do we begin to answer that question? First, we must understand the true nature of the crisis that confronts us. Our nation suffers from a political disease of historic proportions. The bonds that once held communities together are fraying. The confidence we once felt that generations after our own would have greater opportunities has ebbed away. And the beliefs we once embraced about the inherent strength and resilience of our national institutions and welfare state have been exposed as mere illusions. The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the reality of contemporary Britain: the country is defined by poverty, insecurity and inequality.

It seems unlikely that more of what we did to get here will cure the ailments of being here. But then medical educations – and The Lancet – do appear to be light on that logic part.

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rhoda klapp
rhoda klapp
7 months ago

I met him once after a panel on evidence-based something or other. I came to the no-doubt-unjustified conclusion that he is not only an activist posing as an authority, but also somewhat of a gobshite.*

*My spell-checker objects, but I’m sure I spelled it wright.

Phoenix44
Phoenix44
7 months ago

 “…we are nowhere near being able to answer a question about how we want the world to be.”

Because we all want different things rather than being forced to want what people on the left think we should want. Utopia is by definition totalitarian.

Spike
Spike
7 months ago

For starters. “A more equal society is a safer, kinder and more prosperous society.” With institutions supervising more aspects of life. How is a society where equality is enforced a more prosperous society? And why does it make this more likely to be true that he is a doctor?

The column itself reinforces both ends of Rhoda’s conclusion, above.

Barks
Barks
7 months ago

A medical doctor, having spent untold number of years cloistered away with the blood, guts and trauma of the profession, is probably the least likely to possess the well-rounded background and outlook required to be opining as an authority as to how the society should be arranged.

Bernie G.
Bernie G.
7 months ago

Significant numbers of the top 20pct (income/wealth) continue to be exercised by those who languish in the bottom 20pct. I doubt, however, that the middle 60pct are queuing to share their hard-earned portion of the cake – the bit that’s left over after the taxman has taken his cut.

thefattomato
thefattomato
7 months ago

Is this the Richard HORTON who allowed the anti-science drivel of the MMR autism link to be published?

HJ777
HJ777
7 months ago
Reply to  thefattomato

He didn’t just publish it. He refused for many years to withdraw it.

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