Thursday, August 22, 2013

healthy regions Of community

a sense of humanistic union

This project is to be developed over some months in light of material I've drafted over several years. It'll become a central part of

After giving more substance to the earlier posting, “philosophy for good” (which is barely begun), I want to do a thought experiment on public health policy, premised on a short JAMA article today. But I’ll do some prefacing now.

preface to an odyssey

The easy message from any realistic consideration of “the” politics of public health is that the complexity of it all defies the “the”—systematically eludes a sense of coherence to it all.

How many aspects of communicative life are there? Each is integral to public education on healthier choices that compete with a market that banks on dissociativeness. And each generation is another chance for marketing and another hurdle for education.

Who demands transparency about the relations between consumerist marketing and corporate support for political gridlock in Washington?

Who thinks that public health is the axial policy context of our shared lives? How complex is the relationship between healthy lives and healthy communities, then healthy regions, then the health of nations, and the health of the planet? People easily think that such a continuum is just a sweet conversation piece (or academic topic), as if there is no real causality across such incomprehensible scale.

Those who won’t grant credence to an enabling society giving itself an enabling state—which I intend to explore—would insist upon notions of public health that serve the interests of consumerist marketing whose deep pockets in Washington are filled by their engineered profit from consumer “common sense.”

The notion of a “nanny state” insults nannies, of course; and thinly cloaks disdain for any effective inclusion of educational leadership in political leadership that enables society by generally advancing our capabilities, a calling which is integral to professional education, human services professions, medicine, and the arts. Good teaching/mentoring is not parentalism. Excellent parenting is not parentalism, let along paternalism.

There is excellent parenting, and it deserves to be appreciated, exemplified, and generalized (theorized). There is excellent teaching. There is excellent leadership. Each requires a nobility of spirit.

A “savvy state” (advocated by the JAMA article that I’ll discuss) is an intelligent state, in a sense of high engagement with enabling capabilities and general public good through excellent leadership.

I've been thinking about this for a long time, relative to a leading organization which was integral to the shaping of ObamaCare. I’m fascinated by the complexities that health care professionals are really having to deal with in implementing effective Accountable Care Organizations. Re-orienting health care around preventive care—rather than dependence on remedial and critical intervention—is a vitally-important, but difficult, long-term challenge.

But the road from there to broad-based engagement with philosophy and public health policy is a long one for me. I’m drawn to the opportune, manageably-short article on “Reconsidering the Politics of Public Health” (cited above) because I want to focus on public health policy in a broadly philosophical way, and one must start somewhere.

After discussing politics of public health a bit, I’m going to take my time (fall into winter) to share my interest in others’ recent work on “flourishing,” as an evidence-based approach to health psychology, education, and philosophical ethics.

[To be continued]