by John Dan Stone, Age of Autism, UK Editor
A welcome for David Healy’s new, short polemical volume The Decapitation of Care. Healy as ever likes to express himself in terms of historical theatre — the comparison with oppressive political situations of past as well as the roots of this present oppressive situation in the past. Implicit in the torment of this keenly felt book is that there is still no wide recognition that this ought to be the great political issue of our time.
In our last British election in December 2019 which was called to resolve the Brexit issue it was remarkable the extent to which the future of public health or at least the National Health Service was at forefront of debate, but the more important question of what it did to serve the public was utterly invisible — the possibility that public health was itself becoming a ravenous beast devouring its citizens was scarcely on the agenda.
The present author recalls writing the UK lobby organisation 38 Degrees which had been lobbying the May government for money for the NHS to ask them to consider before making such a demand how they would avoid it just being a case of more public or citizen’s money being siphoned off by corporate/pharmaceutical interests. For all the reply I got they may either have believed this issue to be beyond their competence (in which case ought they not to stay out of it?) or it was alternatively already the big undisclosed idea. Indeed the new government seems to be committing extra tens of millions of pounds to the NHS enterprise over the next years much of which will no doubt go enrich their friends at GlaxoSmithKline. (Meanwhile, Healy has had the good sense to quit his Welsh shore for Ontario where just possibly there is still a small amount of democratic politics left).
Perhaps, even more than English politics of the 17th century where Healy starts it resembles the French state of the 18th which he visits like a latter-day Gulliver on the way to the present, the government bankrupt, its subjects weighed down by the monopolies and franchises of its privileged classes: those who under the guise of nobility exploited ordinary people to death.
The topic he perhaps avoids because it is the most contentious is that of vaccination, but this also may come to be the biggest political flashpoint as we saw at the New Jersey legislature at the beginning of the year. A new showdown is now also set for Illinois — and what is actually at stake is the right of government to inject whatever substances it nominates (many of them already obnoxious) on behalf of its pharmaceutical friends into ourselves and our children, now, in the perpetuity, and not to be held to account — all of it on the pretext of the putative greater good and public safety (but mostly just about disgusting and disreputable political patronage).
The small volume comes extravagantly illustrated with historical material and the disturbing, ironic artwork of Healy’s collaborator Billiam James.