Here's the story.
Sridhar argues that the WHO is unique among health organizations in that it can create legally binding conventions. The WHO has done this only twice in its 64-year history: the International Health Regulations, which require countries to report certain disease outbreaks and public-health events; and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which commits governments to making legislative moves to reduce the demand for, and the supply of, tobacco.
No other entity can attack the global problem of alcohol abuse, she said. When it comes to alcohol, though, the WHO has settled on merely recommendations, such as those outlined in the 2010 WHO Global Strategy to Reduce Harmful Use of Alcohol.
The WHO has already begun a war against tobacco, and it sure would be good lively fun if they stuck their noses in here too.
[caption id="attachment_9599" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="The good doctor."][/caption]
The good Dr. Sridhar is an impressive person. She's the youngest person to ever receive a Rhodes scholarship, and she's teaching and writing at Oxford right now. So this is not meant to be condescending. She is someone to be taken seriously, although within that comes the following poking of fun.
She is exactly the sort of person we should expect to be proposing something like this. She was raised in such a way that it surprises me not at all that she is a Prohibitionist, and the sort of elitist who believes the hoi polloi should be cared for by their betters. Let's have fun with a list! In no particular order, and without regard for what feeds the Prohibition side or the elitist side or both...
Oh, and I know this will be offensive to 61% of you.
- She went to a Montessori school when young.
- She went to an elite college prep school in South Florida. Nothing against the school, it's one of those old-school ones that makes everyone participate in team sports. 100% of their graduates go to four-year colleges upon graduation.
- She went to the private U of Miami, followed by Oxford for graduate work.
- She is American.
- She is of Indian descent. I know nothing of her faith, and don't want to overstep my bounds here. However, Islam bans alcohol, and while Hinduism does not, alcohol is viewed as a pollutant, as something to be discouraged.
- She is a woman.
She clearly wants to save the world (look at her work), which I admire in her. She is also, clearly, brilliant.
It seems that when legislators and bureaucrats try to ban something, it's usually something they won't miss at all.
If I'm going to have this discussion with some UN or WHO bureaucrat, please let it be with the up-by-his-bootstraps son of a German factory worker. Someone who might have a little sympathy for the world's lovers of wine and beer. But somehow I suspect we're not going to see a German or a Frenchman or a Brazilian or an Australian make a suggestion like this any time soon.