Public Health Service

By treating risky behavior like a communicable disease, the public health establishment invites government to meddle in our private lives. In the introduction to the first major American book on public health, U.S. Army surgeon John S. Billings explained the field's concerns: "Whatever can cause, or help to cause, discomfort, pain, sickness, death, vice, or crimeand whatever has a tendency to avert, destroy, or diminish such causesare matters of interest to the sanitarian; and the powers of science and the arts, great as they are, are taxed to the uttermost to afford even an approximate solution to the problems with which he is concerned."