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My colleague Walter Williams tells me that many people are surprised by the title of his new book: American Contempt for Liberty [2].  People (especially Americans) assume that Americans love liberty.  In contrast, Walter correctly argues that the typical American is no great lover of, or even friend of, liberty.  While we Americans might be more favorably disposed, on average, toward liberty than is the typical citizen of, say, France or of Russia or of India, we are hardly the great champions of liberty that we frequently boast of being.

Want evidence?  Minimum-wage legislation is an affront to liberty.  Even if you believe that such legislation generates positive economic benefits on net, it is unquestionably a government-imposed restriction on people’s freedom of contract.  Or how about Social Security?  Even if you believe this program to be an invention on par in greatness with that of the wheel, it nevertheless involves a restriction on individual liberty: each worker in America is forced to pay into a government-run pension plan.  No worker is at liberty to refuse to participate.  This list can, of course, be greatly extended.

While even most Americans on the political right, despite their rhetoric, are none too friendly toward liberty, Americans on the political left are at least more honest about the matter: they are less likely than are American conservatives even to pay lip service to individual liberty.  Yet Americans on the political left do loudly proclaim their devotion to “diversity”and to women’s “freedom to choose.”

Well, here’s an issue in the news today: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will rule on whether or not to allow the sale of flibanserin [3] – a pharmaceutical that increases the libido of women who take it.

Why, I ask, in a country that boasts of its commitment to freedom do we tolerate even the possibility of bureaucrats at the FDA stripping from consenting adults the right to take such a drug?  What business is it of these people who work for the FDA to refuse to allow tens of millions of women to voluntarily consume whatever drugs these women choose to consume?  Even if the FDA approves this drug, the very fact that it possesses the power to keep it off the market means that Americans hold freedom in contempt.

And what about diversity and the sacredness of “pro-choice”?  American women differ greatly amongst each other in their tastes, preferences, sexual wishes, circumstances, risk tolerances, and countless other factors.  If flibanserin is kept off of the market, each of these tens of millions of women will be forced to behave as if they all – all tens of millions of theme – are the same with regard to their preference for this particular drug.  How does such a prohibition promote – or recognize – or “celebrate” – diversity?  It doesn’t, of course.  And how is such bureaucratic oversight even remotely consistent with being “pro-choice”?  It isn’t, of course.  Yet where in this debate over the FDA’s powers are the “Progressives” who defend “diversity” and a woman’s right to choose?

The sad truth is that Americans in general have a great demand neither for liberty nor diversity nor the freedom to choose.

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