The Food and Drug Administration regulates pharmaceuticals, but it has no business playing doctor and giving you medical advice. That’s the message of a Sept. 1 ruling from the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which strikes a blow against the public-health excesses of the Covid-19 pandemic and in support of the physician-patient relationship.
The FDA claims broad authority to protect public health, much as other agencies did during the pandemic to justify everything from eviction moratoriums to vaccine mandates. Courts have repeatedly struck down such far-reaching assertions of authority unless statutes specifically authorized them.
The FDA regulates medications and devices to ensure they are safe and effective. But physicians, with their patients’ informed consent, must be able to decide on treatments—including off-label ones—because they are best able to assess their patients.
Even students who have succeeded academically and gone to college weren’t unaffected. “The enforced isolation of the pandemic has delayed developmental milestones for many of our traditional-aged students, affecting their social development, emotional health, and cognitive readiness,” writes Joanne Vogel, vice president of student services at Arizona State University. “Incoming students are displaying behavior we might expect of younger adolescents.”
Good news! The unconstitutional California physician censorship law AB2098 has been repealed by the California Senate – as long as the governor signs it, it’s gone. What a waste of time & effort, and what a massive embarrassment for the state. Again.
“Pandemic fraud hits a new height.” A slice:
You know a robbery is bad when it takes years to figure out how much was stolen. States have long known that they paid billions in fraudulent unemployment claims during the pandemic. But this week the federal government more than doubled its estimate in stolen payments to as much as $135 billion.
Today, authoritarians claim they are defending democracy yet do so by illiberal means. Orwell observed these tactics and reported “a widespread tendency to argue that one can only defend democracy by totalitarian methods. If one loves democracy, the argument runs, one must crush its enemies by no matter what means.”
The enemies to be crushed included “those who ‘objectively’ endanger it by spreading mistaken doctrines.” Today’s censors also use this misinformation argument.
Worse, Orwell explains intellectuals justified Stalin’s purges by claiming the victims’ “heretical opinions … ‘objectively’ harmed the régime, and therefore it was quite right not only to massacre them but to discredit them by false accusations.”
This is not an essay to consider the cancellation of health professionals, authors, and academics. But if you believe intellectuals oppose “false accusations” in service of their perceived good cause, Orwell would say you are wrong.
Markets create value through creative destruction, consumers choose which product they prefer at the price they want and those that can’t compete go out of business. Consumer choice is at the center of the process. Antitrust enforcement, when focused on simply how many firms are in a market rather than how consumers make choices, actually hurts consumers.
Charles Cooke is rightly flabbergasted at Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner’s defense of his magazine’s completely fabricated “report” in 2014 of a fictional gang rape at the University of Virginia. A slice:
The “factual errors that sank that story” were that it wasn’t true in any way. There is no “other than this one key fact” here, because the “one key fact” was the rape, and, as Wenner concedes, “the rape described actually was a fabrication of this woman.” This being so, it is not possible that “the rest of the story was bulletproof,” because the “rest of the story” flowed from the central claim, which was false. “Other than that”? Is Wenner on drugs?
Wenner’s broader claim is also absurd. He says that the issue was “really about the issue of rape and how it affects women on campus.” But the main victim here was a woman — the associate dean to whom Rolling Stone was obliged to pay $3 million. As for his talk of a “lack of rights”? Under Joe Biden’s administration, the full might of the federal government is being deployed to ensure that men who are accused of sexual assault on campus have as few rights as is humanly possible. If Wenner were an observant man, he might have come to regard his magazine’s spectacular failure as a prime example of the sort of problems that are created when, as the result of a widespread moral panic, people and institutions prove willing to forgo fact-checking and common sense and end up crucifying innocent parties on the basis of stories that are quite obviously untrue. Apparently, though, he’s learned nothing.
The real world, of course, is messier. Many domestic corporations and labor unions object to the competition with foreign companies that free trade would bring. And some people and politicians genuinely do not believe that free trade is good policy, arguing that protectionism is the way to wealth and prosperity. The result has been a trading system characterized by continued protectionism, with trade agreements used as a second‐best way to liberalize trade and constrain protectionism. These agreements achieve some liberalization but do not come close to full free trade. And in recent years, interest groups have used them to push for policies outside of the core free trade versus protectionism debate, some of which may restrict trade more than they promote it.
For these reasons, trade agreements are not a perfect way to achieve their goals. And as a result, they have been subject to criticism from some free traders, who say something along the lines of, “why can’t we just have a one‐page free trade agreement?” These agreements have also been criticized as corporate rent‐seeking tools. In this view, trade agreements are simply tools for powerful corporations to receive special treatment that will increase their profits.
The criticisms are mostly misguided. Over the last few decades, trade agreements have reduced protectionism and have created a rules‐based system that keeps trade wars in check. And on balance, albeit with some exceptions, they have helped keep corporate demands for government favors at bay. The thousands of pages of trade agreements have helped shift the world in the direction of free trade and have reduced corporate influence over government policymaking.