On Libertarian Logic: Retarding Science PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 28 November 2011 00:00
By Leroy W. Demery, Jr.

With reference to smoking, it pays to remember that "popular wisdom" at least in some circles held that smoking was "bad." This was true decades before the 1964 Advisory Committee report to the U.S. Surgeon General. There's a line in Rudyard Kipling's novel "Captains Courageous" - first published in 1897 - that demonstrates this.

It also pays to remember that the advisory committee's findings were not accepted "immediately." I can remember hearing about contradictory studies to ca. 1975. Later, secondhand smoke became an issue because of research results - but look how long it took for laws prohibiting smoking in bars and restaurants to be enacted. The European Union is still working on this.

Although he'd probably argue against this vigorously, I think that David Godow--a research assistant at the Reason Foundation--uses science to justify what he wants to do (or not to do) - rather than make public policy decisions based on science. In other words, typical "Libber-tarian."

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 November 2011 19:27