Monday, January 24, 2005

"At gunpoint, if necessary"

There are so many good points in this essay that it was difficult to pull quote it. You need to read the whole thing. It relates well to earlier comments by Dr. Rangel about moving Mevacor OTC.

By using aggression to avoid medications that harm us, we lose access
to life-saving drugs.

If our neighbor George were terminally ill, we'd never dream of
entering his home at gunpoint to take away a medicine that might save him.
Similarly, we'd be furious if a family member had an incurable disease, but
George stopped our loved one at gunpoint from taking a medicine that might help.
As individuals, we honor our neighbor's choice. If we think our friends are
choosing poorly, we might try to dissuade them. However, the final decision has
to be left to them, in consultation with a physician, if that's what they wish.
After all, it is their health at stake, not ours. Most of the time, they will
know better than we what is best for them, and we'll know what's best for us. We
practice non-aggression by taking responsibility for our own choices and by
letting others do the same. Forcing our choices on others is an attempt to take
responsibility for their lives.
When we deal with our community, state, and
nation, however, our attitude is entirely different. Somehow, we think that
forcing our choice on others becomes transformed into benevolence. For example,
we support laws that stop manufacturers- at gunpoint, if necessary-from selling
medicine that has not been licensed or approved by the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA). We refuse to honor our neighbor's choice; instead, we
instruct our FDA to make up their minds for them at gunpoint, if necessary. The
effect is the same as if we used such aggression against George. Life-saving
medicines are ripped out of the hands of our fellow