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Re: second-hand smoke and other science crises

“Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.”
– Michael Crichton

I ran across this quote today online, and although I’d read it before (it’s either from a speech he gave or the endnotes to his novel State of Fear), it rings true to me today in Elkhart County. He’s right — scientific consensus surrounding emotional issues almost always results in some kind of cost to the public — if not monetary, certainly in terms of reduced freedom, higher restrictions.

We have reached a point where broad agreement substitutes for real science, and where the idea that we shouldn’t take the risk (as in the second-hand smoke debate), has more credence than any demands to prove WHY our rights should be restricted.

Every consensus results in a regulation or government oversight program, often set up on the thinnest of logic. Just because something is potentially bad for us does not mean we need to pass laws (and the requisite costs of enforcement) to prohibit it.