On Your Conservative Friends

 

So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. 11 He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. 12 And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 15 He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men[a] and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. 18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

This has unintentionally turned into a sort of “Notes to Mr. Boudreaux” series, but for good reason.  He has regularly touched on what I have found to be the most discouraging (and even shocking) phenomenon of the past year.  I have written about why that surprise, for anyone well acquainted with the history of totalitarianism, is largely unfounded.  But while otherwise right-thinking individuals have always had that one event or set of circumstances that cause them to demand protection from a king, it is still somewhat jarring when it happens with your own friends, while you plead in vain with them to open their eyes and turn around.

In a recent post at Cafe Hayek, Don responds to his colleague Tyler Cowen’s criticisms of The Great Barrington Declaration.  Also posted is a response from another well-respected colleague, Dan Klein.  I do not know the extent of any friendship between Don, Dan, and Tyler (or any combination thereof).  I know that they are all colleagues, and there was a time when I would have placed them all in roughly the same category as being libertarian or classically liberal intellectuals.  Over a year into covid hysteria, this category is now full of people who are all distinguishing themselves in different ways, some respectable and consistent, and some not.

I initially wrote this as a letter to Mr. Boudreaux in response to his column (the “you” in this essay is Mr. Boudreaux), and I will preserve that tone for the sake of convenience (though I would encourage you to stop and read both his and Mr. Klein’s articles right now).

With respect to both of those articles, I strongly relate to the frustration of attempting to converse with formerly conservative or libertarian friends who now seem to speak an entirely different language.  My only small disagreement comes with the closing line used by both.  They say to Mr. Cowen:  “You are better than this.”  Frankly, I am not so certain that this is true.

That someone who has spent much of his career arguing against government interventions should suddenly pivot to what is, in essence, complete centralization and unchecked (and unaccountable) power – what we’ve experienced over the past year has amounted to an elimination of individual liberty, the separation of powers, and checks on authority – because, quite simply, “I’m scared,” makes me question how much he ever understood these ideas in the first place.  As you say, arguments should stand or fall on their own merits, and certainly if I were to go back and read old essays or books or listen to old podcasts with Cowen, I would not pretend that anything he says is somehow wrong because I now question his own understanding (or commitment to truth).  But you made a more personal statement by saying “you’re better than this,” and I, therefore, respond to that statement with a more personal analysis.

I have a handful of former acquaintances (not friends, but people I spent some time interacting with online over the past 10 years or so) who have undergone a very similar transformation.  Among these few, what were once recognized as fairly standard classical-liberal truths, now applied to covid, are met only with ad hominem complaints and dismissal (“COVID broke Ryan,” or “here he is saying the same old garbage, dressed up in lawyer-speak,” or “he has joined the ranks of my crazy mother-in-law, and all because he doesn’t want to wear a mask.”)  Of course, my own ideas never changed, nor were they ever uniquely mine, which means it is Smith and Hayek who are insufferably dense.  But old truths applied to new situations have always been appropriate; as this last year has gone by, I’ve wondered how all of this would read as another chapter in Hazlett’s great “economics in one lesson;” the lesson applied to COVID hysteria.

But there was one thing I noticed among the group of former acquaintances: each one of them had some reason for feeling personally threatened by whatever his idea of COVID was.  One believes himself particularly at risk because he has a certain blood type, another because of obesity.  Another believes himself to be particularly at risk because he has asthma, another because he suffers from insomnia and stress.  But the underlying thread was that, for all of these individuals, their understanding of the world, of the way markets and economies work, of the way governments work, was unable to stand up to something that they perceived to be a personal threat.  I have elsewhere called it narcissism, or in the very least a failure to look around at the world around you and consider that literally everyone else you see has some personal health issue or other consideration … but I’ll leave that psycho-analysis for someone better equipped.

Of course, this is exactly the phenomenon that justifies virtually all totalitarian action, is it not?  You are somehow in danger; you are somehow threatened.  It is real, now, because the threat is at your doorstep.  When you are afraid of guns, you wish them all to be forcibly removed from your neighbors.  When you are afraid of competition, you favor government intervention to limit (or eliminate) your competitors.  I suppose the same could be extended to most areas where individuals demand government interventions.  The form this most commonly takes in libertarian circles is when it deals with social-type interventions that come at the risk of religious liberty and freedom of conscience.  It isn’t a fear of oppression or discrimination, but it is a type of fear nonetheless – of supporting or defending something that is not accepted within your social circles, or that might cause your friends to associate you somehow with them.  As you have observed, his fear was most apparent in conservatives, who, since 2016 and even into today, are eager to contradict anything that might in any way be viewed as “Trumpian.”

I don’t know whether it is possible to get through to someone who has decided that all previously accumulated understanding is rendered moot the minute a threat reaches his doorstep.  It may be that many of these people didn’t really understand the arguments they were making, and it may also be that they utilized conservative or libertarian sounding arguments only because it happened to be convenient or advance their immediate purposes.  There is a possibility of some, who I would only describe as being in the grip of a sort of temporary insanity – who really did understand classical liberal ideas, and who really did believe that those ideas are sound; people who are legitimately afraid of something, whether they have any business being afraid of it or not.  I think the only way to convince a person like that is to get that person to acknowledge his fear and express some willingness to discuss it.  COVID is not uniquely horrible; it is not uniquely threatening.  Our response has caused some individuals – unfortunately, the majority of people in the world! – to lose any sense of context.  But if that was true for some conservatives and libertarians, it is inexcusable one year later; rather, it is not a plausible explanation one year later.

My wife and I were in a grocery store (happily maskless, of course) the other night.  We saw a man at the customer service counter buying cigarettes.  He was probably in his mid-20s; his hair was made into dreadlocks and pulled haphazardly into a rasta-style knit hat, and he wore gray sweatpants, a pair of galoshes, and … an N95 mask covered by a blue surgical mask, and a pair of blue disposable rubber gloves.  A betting man would have decent odds that this individual, in addition to being a smoker, is also a regular user of Kratom and any number of other drugs (I’m basing this on appearance and behavior, as this is a demographic I know well).  When we walked out to our car, he was standing in front of his van, spraying each individual one of his newly-purchased items with Lysol.

My wife was kind enough to indulge in a rant on our way home.  Given his age and weight, this person likely has something like a .05% chance of complications from COVID, if he were to get it.  Given the time of year in this particular town, and our current “numbers,” I have no idea what his percent chance of actually being exposed to COVID actually is, but in a population of half a million, there are maybe a few hundred who might ever be out and about and infectious?  Regardless, these numbers express chances that are extremely low, of even getting an illness for which this man’s chances of survival approaches 100%.

Seemingly lost was a handful of ironies; this man drives, per his social preferences, a vehicle that is decades old and equipped with all the safety innovations of the late 1980s.  He uses at least one substance whose carcinogenic properties are well known and understood.  The list goes on and on and on.  Perhaps it is somewhat fruitless to play the game of “what if we treated X the way we treat COVID,” though it would provide some much-needed context and sense of proportion with respect to everyday threats.  The end result would be ludicrous and would render a person incapable of performing even the simplest daily tasks.

What I’ve found is that the COVID-hysterical, when confronted with that particular “what if,” respond with anger and defensiveness, insisting that (though somehow they are willing to compare mask mandates with laws prohibiting public nudity) the comparison is grossly unfair.  This is because one of the primary defining characteristics of covid hysteria is that COVID is understood – however poorly – to be a threat that is imposed upon us by someone else.

This man, like Tyler Cowen, very clearly feels personally threatened – and it is likely that he also supports government intervention, the purpose of which is to infringe upon my neighbor’s liberty in order to restrict that neighbor’s actions and movement, thus reducing that neighbor’s ability to do whatever it is I am afraid of.

Restrict him –  in order to protect me from my neighbor.

Now, it doesn’t surprise me that the guy in the sticker-covered van, which encourages everyone else on the road to “feel the bern,” believes that covid, like everything else, is a zero-sum game.  If I believe that the rich get richer only because they have figured out some way to make the poor even poorer, it would not likely cross my mind to think that my neighbor’s pursuit of his own self-interest, when faced with a pandemic, might lead him to become educated, and even to take whatever steps he feels would be necessary to protect his own health and the health of those around him.  That he might also desire to keep his friends and loved ones safe.  And Heaven forbid I should ever even countenance the thought that wisdom, thus accumulated, employed, and tested across entire populations might actually lead to outcomes that fail to materialize when governments enforce the views of a small group of self-proclaimed “experts” while silencing open dialogue and new (in addition to old) ideas; after all, who could possibly be better at responding quickly to ever-changing facts than a massive government that is filled with self-interested bureaucrats acting on the advice of attention-seeking egomaniacal … bureaucrats?  That’s how the economy works, right?  That’s why the 5-year plans were such a raging success, and why soviet-era Russian technology and prosperity was the envy of the entire world for … well … so why should it not work for this, too?

But I do at least get why my lemon-lime Lysol, BO, and patchouli scented friend believes that the only solution to a problem that causes him to fear is to hunker down and wait for some powerful and omniscient recess teacher to step in and enforce some rules.  What I don’t get is this complete shift among libertarians and conservatives, or rather, how that mode of thinking could persist over an entire year and a wealth of evidence showing that their formerly-held understanding very much applies in this as ever it has applied to anything.

Unless it is something more than just fear.  If it is not a lack of understanding that the same principles that render governments incompetent in the coordination of whole economies should also render them incompetent in response to complicated matters of health; if it is not a failure to recognize that the same market forces that bring price signals and allow for efficient allocation of resources will also produce the most reliable and responsive actual science and dissemination of information regarding emerging health issues, while a centralized authority will, in the best case scenario, always be several steps behind emerging data and remain extremely hesitant to alter plans or ditch programs that have only taken form after months of planning and millions of dollars spent; if it is not a lack of understanding that more likely, this authority will be perversely incentivized to recommend actions that are most convenient for his employers, that save face, or that serve the purposes of whoever has the privilege of bending his ear; if it is not a lack of understanding that either way, the scientific method, whose primary mode of service is in causing one to say “our hypothesis was wrong,” is extremely unlikely to be employed by this authority with any genuine rigor; if it is none of these things – as it is unlikely to be in the case of someone intelligent and relatively well educated – it is something more than just plain old fear.  It is fear, but now with an acceptance that all of those devastating consequences are likely to be someone else’s problem.  Someone further down the road, someone less equipped than I am to weather the storm that these actions are sure to bring about.

I would argue against the man on the street who holds a sign demanding a $15 minimum wage that such actions are likely to result in an overall increase in unemployment … and he might very well reply that he doesn’t really care who is unemployed, so long as he’s making $15 an hour.

Here I am again tempted to talk about narcissism.  Think about a mass shooting.  In the confusion, one’s true character emerges.  Someone dashes for the exit, trampling over anyone who happens to get in his way.  Someone else grabs his closest family members and covers them with his own body in an attempt to protect them.  Someone else looks around for the shooter, hoping to fight back and end the threat.  Someone else stands absolutely frozen in fear.  And not everybody does what they wish they would do, but everybody does something.

What worries me about the classical liberal, whose understanding of markets, economies, and human action has always been firm, and who is perfectly capable of applying these principles to COVID, is that this person is simply afraid, and is willing to make sacrifices in order to protect himself, provided he is immune from the consequences of those sacrifices.  This man demands a king for protection, and he ignores the advice of Samuel, thinking that somehow this time things will be different.  Maybe he really is foolish enough to believe that the king will voluntarily relinquish his power when the threat has passed (rather than ensure that there is always a threat and always a need).  Maybe he believes that this time, things will be different.  Or maybe he simply believes that the king will not come for him, for his land, for his sons and daughters… and maybe he is willing to sacrifice everyone else for his own personal guarantee of safety.

There’s one important final observation I would add to your thoughts regarding Cowen’s response to the Great Barrington Declaration, and to all of my own former acquaintances who refuse to engage the substantive arguments:  ad hominem is the argument that makes the most sense when I’m frightened, and when I believe that the biggest threat to me … is you.

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 81 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ! Contributor
    Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ!
    @Majestyk

    This is a wall of text that might as well say the same thing over and over again: “I don’t want to wear a mask and you can’t make me!”

    Tyler Cowen put it the most succinctly when he said on EconTalk: “If you cover your mouth when you sneeze you’re already a believer in masks,” and very little else need be said. But, liberty requires responsibility, and responsibility has been in short supply for quite some time in a lot of quarters.

    • #1
  2. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The
    @RyanM

    Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ! (View Comment):

    This is a wall of text that might as well say the same thing over and over again: “I don’t want to wear a mask and you can’t make me!”

    Tyler Cowen put it the most succinctly when he said on EconTalk: “If you cover your mouth when you sneeze you’re already a believer in masks,” and very little else need be said. But, liberty requires responsibility, and responsibility has been in short supply for quite some time in a lot of quarters.

    That was one of the more ignorant statements in an interview that was cringeworthy throughout. But this isn’t a post about masks. If you’re interested in educating yourself, I’d suggest that you start here

    • #2
  3. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ! (View Comment):

    This is a wall of text that might as well say the same thing over and over again: “I don’t want to wear a mask and you can’t make me!”

    Tyler Cowen put it the most succinctly when he said on EconTalk: “If you cover your mouth when you sneeze you’re already a believer in masks,” and very little else need be said. But, liberty requires responsibility, and responsibility has been in short supply for quite some time in a lot of quarters.

    Yes there has been a huge short supply of responsibility. But that lack of societal responsibility  has not come from the group that has carefully examined every single aspect of this pandemic and understand that at its base, it is a psy op planned for over a decade by an inner circle of the Elite.

    I grew up in a family whose matriarch was a great aunt who was an eye surgeon in Chicago. She understood what is involved in terms of infection prevention. What she taught my mom about that subject matched almost word for word a college course on infection I took in 1968. Masks are important if worn during the first two months of an epidemic’s outbreak. This two month mark was missed in almost every state that insisted on mask wearing. For instance, in California, although the first person who died of COVID on the West Coast succumbed in January, the mask mandate took effect on June 18th 2020.

    Then there is the matter of the very remedies that would have trimmed the fatality numbers by some 84% but which were withheld by the top health official in the US, one Dr Fauchi. He cannot claim ignorance for his withholding HCQ from the public as way back in 2005, he authored a published science paper on the effectiveness of this anti malarial.

    The Number One Reason for withholding the remedies was that the way the US law regarding emergency authorizations of experimental vaccines is written, if there are available, proven safe and effective remedies, then there can be no emergency authorization for an experimental vaccine.

    However many Americans succumbed to COVID 19 are people who were murdered by this fraud of a health official.

    The signers of The Great Barrington Declaration have no blood on their hands. The people denigrating these individuals, especially those who worship Fauci and Gates do.

    Additionally, in many industries and regions of the nation, deaths from suicide are 75 to 85% of the COVID fatality numbers. Although the God with the long beard and the short fuse of the Old Testament is not the God I believe in, for the sake of justice I hope that short fuse will be in evidence when self appointed health experts Gates and Fauci shuffle off this mortal coil.

    All the evil that duo did was to bring about mandatory vaccination with substances for which we normal folks are the guinea pigs:

    • #3
  4. Kelly B Member
    Kelly B
    @KellyB

    Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ! (View Comment):

    This is a wall of text that might as well say the same thing over and over again: “I don’t want to wear a mask and you can’t make me!”

    Tyler Cowen put it the most succinctly when he said on EconTalk: “If you cover your mouth when you sneeze you’re already a believer in masks,” and very little else need be said. But, liberty requires responsibility, and responsibility has been in short supply for quite some time in a lot of quarters.

    Well, that’s odd. I did a search for the word “mask” in Boudreau’s post, which quoted the Great Barrington Declaration in its entirety, and it wasn’t there. It did appear 4 times across 2 or 3 comments on his post. So I’m having a hard time making the leap that the OP’s discussion of self-styled Libertarians’ sudden affection for government lockdowns and other mandates (which do include mask mandates) when presented with something they perceive as a personal threat, is saying what you claim to see.

    • #4
  5. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Not that this is a post about masks, but I imagine they help if your symptomatic. It’s possible they help when you’re not, but it seems much more unlikely. In the fog of war of the pandemic, one can be forgiven for assuming it’s somewhat more likely than common sense would indicate. We don’t have a definite answer either way, and we may not have one for a while, I wouldn’t be too surprised to find they help somewhat or that they don’t do anything in asymptomatic cases. 

    If people were left to make their own choices based on their own interpretation of the evidence, you would likely get more mask wearing than the people mandating them assume. For instance, you wouldn’t be getting people choosing to wear or not wear them because doing so is also making a political statement.

    • #5
  6. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    Mike H (View Comment):
    For instance, you wouldn’t be getting people choosing to wear or not wear them because doing so is also making a political statement.

    They toke on the same role as the burka, a religious symbol of submission to authority.  Nobody likes an involuntary conversion.

    • #6
  7. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    I think Max Weber’s theories on authority and political economy is illuminative, and a helpful framework to understand our current situation.

    • #7
  8. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The
    @RyanM

    Mike H (View Comment):

    Not that this is a post about masks, but I imagine they help if your symptomatic. It’s possible they help when you’re not, but it seems much more unlikely. In the fog of war of the pandemic, one can be forgiven for assuming it’s somewhat more likely than common sense would indicate. We don’t have a definite answer either way, and we may not have one for a while, I wouldn’t be too surprised to find they help somewhat or that they don’t do anything in asymptomatic cases.

    If people were left to make their own choices based on their own interpretation of the evidence, you would likely get more mask wearing than the people mandating them assume. For instance, you wouldn’t be getting people choosing to wear or not wear them because doing so is also making a political statement.

    I agree.

    I think this is a great example of something covered by one of those “basic truths” that I discussed above; namely:

    “…to think that my neighbor’s pursuit of his own self-interest when faced with a pandemic might lead him to become educated, and even to take whatever steps he feels would be necessary to protect his own health and the health of those around him.  That he might also desire to keep his friends and loved ones safe.  And Heaven forbid I should ever even countenance the thought that wisdom, thus accumulated, employed, and tested across entire populations might actually lead to outcomes that fail to materialize when governments enforce…”

    The reality is, there has been a ton of research about masks over the past few decades.  You are right that people should make their own choices, but beyond the ideological and moral value of this liberty, there is also informational value, as people will experiment with a great many things, and those that work will tend to win out in the end.  People like Cowen would be free to argue that anyone who sneezes into his elbow obviously believes in masks.  I might point out that this is much like saying “anyone who squints in the daylight obviously believes in sombreros …” and that where Cowen somewhat ridiculously goes with this would be like suggesting that, therefore, the government should require everyone to wear sombreros at all times, indoor and out, on cloudy days and sunny days, and in Arizona and Alaska just the same … Someone like Cowen should know better than to make such a foolish argument, and I believe that he does know better.

    You’re right that without mandates you’d probably see more than those in favor of mandates assume.  But, more importantly, I think you would see actual science – if effective, use would increase; but if ineffective, the whole experiment would fade away.  As I said “we tested this hypothesis and believe that a new hypothesis is warranted.”  That is the beauty of free markets.

    • #8
  9. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    I am not surprised at libertarian conversion. Libertarians have always wanted tyrannical control of others. They demand things like no zoning laws or legal community standards because they may not like them. They have long been tyrants of “I’ve got mine and screw you”. 

    Like liberals, libertarians seek to place as many issues outside of the political process as possible, so that a majority cannot have power. They want a minority to have veto over everything. They reserve to them, and their judgment alone what should and should not be the role of government. I cannot think of something better suited for the political process than that.

    So, this makes sense. The libertarian feels afraid, and he is more than willing to use the power of government to force a change in others behavior. It is funny, but the “do no harm ” to another principle always seems open to dictatorial control over the behavior of others.

    As a conservative, I think we should treat epidemics on ways proven to work. This shutdown and mask mandates clearly was a poor experiment. And the leaders of it have lied and admitted they have lied.

    When has a side in an argument who lies, tries to change the meaning of language and suppresses information, ever been the good guys in history? 

    @majestyk that question is aimed at you. 

    I know the answer. Heck, I can put it terms you understand:

    Who is nobody?

    • #9
  10. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    On masks. They whole premise of all masks all thr time along with 10 days post exposure is thr idea that there 8s massive risk of asymptomatic transmission. The data does not support that. It has been based on lack of knowledge.

    They did not shut down the nation in 1918. This experiment is a failure.

    Mask scolds who reported people to the government are like East Germans reporting to the Stasi.

    • #10
  11. Flicker Member
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Hammer, The (View Comment):
    People like Cowen would be free to argue that anyone who sneezes into his elbow obviously believes in masks.  I might point out that this is much like saying “anyone who squints in the daylight obviously believes in sombreros …”

    Excellent analogy.

    • #11
  12. Flicker Member
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Mike H (View Comment):
    but I imagine they help if

    I think that’s my biggest concern.  Efficacy on the one hand and politics on the other. there is no real scientifically valid reason to mandate everyone wearing masks.

    And on top of it all, we see demonstrations against mask wearing, and police wielding batons and charging protesters and throwing non-mask wearers to the ground. And this takes liberty vs. mask wearing into a different focus.  What is the purpose of the violence?  Protecting the population from a nearly impotent virus?  Or the continuance of government control and its own ultimate authority.

    • #12
  13. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ! (View Comment):
    This is a wall of text that might as well say the same thing over and over again: “I don’t want to wear a mask and you can’t make me!”

    I’ll put it more succinctly, “I don’t want to wear a mask and you can’t make me.”

    • #13
  14. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Mike H (View Comment):
    but I imagine they help if

    I think that’s my biggest concern. Efficacy on the one hand and politics on the other. there is no real scientifically valid reason to mandate everyone wearing masks.

    And on top of it all, we see demonstrations against mask wearing, and police wielding batons and charging protesters and throwing non-mask wearers to the ground. And this takes liberty vs. mask wearing into a different focus. What is the purpose of the violence? Protecting the population from a nearly impotent virus? Or the continuance of government control and its own ultimate authority.

    Would that more people would attend to the utilitarian argument for liberty.

    Shameless self-promotion:

    • #14
  15. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    I, for one, support the sombrero mandate.

    • #15
  16. Flicker Member
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    A thought from another thread.  How do lubertarians feel about the FDA regulating drugs for efficacy?  (And lubertarians was just a funny typo.)

    • #16
  17. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Flicker (View Comment):

    A thought from another thread. How do lubertarians feel about the FDA regulating drugs for efficacy? (And lubertarians was just a funny typo.)

    I’m personally against it. Bring on self experimentation and private certifiers! :)

    • #17
  18. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Flicker (View Comment):

    A thought from another thread. How do lubertarians feel about the FDA regulating drugs for efficacy? (And lubertarians was just a funny typo.)

    It’s funny. I don’t know what sort of joke “lubertarians” would give us.  But . . . I like it.

    I, not a libertarian, am open to arguments against having it at all (at a federal level anyway).  But I’m tentatively only going so far as to say: I’m pretty sure the FDA does some harm.

    Here comes too much information:

    I suffered much in March from worse-than-usual hemorrhoid problems. After 11 days of no improvement, I surrendered. I called Dr. Lai’s office at Hong Kong Baptist Hospital. I went in the next day fasting and ready for surgery if that was what it took to fix things.  Well, great news: DAFLON pills are all Dr. Lai thought I needed to fix it. (“Acute thrombosed hemorrhoid,” he said; but there was nothing cute about it.)  Throw in some Xylocaine cream for the pain, and I’m a happy guy. There was fast improvement after I stated taking Daflon, with no side-effects; I was about 80% better after 13 days (just a little shy of Dr. Lai’s expectations of about 100% after 2 weeks), at which point I got another two weeks of pills.  The dang things are made out of citrus peels from a French company. The internet turns up science supporting their use for this sort of thing, and if I didn’t have that I’d still trust Dr. Lai, who is a fine medical specialist.

    Here comes the information you need:

    Daflon is not approved by the FDA for hemorrhoid treatment.  From what I can tell, it’s about as simple and safe as eating fiber. (Ok, ok, there are “Possible side-effects.”  And ask your doctor if you have a citrus allergy; I don’t know anything, but maybe that is a risk.)  In some cases, no need for knife-surgery, banding, or stapling; no need for percussion therapy or Ultroid; just swallow something made from citrus fruit. What a great option to have available! Doctors in Hong Kong are free to prescribe it, and do.  I thank G-d for that, I thanked Dr. Lai for the pills, and I thank G-d for Dr. Lai.

    How many doctors will even suggest it in the USA until the FDA stamps an approval on it? Are they even allowed to? And how long will it take the FDA to get around to doing that?

    • #18
  19. Flicker Member
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    It’s funny. I don’t know what sort of joke “lubertarians” would give us. But . . . I like it.

    I, not a libertarian, am open to arguments against having it at all (at a federal level anyway). But I’m tentatively only going so far as to say: I’m pretty sure the FDA does some harm.

    Here comes too much information:

    I suffered much in March from worse-than-usual hemorrhoid problems. After 11 days of no improvement, I surrendered. I called Dr. Lai’s office at Hong Kong Baptist Hospital. I went in the next day fasting and ready for surgery if that was what it took to fix things. Well, great news: DAFLON pills are all Dr. Lai thought I needed to fix it. (“Acute thrombosed hemorrhoid,” he said; but there was nothing cute about it.) Throw in some Xylocaine cream for the pain, and I’m a happy guy. There was fast improvement after I stated taking Daflon, with no side-effects; I was about 80% better after 13 days (just a little shy of Dr. Lai’s expectations of about 100% after 2 weeks), at which point I got another two weeks of pills. The dang things are made out of citrus peels from a French company. The internet turns up science supporting their use for this sort of thing, and if I didn’t have that I’d still trust Dr. Lai, who is a fine medical specialist.

    Here comes the information you need:

    Daflon is not approved by the FDA for hemorrhoid treatment. From what I can tell, it’s about as simple and safe as eating fiber. (Ok, ok, there are “Possible side-effects.” And ask your doctor if you have a citrus allergy; I don’t know anything, but maybe that is a risk.) In some cases, no need for knife-surgery, banding, or stapling; no need for percussion therapy or Ultroid; just swallow something made from citrus fruit. What a great option to have available! Doctors in Hong Kong are free to prescribe it, and do. I thank G-d for that, I thanked Dr. Lai for the pills, and I thank G-d for Dr. Lai.

    How many doctors will even suggest it in the USA until the FDA stamps an approval on it? Are they even allowed to? And how long will it take the FDA to get around to doing that?

    Hm. Daflon uses flavonoids.  There are many different kinds, but it looks interesting.  I take large doses of curcumin every day, as a supplement, which contains other different flavonoids.  And on a different subject I take nattokinase, most days, as a supplement, which comes from the fungal scrapings of fermented soy beans in Japan.

    And of course, I take Pauling’s Vit-C and Lysine, as supplements.

    But I’ll have to do some reading into daflon.  Thanks for cluing me in to it..

    • #19
  20. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    A thought from another thread. How do lubertarians feel about the FDA regulating drugs for efficacy? (And lubertarians was just a funny typo.)

    It’s funny. I don’t know what sort of joke “lubertarians” would give us. But . . . I like it.

    I’m open to arguments against having the FDA at all (at a federal level anyway). But I’m tentatively only going so far as to say: I’m pretty sure they do some harm.

    Here comes too much information:

    I suffered much in March from worse-than-usual hemorrhoid problems. After 11 days of no improvement, I surrendered. I called Dr. Lai’s office at Hong Kong Baptist Hospital. I went in the next day fasting and ready for surgery if that was what it took to fix things. Well, great news: DAFLON pills are all Dr. Lai thought I need to fix the “acute thrombosed hemorrhoid.” (But there was nothing cute about it.) Throw in some Xylocaine cream for the pain, and I’m a happy guy. Daflon has no side effects and apparently restored me to about 80% better in two weeks (just a little shy of Dr. Lai’s expectations), at which point I got another two weeks of pills. The dang things are made out of citrus peels from a French company. The internet turns up science supporting their use for this sort of thing, and if I didn’t have that I’d still trust Dr. Lai, who is a fine medical specialist.

    Here comes the information you need:

    Daflon is not approved by the FDA for hemorrhoid treatment. From what I can tell, it’s about as simple and safe as eating fiber. No need for expensive or painful knife-surgery, banding, stapling; no need for percussion therapy or Ultroid. Just take a little something made from citrus fruit. (Maybe not if you have a citrus allergy.) Doctors in Hong Kong are free to prescribe it, and do. I thank G-d for that, I thanked Dr. Lai for that, and I thank G-d for Dr. Lai.

    How many doctors will even suggest it in the USA until the FDA stamps an approval on it? Are they even allowed to? And how long will it take the FDA to get around to doing that?

    Apparently, there is fairly massive off-label prescribing going on in the US.

    • #20
  21. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Apparently, there is fairly massive off-label prescribing going on in the US.

    Oh, I am glad to hear that!

    Maybe my second question “Are they even allowed to?” was out of place!

    • #21
  22. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Apparently, there is fairly massive off-label prescribing going on in the US.

    Oh, I am glad to hear that!

    Maybe my second question “Are they even allowed to?” was out of place!

    I’ll give the US credit in that when a drug is FDA approved for something we let it be prescribed for anything at a doctor’s discretion. 

    Also, we don’t really regulate “supplements,” which I’m very happy about.

    • #22
  23. Flicker Member
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Mike H (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Apparently, there is fairly massive off-label prescribing going on in the US.

    Oh, I am glad to hear that!

    Maybe my second question “Are they even allowed to?” was out of place!

    I’ll give the US credit in that when a drug is FDA approved for something we let it be prescribed for anything at a doctor’s discretion.

    Also, we don’t really regulate “supplements,” which I’m very happy about.

    I’m speaking overly broadly here but it seems that supplements and some herbal drinks can do everything from correcting atherosclerosis, and prevent heart attack and stoke, to fighting and preventing cancers, to minimizing or curing psychosis (this one’s questionable in my view), to preventing infections, to opening respiratory airways.  I’m very glad supplements aren’t regulated by government.

    And recently they even tried to outlaw niacin supplements.

    (Or maybe they have; I haven’t been able to find niacin for maybe a year or more.  All I can find is niacinamide.  And they’re not the same thing.  From wikipedia:

    Although niacin and nicotinamide (niacinamide) are identical in their vitamin activity, nicotinamide does not have the same pharmacological, lipid-modifying effects or side effects as niacin, i.e., when niacin takes on the -amide group, it does not reduce cholesterol nor cause flushing.)

    • #23
  24. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Mike H (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Apparently, there is fairly massive off-label prescribing going on in the US.

    Oh, I am glad to hear that!

    Maybe my second question “Are they even allowed to?” was out of place!

    I’ll give the US credit in that when a drug is FDA approved for something we let it be prescribed for anything at a doctor’s discretion.

    Amen!

    Also, we don’t really regulate “supplements,” which I’m very happy about.

    A good time to mention that I think in Daflon pills the diosmin and hesperidin are micronized or something. Whatever that means.

    But I think they’re not micronized in the herb/supplement/vitamin store pills. That may make a difference.

    But when I run out of Daflon pills, I’m giving the other things a try!

    • #24
  25. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Mike H (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Apparently, there is fairly massive off-label prescribing going on in the US.

    Oh, I am glad to hear that!

    Maybe my second question “Are they even allowed to?” was out of place!

    I’ll give the US credit in that when a drug is FDA approved for something we let it be prescribed for anything at a doctor’s discretion.

    Also, we don’t really regulate “supplements,” which I’m very happy about.

    I’m speaking overly broadly here but it seems that supplements and some herbal drinks can do everything from correcting atherosclerosis, and prevent heart attack and stoke, to fighting and preventing cancers, to minimizing or curing psychosis (this one’s questionable in my view), to preventing infections, to opening respiratory airways. I’m very glad supplements aren’t regulated by government.

    I spend like $100-200 per month on supplements, so I hope they do all the things that they seem to do!

    • #25
  26. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The
    @RyanM

    Mike H (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    A thought from another thread. How do lubertarians feel about the FDA regulating drugs for efficacy? (And lubertarians was just a funny typo.)

    I’m personally against it. Bring on self experimentation and private certifiers! :)

    Not just self experimentation, though, when you think about it.  How quickly would some organization arise whose sole purpose is certifying and adding a stamp of approval?  It would be insanely fast, and that organization would have every incentive to provide accurate and reliable information.  Just think about something like Kelly Blue Book with cars.  The private market is remarkably well equipped to solve problems that so many people think needs to be the unique purview of the government – every time it is tried, the private solution is far superior to the government solution.

    • #26
  27. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The
    @RyanM

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Mike H (View Comment):
    but I imagine they help if

    I think that’s my biggest concern. Efficacy on the one hand and politics on the other. there is no real scientifically valid reason to mandate everyone wearing masks.

    And on top of it all, we see demonstrations against mask wearing, and police wielding batons and charging protesters and throwing non-mask wearers to the ground. And this takes liberty vs. mask wearing into a different focus. What is the purpose of the violence? Protecting the population from a nearly impotent virus? Or the continuance of government control and its own ultimate authority.

    Would that more people would attend to the utilitarian argument for liberty.

    Shameless self-promotion:

    Excellent and succinct. Well worth a watch.

    Thanks for the video.  

    • #27
  28. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Hammer, The (Ryan M) (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Mike H (View Comment):
    but I imagine they help if

    I think that’s my biggest concern. Efficacy on the one hand and politics on the other. there is no real scientifically valid reason to mandate everyone wearing masks.

    And on top of it all, we see demonstrations against mask wearing, and police wielding batons and charging protesters and throwing non-mask wearers to the ground. And this takes liberty vs. mask wearing into a different focus. What is the purpose of the violence? Protecting the population from a nearly impotent virus? Or the continuance of government control and its own ultimate authority.

    Would that more people would attend to the utilitarian argument for liberty.

    Shameless self-promotion:

    Excellent and succinct. Well worth a watch.

    Thanks for the video.

    Oh, wow. I am honored. Thank you for humoring a little philosophy nerd’s fledgling YouTube channel.

    (There’s some Locke up there too.)

    • #28
  29. Hammer, The (Ryan M) Member
    Hammer, The (Ryan M)
    @RyanM

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Hammer, The (Ryan M) (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Mike H (View Comment):
    but I imagine they help if

    I think that’s my biggest concern. Efficacy on the one hand and politics on the other. there is no real scientifically valid reason to mandate everyone wearing masks.

    And on top of it all, we see demonstrations against mask wearing, and police wielding batons and charging protesters and throwing non-mask wearers to the ground. And this takes liberty vs. mask wearing into a different focus. What is the purpose of the violence? Protecting the population from a nearly impotent virus? Or the continuance of government control and its own ultimate authority.

    Would that more people would attend to the utilitarian argument for liberty.

    Shameless self-promotion:

    Excellent and succinct. Well worth a watch.

    Thanks for the video.

    Oh, wow. I am honored. Thank you for humoring a little philosophy nerd’s fledgling YouTube channel.

    (There’s some Locke up there too.)

    I rabbit trailed on it a little bit… And now “on liberty” and “summa of the summa” are both sitting on my bedstand.  (The second chapter of “On Liberty” is disturbingly relevant to our present situation, especially with respect to the recent and ongoing binge of censorship from big tech.)

    I particularly enjoyed this one:

    • #29
  30. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Hammer, The (Ryan M) (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Hammer, The (Ryan M) (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Mike H (View Comment):
    but I imagine they help if

    I think that’s my biggest concern. Efficacy on the one hand and politics on the other. there is no real scientifically valid reason to mandate everyone wearing masks.

    And on top of it all, we see demonstrations against mask wearing, and police wielding batons and charging protesters and throwing non-mask wearers to the ground. And this takes liberty vs. mask wearing into a different focus. What is the purpose of the violence? Protecting the population from a nearly impotent virus? Or the continuance of government control and its own ultimate authority.

    Would that more people would attend to the utilitarian argument for liberty.

    Shameless self-promotion:

    Excellent and succinct. Well worth a watch.

    Thanks for the video.

    Oh, wow. I am honored. Thank you for humoring a little philosophy nerd’s fledgling YouTube channel.

    (There’s some Locke up there too.)

    I rabbit trailed on it a little bit… And now “on liberty” and “summa of the summa” are both sitting on my bedstand. (The second chapter of “On Liberty” is disturbingly relevant to our present situation, especially with respect to the recent and ongoing binge of censorship from big tech.)

    I particularly enjoyed this one:

    Again, I’m honored.

    Don’t remember much from that other Mill book. Been too long. So much to do!

    • #30