Effect Measure

Ron Paul nuttiness on swine flu

For somebody so out to lunch on so many issues there is something undeniably likable about Ron Paul. As congressthings, he and Dennis Kucinich (there’s an odd couple) had the clearest and best positions on the Iraq debacle. And as a principled libertarian (there seem to be some big chinks in Paul’s libertarian armor — like reproductive choice — but his passion is undeniable), there is something admirable about him. It almost makes you forget his principles are self-centered, wrong-headed and inhumane. Little gnome-like figures aren’t supposed to be that unfeeling toward others. Anti-science views, though, are par for the course.

Yes, I know he’s a doctor. At least he says he is, although he doesn’t seem to know much about medical science. Maybe the Birthers can show me his diploma. Because when I hear his views on the pandemic, it sounds like he’d have trouble passing high school biology. Granted he’s 74 and high school biology has changed a bit since the days before the double-helix. But still, would any scientist who engaged his brain before opening his mouth say this about swine flu:

Paul says reports of 1,000 U.S. deaths from the H1N1 may be true but come from the same federal government running the vaccine program and remain unverified.

And anyway, the doctor asks, is that really such a “catastrophe” worthy of declaring a national emergency as President Obama did last weekend? The onetime Libertarian says that last winter, 13,000 Americans died from the regular flu, which he says few people mention while approving of a vast new wasteful federal H1N1 program that then fails.

[snip]

Paul says he also believes there is much to be concerned over natural immune systems “being knocked down” by immunization. And he has criticized some previous immunization programs for actually endangering those receiving the vaccine. He does admit, however, that the polio vaccine wiped out that dreaded disease during his lifetime.(LA Times)

Ron Paul is a New Ager? Immunization is knocking down our “natural immunity”? I guess the immune systems of the million plus children under the age of 5 dying of vaccine preventable pneumonia didn’t get a chance to read that before they failed their operators. That’s too bad. Maybe it was an antibody deficit, since deficits seem to be the root of all evil in the Ron Paul’s world of self-reliance and don’t-give-a-shit about anyone but yourself. As for the declaration of national emergency, it was declared for reasons that you’d think Paul would approve of (if he bothered to check): to allow hospitals to disregard certain federal regulations that could be counter-productive in a pandemic setting (e.g., not being able to construct flu clinics more than a short distance from the main hospital).

Of course in Ron Paul’s world every move by government is a power grab. For example, providing pandemic flu vaccine to people for free, thus by-passing the sacred market mechanism:

A medical doctor himself, Paul, who at 74 is older even than John McCain, sees the Obama administration’s oft-delayed H1N1 swine flu immunization plan as typical of many government-run programs — poorly planned, overloaded, inefficient, too expensive, late and quite possibly not even necessary.

Just another government grab for more federal power . . . Paul calls this year’s vaccine distribution “a total failure” because some 120 million doses were to have been available by mid-October and only about 10% of that were.

I’m struggling to understand the reasoning. It’s a failure because it “didn’t work” but if it had worked it would have been a dangerous power grab. And where were the 120 million doses supposed to come from? The government? That might have been better than the actual source, Big Pharma. In reality, if there was a failure here, it was in Big Pharma’s unkept promises. Paul would probably say we should have let the market supply the demand. That would have produced the vaccine. But in reality we would (literally) be waiting for doomsday because the drug companies wouldn’t make vaccine without the government guaranteeing they would buy it. I realize that’s a big no-no in the Paul’s Book of Mortal Sins. But no one is forcing anyone to be vaccinated, while if Paul had his way, no one would have the opportunity to be vaccinated, whether they wanted it or not.

Unlike “Dr.” Paul, some of us trust the evidence and think there is value in the vaccine and intend to be vaccinated ourselves, recommend it to our patients, friends and families and encourage the general public to do the same. We think the evidence is good that it will save lives, when we finally get some (and there is more available every day).

But Ron Paul couldn’t care less about the evidence. It’s not about that. It’s about how things are supposed to work in Ron Paul’s Alternate Universe. Who lives or dies as a result is secondary. Maybe that’s what it means to be a principled libertarian.

Comments

  1. #1 IanW
    November 5, 2009

    The pursuit of Lies, Libertarianism, and Crappiness. What could be more American?!

  2. #2 Em
    November 5, 2009

    See, for me, his position on reproductive rights strips all the likeability right out of him.

  3. #3 bobh
    November 5, 2009

    “Just another government grab for more federal power . . . Paul calls this year’s vaccine distribution “a total failure” because some 120 million doses were to have been available by mid-October and only about 10% of that were.”

    This old canard again: if the government can’t do x how can they be trusted to do y?

    But private industry produces flu vaccine and private industry failed to meet its stated production rate.

    So if private industry can’t do x how can they be trusted to do y? Where y could be,say, efficient, complete and fair health care.

  4. #4 Don S
    November 5, 2009

    Ron Paul is indeed guilty of only seeing the evidence that agrees with his worldview, and his worldview is one full of a government that is paradoxically both too incompetent to run anything yet skillful enough to be able to pull off vast conspiracy plans to enslave we free people. Funny that. As a gnome-like physician myself I am ashamed.

    Yet he and “his side” are not the only ones who only see that which agrees with their political perspectives – some progressives, even very intelligent ones, do the same … This year’s vaccine distribution is not a total failure and its problems are not all, or even primarily, the fault of those at a Federal level. But it has been handled poorly* and for those of us who are of a progressive lean, the timing of this ineptitude, and at least as much so, the shameful bald-faced political posturing trying to evade any responsibility for it, is unfortunate, and gives the Pauls of the world some traction that I’d rather they not have.

    *You can read my posts in the Daily Kos scorecard entry on this site for details. No need to rehash here.

  5. #5 JBH
    November 5, 2009

    The line about antibody deficits is my favorite. Just sayin’.

  6. #6 Joe
    November 5, 2009

    What does Ron Paul’s age have do with anything..? Why would you question his credentials..? So what that he’s a Libertarian…Someone thinks outside the accepted “box”..and the character asassination begins…and you do it so smugly…

  7. #7 revere
    November 5, 2009

    Joe: His age is relevant because he doesn’t keep up with the science. He learned it when this science didn[‘t exist. Why would I question his credentials? I guess the humor of relating that to the Birthers was lost on you. Character assassination? Hyperbole is to mild a word. He is a public figure. If he says idiotic things, people will call him an idiot.

  8. #8 tymbuktu
    November 5, 2009

    Great post on Mr. Libertarian — not. Revere, what do you make of the reports about the reports on hemorrhagic H1N1 in the Ukraine (Recombinomics and others)????

    Thanks

  9. #9 hornblower
    November 5, 2009

    Great post – thanks for the chuckles. I know it’s serious but at the same time, so ridiculous; I just had to laugh.

  10. #10 revere
    November 5, 2009

    tymbuktu: As usual, I am holding off on comment about the Ukraine until there is some actual data or hard info. This is much like the early reports from Argentina or Mexico. Since WHO has a team on the ground we should know more soon. I have no special info to share with people beyond what everyone can see on the usual news sites, so I haven’t said anything. At this point I don’t know what to think.

  11. #11 Sid Offit
    November 5, 2009

    @Revere
    I guess the immune systems of the million plus children under the age of 5 dying of vaccine preventable pneumonia didn’t get a chance to read that before they failed their operators.
    —————————-
    Maybe it’s because they’re living in Africa. You vaccine fan boys always forget to report that.

  12. #12 revere
    November 5, 2009

    Sid: I guess that’s why they still have smallpox there?

  13. #13 Sid Offit
    November 5, 2009

    Revere: That’s a bit of a non sequitur

  14. #14 Vaccine FanGurl
    November 5, 2009

    “Maybe it’s because they’re living in Africa. You vaccine fan boys always forget to report that.”

    Meaning what? We don’t need vaccines here, because we don’t have diseases like those Africans. Ever think about why? Maybe in part because we vaccinate people against them?

  15. #15 revere
    November 5, 2009

    Sid: Why is it a non-sequitur? If vaccines only work here and not in AFrica, then why did the smallpox vaccine work in Africa? And HiB, where it is available? and DPT where it’s available?

  16. #16 Sid Offit
    November 5, 2009

    Vaccines work but living conditions determine disease severity and risk. If I’m not in Africa – or on a reservation – I’m not worried enough about the measles or HiB or the flu to sign up for a lifetime of vacciantion

  17. #17 Sid Offit
    November 5, 2009

    …and for those of us who “don’t-give-a-shit about anyone but ourselves” we simply don’t want to work half our lives to satisfy the needs of those living of the government. Sorry.

  18. #18 revere
    November 5, 2009

    Sid: So let’s parse this a little more. Those who live in Africa are living off of you and you don’t want to lift a finger to help them? and work half your life? to do what? drive to work on a subsidized highway? live in a country where there is enough herd immunity from gov’t subsidized vaccines and the research that developed them? get cured through gov’t subsidized or fully paid for research that private enterprise then scarfed up and patented or licensed? benefit from gov’t subsidized public education?

    or is it just you don’t want to subsidize the things you personally don’t benefit from? Because that’s what this brand of libertarianism sounds like to me. I am a social libertarian, myself, but not an economic one.

    . . . and thanks for confirming our diagnosis.

  19. #19 Kathy
    November 5, 2009

    Gee, I wonder if Mr. Paul and Sid want to rely on their “natural” immune system if they get bit by an animal, or step on a rusty nail. Tetanus and rabies have a nasty way of “knocking down” that ol’ immunity thing…

  20. #20 Sid Offit
    November 5, 2009

    Those who live in Africa are living off of you

    The US government and it’s dependents are living of me and the other productive members of society

    ————————-

    and you don’t want to lift a finger to help them (the Africans)? In my mind the Africans can take care of themselves. They need to get their political affairs in order. But it would certainly help if the US trade policies designed to protect government friendly vested interests such as the farm lobby allowed the “Africans” to sell their products here. Now if someone wants to send foreign aid of their own volition thats great. Unfortunately most of that money has been wasted or made the situation worse.

    ———————–

    and work half your life? to do what? drive to work on a subsidized highway?

    It’s debatable whether the government must step in to provide that which the private sector cannot. Roads argue some fall into that category – although private roads were widespread in the 1800s. That aside it’s hard to say there is much the government does that can’t be done by the private sector. Post office, “education”, health insurance, public television, etc. And certainly there would be no government directed entitlements and transfer payments in a free society

    ———————————

    live in a country where there is enough herd immunity from gov’t subsidized vaccines and the research that developed them? get cured through gov’t subsidized or fully paid for research that private enterprise then scarfed up and patented or licensed?

    Like any product the private sector will produce it if their is a need. You forget each dollar drained by your precious government is one less dollar available for private R and D

    ——————–

    benefit from gov’t subsidized public education?

    That’s funny. Public education is a massive waste of money and leads most children to hate education

    ———————————

    or is it just you don’t want to subsidize the things you personally don’t benefit from?

    In a free society things work on a pay as you go basis. In your world x decides what to buy for y with the money of z.

    That’s why lobbyists have so much influence and politics have become so divisive. Plus it’s bankrupting the country

  21. #21 Sid Offit
    November 5, 2009

    Tetanus and rabies have a nasty way of “knocking down” that ol’ immunity thing…

    You’re right but the odds of contracting tetanus are infinitesimally small. If however I do happen to impale myself on a manure encrusted pitchfork I’ll be sure to get some tetanus immune globulin

  22. #22 Spiny Norman
    November 5, 2009

    @ Sid: how do you manage to live in such a small mind?

  23. #23 Sid Offit
    November 5, 2009

    @Spiny

    Small in the sense of “as enormous as the new Dallas Cowboys stadium?”

  24. #24 floormaster squeeze
    November 5, 2009

    @sid
    “…the new Dallas Cowboys stadium”

    So you are admitting that over half your brain was a government giveaway? Talk about hypocrisy!

  25. #25 Paula
    November 5, 2009

    The fear of “government” behind the original libertarian view (not Paul’s or Offit’s here) certainly has legitimacy, if by “government” we mean–as both right wing and actual libertarians ted to–“that which governs,” with laws and police and “have to’s” and armies. But perhaps “government” can be seen as, rather, “structure-ment”–that is, our formalized structure for meeting society’s needs, and in a democratic (or anarchic, in some senses) society run of by for from the people in general, not by a ruling class. The place of laws and armies in “structure-ment” must be secondary–and I’d like to avoid the arguments we could get into, on this, re the nature of people, etc., but I think there is potential in looking at the basic differences between these two views of what is usually called “government.” I realize some want “govern-ment” with its police and armies to keep the ruling class in power, of course, and sadly this includes many libertarians. But while we argue this, the flu goes on, and in my own tiny county’s one hospital, two more persons have been admitted with probable swine flu, and there are exceedingly few ICU units or ventilators. And others of my age worry, as I do, for self and others, at this week’s California study showing 20 percent of seniors hospitalized for this flu die–which means what percent on ventilators? I think of a woman in her late 60s down the road who has had some sort of heart trouble this past year, a fellow around 75 who received a stent and pacemaker about a month ago, myself with no “underlying conditions” but idiosyncratic reactions to respiratory viruses the past two years, the friend with diabetes and other troubles . . . and I look at those CDC figures from a week or two ago–(about 70,or) 7 percent seniors, 95 children, dead in the US from (confirmed) 2009h1n1–and I think “Why last in line, then?” I know you don’t want to hear this again; and I’ve been called a rightwing believer in “death panels” or whatever (I’m actually a leftwing single-payer advocate) for even mentioning this, on certain other lists. But the fact seems to be that seniors are (approximately, and as far as can be told from generally available figures–what there are of them) as likely as anyone to die of this flu, and the time for vaccinating the young to contain its spread appears gone (am I wrong on this?). Truly, if people have information showing I’m wrong on this, I would love to know it. All I feel fairly clear on is that the late-summer serology study reported in NEJM shows 33 percent of seniors appear to be immune and, at least so far, relatively few have had this flu. But when they do, their chances aren’t so great. We would all be helped–certainly I would, even in making little decisions like how much to avoid doing seeming necessary jobs that involve contact with others, such as supermarket shopping–by more ongoing epidemiologic information. –Whew, sorry for this venting. Been speaking with some persons who won’t even go out of their home. And I haven’t the info to suggest to them, or to myself, or to anyone in this county, what to do.–

  26. #26 kimw
    November 5, 2009

    The internet is a strange and marvelous thing. Tymbuktu’s question regarding hemorrhagic HIN1 in the Ukraine led me to Google, which meandered to all sorts of weirdness. What I discovered may be a taste of all the false alarms and excursions to come as we move into our winter H1N1 season.

    The WHO site does confirm that a team is being dispatched to the Ukraine at the request of the Ukrainian government: “Work will initially begin in Lviv region, where reported numbers of cases showing severe manifestations of acute respiratory illness have been especially high.” Some forums claimed that a Ukrainian news agency known as “Fraza” has reported it was confirmed that the hemorrhagic H1N1 is actually pneumonic plague, Yersinia pestis. Talk about going down Alice’s rabbit hole. A few days ago some people posted all over the internet that the report was an alarmist myth as “Fraza” apparently didn’t exist because it couldn’t be googled.

    Today, however, perhaps because enough people googled it, typing in “Fraza” first brings up, well, what may well be a Fraza news agency: http://www.fraza.ua. Hard to tell though, as it is all written in Ukrainian, or so I assume (the alphabet is Cyrillic). Of course before writing that I had to go to wikipedia to make sure “Ukrainian” is a language (it is).

    Jeez, I hope Ron Paul doesn’t latch onto this wild rumor, although he would be happy to learn that pharmaceutical companies in response to the fact that it is less profitable to develop new antibiotics spend much less of their R & D dollars there. The free market at work, although in this respect the invisible hand seem to have more than a touch of rheumatoid arthritis.

    The exotica of the plague aside (wikipedia says that resistant strains of Yersinia pestis have emerged, but doesn’t cite a reference), we have some much more common and frighteningly resistant bacterial infections that are on the verge of responding to no known drug. Unless the government gives Big Pharma some incentive, we may be moving back to the pre-antibiotic era of public health. Or would Ron Paul have us wait until amputations become routine again as a cure for a wound? I hope pharmaceutical companies will be able to see sufficiently large potential $$ signs long before we reach that point, but such is not the case thus far.

    Anyone here speak Ukrainian?

  27. #27 Paula
    November 5, 2009

    Sorry, kimw, I don’t have Ukrainian, but you should know that that Yersinia pestis protects us from the Martians (and they’re socialists).

  28. #28 Joe2
    November 5, 2009

    Okay, so on a non-vaccine related question – I’d have to agree with Ron Paul on wondering what all the hype is about over H1N1. What about the 13,000 people who died from seasonal flu last year? Why ARE we acting like the sky is falling because of a relative “few” H1N1 infections (no, I don’t think 1,000 deaths is a few – it’s tragic; so are 13,000 deaths)? Yes, we need to wash our hands, cover our coughs and sneezes, and even get a vaccine. But I really don’t understand why there us SUCH a panic over H1N1, and not the seasonal flu (other than the media needs a story).

    And if the WHO has declared a phase 6 pandemic, what are they gonna call it when/if it really does get out of hand?

  29. #29 Kathy
    November 5, 2009

    Tetanus and rabies have a nasty way of “knocking down” that ol’ immunity thing…

    You’re right but the odds of contracting tetanus are infinitesimally small. If however I do happen to impale myself on a manure encrusted pitchfork I’ll be sure to get some tetanus immune globulin

    Posted by: Sid Offit | November 5, 2009 3:23 PM

    Dear Sid,

    Um, what?! That doesn’t even make sense!

  30. #30 Kei
    November 6, 2009

    Just wondered if this was at all interesting or, same old cross-species movement, same old:

    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/health/2009/11/05/ward.ia.h1n1.cat.kcci

  31. #31 Mike
    November 6, 2009

    And why is this type of discussion taking place in a science blog?

    “And anyway, the doctor asks, is that really such a “catastrophe” worthy of declaring a national emergency as President Obama did last weekend?”

    This is the meat of the article. What no one here has brought up is the casualness with which a national emergency was declared. What has come and seemingly passed turned out to be little more than a footnote (if that) in this years history. Granted, the media blitz was considerable. But the actual repercussions from the ‘pandemic’ are/were more than overstated.

    These are my opinions. You may consider the events worthy of a national emergency. You may not. Either way, I’d suggest putting Google to use, in order to understand the laws on the books regarding a national emergency.

    Cheers,

    Mike

  32. #32 revere
    November 6, 2009

    Joe2: I suggest you read through the many posts on this blog that discuss the points you raise. The 13,000 deaths isn’t even a number that has been brought up by anyone except Ron Paul, but it’s irrelevant because we don’t know the number and can’t know it. We do know that the costs in economic and pain and suffering terms are very, very large and if it can be ameliorated it saves money, lives and improves the quality of life. For the record, the long term seasonal average of excess mortality from flu is put anywhere between 36,000 and 50,000 depending on how you estimate it and the number from swine flu is unknown and is only growing. Moreover its epidemiology is quite different, striking a young and more or less healthy group (the largest proportion of underlying medical conditions are in pregnant women and controlled asthma and about a third are in young people with no underlying medical conditions).

    Mike: The “national emergency” is just an administrative designation to allow flexibility in federal regulations. I would think Ron Paul would be happy about it but he is clueless. There was nothing casual about it. It allows hospitals, for example, to set up triage tents (already happened in Austin and Memphis) more than 300 yards from their licensed facility without having to get licensed again. The early designation as a public health emergency was needed to release the national stockpile for Tamiflu and Relenza. This was explained very explicitly when the designation was made, but apparently few people actually read it but just heard about the designation from someone else or through the MSM.

  33. #33 Bill
    November 6, 2009

    Living conditions make a difference in the risk of contracting diseases from contaminated water like typhoid or cholera.

    But not for vaccine-preventable diseases like measles or pertussis, both of which are highly contagious.

    IIRC, pertussis is contagious even in the early stages when it appears to be nothing more than bad allergies or a mild cold (i.e., you won’t be able to recognize and avoid those already infected)

    But it eventually results in coughing so violent vomiting often follows, and unfortunately sticks around for several weeks (can you afford to be out of work that long?)

  34. #34 Phila
    November 6, 2009

    I have to point out that saying “I’ve got mine; fuck everybody else” really isn’t “thinking outside the accepted box” in 21st-century America.

    One of the things that irks me about libertarians is that they tend to pat themselves on the back for holding “daring” opinions that are actually common as dirt, and much less constructive.

  35. #35 VM
    November 6, 2009

    libertarian? sigh.

    he endorsed the Constitution party critter. It’s too bad that many people’s impressions of libertarianism are painted by this nut job. his “freedom” message isn’t extended to a woman’s decision about her own reproduction. His positions default to a socially-conservative status quo. I don’t see any freedom there!!!

    Sure: Great on Iraq. But: Goldbuggery? oh please.

    Hey Phila – that type of libertarian irks me, too. It’s not the case for all of us! We’re not all like that.

    the “free market tuff gaiz” represent another annoying strain, btw.

    Public health initiatives have done a tremendous amount. Vaccines are an important tool.

    can’t have a free market if everybody is home sick :)

  36. #36 Shay
    November 6, 2009

    living conditions determine disease severity and risk

    I guess that explains why 11% of the young, physically fit, non-health compromised cadets billeted in the Air Force academy barracks in Colorado came down with H1N1 this summer.

  37. #37 VM
    November 6, 2009

    Close, Shay. Pretty close.

    Actually, the real explanation is that the Zombies from area 51 escaped, french kissed that 11% and crept away into the night without leaving their phone numbers.

    But you were close :)

  38. #38 Brooklyn
    November 7, 2009

    Calling Dr. Paul a nutjob is truly low character assassination. He is a OB/Gyn who has delivered over 4000 babies, so if you wonder why, having brought so much life into the world he might object to a pro-choice view you really are dense.

    He hasn’t kept up with the science? He started medical practice in the 1960’s and practiced for over 30 years on and off, so yes he kept up with medical technology as much as any other doctor. The difference is that Paul recognizes that vaccination should be a matter of personal choice, not government intervention. Ever hear of thimerosal? Those multi-dose vaccine shots contain 25,000 times the amount of mercury considered “safe” to ingest and you want to inject that into your vein? That’s not to mention the squalene, formaldehyde, polyethylene glycol and much more. Care to risk Guillain-Barre syndrome? If vaccines are so effective, just get vaccinated yourself and you won’t have to worry about the unvaccinated infecting you. If the vaccines aren’t actually effective, then why are you taking them? Even Fox News’ experts suggesting vaccination couldn’t come up with a better reason to get the vaccination than, “It’s the moral thing to do”. Sad.

    You’re calling Paul a gold bug? Wow, what an insult, someone who actually believes in gold as a reliable store of value. How’s that investing in Federal Reserve Notes going for you? If you took $20 in gold-backed bank notes in 1913, you’d now be looking at a cool $6 in backed-by-air Federal Reserve Notes. Now, if you’d traded that $20 for gold and held onto it back then, it’d be worth $1100 today. Which held its value better, gold or debt paper?

    If you don’t understand why gold is a better medium of exchange it’s probably because you don’t understand how mediums of exchange work. Gold and silver are money. That’s not just because some government said so, it’s because over thousands of years, gold and silver have been in demand, fairly difficult to reproduce, and measurable. Money is merely a way to make bartering simpler. U.S. paper bank notes, as they were, were certificates guaranteeing redemption in lawful, Constitutional money, gold and silver. Federal Reserve Notes however are a parlor trick. They replaced lawful money with certificates of debt, so that each note represents not money but a promise of payment for a debt owed. This is a fundamental difference, and the joke gets worse when you see your paper is backed by nothing. Tell me, you anti-gold nutjobs, are you actually going to tell me you prefer a FRN you can trade for nothing to a real gold or silver coin in your hand?

    Those who call Ron Paul names are often either blinded by government propaganda, disinfo agents or haven’t read his books, which explain his positions quite well. This is a man who cannot be bought, who believes in Jeffersonian government, who has never voted to raise taxes or for anything not allowed in the Constitution. Read his bestsellers The Revolution and End the Fed. Study Austrian economics and the positions of Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Andrew Jackson. You’ll find that in our current Congress, only one man is Founding Father material. That man is Ron Paul.

  39. #39 Brooklyn
    November 7, 2009

    Excuse me, I meant “If you took $20 in gold-backed bank notes in 1913, you’d now be looking at a cool $0.60 in backed-by-air Federal Reserve Notes.” :)

  40. #40 revere
    November 7, 2009

    Brooklyn: To say someone is a nutjob (and I guess you aren’t familiar with colloquial English as you take it literally) is the same as character assassination is typical of the black and white view of the world beloved of libertarians. Gold and silver are, like paper money, also just instruments to substitute for barter. Why don’t we just go back to bartering? First principles. We don’t, because presumably, along with Marx, you and Ron Paul (and I) also believe in the labor theory of value. Except you think it’s the gold theory of value because you don’t understand what you believe in.

    I’m glad you were able to express yourself here on the internet, a government product, but if it were up to you and your kind it wouldn’t exist. Nor would polio vaccine or diphtheria vaccine, or the research NIH supports. We would be ruled, even more than now, by Exxon and their kind and our technology would be impoverished. As for delivering 4000 babies, that’s all? Let’s see. As a medical student I delivered 28 babies in 3 weeks. 30 years is 1800 weeks. So he delivered, on average a little over 2 babies a week. That qualifies him for telling women how to live their lives? I don’t think so. You can think whatever you want. But what I think is that you are terribly, irremediably in thrall to a fundamentally selfish world view.

  41. #41 Sid Offit
    November 7, 2009

    but if it were up to you and your kind it wouldn’t exist. Nor would polio vaccine
    —————————-
    You do know the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis was a private charity don’t you?
    —————————-
    And of course no one would have thought to link computers together with out Al Gore and the government. Besides the roots of the internet are found in the military – a legitimate government domain

  42. #42 revere
    November 7, 2009

    Sid: OK, I’ll give you the March of Dimes point. I know a little about the history here (I once did a fellowship in the history of medicine), so I am aware that the mix of things that went into the polio vaccine was quite complex, involving NIH and other national governments but also non-profit foundations and drug companies like Lederle. So there is something for each of us and how it would have worked with one or another of the pieces missing we don’t know. History is what it is and speculation otherwise is counterfactual. However why you and Ron Paul consider the military sacrosanct here I’m not sure. Why should one kind of common activity be OK and another not. Especially as the military routinely interferes with the market system. In fact the Pentagon I believe is the largest centrally planned economy in the world.

    I will grant you that the world is a messy place and won’t readily conform to how we wish it were. I’ll grant you that if you’ll grant it to me.

  43. #43 Shay
    November 7, 2009

    VM@37: your version sounds a lot more fun.

  44. #44 Sid Offit
    November 7, 2009

    Yes I agree the world is a messy place. And I appreciate the the opportunity for debate your blog provides.
    ————————–
    why you and Ron Paul consider the military sacrosanct here I’m not sure. Why should one kind of common activity be OK and another not

    Among those “libertarians” who believe the government’s only role is limited to protecting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, a mechanism is needed to ensure that protection. When protection is needed at home the police step in. And, in the face of foreign threats, the military is called upon. That of course does not give either entity carte blanche and I think you’ll find a great many “libertarian” voices routinely challenge excesses in both.

  45. #45 Paula
    November 7, 2009

    Those who would restrict government to the role of law enforcement and the military apparently see only “bad guys” or “bad countries” as the sole threats to life/liberty/happiness/etc. Sad view–apparently unconscious of threats from disease, impoverishment, overcrowding, hierarchic destruction of potential, etc. Further, just where does this idea of strangely uncaused “badness” in all those alien/different “bad guys” wandering around out there come from, anyhow? What about a government that eschewed huge spending on prisons and military forces and bent the commonweal’s monies instead upon safeguarding life and liberty through improved social infrastructuring? (Come on, guys, tell me I’m naive!)

  46. #46 Jon Schultz
    November 8, 2009

    I like the idea of “libertarian socialism” which to me basically means, in the economic sphere, that the government directly helps those who need help, funded by taxation, but does not interfere with freedom of commerce – or the right of people to freely engage in honest, consensual business (where dangerous goods are not involved). So higher taxation for programs to help the poor and disabled, yes, but no wage or price controls or forced employment benefits or laws which otherwise infringe on basic freedoms. Corporate structures and other laws would also be subject to review, to eliminate any which came about as a result of bribery or which are basically government extortion.

    If the politicians who are pushing the CFPA really wanted to save people from overly complex contracts then they would first clean up their own act – the overly complex laws and tax code which force consumers to hire lawyers and accountants.

  47. #47 Mark
    November 9, 2009

    @Jon Schultz

    Actually, no, Libertarian Socialism is anarchic. Some consider it synonymous with anarchy. There wouldn’t be much government help since there would not be governments. :)

    I basically am Libertarian Socialist but in the sense that I consider it a long term goal (and I mean generational time scales here). Being a dogmatic anarchist never quite made sense to me. :) Nor does an aggressive even violent “revolutionary” approach to a system that allegedly is aimed to eliminating coercion (see also the idiot Leninist/Marxists who finally did see “the state wither away” but I bet not in the way they wanted).

    It sounds to me like you’re talking social democracy or democratic socialism. Or what people in the US like to call “European socialism”. But which you could call “the norm for all democracies on Earth except the United States”.

    Social democrats believe in the free market but only where it fits. Such as, for example, computers. The free market has done an outstanding job in that area. I carry more computing power in my phone than the mainframe at the university had back when I started college. It’s really amazing.

    On the other hand, you have situations like health care in which the profit motive drives companies to produce less and less actual care. This is not going to work. And this is why every other industrialized democracy on the planet has a national health system of some kind.

    Anyway.

    A general comment: arguing with Ron Paul supporters is about as fruitful as trying to reason with creationists. It’s a matter of religious faith, not facts.

    Which is *not* the way the libertarian movement started out. It was, in its early days, an intellectual movement. One that had some good arguments. I was a big “L” libertarian almost twenty years ago. I was in the party when Paul ran for President on the Libertarian ticket. He wasn’t nuts then.

    What happened since is beyond me. It wasn’t a faith based movement back then. Sounds like it now. Very strange.

    And, ironically enough, I bet I could still give them a run for their money with the libertarian minarchist concept that one of the few proper functions of government is defense including defense against disease.

    Reality is that while there may be a million things you can do to yourself that have no effect on me, your health and mine are intertwined whether we like it or not. In the case of, for example, vaccination, giving them out free to anybody and everybody is an act of self-interest. My health will be better if you people aren’t passing around a disease.

    And the current crop of “Whatever-the-hecks” (aka “Libertarians”) seem to have utterly forgotten that “cap and trade” was a *LIBERTARIAN* proposal. Pollution is a problem that cannot be confined to ones own personal property. But they believed a market could do a better job than direct regulation.

    Whether it can or can’t isn’t my point and I won’t get diverted into it. The point is they *used* to recognize that there really are issues of “the commons” that aren’t tractable to simplistic “free market” solutions. No more than the mainstream of the movement (not the anarchists) believed everybody should hire their own police, courts, and military.

    But what they’ve become? Oh boy.

    Paulists? Followers of Saint Paul? Dunno. But a quasi-religious fervor about a–mind you–FORMER Libertarian is puzzling to this, erm, former Libertarian…

  48. #48 Terri Ann Smith
    November 12, 2009

    The peer reviewed research on vaccine efficacy supports Dr. Ron Paul’s swine flu analysis…..

    Google “Mayo Clinic study: children 3 times likely to be hospitalized for flu AFTER VACCINATION!!!!!”

    Additionally, based on my own personal experience with friends and family, most of the people that I know who get the flu vaccine end up getting the flu soon after.

    Explain that, you dim-witted pseudo scientists!!!

    For the idiots that have posted here, who have a hard time understanding fascism, it’s STATE CONTROLLED CAPITALISM! Meaning, the wealthiest pharmaceutical companies write the medical legislation through their paid-off cronies in Congress thus cornering the market for their products, and thus explaining the push for sparsely tested vaccinations of the public by the feds and through their health departments. And, Big Pharma is the biggest advertiser in media, thus explaining the constant promotion of the swine flu vaccine, and the coverup of it’s known serious side effects, i.e., paralysis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, sterilty and cancer.

    This has happened so many times before, and right in front of your faces!

    This blog is a joke.

  49. #49 Chris
    November 12, 2009

    Terri Ann Smith:

    Google “Mayo Clinic study: children 3 times likely to be hospitalized for flu AFTER VACCINATION!!!!!”

    Any particular reason you could not link to the actual study, or just give us the PubMed identification number? Possibly because you misinterpreted the data… I found the Science Daily article. The study was specifically for one type of flu vaccine, the inactivated vaccine… and it ends with:

    “While these findings do raise questions about the efficacy of the vaccine, they do not in fact implicate it as a cause of hospitalizations,” said Dr. Joshi. “More studies are needed to assess not only the immunogenicity, but also the efficacy of different influenza vaccines in asthmatic subjects.”

    I cannot find the PubMed cite, so I suspect that it was a poster presentation, and there were problems with the study. Which means you have to go back to the whole set of literature of the studies of influenza, vaccines and children. Unfortunately there is not much, since influenza vaccination has not been routinely recommended until recently, and mostly for children with pre-existing health issues.

    She continues:

    Additionally, based on my own personal experience with friends and family, most of the people that I know who get the flu vaccine end up getting the flu soon after.

    The plural of anecdote is anecdotes, not data.

  50. #50 kevin
    January 3, 2010

    As a reporter/writer my tip is to learn to try and discredit information instead of the person. Your own title shows your bias and ignorance.

  51. #51 revere
    January 3, 2010

    Kevin: Ron Paul is not just a person but a brand name for a particular kind of libertarian screwiness. You can accept that or not or you can go on attacking me personally (LOL).

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