John Stossel, in his plain-speaking, clear-headed way, deplores Obama’s failed economic policies:
President Obama sure is consistent. His State of the Union address sounded like his other speeches: What I’ve done is great! America is in a much better position. We’ve created a manufacturing sector that’s adding jobs. More oil is produced at home. I cut deficits in half!
Give me a break. The deficit is lower now not because of any prudence on Obama’s part but merely because the $800 billion stimulus spending blowout didn’t continue. All the president does is increase spending: free community college, free Obamaphones, free birth control, etc. Yes, our annual deficit is lower, but it’s still $488 billion! Our $18 trillion national debt increases by $3 million every minute!
Yes, more oil is produced at home, but that’s in spite of the administration. Oil production is down on public land.
Yes, the manufacturing sector added jobs, but that’s mostly because of cheaper natural gas created by fracking, which Obama’s cronies opposed. Also, America is finally recovering from recession. Obama’s policies probably slowed that recovery.
Does the President delude himself when he takes credit for oil production, lower deficits, etc.? Or does he mislead on purpose? I don’t know.
More recently he bragged, “I created the lowest unemployment rate in years.” He created it? He must know it’s “low” only compared to the 10 percent reached during the recession — and because millions have simply given up looking for work. This recovery is the slowest in 70 years.
Then he goes on to propose a very different speech from the one Obama gave last night:
If Obama gave the State of the Union address I’d like to hear, he’d say this:
I heard you, voters, in November when you took control of the Senate away from my party. I get it. I overreached. I was arrogant. I imposed Obamacare on a nation that was deeply divided about it. I ruled through executive orders instead of legislation. I threw money at “green” nonsense. …
We’ve cut a bit out there, because at that point he pulled out the biggest bone of contention we have with libertarians like John Stossel: defense. He wants less spent on it – as Obama does – and we want more spent on it.
I’ve been in government for years now. I know how badly it works. The last thing I should try to do is make it bigger. In fact, with Republicans now in control of Congress, it’s time I worked with them to shrink government. If we shrink it, we might even dig our way out of the debt hole we’re in. Heck, if we just slow the growth of government to 2 percent a year, we’d be in better shape.
But I didn’t even try to accomplish that. I pretended taxing the rich would solve our financial problems. But there aren’t enough rich people to tax.
That’s not what’s wrong with the idea. What’s wrong is the idea of redistribution itself. The right argument is against any form of redistribution by a central agency.
But on again:
I got drunk on the idea of promising voters “free” stuff such as low down-payment mortgages and guaranteed paid family leave. I told them that all good things come from government. That’s nonsense.
We should put an end to all bailouts. Businesses that screw up should accept the consequences, just like ordinary people who spend recklessly. Main Street should never again be forced to rescue Wall Street.
Instead of expanding government control of health care, we should phase it out. That includes Medicare. I know Medicare is popular, but it is unsustainable. Let current retirees receive their benefits as promised, but younger people should pay for their own health care.
People criticize the economic distortion created by welfare, but Medicare and Social Security are almost as bad. Both redistribute money away from the young and struggling toward those of us who have had decades to invest and save up.
To make these challenges a little easier to deal with, let’s make America richer by abolishing most regulations. They strangle opportunity.
The more I think about it, the more Congress and I could transform America for the better just by getting out of America’s way. The state of our union will be truly strong if the state – by which I mean government – is strictly limited.
That we would applaud.
… to get the perfectly horrible health care law passed.
For the Left, the end always justifies the means.
See how smug Jonathan Gruber, architect of Obamacare, looks as he shares his joke about the “stupidity” of the American voter.
Here’s what he says, so you can mull it over:
This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. So it was written to do that. In terms of risk related subsidies, if you had a law which made explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money it would not have passed. Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to get the thing to pass.
Daniel Greenfield comments at Front Page:
So an Obamacare architect just admitted that the whole thing was built on a tower of lies and that it is indeed a tax.
As the Supreme Court ruled it is.
The passing of the Obamacare law was also a great leap forward on the road to serfdom.
It needs to be repealed.
The first – many libertarians would argue, the only – duty of government is to protect the nation from other nations and the individual from other individuals. Its instruments are military might and the rule of law.
That duty includes keeping the nation and the individual safe from infectious disease. The law must isolate persons and animals that could make others sick.
It may be hard to identify the infectiously sick. But to the extent that it can the state must do it, and force the infected into quarantine.
The people can insist that the conditions of the quarantine are pleasant, even luxurious (why not, if luxury can be afforded?), but the quarantine must be as absolute as can be.
Right now, Americans need to be protected from the horrific killer disease Ebola. It is known where it comes from; what its symptoms are; what its gestation period is; how it spreads or could be spread. The countries from which it comes should be quarantined.
To take every necessary protective measure would be to prevent panic, not create it.
Fear of Ebola is perfectly rational. It is fearsome. To do whatever is necessary to contain and cure it is also rational.
It is those who say do nothing and don’t even talk about it who are being emotional and unreasonable. Nothing goes away just because it’s taken no notice of.
This horror exists, it has been brought to the United States, now it must be dealt with forcefully, dictatorially, with high-handed authoritarianism – in the interest of freedom.
While the US Air Force continues to bomb what it thinks are IS/ISIS/ISIL positions in what was, but may not still be, Syria and Iraq, convoys of trucks bearing life-saving aid in huge supplies donated by the US taxpayer (among others) also continue, trailing unstoppably into enemy territory.
No other air forces seems to be at work there, though to prop up the lie that a huge coalition – including Sunni Arab states – had joined the US in its aerial action against the Islamic State, the world was treated to a glamor pic of a pretty female Qatari pilot leading a squadron of three bombers on the first day of the venture. Did she drop any bombs? And where has she gone? Will she be back? Without her, Obama and Kerry must seem to be combatting IS/ISIS/ISIL all by themselves (by proxy of course) from the clouds.
They also drop crates of arms and ammunition to whomever finds them down below. Some to the Kurds who are fighting ISIS on the ground – if the Kurds are lucky enough to find them. And one load – at least – whether by accident or intention, to ISIS.
And while the bombing displays admirable militancy on the part of the White House, and the gift of arms to ISIS may have been an accident, the US and Britain and the (abominable) United Nations and possibly the EU are deliberately delivering massive quantities of aid to the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL).
ISIS crucifies boys; saws off Americans’ and Britons’ heads; stoned a timid young girl to death just recently – her own father among her killers. And still the trucks of aid go trundling in, bringing food and medical supplies to ISIS. Well, ostensibly it’s for “civilians” and “displaced persons”, but ISIS rules the route.
This is our Facebook page summary of an article by Jamie Dettmer in the Daily Beast:
In addition to accidentally airdropping loads of weapons to ISIS, and while U.S. warplanes strike at them, truckloads of U.S. and Western aid is flowing into their territory, assisting IS/ISIS/ISIL to build their caliphate. The food and medical equipment, meant for civilians, is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, European donors, and the United Nations. But the aid convoys have to pay off ISIS.
The bribes are disguised and itemized as transportation costs. Aid coordinators say that USAID and other Western government agencies and NGOs actually employ ISIS people on their staffs. “They force people on us. And when a convoy is being prepared, the negotiations go through them. They contact their leaders and a price is worked out.”
The aid itself isn’t carefully monitored. ISIS keeps some of it to feed and treat its fighters. At a minimum, the aid means ISIS doesn’t have to divert cash from its war budget to help feed the local population or the displaced persons.
Last year when there was a polio outbreak in Deir ez-Zor, the World Health Organization worked with ISIS to carry out an immunization campaign. In these ways the West, and in particular the US, is providing support for the Islamic State.
Many aid workers are uncomfortable with what’s happening. “A few months ago we delivered a mobile clinic [to the Islamic State],” says one of them. “A few of us debated the rights and wrongs of this. The clinic was earmarked for the treatment of civilians, but we all know that wounded ISIS fighters could easily be treated as well. So what are we doing here, treating their fighters so they can fight again?”
What makes the picture even more bizarre is that while a lot of aid is going into ISIS-controlled areas, very little is going into Kurdish areas in northeast Syria where the Kurds are now defending Kobani with the support of U.S. warplanes. Last November, tellingly, Syrian Kurds complained that they were not included in the U.N. polio-vaccination campaign.
According to the same source: Jonathan Schanzer, Mideast expert at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, thinks that any aid that reaches the people will help to keep them contented with ISIS rule. He’s quoted as saying:
I am alarmed that we are providing support for ISIS governance. By doing so we are indemnifying the militants by satisfying the core demands of local people, who could turn on ISIS if they got frustrated.
We see his point, but doubt that there is going to be an uprising against ISIS within the Islamic State any time soon, no matter what the circumstances.
A State Department official is reported to fear that if the aid convoys were to be stopped, there would be an humanitarian crisis for which the West would be blamed. We don’t think fear of blame should be of any concern. Why are all these sentimental Western policy makers and executives so afraid of being blamed? It is blame by Muslims that they particularly fear. What is withholding aid from an enemy state compared to what the Muslims of ISIS are doing? It’s an absurd consideration, but it distorts policies, both domestic and foreign, over and over again.
To reinforce the verdict given by Bill Whittle on the Obama administration’s handling of the Ebola scare (see the video below Fear of Ebola, posted October 18, 2014), here are excerpts from an article by Matthew Vadum at Front Page:
President Obama’s lies about the communicability of the truly terrifying Ebola virus are recklessly putting American lives at risk. …
At a photo-opportunity disguised as an emergency cabinet meeting the president did what he always does: he lied and lied and lied.
“Here’s what we know about Ebola: That it is not like the flu,” Obama told his groupies in government and the media in reassuring tones. “It is not airborne.* The only way that a person can contract Ebola is by coming into direct contact with the bodily fluids of somebody who is showing symptoms. In other words, if they don’t have symptoms, they’re not contagious.” …
The White House website repeats Obama’s lies: “You can only get the Ebola virus by direct contact with: Body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola; Objects contaminated with the virus; Infected animals.” …
Dr. Steven J. Allen [is] an expert on the Ebola virus and he says Obama is not telling the truth. … Although Ebola is indeed spread by means of body fluids there’s a catch.
We don’t how long it can last on surfaces or as droplets in the air so when President Obama said earlier this month you can’t get it from sitting beside someone on a bus that was a total lie … You can get the disease from such a small number of viral particles that logic says you can get it from someone coughing in your vicinity.
In other words, Ebola can spread through the air, contrary to Obama’s remarks. This helps to explain why health care professionals who value their lives wear hazmat suits that look like astronaut gear when dealing with Ebola-infected patients. …
Dr. Allen says:
It is Obama’s ideology that makes him incompetent. … Public health is supposed to be about fighting infectious disease and protecting people from environmental dangers. We have the Environmental Protection Agency to cover the environment and the Centers for Disease Control is supposed to be for infectious disease.
The Obama people, continuing a long-developing trend, have reinvented public health to mean control over personal behavior such as what you eat, whether you have guns in the house, whether you drive drunk … but the CDC is supposed to be dealing with infectious disease, not personal behavior. Anything else is mission creep and getting away from protecting us as was intended when the CDC was created.
In the Obama era the CDC has pushed a dizzying array of social-engineering proposals that have nothing to do with disease. These nanny state initiatives include a federal universal motorcycle helmet law, a study of video games and television violence, a “national action plan” to prevent accidents in children’s playgrounds, and studies and campaigns “promoting positive community norms” and “safe, stable, nurturing relationships (SSNRs)” in homes and schools. …
Obama praised several officials including Homeland Security adviser Lisa Monaco and his perpetually bungling CDC Director Tom Frieden, who has been busy more or less full-time in recent weeks issuing clarifications of his infelicitous, inaccurate statements from the previous day.
Obama said the officials have done an “outstanding job” so far, but that with flu season upon us and Department of Homeland Security officials also working on combatting ISIS, “they also are responsible for a whole bunch of other stuff”.
Despite all the fabulous work [done by] Frieden, who used to labor for then-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on vital projects like limiting the size of soda pop servings, Obama is warming to the idea of appointing an “Ebola czar” to coordinate the government’s response to the crisis that his boneheaded policies have created.
Since that was written, Obama has appointed an “Ebola czar”: Ron Klain, a spin-doctor who did his thing for Al Gore and Joe Biden, and whose prime accomplishment was facilitating Obama’s shocking scheme to promote solar energy: flushing $535m of taxpayers’ money down the toilet known as Solyndra. He has no qualifications in medicine and no experience dealing with public health issues.
Frieden has been coming under increasingly heavy political fire in recent days. It doesn’t help that he has no idea what he’s doing, Allen said. “The problem with Frieden is he is a prohibitionist zealot who is clueless about the threat we are currently facing…”
Although quarantining infectious patients has been practiced with impressive results ever since the invention of medical science, Obama refuses to halt travel to the U.S. from Ebola-afflicted parts of the world, even from Ebola-devastated Liberia, home of the patient who recently succumbed to the disease at a Texas hospital.
Defying common sense, Obama says a “flat-out travel ban is not the way to go”.
Critics point to Obama’s stubborn refusal to stop residents of Liberia and other affected countries from visiting the U.S. as incompetence or a lack of leadership.
This criticism may be unfair. Obama is more likely acting out of principle.
Obama’s neo-Marxist, identity politics-infused worldview holds that America is an imperial power that has victimized other nations merely by being wealthy and powerful. Meanwhile, Obama romanticizes backward countries like those former colonies in Ebola-rich West Africa and views imposing a travel ban on their citizens as adding insult to the grievous injuries that the perpetually guilty United States has inflicted on them.
The president has no compunction putting American lives at risk and subordinating their interests to those of West Africans.
Obama seems to forget that his chief duty under the Constitution is to protect the American people.
Did he ever remember it?
* Go here to read a scientist’s opinion that the Ebola virus can mutate to become airborne if it has not already done so.
Bill Whittle talks about the threat of Ebola:
These photos (from the Mail Online) of sufferers from ebola lying dead on the roads in Liberia give a true picture of Africa. See how poor it is – despite decades of First World aid being poured into it.
Why the pervasive and persistent poverty with its concomitant filth and ignorance? Could the aid have something to do with it? It wrecked the local economies and filled the Swiss bank accounts of the dictators rather than built a house, paved a street, or founded a school or hospital.
Millions of Africans have died of malnutrition, malaria, and Aids. And now thousands are dying of ebola.
But out of the West comes more aid. The outbreak and rapid spread of this most terrible disease allows Obama to continue his campaign of turning the US military into a ministry of social workers.
American soldiers will now have to face something far more lethal than IS/ISIS/ISIL. Something they did not sign up for. (Will there be no protest from the ranks?)
And what are the odds against their bringing ebola back home with them?
This is from the Wall Street Journal. (Google the title Obama Plans Major Ebola Offensive to get round the paywall. )
President Barack Obama plans to dramatically boost the U.S. effort to mitigate the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, including greater involvement of the U.S. military …
Mr. Obama is expected to detail the plan during a visit Tuesday to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] in Atlanta … Among the possible moves: sending additional portable hospitals, doctors and health-care experts, providing medical supplies and conducting training for health workers in Liberia and other countries.
Mr. Obama also is expected to urge Congress to approve the request he made last week for an additional $88 million to fund his proposal.
“There’s a lot that we’ve been putting toward this, but it is not sufficient,” Lisa Monaco, Mr. Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, said in an interview Sunday. “So the president has directed a more scaled-up response and that’s what you’re going to hear more about on Tuesday.”
The strategy has four components: control the outbreak at its source in West Africa; build competence in the region’s public-health system, particularly in Liberia; bolster the capacity of local officials through enhanced training for health-care providers; and increase support from international organizations …
The Ebola outbreak has infected at least 4,784 people as of Sept. 12, with 2,400 of them dying—a jump from 3,707 cases and 1,848 deaths as of Aug. 31. The true toll probably is much higher, the World Health Organization says. …
Mr. Obama ordered a bolder U.S. effort about two weeks ago after CDC Director Tom Frieden briefed the White House on his findings from a trip to West Africa … Dr. Frieden said publicly on Sept. 2 that he saw dozens of patients lying on the ground in an Ebola treatment center because there weren’t enough beds. “I could not possibly overstate the need for an urgent response,” he said.
Mr. Obama’s plan is a reaction to concern that the epidemic could significantly grow in West Africa, particularly in urban areas. …
One rising concern among officials is the possibility that the virus could mutate in a way that would make it more dangerous.
It could become air-borne.
The more the virus spreads from one human to another, the more opportunities it has to mutate, virologists say. While not all scientists agree that significant mutations that would change the way the virus is transmitted are likely, one recent study of virus samples over three weeks in Sierra Leone found many mutations.
The fourteenth century was cursed with the Papal Inquisition and bubonic plague. The twenty-first century is cursed with Islam and ebola.
The only sensible place to look for real help is the laboratory.
Western hard-headed science will do what Western soft-hearted charity can not.
Children and young mothers with babes in arms are streaming into the US over the Mexican border. They have come from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, a distance at the very least of well over 1,000 miles. Reports say they are walking. What would you expect young girls and boys, little kids and burdened women to look like after walking 1,000 miles in the summer heat, apparently carrying little or no sustenance for the journey, and passing through territory controlled by criminal gangs? The news pictures of them arriving in Texas and Arizona show those who reach their journey’s end looking quite healthy and fresh (though it is said that they have brought infectious diseases). We guess they did not walk, but rode on wheels. We guess there is organization behind the vast migration. Transportation has been provided – paid for by whom?
It is in the interests of adults to send the children ahead to the US, and to take all necessary measures to see that they get there safely. Their local news media have told them that “undocumented” children, once in the US, will not be deported, and that the US authorities will reunite them with their parents. Which suggests that parents will be not just allowed in, but brought in to the US.
Where did they get that from? Who or what has lured the children from Central America to the United States?
Diana West writes at Townhall:
It isn’t that the barbarians are at the gate. The barbarians control the gate. I don’t know what else to call a president and attorney general who have opened the US border to literally tens of thousands of “children” – some described as “sexually active” teens, some even suspected of ties to gangs. This not only breaks laws, it breaks trust. Opening the border this way also opens the most outrageous front to date in what increasingly looks like a kind of war aimed at “fundamentally transforming the United States of America“. And the people’s elected representatives do nothing.
Children are usually just children, but when 130,000 of them are expected to storm the border in the coming year, they more closely resemble an advancing column, a kind of foreign legion of child-mercenaries raised abroad with cynical promises of booty in the form of cradle-to-grave taxpayer charity.
But who will fight “children”? This is the audacity of this latest Obama “crisis”: Trojan horse as “humanitarian crisis”. …
Of course, there is an undeniable genius to this form of border attack. All “the kids” from the rest of the world (do you really think Central America is the end?) have to do is serve as pitiful proxies of the assault. Once vanquished by pangs of conscience, however false, we’ll support them forever. We’ll have to. Have you taken a look at your local police department’s massive and bristling military hardware lately?
Just shut up and watch as this newfangled children’s crusade turns our border, the concept of nationhood itself, into dust. Welcome to Obamaland.
Of course, even the 17-year-old gangbangers among the youngsters aren’t the masterminds or generals. Like American citizens, they are pawns, dupes, lured by promises which Washington may indeed extract from Us, the People. “Go to America with your child, you won’t be turned away,” one Guatemalan mother told a radio station in the Rio Grande Valley. She is right. Come one, come all.
Once they are over the increasingly irrelevant line, Obama officials welcome the invading junior armies, shepherding them straight into an enfolding and enlarging federal safety net from which they may never have to emerge. These are just the newest wards of a brave new state that bears no resemblance to the republic as defined by those antique documents kept under glass in the dim light of the National Archives.
Meanwhile, “the kids” have hit the jackpot – that jackpot of socialist programs that separates today’s “new Americans” from our forefathers. Not so long ago, immigrants came for liberty and opportunity, not tax-supported handouts.
We are witnessing the betrayal of that nation of liberty and opportunity because there are so few in power with the courage to lawfully oppose it – not just rail about it all as a mere columnist.
Meanwhile, American citizens are footing the bill. Living costs aside, Attorney General Eric Holder has announced that the Obama administration – i.e., We, the Taxpayers – will be providing attorneys for the legions of “unaccompanied minors”. Holder’s non-specific language is telling: “We’re taking a historic step to … protect the rights of the most vulnerable members of society,” he said. Historic step is right – Legal Aid for the world. He continued: “How we treat those in need … goes to the core of who we are as a nation.”
OK, so who are we, Mr. Attorney General, as a “nation”? The Western Hemisphere?
Once upon a time, the U.S. staged the Berlin Airlift, mounting an astounding 200,000 flights in one year to keep Soviet-blockaded Berlin supplied with fuel and foodstuffs. Today, a more modest Central American Airlift would do to return these runaways to their families. One thing at a time, though. How about calling out the National Guard? It would even be of some comfort if someone in Congress went to the floor and told peoples of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and the rest to stay the hell home.
So long as all of the government remains complicit or silent, this is nothing less than an unopposed invasion – an unopposed war, in other words, even if waged by the most unconventional means and by the most unlikely and unarmed “soldiers”.
Worst of all, though, it is a war that is being encouraged, if not led, by our own president while no one with all of the appropriate Constitutional powers vested in him is doing anything to stop him.
Google is celebrating the work of the environmmentalist Rachel Carson, who was born 107 years ago this month.
Yesterday Google disdained offering a special banner for Memorial Day. Today they compound this insult with a banner marking the birthday of Rachel Carson, author of the deeply wrong Silent Spring. Few books since Das Kapital have done more damage to humans … than Silent Spring, and yet she —and her dreadful book — continue to be honored by the Left.
Henry I. Miller* and Gregory Conko* severely criticize Rachel Carson at Forbes:
We recently passed the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s best-selling book, Silent Spring. Widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement, it was an emotionally charged but deeply flawed denunciation of the widespread spraying of chemical pesticides for the control of insects. Today, the book is still revered by many, but its legacy is anything but positive.
As detailed by Roger Meiners and Andy Morriss in their scholarly yet very readable analysis, Silent Spring at 50: Reflections on an Environmental Classic, Carson … “encourages some of the most destructive strains within environmentalism: alarmism, technophobia, failure to consider the costs and benefits of alternatives, and the discounting of human well-being around the world”.
Carson’s proselytizing and advocacy raised substantial anxiety about DDT and led to bans in most of the world and to restrictions on other chemical pesticides. But the fears she raised were based on gross misrepresentations and scholarship so atrocious that, if Carson were an academic, she would be guilty of egregious academic misconduct. Her observations about DDT have been condemned by many scientists. In the words of Professor Robert H. White-Stevens, an agriculturist and biology professor at Rutgers University, “If man were to follow the teachings of Miss Carson, we would return to the Dark Ages, and the insects and diseases and vermin would once again inherit the earth.”
Even fellow environmentalists called her a liar, uninterested in the truth:
In 1992, San Jose State University entomologist J. Gordon Edwards, a long-time member of the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society and a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, offered a persuasive and comprehensive rebuttal of Silent Spring. As he explained in The Lies of Rachel Carson, a stunning, point by point refutation, “it simply dawned on me that that Rachel Carson was not interested in the truth about [pesticides] and that I was being duped along with millions of other Americans”. He demolished Carson’s arguments and assertions, calling attention to critical omissions, faulty assumptions, and outright fabrications. … [He wrote]:
This implication that DDT is horribly deadly is completely false. Human volunteers have ingested as much as 35 milligrams of it a day for nearly two years and suffered no adverse effects. Millions of people have lived with DDT intimately during the mosquito spray programs and nobody even got sick as a result. The National Academy of Sciences concluded in 1965 that ‘in a little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million [human] deaths that would otherwise have been inevitable’. The World Health Organization stated that DDT had ‘killed more insects and saved more people than any other substance’.
In addition, DDT was used with dramatic effect to shorten and prevent typhus epidemics during and after WWII when people were dusted with large amounts of it but suffered no ill effects, which is perhaps the most persuasive evidence that the chemical is harmless to humans. The product was such a boon to public health that in 1948 the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Dr. Paul Müller for his discovery of the “contact insecticidal action” of DDT.
It is extraordinary that anyone in the mainstream scientific community could continue to embrace the sentimental claptrap of Silent Spring, so we were surprised to see the commentary, In Retrospect: Silent Spring, in the scientific journal Nature in May by evolutionary biologist Rob Dunn. Science is, after all, evidence-based, but Dunn’s puff piece is a flawed and repugnant whitewash of Carson’s failure to present actual evidence to support her assertions, and of the carnage that she caused. It also demonstrates that Dunn knows little about the history or toxicology of DDT. …
Carson’s disingenuous proselytizing spurred public pressure to ban DDT in many countries, with disastrous consequences: a lack of effective control of mosquitoes that carry malaria and other diseases. Malaria imposes huge costs on individuals, families and governments. It inflicts a crushing economic burden on malaria-endemic countries and impedes their economic growth. A study by the Harvard University Center for International Development estimated that a high incidence of malaria reduces economic growth by 1.3 percentage points each year. Compounded over the four decades since the first bans of DDT, that lost growth has made some of the world’s poorest countries an astonishing 40 percent poorer than had there been more effective mosquito control. …
The legacy of Rachel Carson is that tens of millions of human lives – mostly children in poor, tropical countries – have been traded for the possibility of slightly improved fertility in raptors.
This remains one of the monumental human tragedies of the last century.
* Henry I. Miller, a physician, is the Robert Wesson Fellow of Scientific Philosophy and Public Policy at Stanford University’s Hoover institution; he was the founding director of the FDA’s Office of Biotechnology. Gregory Conko is a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.