September 30, 2011 -- This one will take your breath away and, when you recover, teach you a life-saving philosophy lesson.
The Obama administration’s Food and Drug Administration is banning the sale of over-the-counter epinephrine inhalers used by thousands of asthma sufferers. Those who literally want to breathe will be required to use another type of device that will be available by prescription only and cost up to $60, compared to the less costly $20 devices.
How many squirts from asthma inhalers would it actually take to punch a hole in the atmosphere?
Why? Do the current inhalers, which are quick and easy to obtain by those who feel an attack coming on, in fact harm the user? No! The excuse of Obama’s FDA is that the chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) aerosol in the current devices harms the ozone layer. (The FDA is supposed to test the safety and efficacy of medical devices to humans, so this FDA action is out of its jurisdiction. Here, the FDA is doing the Environmental Protection Agency’s dirty work. But I quibble.)
So how many squirts from asthma inhalers would it actually take to punch a hole in the atmosphere, presumably sunburning us into cancer-ridden, crispy critters? How many would it take even to be measurable much less to actually, demonstrably harm humans?
I can find no good data. Maybe that’s because another excuse for this action is that the United States government, which is supposed to protect the lives of Americans, has signed an international agreement to eliminate all CFCs, no matter how many Americans such an action would harm. But in fact, the government has a lot of leeway in how it interprets this stupid pledge. It didn’t have to do this.
So what’s going on when the government takes an action that demonstrably will impose added cost, inconvenience, and actual harm on asthmatics?
You’ve heard of germophobes, people unreasonably afraid of germs? Well, many environmentalists are like chemophobes. They’re afraid of every manmade substance, no matter how small the amounts. They don’t have an objective standard to determine actual harm to humans. They just “feel” it. And many don’t put a primacy on humans, anyway. They care about the environment as opposed to humans
What’s worse is that many environmentalist collectivists assert a right to impose their phobias on the rest of us. Now, in a free society we’re each responsible for our own lives and, in society with others, seek our survival and well-being through free exchange and mutual consent. Pharmaceutical companies are free to seek profits by offering inhalers to asthmatics and asthmatics are free to purchase the products they think best meet their needs. It’s none of the government’s damned business.
But many environmentalists presume to impose upon the rest of us their prejudices.
Give a Lung
Alright, let’s play by their nonrules. I believe that those who make such decisions should “share” in the consequences. Those who are banning the asthma inhalers should be required to experience what it’s like to have asthma and the misery they are inflicting on asthma sufferers. Let ‘em know what it’s like to gasp for air. Here’s my modest proposal:
Everyone in the Obama administration who is connected with medical devices or the environment, or Obama policy of any kind, should be required to have a lung surgically removed. That’s right, put them all under the knife!
That’s the president himself, the VP, the cabinet, over a thousand political appointees, some 11,000 FDA employees, and over 18,000 EPA workers. I’d also include any member of Congress who does not vote for the immediate repeal of this inhaler rule. And this move will provide organs for half of the over 70,000 Americans waiting for lung transplants!
What? You object to me lumping individuals into an anonymous group and imposing on them onerous requirements that will make them suffer in the name of some social good? And the standard seems pretty arbitrary? Well, now you know how asthma sufferers feel!
Edward Hudgins writes on political and social issues. He is the editor of Freedom to Trade: Refuting the New Protectionism, Space: The Free Market Frontier, and two books on postal service privatization. His latest collection is entitled An Objectivist Secular Reader. He is director of advocacy for The Atlas Society.