Democrats Against Science: Commentary Magazine

Alana Goodman 06.07.2011 – 10:41 AM

After years of accusing the Republican Party of being “anti-science,” the Democrats are now opposing a bill that would require the FDA to base its rulings on hard scientific facts. It’s all part of the left’s latest attempt to use the FDA to ban products it’s always despised—meat, cigarettes, junk food, etc.—based on pseudo-science, ideological distaste, and conjecture. The House GOP is now fighting back with a bill from Rep. Danny Rehberg:

House Republicans are pushing back against a series of public health measures, including school lunch standards and tobacco regulation, teeing up a confrontation with Senate Democrats and the White House over the reach of government in daily life. . . . They took aim at measures that are part of the Obama administration’s efforts to combat obesity among children and adults as well as some initiatives enacted by the previous Congress.

The media is trying to portray this as a story of the GOP teaming up with Big Tobacco. But the real issue is that Democrats want to discourage certain snack companies from marketing to children, and slap cafeterias with expensive regulations on school lunches. This might be less of a problem if scientific evidence showed that these proposals would be effective at combating childhood obesity, but the evidence just isn’t there.

The recent menthol cigarette ban is another part of this. Lawmakers pushed to prohibit menthols because they allegedly “taste better” than other cigarettes (what?) and children are more likely to smoke them. Of course, this is complete nonsense, as Martin Orlowsky observed at the Wall Street Journal.

“The majority of underage smokers report that their usual brand is not menthol,” Orlowsky writes. “In fact, when you take a close look at the impact of menthol cigarettes on youth smoking rates, the data show that the use of menthol cigarettes may actually have a slight inverse relationship to the rate of youth smoking.”

So why the ban? Because the left won’t let anything get in the way of its effort to enforce its moral sensibility onto the rest of society—not even science

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