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February 17th, 2013:

Richard Epstein video: Off-label drug use, the FDA, and the First Amendment

And now, for a little light entertainment, the inimitable Richard Epstein. 1:06.

The YouTube description:

Published on Jan 29, 2013

On January 15, 2013, Stanford’s Center for Law and the Biosciences welcomed distinguished legal scholar Richard Epstein to campus for the talk “The FDA, Off Label Use, and the First Amendment.”

Epstein discussed the Second Circuit’s decision United States v. Caronia, which held that the longstanding ban on off-label promotion violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and the future of drug regulation.

Challenge the Zeitgeist

Maybe it’s just a personality thing, but I find myself adopting the contrarian position quite a bit.  Sometimes it’s for the fun, or shock value, sometimes its defence of the underdog or the socially excluded* other times, I just thing the zeitgeist has it massively, glaringly wrong.

Anyway, I took the boy to a country park yesterday and we happened upon a couple of his friends, so I began to talk with their mothers.  They started going on about Starbucks and tax evasion and both looked utterly stunned when I said that Starbucks shouldn’t pay any more tax than they legally have to.

So after a bit of open-mouthed gaping in disbelief that anyone could adopt that position, a few clichés were trotted out.

“But if they paid their fair share of taxes, we wouldn’t have to pay so much”

“Yes you would, the state would just spend more”

“But how would we fund the NHS without taxes?”

“Just like we did pre-47 when the whole thing was nationalised”

“But people would be left to die in the streets”

“As opposed to unattended in a hospital bed in Stafford”

“But you have to pay tax”

“Only under threat of violence and kidnap, the government is just a criminal gang”

“No they are the government, you vote don’t you”

“Hah, no, what’s the point?  Can you name anything that’s changed since Cameron came to power, democracy in the UK is just a suggestion box for slaves”

“But if you don’t vote you can’t influence what’s going on”

“But if you do vote you don’t influence what’s going on either, you just legitimise it”

Well at this point, the Mrs is giving me the “shut your mouth or I will eviscerate you” type looks and whilst I will bravely face down conventional opinion, I promptly deserted the high-ground at the prospect of an evening’s hostility from ‘er indoors.

But my question is this.  Do you leave people in the conventional statist paradigm (leading to a major party being elected at Eastleigh for example and no change) or do you risk social ostracism and challenge ‘em?  There’s no point talking to politicos, they don’t listen, but our peers might.

(* The boy goes to a nursery attached to a private school which, whilst it’s not Eton, is a bit snooty.  Pretty much all the parents there are in their thirties or forties, and as ever, the nouveau riche are the absolute worst snobs.  Anyway, the sole exception to this demographic is a single mother aged 21 who has worked out that if the government will fund 15 hours a week, it is wise to spend the cash at the best possible place.  Needless to say all the married ‘yummy-mummy’ types in UGG boots and 4×4 cars who have ponies for dear little golden-haired Amelia, exclude her horribly; so I absolutely don’t.)