Progressive elites talk equality, practice inequality

Another day, another unintentionally revealing quote from Jon ‘Hero of the Republic’ Gruber. Today the Daily Caller reports on an October 2009 lecture given by Gruber on the subject of Obamacare at the time when the legislation was working its way through Congress. Gruber lamented the lack of ‘cost controls’ in the bill.

Gruber also said that the only way to control costs is to effectively deny treatment.

“The real substance of cost control is all about a single thing: telling patients they can’t have something they want. It’s about telling patients, ‘That surgery doesn’t do any good, so if you want it you have to pay the full cost.’”

And who are these people telling patients “they can’t have something they want”? Answer: The Political Class, in particular, unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Leftists respond that, prior to Obamacare, it was insurance companies who told people ‘they can’t have something they want.’ But this is why a free market in health insurance is preferable–the private market gives the individual a choice. If an individual does not like his plan, he can switch to a different one or choose a different insurer.

Of course, under the flawed American system, most private workers get insurance through their employer, which is less than ideal. But even employer-sponsored insurance offers some scope for choice because the employer can self-insure or negotiate with an insurance company on behalf of employees. And the employer has an incentive to negotiate a good plan because the employer wants to keep employees happy. Again, the system is not ideal, but individuals also sometimes exercise choice by switching jobs and choosing their employer on the basis of the specifics of the employer’s health plan.

Elitists like Gruber, however, want politicians, bureaucrats, and technicians like him to decide for most people what’s good for them. The rich, of course, will always be able to get whatever they want. But everybody else will have no choice but to accept whatever the elites decide they can have. The dependent underclass will have no choice because they’re not paying their own way. The government is paying, and he who pays the piper calls the tune. Likewise, the self-supporting middle-class will be too weighed down by taxes, high insurance premiums, and inflated costs to, as Gruber puts it, “pay the full cost” to get what they want.

Meanwhile, there’s considerable reason to fear that those bureaucrats deciding what insurance will and will not cover might succumb to regulatory capture. In that case, the bureaucrats will shape policy primarily to benefit the insurance and health industries, not the individual.

Gruber explained his vision by way of analogy:

“There’s no reason the American health care system can’t be, ‘You can have whatever you want, you just have to pay for it.’ That’s what we do in other walks of life. We don’t say everyone has to have a large screen TV. If you want a large screen TV, you have to pay for it. Basically the notion would be to move to a level where everyone has a solid basic insurance level of coverage. Above that people pay on their own, without tax-subsidized dollars, to buy a higher level of coverage.”

But this analogy is false. There is no government program to subsidize TV purchases at a “basic…level.” A much more appropriate analogy would be schooling. The government pays for people to attend ‘free’ public schools, while allowing those who want something else to ‘pay the full cost’ at private schools or by relocating to a different school district.

The affluent, of course, can always find access to decent schooling. But those who can’t afford to pay or to move have no choice but to accept the inferior schooling provided by the Political Class of unions, bureaucrats, and politicians. And that schooling can be dismal indeed, as attested by America’s many failing public schools.

The analogy to health care is direct. Under government plans and regulations, the poor and the middle class will lose choice and often have to accept inferior quality. The poor have trouble even finding a doctor who will accept Medicaid reimbursement rates. The middle class will bear the brunt of bureaucratic ‘cost control.’ Only the elites will exercise choice–while telling everyone else what’s good for them.

Elites like Jon Gruber and Paul Krugman and Barack Obama tell people how great Obamacare is, but actions speak louder than words, and the fact is that none of their families will ever use Obamacare. Those elites would never submit themselves to an Obamacare plan’s narrow and sometimes inferior network of providers. Nor would any of them ever check into a VA hospital.

It will never happen, but we wish some plucky reporter would ask Gruber or Obama, if Obamacare is so great, why doesn’t your family use it?

There is indeed something slightly sinister about all these statist elites advocating ‘mixed’ public and private systems such as health care and schooling. The public part allows them to subject the hoi polloi to oppressive state control, while the private part allows the elites to escape that same oppression.

The progressive elite talk a lot about “equality.” OK, here’s a challenge for them–if their state-run systems are so great, why not have everyone use the state system and nothing else? Let’s go full Mussolini: “Nothing outside the state.” Leave people with no alternative to public schools and Obamacare. That will put everyone on an equal footing. Let Obama do like Jimmy Carter and send his kids to DC public schools, and Paul Krugman can choose his health care providers from an Obamacare network.

C’mon guys! Now is the time to step up to the plate and to lead by example!

Media Reports Police Brutality Selectively

John Hinderaker of Powerline had some trenchant observations regarding the recent news reports of police shootings that have stoked so much outrage across America.

These stories about the killings of African-American men by police officers (or by a “neighborhood watch captain,” in Trayvon Martin’s case) are all what my long-time radio and podcast partner Brian Ward calls “stories of choice.” They are plucked from a nearly endless supply of sad events that occur daily in a nation of 315 million, and are promoted because they further a political narrative. An unholy alliance of activists and newspaper reporters and editors tries to distort our perception of reality by giving undue emphasis to them. Then, of course, reality begins to catch up with perception, and we have riots, murders of police officers, and so on. But understand that the decision to promote these stories, in preference to others that are equally or more newsworthy, is a choice that is consciously made by people with a political agenda.

Pursuant to Hinderaker’s point about selective reporting, we present below a local news report of a story the national media did not see fit to promote. The national media ignored the story despite the fact that it offers a more unambiguous example of police misconduct than do the stories currently roiling the nation. Furthermore, this story features an additional source of outrage in the form of prosecutorial misconduct. The victim, however, was a bald-headed white male. For us, that description hits close to home. But for the national media, it doesn’t fit the agenda. That agenda seemingly has more to do with keeping certain elements of society distracted and agitated than it does with a serious attempt to tackle the problem of police brutality.

Apocalypse North

Inspired by Bastiat’s classic Petition of the Candlemakers, economists David J. Hebert and Austin Middleton have written a clever riff on Santa Claus as unfair trader and job destroyer.

Every year on December 24, we struggle to fall asleep, anxious over the arrival of the villain known as Father Christmas. Santa’s crimes are not breaking and entering or stealing foodstuffs. No, Santa is guilty of the much more serious crime of destroying American jobs. Products imported from abroad and consumed domestically make Americans worse off. Every “gift” from Santa represents a reduction in measured American welfare; this is one of the fundamental assertions of national income accounting when calculating gross domestic product. In fact, the North Pole is worse than other countries, for the North Pole does not receive any goods produced for export from the United States. Thus, the US trade deficit with the North Pole is entirely one-sided.

And here’s what it might look like if the beleaguered domestic toy industry were to take matters into its own hands. (Apologies to Francis Ford Coppola–and Joseph Conrad.)

Merry Christmas!

Privileged Punks Practice Vandalism with Impunity

One of the deplorable consequences of the bogus Rolling Stone gang rape story was an organized attack by vandals on the fraternity house wrongly implicated by the story. Interestingly, more than one month after the vandalism, police have made no arrests. This is despite felony-level damages, and the fact that the Washington Times had little difficulty tracking down and interviewing the ringleader of the attack.

In the wee morning hours after Rolling Stone’s now-retracted gang rape story roiled the University of Virginia campus, a masked group of five women and three men unleashed their fury on the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house at the center of the controversy.

Bottles and bricks were tossed through nearly every first-floor window, sending shards of glass and crashing sounds into the house around 2:30 a.m. on Nov. 20.

Profane, hate messages such as “F—k Boys” were spray-painted on the walls of the colonial facade, along with anti-sexual assault epithets such as “suspend us,” and “UVA Center for Rape Studies.”

Also notable is the fact that the ringleader expresses no remorse for the attack.

The young man, the progeny of a privileged family, readily and unrepentantly admitted his role and described the attack his friends carried out in details that match police and eyewitness reports. He also said he knew his actions would be considered illegal.

“The progeny of a privileged family.” Why does this not surprise us? Could it be because the privileged often feel themselves above the law and anticipate paying no price for their unlawful behavior?

“I texted one of my friends and I was like, ‘Let’s throw bottles at the Phi Psi house tonight,’ and she said, ‘Yes!’ I think that the article made it clear that victims at the university have no legitimate channels to take action, and I think vandalism is a completely legitimate form of action when like, legitimate authority is corrupt. I think it was justified,” he said in an interview with The Times.

Well, a leading indicator of a corrupt authority would be if some people, if they are sufficiently privileged and/or choose a socially approved target, can evade prosecution for felony vandalism.

And even evade university discipline.

U.Va. spokesman Anthony de Bruyn said school disciplinary boards could take action if they learn the identities of the perpetrators, but he made it clear that “the Charlottesville Police Department has jurisdiction over that incident.” He gave no indication whether school officials were conducting a separate inquiry.

Funny, the Washington Times didn’t seem to find it too hard to “learn the identities of the perpetrators.” Maybe U.Va. needs to try just a little harder.

Many students on campus seemed apathetic to seeing the attackers brought to justice. One young woman who answered the front door of her sorority told The Times that she did not feel the fraternity attack was the right story to cover.

“I think the next important story is continuing to focus on the problem of sexual assault of young women on campuses, whether Jackie’s story is true or not,” she said.

Call us dreamers, but here at Yet, Freedom!, we continue to cling to old fashioned notions of logic and decency which tell us that society does not have to choose between protecting people from rape and protecting their property from vandalism. A civilized society does both.

The student who claimed to participate in the attack said he had no regrets despite the fact that the accuracy of Jackie’s story in Rolling Stone has come under significant doubt, including the name of the fraternity where the alleged attack occurred. Asked whether he felt at all bad about attacking the wrong fraternity, he showed no remorse and justified the attack on the broader woes of “social injustice.”

“I’ve done some thinking about that, but the answer is no. Everyone knows this is a house that does not respect women. They are part of the problem, and I do not feel bad.”

Hey, as Lenin said, to make an omelet, you’ve got to break a few eggs, right comrade?

“We have an objective set of laws that empowers the police to kill black men with impunity and protects white rapists at U.Va. from prosecution. The laws are only legitimate when they work. This is not a particularly radical campus, but we’re mad.”

Don’t agree with those specific claims, but we do sympathize with the ideal of equality before the law, and therefore deplore a system that seems to protect (some) white rapists vandals at U.Va. from prosecution.

“The police force does nothing but harass the black community and protect white students from being uncomfortable,” he said.

If this “progeny of a privileged family” who attends an elite university is really concerned about the influence of privilege on the justice system, the first thing he ought to do is look in the mirror. Because if he were the son of an unemployed West Virginia coal miner, he’d find himself sleeping a couple feet from a stainless steel toilet–not giving interviews to The Washington Times.

For now, we continue to cling to the faint and fading hope that the Charlottesville police department will do the right thing and restore our faith in the rule of law by arresting this privileged putz.

Is This the Greatest Broadcast in Television History?

They don’t make TV shows like this anymore. In this 1981 episode of William F. Buckley’s Firing Line, economist Thomas Sowell masterfully refutes the political left’s major motivating shibboleths regarding race and sex. Sowell’s bravura performance explodes the lazy presumptions of modern leftism and delivers several direct torpedo hits to the hull of the leftist social project. The show is so directly subversive of the progressive-left agenda and Weltanschauung that we suspect it could not be produced and broadcast in today’s America. Students take note: Your liberal professors don’t want you to see this video.

In a video that lasts nearly a full hour, the intellectual stimulation never wanes. In fact, the action heats up in the later part of the show when Sowell engages the famous feminist lawyer, Harriet Pilpel. Pilpel is a pretty smart cookie; she graduated second in her class at Columbia Law School and litigated dozens of important cases. But going up against Sowell is like Bambi vs. Godzilla.

Among the many highlights, we especially like the part at roughly 45:40 where Pilpell recites income disparities and takes those as alleged proof of ‘clear discrimination’ against women and minorities. She does this despite the fact that Sowell had already explained earlier in the show that different outcomes between groups cannot alone prove discrimination.

Pilpel: It is clear from these figures, as indeed I think it’s clear to most of us from what we see, that there is a discrimination against blacks and against women in our present system…

Sowell: I’m sorry you missed the earlier part of the program when I pointed out that, where you find people not represented evenly, that does not show the institutional effect because almost nowhere in human affairs do you find people evenly represented.

Don’t miss also Pilpel’s arrogant assertion that black parents can’t be trusted with school choice because they don’t have the educational background required to make good choices.

Yeah, liberals aren’t racist, they just believe that a black person cannot succeed without the help of a white person.

Sowell addresses issues of race and sex discrimination that remain relevant more than 30 years later; indeed, the issues have taken on heightened significance.

Marc nominates this show as the greatest hour in the history of television.

 

When Santa Claus Showed Up on U.S. Currency

Here is an unusual Christmas money story from Bloomberg. Sadly, banks stopped releasing Santa Claus currency once the U.S. Treasury took over the exclusive production of legal tender:

Money can be so boring. Or, at least, U.S. paper currency. Green, black, cream, some president’s head. With the holiday season upon us, there are holiday stamps, holiday checks, holiday-themed toilet paper. Would it be so horrible to have holiday-themed currency?

They didn’t think so before the U.S. Treasury stepped in to un-democratize the design of U.S. currency. Before it did that in 1861, there actually was holiday-themed currency featuring Santa Claus, and earlier versions of St. Nicholas.

“From 1793 to 1861, when the U.S. Treasury was given exclusive rights to produce legal tender, thousands of different styles of bank notes were created by U.S. banks,” and prominent on some of their holiday-themed currency, a blog post from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York tells us, was Santa Claus.

Santa was extremely popular back then, the post says, thanks to a.) Christmas becoming an official holiday in many Northern states, and b.) the printing in 1823 of the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore (that was the original title; today, it’s known as “The Night Before Christmas”). Here’s another image of a Santa bank note from that era from, yes, Saint Nicholas Bank in New York:

Source: Heritage Auctions, Inc.

It wasn’t exactly sentiment fueling the banks’ creativity. One motivation was that, since a lot of people kept the collectible bills as keepsakes, they wouldn’t be eager to redeem the bills for their underlying value in gold. If they did keep them and passed them down through the years, their heirs would be happy: One obsolete Santa bank note sold for $40,000 in 2011, according to Heritage Auctions.

Ignore the big-money managers’ predictions for 2015

Brett Roi at Marketwatch provides some good investing advice:

Buy Japan. Buy Europe. Buy technology. Avoid energy. Avoid Russia.

That’s what the Big Money is saying as we get ready for the new year. This is according to the latest in-depth survey of institutional money managers conducted by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. In total, the poll-takers interviewed over 150 professional investment managers around the world with nearly $450 billion in assets under management.

There’s only one problem with this. The Big Money folks are more likely to be utterly wrong than utterly right.

That isn’t just because they are subject to the usual factors like herd instinct and professional self-preservation. It’s also because even though they like to think they are trying to beat the market, they actually are the market they are trying to beat.

This insight makes a strong case for passive, low cost, index investing.  But for those of you who have a higher risk tolerance and an unclouded crystal ball, all you have to do is pick the asset class that will have the best return for the upcoming year. Also, don’t buy losing lottery tickets at the gas station, only buy winning ones.

The State vs. Science: The Case of Kennewick Man

In Smithsonian Magazine, we recently stumbled across a fascinating piece about an extremely significant archeological discovery; the skeletal remains known as Kennewick Man, more than 9,000 years old, found along the Columbia River in Washington State in 1996. Clicking on this article, we expected to encounter merely a geeky narrative about science, but we were astonished to find buried in the article a remarkable story of individual scientists who fought heroically against a corrupt and monied organization that was attempting to suppress scientific research.kennewick And what was this benighted organization that tried to impede science? A greedy corporation? The Catholic Church? No, it was of course that inexhaustible source of malefaction, the federal government of the United States.

Shortly after Kennewick Man was discovered, and before scientists had a chance to conduct an examination, the remains were seized by the Army Corps of Engineers. For the sake of a petty political agenda, the federal government sought, unlawfully, to turn Kennewick Man over to a local Indian tribe, which planned to bury the remains at a secret location, where they would be lost to science, perhaps forever. Federal law actually says that scientists should be afforded an opportunity for study before reburial. Nonetheless, several departments of the federal government fought a pitched, decade-long battle to stop scientific progress. The federal effort was overcome only by the brave efforts of a handful of determined scientists.

The particulars of the story are remarkable.

So [Douglas] Owsley and several of his colleagues found an attorney, Alan Schneider. Schneider contacted the corps and was also rebuffed. Owsley suggested they file a lawsuit and get an injunction. Schneider warned him: “If you’re going to sue the government, you better be in it for the long haul.”

Owsley assembled a group of eight plaintiffs, prominent physical anthropologists and archaeologists connected to leading universities and museums. But no institution wanted anything to do with the lawsuit, which promised to attract negative attention and be hugely expensive. They would have to litigate as private citizens. “These were people,” Schneider said to me later, “who had to be strong enough to stand the heat, knowing that efforts might be made to destroy their careers. And efforts were made.”

When Owsley told his wife, Susan, that he was going to sue the government of the United States, her first response was: “Are we going to lose our home?” He said he didn’t know. “I just felt,” Owsley told me in a recent interview, “this was one of those extremely rare and important discoveries that come once in a lifetime. If we lost it”—he paused. “Unthinkable.”

Working like mad, Schneider and litigating partner Paula Barran filed a lawsuit. With literally hours to go, a judge ordered the corps to hold the bones until the case was resolved.

When word got out that the eight scientists had sued the government, criticism poured in, even from colleagues. The head of the Society for American Archaeology tried to get them to drop the lawsuit. Some felt it would interfere with the relationships they had built with Native American tribes. But the biggest threat came from the Justice Department itself. Its lawyers contacted the Smithsonian Institution warning that Owsley and Stanford might be violating “criminal conflict of interest statutes which prohibit employees of the United States” from making claims against the government.

[…]

Owsley and his group were eventually forced to litigate not just against the corps, but also the Department of the Army, the Department of the Interior and a number of individual government officials. As scientists on modest salaries, they could not begin to afford the astronomical legal bills. Schneider and Barran agreed to work for free, with the faint hope that they might, someday, recover their fees. In order to do that they would have to win the case and prove the government had acted in “bad faith”—a nearly impossible hurdle. The lawsuit dragged on for years. “We never expected them to fight so hard,” Owsley says. Schneider says he once counted 93 government attorneys directly involved in the case or cc’ed on documents.

[…]

The scientists asked the corps for permission to examine the stratigraphy of the site where the skeleton had been found and to look for grave goods. Even as Congress was readying a bill to require the corps to preserve the site, the corps dumped a million pounds of rock and fill over the area for erosion control, ending any chance of research.

[…]

Ultimately, the scientists won the lawsuit…The judge ordered the corps to make the specimen available to the plaintiffs for study. The government appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which in 2004 again ruled resoundingly in favor of the scientists…

[…]

During the trial, the presiding magistrate judge, John Jelderks, had noted for the record that the corps on multiple occasions misled or deceived the court. He found that the government had indeed acted in “bad faith” and awarded attorney’s fees of $2,379,000 to Schneider and his team.

“At the bare minimum,” Schneider told me, “this lawsuit cost the taxpayers $5 million.”

Owsley and the collaborating scientists presented a plan of study to the corps, which was approved after several years. And so, almost ten years after the skeleton was found, the scientists were given 16 days to examine it. They did so in July of 2005 and February of 2006.

$5 million blown in an attempt to impede science and to keep truth hidden–your tax dollars at work.

And why did the government fight so hard against science?

[Schneider] speculated that the corps was involved in tense negotiations with the tribes over a number of thorny issues, including salmon fishing rights along the Columbia River, the tribes’ demand that the corps remove dams and the ongoing, hundred-billion-dollar cleanup of the vastly polluted Hanford nuclear site. Schneider says that a corps archaeologist told him “they weren’t going to let a bag of old bones get in the way of resolving other issues with the tribes.”

Back in the 1960s, as the government was launching rockets to the moon, it gave every appearance of serving as an engine of science and progress. But the reality is that government is inherently a conservative institution, in the sense that it seeks to preserve the prevailing political equilibrium. Scientific breakthroughs tend to cause social and political disruption; as a result, we shouldn’t be surprised to see government align itself against science, particularly in situations that have no implications for national security.

In the case of Kennewick Man, federal bureaucrats fought a protracted, multimillion dollar struggle against truth and enlightenment, all for the sake of a petty political agenda involving fishing rights. That says a lot about the willingness of bureaucrats to sacrifice enlightenment ideals on the altar of political expediency.

Yet leftists constantly assert that it’s the political right that is anti-science.

Kudos to Douglas Owsley and his colleagues for fighting triumphantly for the cause of science against the formidable resources of the federal bureaucracy. Their story seems worthy of a Hollywood movie, like Norma Rae, or Erin Brockovich–the idealistic underdog struggling against powerful and deep-pocketed forces of cynicism and corruption. But Hollywood would have to change the story to let government off the hook and recast the villains as greedy white male businessmen.

Visit a National Park, Get Subjected to Propaganda

We were hoping to make a trip to Yellowstone, but we’re a bit less enthusiastic after finding out that doing so might expose us to government-funded, junk-science agitprop.

[Brian] Ettling has spent his summers working as a park ranger at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon for nearly a decade. He is on a mission to teach visitors that man-made global warming is real. But climate change can be a touchy subject. So Ettling devised a strategy. When a park visitor casts doubt on global warming, he makes an appeal to their pocketbook.

“I try to shift the conversation away from polar bears and ice caps,” Ettling says. “I tell people there are a lot of things they can do to save money on their electric bill that will also help the environment. Usually, I can get through to them that way.”

Ettling has had time to perfect the approach. He started talking about the impact of climate change at Crater Lake several years ago.

Well, if we really want to save money on electric bills, we need to oppose the ‘climate change’ agenda promoted by people like Mr. Ettling. The agenda actively promotes carbon taxes and inefficient energy sources that cause electric rates to skyrocket. In Britain, an emphasis on alternative energy such as solar and wind has contributed to a 23.5 percent increase in electric rates over just the last three years. If we want to save money, we need to do the opposite of what climate alarmists recommend.

But hey, we can see why Mr. Ettling might want to “shift the conversation away from polar bears and ice caps.” After all, there’s absolutely no evidence that polar bears have been harmed by climate change, and the polar bear population has increased dramatically since hunting was banned 40 years ago.

As for sea ice, in recent years it has been expanding, not contracting, at both poles.

Anytime Mr. Ettling wants to shift the conversation back to ice and bears, we’d be happy to oblige him.

National parks are on the front lines of climate change. And park rangers are increasingly delivering the message that global warming is taking a toll on the iconic areas. Scientists say evidence of a warming Earth can be seen everywhere from rapidly melting glaciers at Glacier National Park in Montana to rising sea levels in the Florida Everglades. Park officials lament the changing landscape. But they say climate change also creates an opportunity to turn parks into open-air classrooms.

The Montana glaciers have been in rapid retreat since at least 1860, long before SUVs became popular or China industrialized. Likewise, ocean levels have been rising for more than 10,000 years, and there’s no compelling evidence that human activity has accelerated the rate of increase.

Educational Propaganda efforts have ramped up in recent years. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which spans parts of North Carolina and Tennessee, has hosted climate-science workshops for high school and middle school teachers as well as college professors. California’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area produces a podcast that discusses global warming. The visitors’ center at Yosemite National Park in California is chock-full of climate change brochures and fact sheets.

Do they keep those brochures right beside the Obamacare sign-up sheets?

“We have an opportunity to take a seemingly faraway concept and make it tangible and real by showing how Yosemite has been affected,” says Paul Ollig, the park’s deputy chief of interpretation and education…”We still have some park managers who think it’s too controversial to talk about climate change,” says Julia Washburn, the Park Service associate director for interpretation and education.

Gosh, our national parks sure seem to have a lot of people in charge of “interpretation.” Here’s an idea: Why don’t they just focus on keeping the parks pristine and leave us to handle the interpretations ourselves, mmkay?

More than 280 million people visit national parks each year. But visitors who don’t believe in global warming may opt out of educational talks and leave climate brochures sitting on the shelves of visitor centers.

We suspect it’s just a matter of time before they remove that ‘opt out’ glitch from the system.

Hey, stop us if you’ve heard this one before:

A contentious debate over the existence and causes of climate change continues to rage, despite the fact that the vast majority of scientists say that global warming is real and driven by human activity like the burning of fossil fuels.

Nothing wrong with a little debate, right? And as much as we hesitate to question the expertise of journalists, particularly on the subject of the philosophy of science, we’re pretty sure that science doesn’t uncover truth by taking opinion polls. In fact, it’s pretty much axiomatic that right before every major scientific breakthrough, scientists don’t believe it. Before Copernicus, almost nobody believed in the heliocentric solar system. Before Darwin, almost nobody believed in evolution, and before Einstein, nobody believed in the relativity of space-time. Science is about smashing the consensus, not enforcing it.

In any event, the first casualty of socialism is truth, and it certainly says something about our current era of bloated and out-of-control government that citizens can’t even visit a national park without having to run a gauntlet of lies and propaganda.

Study canceled after $1.3B spent and no results

Via Bloomberg:

The U.S. government canceled one of its most ambitious health research projects, an effort to follow 100,000 children from before birth through adolescence, after spending about $1.3 billion since 2007 without it ever really getting off the ground.

Run by the National Institutes of Health, the study was to collect data on child health and development in the hope of discovering insights into autism and other maladies.

Administrative difficulties and the project’s spiraling costs alarmed NIH Director Francis Collins, who ordered an evaluation of the study after the National Academy of Sciences raised concerns in a June 16 report.

The project was authorized by Congress in 2000 yet never got past a small pilot study to test research methods. The study “as currently designed is not feasible,” Collins said in a Dec. 12 statement on the NIH’s website.

About $1.3 billion was poured into the project since 2007, though “the impact of this funding is unclear,” according to the internal NIH evaluation. Collins put the study on hold in June before announcing its cancellation last week.

Wow! 1.3 billion and little work was done. Just think how much money they would have wasted if any work was actually done.