05 June 2012

Brad DeLong, Idiot at Law

Only ignorance, malice, or stupidity can explain this assertion:

General Mills does not want the "freedom" to claim that Cheerios is the key to eternal life until and unless somebody publishes peer-reviwed scientific research saying it is not, and the FDA takes them to court and persuades a judge to issue a final order stating that there is clear and convincing evidence that it is not. But Rand Paul wants them to have that "freedom"--and wants the rest of us to have the unfreedom of having every reason not to believe what food and drug manufacturers claim. [Emphasis added.]

Actually, it’s the constitution that wants General Mills to have that freedom:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. [Emphasis added.]

Quite simply, the federal government has no business regulating speech.  Period, the end, full stop.  If some person, or some company, wants to claim that they have the power to grant immortality to people, the federal government cannot legally do anything to stop them.  Regulating speech, then, is not the government’s province.  So, while the validity of having the FDA regulate claims made by people and companies might be up for debate in terms of economic value, it is not up for debate in terms of constitutionality.  Quite simply, it is wrong.


  1. Actually having every reason not to believe what food and drug manufacturers claim sounds like a net positive.

  2. @Steve- Yes, it does. Personally, I wonder how much damage is done by products that can claim to be FDA approved.