Libertarians in the US would rather use the population as Guinea pigs than prove their products are safe
Libertarians in the United States love their freedom. They love their freedom to pay little to no taxes, the freedom to pay their employees the lowest possible wage and to make sure the money stays where it belongs; at the top. It’s economic eugenics or survival of the richest.
Libertarian capitalists detest government regulation and claim the sole purpose of government is to protect the people. It’s a reason or excuse to keep the bloated military budget perhaps, but one thing is certain, they don’t care about you or your health.
Now, when I say that libertarians can get you killed, I’m not referring to their disdain for gun control or environmental regulations, although an argument can be made for both. I’m talking about the libertarian hate of consumer protection.
There are two ways a product can flow in an economy; the well regulated capitalism that we see in much of Europe or the unregulated, libertarian capitalism we see in America. The unregulated system in America allows corporations to send whatever products they want into the marketplace, regardless of the possible risks to human health.
The mentality here is that if the products turn out to be hazardous, people will stop buying them and the market will correct itself. Of course it isn’t that simple. Hundreds if not thousands of people could get sick, maimed or even die before the problem is discovered. The fact is, the market doesn’t self-regulate and it never has.
Look at asbestos if you want an example. Scientists have known for over a hundred years that this mineral was toxic and caused lung cancer. And yet, it took 80 years for the EPA to get it out of the marketplace.
The ban on asbestos was partially overturned in 1991, so to this day you can still find products with trace amounts of the deadly substance. If you want another example, how about DDT, it stayed in the market place for 30 years.
I’m not as concerned about the past as I am about the future. After all, there are libertarians out there who want even less regulation than the little we have now.
There are currently 80,000 different chemicals floating around in our atmosphere for us to breathe in. There are 82,000 different ingredients in personal care products; US researchers claim that one in every eight is an industrial chemical. Is it really such a shock that we have record levels of cancer and autism in the country?
How about bovine growth hormones (GBH) or genetically modified food (GMO)? GBH is banned in Canada and both are banned in most of Europe and Japan. There was no scientific testing on the long term effects of these products and they were never proven to be safe. In America, if a product kills you instantly, it might get banned, but if it kills you slowly over time, it seems perfectly fine.
In the libertarian unregulated marketplace, we are the Guinea pigs. If it’s proven in twenty or thirty years that GBH or GMO’s led to illness or death (the asbestos of our generation), the companies behind them might be slapped with a little fine and their product might be banned. But by then the corporation will have made their money and an untold number of people would have died in the name of corporate profit.
Europe has it right; they practice something called the “precautionary principle.” Over there, a product cannot be brought to market unless it is proven without a doubt that the product is safe for purchase and consumption.
Imagine that, a place where governments actually cares about the well-being of their people. They do it because the politicians and the people who elect them know the true roll of government; to protect and serve. Not just from military threats, but from foreign and domestic corporate threats. After all, with a national healthcare system, the government has a vested interest to keep the populace healthy.
I look at libertarianism as “having the freedom without the responsibility for others.” It’s a rather selfish ideology. I don’t want to know what it’s like to live in your own personal bubble without a care for the outside world. If they really gave a damn, they wouldn’t be so quick to place profits in front of the well-being of others.
It’s bad enough a majority of libertarians want to keep free health care away from you, take away your social benefits and keep you living under a livable wage. When they support a laissez-faire economic system that can put our health and lives at risk for the sake of profit, a line must be drawn.