F.R. Duplantier reporting Behind The Headlines

Week of:
April 16, 2000
Chicken Little, The Sky's Not Falling



F.R. Duplantier

by: F.R. Duplantier

Great harm can come from efforts to avert a danger that doesn't exist.



Every year at this time, Alan Caruba of the National Anxiety Center (www.anxietycenter.com) issues 10 Chicken Little Awards to recognize and ridicule major policy blunders based on lies and misinformation. This year first prize goes to the banning of DDT. "When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned DDT in 1972," Caruba charges, "it ignored the fact that DDT had prevented the death of 500 million people since its first widespread use in 1943. Since then," he laments, "millions have needlessly died or had their lives impaired by malaria."

The second-place Chicken Little Award goes to global warming. "In the 1970s, environmentalists were warning that a new Ice Age was coming," Caruba recalls. "When that scare campaign failed, they turned to global warming, but to date there is no evidence whatever to support this claim."

The manufactured hysteria over genetically modified crops comes in third in the Chicken Little competition. "With a population estimated to be six billion," Caruba comments, "the earth needs this remarkable means to grow more food on less land, with less dependence on the chemicals used to ward off insect pests and adverse climate conditions." Food scares in general rank fourth on the Chicken Little list.

What Caruba calls "Timber Lies" finish fifth. "The lie that the Spotted Owl was endangered has shut down 187 lumber mills in the northwest and wiped out 22,654 jobs," Caruba reports. "The U.S. is now importing lumber when it is home to vast forest lands that have been put off limits to any use by Americans."

In sixth place are lies about world oil reserves, lies used to justify "higher prices than ever before for a tank of gasoline." Caruba points out that taxes comprise half the cost of a gallon of gas and that the U.S. has "huge reserves of oil that years of increased restrictions by Congress have put off limits."

Ranked seventh are the lies about endangered species, used to deter "the building of homes, hospitals, and other elements of a thriving economy." Caruba emphasizes that our country is "suffering from unfettered populations of deer, Canadian geese, and [reintroduced] predator species that attack our cattle and sheep herds and endanger human life."

Awarding eighth place to urban sprawl, Caruba notes that "the entire population of the United States lives on little more than three percent of its entire land mass. As our population grows," he warns, "the implementation of programs based on this lie would force millions into already overcrowded cities."

Caruba sees "not a scintilla of scientific proof" for Attention Deficit Disorder, the ninth-place finisher. "Seven million American children in our nation's schools have been diagnosed with ADD and are being drugged on Ritalin and other behavior-altering drugs," he charges. "The result is a frightening rise in school- related violence and suicide rates among our youth."

Caruba assigns tenth place to the lies told about pesticides, chlorine, and other helpful chemicals. "The scare campaigns surrounding chemicals," he asserts, "are the handiwork of radical environmentalists determined to put everyone's life at risk."