F.R. Duplantier reporting Behind The Headlines

Week of:
September 9, 2001
Mind Your Own Business, You Eggheads



F.R. Duplantier

by: F.R. Duplantier

Intellectuals think they know what's best for us better than we do, but more often than not they're wrong.

With six children, my wife and I know what it's like to be confronted by officious nurses determined to administer to our newborn a standard battery of shots, mandatory or not. It's exceedingly difficult to get one of these salutary automatons to admit that not all of the proposed injections are, in fact, required -- much less to explain the purpose of the others. Trying to pry the truth out of my pediatrician-brother was almost as impossible. When I asked him once if the hepatitis B vaccine were really necessary for an infant, his doctoral alter ego emerged and in a soothing monotone assured me that it was better to be safe than sorry. I slapped him about the face a bit and dumped a bucket of ice water on his head. When the personality of my brother returned, I asked again, "But is it really necessary?" "No," he conceded as he mopped his brow, "not really."

Quite a few of the prescriptions that liberals dream up for us are either pointless or counterproductive. Take speed limits, for instance. It turns out that federally mandated speed limits on interstate highways don't really save lives after all. Better cars, better driving surfaces, better driving habits -- these are what save lives. If the worrywarts in Washington can be wrong about vaccines and speed limits, how many hundreds of other things have they also misconstrued? More important, what right do they have to dictate our medical practices and driving habits in the first place?

It's not just their prescriptions that are so exasperating and unhealthy -- like receiving unnecessary vaccines and driving at unnecessarily slow speeds -- but their proscriptions, as well, the things they make us do without. DDT and Freon, for example, two extraordinarily beneficial products that have been banned on the basis of bogus science. When is some enterprising attorney going to launch a class action suit against intellectuals posing as consumer activists? Every single person in America is at least potentially harmed when a safe and effective product is taken off the market. Shouldn't we all have recourse, individually or as a group, against the totalitarian busybodies who infringe upon our rights as consumers and deny us the means to alleviate our pain and suffering or enhance our happiness and comfort? Shouldn't our persecutors be held accountable for their abuse, especially for knowing misrepresentations?

If intellectuals were the only ones to be victimized by their own misguided policies and programs, who would care? If they were at least the first to be victimized, then they could set about correcting their mistakes while the rest of us took precautions against them. The problem is that intellectuals are always the last to feel the effects of their boundless stupidity, and we wind up being their guinea pigs and whipping boys. If they would just start minding their own business and stop trying to take care of the rest of us, we'd all be a lot better off.