karl-friedrich

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Policy Debates Should Not Appear One-Sided

I found this post particularly ironic. The statement that a mother of five would drink sulfuric acid but for government regulation is not "a simple factual observation." How could it be? Since we are imagining an alternative world and the statement is not based on any universal law of human action (nor even historical precedent, in which case it would be a probabilistic statement, not a statement of fact), it is speculation. And a very debatable speculation at that. That is, why would anyone bother to market such a product? Surely it would not be profitable, as there is no demand for such a product (indeed, if one were intent on swallowing poison they are not going to be stopped by product safety regulation). Furthermore, they would practically be begging for a gigantic tort judgment against them. It is curious that the author does not mention tort law, which has a much greater effectiveness in regulating commercial behavior than codified regulations enforced by bureaucrats. Such a judgment would most likely be the case in her speculatory hypothetical, since it sounds as if the mother of 5 is totally unaware that she is drinking poison. But, even if it were the case that the author's hypothetical were likely (which I contend it is not), it is not in any way a "factual observation."