Thomas Sowell

Some of those passengers drove cars to reach the destinations to which they had originally planned to fly. Since automobile fatality rates per mile have long been several times as high as airline fatality rates per mile, this means that the dangers to life and limb have not been reduced by this political grandstanding.

Instead people have been exposed to greater dangers -- in the name of safety!

This is not an unusual situation with hyped safety crusades, whether by politicians or by other safety crusaders.

The testing of pharmaceutical drugs for safety, under the regulations of the Food and Drug Administration, goes on for years -- sometimes for more than a decade -- before these drugs are allowed to be sold to the public.

Even if the drugs have been used for years in Europe without any ill effects, that cuts no ice with the FDA. Even patients stricken with potentially fatal diseases are not allowed to buy the drugs until after many years of testing -- if the patients live that long.

This is just one of the ways in which people are dying from safety rules. Safety crusaders often say, "if it saves just one life," it is worth it -- without counting how many other lives may be sacrificed on the altar to "safety."

Some safety crusaders may be satisfied just to be morally one-up by making lofty statements. Politicians who are safety crusaders will be satisfied if that gets you to vote for them, which is their real bottom line.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate