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On epidemics

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It should come as news to none of our readers that the Bush administration consistently demonstrates exceedingly poor policy judgment to complement their mendacity and skewed priorities on a myriad of policy issues. As such, this news report on the priorities of administration drug policy should come as a surprise to absolutely no one. What struck my mind, however, was a rather curious formulation in the justification.

Meth abuse is not a national epidemic, the White House Office of Drug Control Policy insisted Thursday, reiterating a position that has drawn fire this week from law enforcement officials and members of Congress.”There is not an epidemic,” said John Horton, the office’s assistant deputy for state and local affairs. “If it’s an epidemic, that implies that there is nothing we can do about it and we should lose hope,” he told The Columbian in a telephone interview from Washington, D.C.

The story then goes on to explain that these remarks are made in the service of explaining an 800 million dollar cut to local drug enforcement grants often used to combat meth production and distribution.

So let’s get this straight–we can’t concede that anything is an epidemic, because that means giving up. So instead, we deny the title ‘epidemic’ to the problem in question, so that it can be defeated, through the cunningly counterintuitive strategy of defunding efforts to combat the problem. I can’t wait to see how this strategy applies to a flu pandemic (if epidemics aren’t even worth bothering trying to fight, what’ll we do with a pandemic? The mind reels…) The next step, I suppose, would be to declare victory. I’m sure we’re just about to turn the corner

hat tip: Horatio

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