Assorted Insanities

Don't say that Williams didn't warn you people who support lifestyle Nazis' attack on cigarette smokers. I warned that a lifestyle Nazi's work is never done. In New York city there's a group calling itself the Anti-Dairy Coalition. Its Executive Director Robert Cohen, author of the book "Milk, The Deadly Poison" says, "Milk products, like tobacco, are an enormous threat to the health of both children and adults, yet we see the dairy industry protected by constitutionally questionable laws while the tobacco industry is held accountable."

At the moment Cohen is griping about the Agriculture Disparagement Act, the so-called "veggie libel laws" in some states that Oprah Winfrey fell prey to when she made some untoward comments about beef. I agree with Cohen that veggie libel laws violate free speech provisions of the Constitution, but saving the Constitution is not the Anti-dairy Coalition's agenda. In the name of health and the children, they want to be able to bring lawsuits against the dairy industry and ultimately ban the consumption of milk, cheese and other dairy products. I don't know their position on breast feeding. Cohen boasts that the Anti-Dairy Coalition includes some of the nation's top physicians. That just goes to prove that even kooks and quacks can get medical licenses.

The health field is rife with lunacy. Michael J. Reznieck, writing in the Weekly Standard (1/5/98), give us some Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines to employers to help them comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). "An employee with high levels of hostility toward coworkers may be protected if the hostility is due to a personality disorder." The EEOC goes on to mandate that "An employer may not summarily refuse to hire an individual who has a history of on-the-job violence but instead must determine, from medical knowledge and/or the best available objective evidence whether the individual poses as direct threat." Those provisions might explain all the post office shootings and other workplace violence.

Then there's an EEOC provision that says, "An employee whose mind wanders frequently because of an anxiety disorder may be protected unable the ADA." The next time I board a flight I just might ask the pilot whether he has such a disability. There is an EEOC provision that might help explain flight delays namely, that "An employer can be found in violation of the ADA for failing to adjust the work hours of an employee whose chronic tardiness results from depression."

Even theft is covered under the ADA. A Radio Shack employee was fired for stealing from the store. He sued claiming that he was disabled by post-traumatic stress syndrome, caused by a previous robbery of the store, and was therefore protected under the ADA. Radio Shack paid him off, rather than spending $30,000 in legal fees fighting the case.

Under ADA provisions it's a violation to question would-be doctors about their histories of drug abuse or mental illness. Patients of Dr. Frank Ruhl Peterson at the Hazelton-St. Joseph Medical Center in Pennsylvania paid the price. After a number of patients screamed in pain, during Cesarian sections, biopsies and spinal surgery, the center discovered that the anesthesiologist had been stealing narcotics from surgical intravenous bags to feed his own habit. Peterson was a longtime addict with a record of arrests that included drug possession and kidnap.

There have always been kooks, quacks and lunatics. But the fact that they've taken over Washington and are writing laws harmful to us all says something about the mental state of our nation as a whole, and I'm afraid to speculate what that is.

Walter E. Williams
July 10, 1998
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