Does Bad Science Always Lead to Bad Policy?
By David Henderson
Mac McCann, on Reason.com, writes:
Texas has a lot of things to be proud of. The Republican Party of Texas, however, is not one of them. Turns out everything really is bigger down in Texas, including our embarrassments.
He then goes to to quote from the Texas Republican Party’s 2014 platform. I won’t repeat the relevant portions here in full. You can check his post for yourself.
His whole piece is full of ridicule for the Texas Republican Party. The majority who voted for these platform planks apparently believe that “Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable alternative lifestyle, in public policy, nor should family be redefined to include homosexual couples.” Also, “We recognize the legitimacy and efficacy of counseling, which offers reparative therapy and treatment for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle.”
But here’s the question McCann never answers. Were the Texas Republicans wrong in the policies they advocated? One gets the impression that McCann thinks so. But, surprisingly, given that Reason is a libertarian site dedicated mainly to discussing policy, McCann doesn’t answer that question.
Yet most of what the Texas Republicans supported in the platform planks McCann cites are libertarian policies, specifically equal treatment, freedom of speech, freedom of association, and freedom to seek medical treatment.
Here’s the specific policy in the plank on homosexuality:
We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin. Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values.
The first sentence seeks equal treatment of homosexuals. The second sentence is a little vague, but it seems to advocate freedom of speech for those who oppose homosexuality and freedom of association for those who don’t want to associate with homosexuals.
Here’s the specific policy on medical care:
We recognize the legitimacy and efficacy of counseling, which offers reparative therapy and treatment for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle. No laws or executive orders shall be imposed to limit or restrict access to this type of therapy.
I have no idea whether counseling is legitimate or efficacious. Count me skeptical. But so what? When it comes to specific policy, the Texas Republicans advocate not having the government limit access to this therapy. In other words, they advocate medical freedom.
But because McCann is so focused on ridicule, he forgets to address these policy issues.
Here’s what I wonder: Would McCann disagree with my reasoning?