As an ex-leftist, I often have wondered whether there was a single identifiable failure of current progressive liberalism (as distinguished from classical liberalism). This post offers a brief answer and illustration, with less-than-normal linkage.
I have previously observed that liberals often see the world as they wish it to be rather than it is. Facts matter, as do the outcome of previous policies. A common result of disregarding data and presuming a-historical mutability of man is unintended consequences that can undermine or overwhelm the policy goals, however noble.
A current contentious issue is consumer marketing by pharmaceutical manufacturers. Advertising prescription medicines is a comparatively recent phenomenon, and remains illegal outside the United States. It's relatively restricted and tightly regulated, often requiring specific approval of the Food and Drug Administration. For most of its history, most FDA bureaucrats have had a leftist reputation.
Which brings me to Viagra, the first prescription erectile dysfunction drug. Its sale required FDA approval (under the "safe and effective" standard) of course, but in addition its mass marketing campaign was the product of specific and detailed negotiations between the manufacturer, Pfizer, and the FDA in suburban Maryland.
Imagine the end of the final meeting. The Pfizer product team and marketing VPs, accompanied by their flock of lawyers and other flunkies, exit the building for the parking lot. I can picture them maintaining an outward calm 'till they reach the privacy of their cars. But, then they must have grinned and gone into uncontrollable giggles: "Oh, my god!," I can hear them gasp. "The government just forced us to say If you experience an 'erection lasting more than 4 hours, seek immediate medical help to avoid long-term injury.' No one's gonna hear anything else. This stuff will fly off the shelf!"
And so it did, as did other ED drugs (whose ads contain similar warnings). In part because the FDA bureaucracy decided that potential male consumers needed to be warned about the danger of becoming 17 again--the only line most purchasers remember from the ad,
I'm not minimizing valid medical concerns. Just wondering how anyone could conclude that such a warning would protect the vulnerable--instead of having the exact opposite effect. Answering that might explain much about present progressive liberalism.