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Better safe than sorry: say no to the Precautionary Principle

You may well have heard this point made before, and I surely have myself, but it nevertheless made me grin, again, today:

We can only ask supporters of the precautionary principle to follow it through to its logical conclusion, that is not to have it applied unless it can be proved that no risk is involved. It is up to them to prove that this principle is harmless.

Those are the concluding words of Precaution with the Precautionary Principle, published (pdf only but in both French and English) by the Institut Economique Molinari. My thanks to Cécile Philippe of the IEM for the email that pointed me to this publication, and to this conclusion.

8 comments to Better safe than sorry: say no to the Precautionary Principle

  • Winzeler

    Because I might be killed by a lightning bolt by living the next five minutes, I should just kill myself now and avoid the risk.

  • Winzeler

    In other words, time is moving forward whether we would risk it or not. Precautionary Principle is pretty easy to unravel.

  • David Beatty

    Never heard that one, it’s priceless!

  • veryretired

    I can’t imagine the content, much less the value, of a risk free life. The best memories I have, and the most fun things for me even now, are the times when I took a chance and said the hell with it.

  • James

    Using the Precautionary Principle to destroy the Precautionary Principle.

    It appears I’ve been wrong all these years. Turns out the PP is actually good for one thing.

  • The precautionary principle is not as harmless as believed. It is primarily a ‘political’ science doctrine being employed broadly around the world as a legal concept to develop a large body of supranational legislation in furtherance of the movement towards ‘global governance’.

    The objective, as described by its proponents, is to establish the precautionary principle as an absolute norm of customary international law (CIL), i.e., as a jus cogens norm, from which no derogation will be permitted. If they are successful, that means that even if countries are not parties to treaties containing the precautionary principle as a treaty term, such countries would be bound by the PP.

    The global governance movement is being created largely by European bureaucrats with the help of well-funded social and environmental activists (‘civil society’ or the ‘have-nots’) through multiple inter-governmental fora. The primary fora or platform from which the precautionary principle is propagated is the United Nations. And the United Nations Environment Program is the primary office, agency or organ within the UN where the precautionary principle is being operationalized (EU/UN speak) through a network of multilateral environmental treaties and intergovernmental body initiatives.

    A number of white papers, publications and issue sheets have discussed how establishment of the precautionary as a treaty norm, an absolute CIL norm and as domestic law will have adverse impacts on national legal systems, businesses and economies – ie., on the free enterprise system. See: http://www.itssd.org .

    Perhaps it is time to actively reject the precautionary principle in a legal sense rather than to merely criticize it as a matter of bad politics.

  • Bruce Lagasse

    The Precautionary Principle: Never do anything for the first time.