Dissents and concurrences

We’ve heard from several readers today, with comments particularly worthy of note. My post on the refusal of Star Tribune sports writer Jim Souhan to consider Hideki Matsui a rookie for purposes of American League rookie of the year balloting generated good-natured but vehement disagreement. Alex Sudnik wrote: “I enjoy reading your blog and usually agree with your thoughts. I was therefore genuinely surprised to read your post ‘Like A Virgin,’ in which you agreed with Minneapolis Star Tribune baseball writer Jim Souhan. To me, Souhan completely disregarded the the rules in voting against Matsui. We conservatives usually try to abide by the rule of law, even if that creates an outcome that may not feel right; accordingly, when the law (in this case, the rule regarding who is defined as a “rookie”) says that Matsui is eligible, I would think that conservatives would not disregard it. Souhan, it seems to me, is saying that he feels that Matsui should not be a ‘rookie’ — regardless of what the rules say — and will therefore vote according to what he feels is right. That’s usually the liberal argument. But yet you are agreeing with it. Tell us you’re not going over to the Dark Side!”
Kevin Hurst wrote to the same effect: “Big Trunk wrote that he found Star Tribune baseball writer Jim Souhan’s rationale for leaving Hideki Matsui out of his AL ROY voting ‘compelling.’ I completely disagree despite my dislike of the Yankees. Souhan may have offered a compelling rationale for changing the rules regarding rookie eligiblitity, but they represent no defense of his arrogant refusal to abide by the rules currently set forth by MLB. Despite what I, or Mr. Souhan, think is proper, there is no denying that, according to MLB, Matsui qualifies as a rookie. It is petulant and selfish of Mr. Souhan to pretend otherwise. I won’t lose any sleep over this, but what Mr. Souhan did was wrong and I believe he should be publicly derided for his actions.”
In retrospect, perhaps under the influence of Souhan’s insouciance, I think I may have taken the issue too lightly. I confess that I found the controversy little more than a useful pretext to take up the issue that really concerned me — the monstrous injustice baseball has done to Minnesota Twins first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz in the Gold Glove balloting, beside which whatever injustice has been done to Matsui pales in comparison. On that more telling point, no reader has taken the bait!
On the question of the reimportation of price-controlled American pharmaceutical products from Canada, we heard from Tom Dennis, the editorial page editor of the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald. From today’s Herald, Mr. Dennis “submitted for our consideration!” the Herald’s editorial on the subject. Mr. Dennis kindly adds that he is a big fan of Power Line.
The Herald editorial concurs with our condemnation of drug reimportation, but with a twist we had not considered: “[T]here is a way out of America’s prescription-drug pricing dilemma, and that is to help low-income people pay for the medications. That’s exactly what Congress is doing right now by debating how to expand Medicare to cover prescription drugs. This method isn’t perfect either. It could mean higher taxes, which creates its own set of market-twisting incentives. But at least it spreads the cost among the beneficiaries of the new drugs — namely, the public. In contrast, price controls — whether imposed in Washington or imported from abroad — take an ax to the pharmaceutical industry, and so threaten to kill (or at least chop a wing off of) the goose that’s laying the golden eggs.”
The Herald’s condemnation of price controls is of course completely on target, and its proposed solution to the problem is certainly worthy of discussion in this context. But it is ironically Minnesota’s version of this proposed solution — the state’s costly entitlement program for prescription drugs — to which Pawlenty’s proposed drug reimportation scheme is the response. The Herald’s proposal would replay the state drama on a national stage and a catastrophic scale. Price controls would (will) ultimately be incorporated into a nationalization program here just as surely as they have been in Canada, and for the same reasons.
Finally, in response to Rocket Man’s post on the possible union of France and Germany, Markham Pyle wrote: “16 June 1940 comes to mind. Churchill on behalf of HMG offered France, through Reynaud, a complete union in resistance to the Third Reich. Petain called it a ‘fusion with a corpse,’ Ybarnegaray said, ‘Better to be a Nazi province. At least we know what that means.’ Reynaud’s faithful supporter Georges Mandel was astonished: ‘Would you rather be a German district than a British Dominion?’ The Cabinet’s answer was yes, the Reynaud government fell, and that night, Petain asked for an armistice and set out on the Road to Vichy. The more things change….”

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