To e sure, it’s a slow drip.
The intentions are noble. The individuals who claim to be liberal, I firmly believe they are engaged in what they think is the good work.
But it doesn’t change the fact that the Liberal feels that they are better able to decide what is good for you than you yourself are. Further, they conflate the problem using numbers that
are sound scary:
I want to write about risk. Drum and Carroll are taking the high ground here, claiming they are truly the ones who understand risk and all use poor benighted folks do not. But Drum and Carroll repeat the mistake in this post which is the main reason no one can parse risk.
A key reason people don’t understand risk is that the media talks about large percent changes to a small risk, without ever telling us the underlying unadjusted base risk. A 100% increase in a risk may be trivial, or it might be bad. A 100% increase in risk of death in a car accident would be very bad. A 100% increase in the risk of getting hit by lightning would be trivial.
In this case, it’s probably somewhere in between. The overall lifetime risk of melanoma is about 2%. This presumably includes those with bad behavior so the non-tanning number is likely lower, but we will use 2% as our base risk understanding that it is likely high. The 5-year survival rate from these cancers (which by the way tend to show up after the age 60) is 90+% if you are white — if you are black it is much lower (I don’t know if that is a socio-economic problem or some aspect of the biology of darker skin).
So a teenager has a lifetime chance of dying early from melanoma of about 0.2%. A 50% increase to this would raise this to 0.3%. An extra one in one thousand chance of dying early from something likely to show up in old age — is that “so, so, so, so, so, so, so bad”? For some yes, for some no. That is what individual choice is all about.
But note the different impacts on perception.
- Statement 1: “Teen tanning increases dangerous melanoma skin cancer risk by 50”.
- Statement 2: “Teen tanning adds an additional 1 in 1000 chance of dying of skin cancer in old age.”
Both are true. Both should likely be in any article on the topic. Only the first ever is included, though.
The whole sell of the Liberal State is that some Angel knows more about your well being than you do. And to make it worse, they aren’t representing the numbers correctly.