Turn of Phrase

What particularly caught public attention around the world was the idea that national health and food rules would be treated not as the expression of a people concerned about what sorts of things it put in its collective stomach but rather as mere protectionism — unless backed by the hardest of hard scientific evidence. That sort of evidence was usually decades in coming. The precautionary principle and the citizen’s opinion were thus to be thrown aside in favor of an absolutist theory of commercial exchange.

Via John Ralston Saul’s essay The collapse of globalism: And the rebirth of nationalism published in the March 2014 issue of Harpers (subscription required).

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