Losing Control


John Stossel's latest ABC News special, "Losing Control: Help me I can't help myself," will air on Monday, April 21 at 8 pm eastern. It examines addictions and compulsive behaviors involving drugs, food, gambling, shopping and more. Are these diseases or matters of choice? Are we as powerless against our urges as the addiction industry claims?

By the way: Jacob Sullum's classic interview with Stossel is available here. And Stossel's addiction special was produced by Ted Balaker, who recently joined the staff of Reason Foundation, the non-profit that publishes Reason.

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  1. John Stossel? Give me a break.

  2. I agree with Stossel most of the time, but he’s still not so great. I hate seeing libertarianism being reduced to news magazine sound bites.

  3. I’ve considered Stossel an intellectual whore ever since he knowingly twisted the outcome of pesticide residue data from a comparison of organic and chemical produce. On this issue, he made the a priori decision that corporate agribusiness is “our side,” and therefore anything that reflects badly on “our side” is “objectively” harmful to the cause of free markets—even when agribusiness lives off the public tit and depends on statist regulation to protect it from free competition.

    On this, Stossel was very much like the intellectual whores on the left who pooh-poohed the right-wing populist and constitutionalist reaction to Ruby Ridge and Waco. A few intellectually honest leftists like Alex Cockburn expressed sympathy for the antigovernment right, and pointed out that Janet Reno’s jackbootism was an ideal opportunity for a left-right libertarian alliance against the corporate police state. But the mainstream left decided that those rednecks weren’t “our type” because they listened to Rush instead of NPR, and an opportunity was missed.

    Being an honest free market advocate means condemning the state EVEN (!) when it acts on behalf of big business, not just when it helps welfare moms. And being a left-wing civil libertarian means opposing the gestapo even when it’s kicking in the heads of militia nuts. But from the Dreyfus case to the present, helping “our side” is usually more important than the truth.

  4. More like John Stossel: Help me, I’m a whiny annoyingly nasal Columbo wannabe and everything is oh so OUT OF CONTROL. What a joke. He’s not even a tool, he’s so ineffectual.

  5. I was a speed freak for 12 Years,I
    still smoke pot,drink beer etc.
    Bottom line you reach a point where you say I’m going to live or I’m going to die…

  6. Hey Bo, that’s cool and all, but how’s it relate to John Stossel. Was he also a crack whore?

  7. There certainly is quite a bit of evidence (much of it culled from the brain scans and the like) which appears to demonstrate that addiction is something hard to break because of the changes in neural pathways, and the like, brought on by drug use, etc. As an individual who is bi-polar, I have some fairly direct experiences with efforts to modify behavior via a drug (lithium for example). If in my case a drug can be used to change my brain’s behavior largely for the good, it doesn’t surprise me that the use of other types of drugs will not only be detrmimental, but also have permanent impacts on individuals.

  8. Has it occurred to you that we have no free will at all? Our brain is full of naturally occuring drugs that affect our behavior.

  9. Check the DNA, the addiction gene is right there. The freewill one, too.

  10. I believe that a lot of what we call addiction is really more like compulsive behavior. In my own experience as a meth user I ran into many who claimed to be “addicted.” But they weren’t. They just kept using because they “felt” they couldn’t exist without it. Real addiction is physical addiction, as opposed to a mental addiction. An example of real addiction would be herion addiction. All other so called addictions are just compulsive behavior. Just feeling like shit because you can’t get high doesn’t make you an addict.

    If you can’t control your compulsive behavior calling it “addiction” makes you feel better.

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