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January 19, 1976

What Price Protection?

JAMA. 1976;235(3):286. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260290044028

Money and political power make cowards of most of us. This has made it possible for a relentless centralization of power in government unimaginable but a few decades past. Political activism has often been mistaken for statesmanship, as much recent legislation clearly demonstrates. Under the persuasive guise of being given new "rights," people are paying an exorbitant price by abrogating their freedoms. In this past year there has occurred a prime example of the potential for loss of large doses of freedom in exchange for some dubious rights that do not seem worth the price.

In 1974, a National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research was established with a life expectancy of two years. It was composed of 11 members appointed by the Secretary of the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (DHEW), five of whom were to have been involved in biomedical