Sunday, February 12, 2006

The assault against smoking

Western civilization is mounting an organized and generalized assault against smoking tobacco.

Now, contrarily to most libertarians, I'm not necessarily against that notion, if tobacco was shown to be dangerous to other people (the so-called "secondhand smoke"). However, tobacco is not being attacked because it is dangerous to other people - like any other government measure, tobacco is being attacked because of rampant activism which generates money and power, and thus imposes its simple-minded principles on all of society.

Look at what measures are being taken against tobacco. Is tobacco being banned at home, where children live, and are thus most vulnerable ? No. Of course not ! To do that would raise the ire of parents, and parents are an extremely powerful social faction which is also imbued with moral superiority. So they ban smoking in public places, which has been scientifically proven to have, at worst, a negligeable effect on other people. This was demonstrated by a famous World Health Organization study, which showed no proven correlation between second hand smoke and cancer in most scenarios :

CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate no association between childhood exposure to ETS and lung cancer risk. We did find weak evidence of a dose-response relationship between risk of lung cancer and exposure to spousal and workplace ETS. There was no detectable risk after cessation of exposure.

Woo-ooops ! But forget about that, just believe that second hand smoke is always bad and is proven to cause cancer. Smoking is morally wrong, and second hand smoke is selfish, so forget about the evidence.

The fact remains that government power, like any other collectivist system, is always utilitarian. Uses of government power always fulfills the needs of politicians - need for vote, need for support, need for money. Like the so-called "War on Terrorism", the War on Drugs and the War on Poverty, the War on Smoking only results in added support for politicians and bureaucrats, not in any support of our freedom or well-being.

The only reason why George Bush has become so unpopular is because he is an idiot who pushed the wave of his fake war too far - he should take a hint from 1984 and remember that a perpetual war should be fueled by rhetoric first and foremost, not by actual fighting. Expansion of the budget must be gradual and justified by rhetoric, which worked very well for the War on Drugs.

Does tobacco destroy lives ? Absolutely. It destroys a shitload of lives. But unlike government, people CHOOSE to smoke. Smoking makes their lives better. They would rather run the risk of getting cancer than not smoking. Other people eat fast food. Yet others participate in high-risk sports. Who are we as a society to say that these people are evil ? We have no way of determining what they should want, because we have no way of determining the best way for anyone to express their own values. Heck, we rarely even know what their values are ! So the anti-smoking campaign is in fact pure arrogance.

Accompanied with that is the ridiculous conspiracy theory that "there is no reason for people to do X". For example, "there is no good reason to take drugs, therefore it should be illegal". This is pure crackpottery. People don't do things without reason. To assume this is to believe in divine intervention or pure chance, and to abandon any attempt at understanding the world.

Controlling people's bodies - political slavery - is immoral. All prohibitions are immoral. To prevent people from doing what they think is best is anti-moral. To prevent people from smoking so some politicians can take the credit and get more votes is immoral. Might does not make right.

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