Lousy Yellow Bastards, Part I

11 06 2009

I can’t say this was a huge surprise.  I can’t say that most of the populace will care.  But this is bullshit, and legislation like this must be stopped dead in its tracks.  I apologize for the language, I’m usually pretty even tempered.  But I’m mad as hell and…well, you know the rest.

I’m talking, of course, of the recent decision to allow the FDA to regulate tobacco products.

But smoking is bad, you say.  I can’t deny this.  It’s not healthy.  I don’t choose to smoke a pack a day, and if you don’t either, well, good for you.  But this is a blatant abuse of power by the federal government, and a blatant abuse of government power by big tobacco.

How, you ask, could a bill regulating cigarette production and content as well as banning “flavored” cigarettes represent an abuse of power by large corporations?

It’s incredibly straightforward.  Phillip Morris, one of America’s largest cigarette manufacturers, has come out in favor of the legislation; without the powerful Big Tobacco lobby opposing it, it was only a matter of time before it passed.  Purely by coincidence, of course, menthol cigarettes are exempt from regulation.  Menthol is the only “flavor” of cigarette produced by most large American tobacco companies.  Phillip Morris doesn’t give a damn if clove-flavored cigarettes (which I find repulsive, to be honest) are banned.

So of course they support this legislation—it eliminates competition and doesn’t touch them.  Yet.

This isn’t about regulating tobacco to “help kids.”  At this point, there is no such thing as an uneducated tobacco user; perhaps that argument could have been made fifty years ago, but you will not find anyone my age or younger who doesn’t know the risks involved with smoking.  We have been subjected to trite, patronizing public service announcements “educating” us about the dangers of smoking for our entire lives.  Many of them are funded by the Tobacco Master Settlement.

Side note: We need to bury the “it’s for the children!” argument right now; it can be used to justify anything and everything.  It’s as insidious as the race card.  Nobody is against the children, not even Evil Big Tobacco.

We also need to ignore the talk of the $100 billion in healthcare costs this legislation is supposed to save—smokers  rightly pay higher insurance premiums, so the only way this would matter to the non-smoking population is if we were living under a socialized medical system.  It’s almost like they’re planning for that or something…

It’s been said a million times, but I’ll say it again.  If we allow dramatic regulations to be passed for the sake of “public health,” tobacco will not be the last product regulated into oblivion.  Just sit by and wait until this affects something you care about.  Fast food is the logical next step.  Then what?  Alcohol?  Oreos?  I can live without McDonald’s, but I would not deny the right to eat terrible, unhealthy food to any other free individual—and an individual isn’t truly free unless they have the freedom to make stupid, self-destructive decisions.

Further, it is hypocritical of the government to pass massive tobacco tax hikes (effective this past April) and then demonize smoking in a successful attempt to push through draconian regulations.  If the children were really at such risk of falling victim to the depravities of tobacco, cigarettes should be banned outright.  But we all know that the government will never kill of a cash cow, which is exactly what tobacco sales have become.

I know cigarettes may seem hard to defend.  They’re unhealthy, and many of us have lost someone to lung cancer or some other horrible smoking-related disease.  It’s too late to stop this legislation from passing; at this point, the only real question is whether Obama will sign it with a solemn, determined expression on his face or whether he’ll choose to put on his stupid self-congratulatory grin as he picks up the pen.  Maybe he’ll have the gall to sign it into law in a room full of schoolchildren who will never fall victim to that demon weed, tobacco.

But we should work to eventually reverse this decision and prevent anything similar from happening in the future.  The moment we decide bureaucrats know how to live our lives better than we do is the moment the American Experiment comes to a screeching, crashing halt.

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One response

12 06 2009
Karen Strobridge

Graham,

Well said! You must get yourself into the political arena. This could be your “calling”.

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