Sunday, 19 August 2012
Arguing that plain packs "don't work" legitimises the busybodies
Arguments about plain packs "not working" and disputes about intellectual property of cigarette companies can be smugly shooed away by the authoritarians, as money (and partly due to said money, the public's trust) is in their hands. The intellectual property arguments certainly don't win hearts or minds, as they reinforce the idea that tobacco companies are faceless vultures desperate to maintain profits without actually engaging with the realities of the powers we are handing over to faceless, undemocratic supranational agencies. Arguing that there's no evidence that plain packs/hidden tobacco displays/smoking bans in public places will lead to fewer people taking up smoking or more people quitting smoking is playing into their hands as it accepts that this is necessarily a good thing, again without communicating the real danger - that we're stepping closer and closer to having our lives micro-managed and our personal choices removed. This line of attack is an own goal, because the authoritarians are, have and will produce reports "proving" anything - statistics will say anything when tortured enough, and the minute they produce these reports, the anti-authoritarians are defeated in the mind of the public. We must not defend liberty with such details and minutiae, we must stand up against the ideology of these authoritarians.
The idea that "tobacco is the only legally available consumer product which kills people when used entirely as intended," has been peddled continually to placate the general public to the idea of ever more stringent tobacco control. There is certainly a mindset that because using tobacco can lead to ill health effects, that fewer people using it can only be a good thing and this idea, fuelled by constant propaganda about "clean air", smoke "smelling bad", and graphic images of mouth cancer etc has resulted in a majority of people apparently reporting that they support the smoking ban, which has opened the floodgates to the public health fascists preparing to regulate many more aspects of our lives.
Alcohol and obesity are already now "being tackled" by the authoritarians. Thanks to "public health", authoritarians have almost completely killed the idea of liberties and individual responsibility. We are told that obesity, smoking rates and alcohol are the problems of societies rather than individuals. The authoritarian left appeals to socialists by highlighting the fact that many poor people are obese, thus packaging authoritarian policies as "breaking down inequalities", whilst the authoritarian right are also involved, pontificating that "eight million professionals are routinely drinking too much alcohol and endangering their health, even though they do not binge drink or get drunk." The latter claim is based on people drinking more than the government's recommended intake of alcohol each week, which is ridiculously arbitrary. Such arbitrary guidelines are subject to ever more draconian reductions, as "experts" are now claiming that cutting alcohol intake to barely quarter a pint of lager a day will "save 4,900 lives a year." It is hardly hyperbole to speculate that many people are now addicted to escalating nannying and prohibition. We are now constantly bombarded by the media with information on what will supposedly "save lives", but is denying ourselves any pleasure and living a model "healthy life" really living? Especially when any alternative lifestyle choice is increasingly being demonised and legislated against?
I am in favour of people having honest, balanced information about the health risks of obesity, smoking, alcohol (and the list is ever growing - women who bottle-feed seem to next in nanny's sight to be demonised and have their right to choose removed) but we must not continue to allow, and encourage, nannying tyrants to further tighten the screws on our freedom by giving them taxpayers' money to invent ever more ludicrous "reports" and draw up ever more authoritarian policies. With things like plain packaging, we must fight the entire culture rather than the particulars, or we are handing them absolute victory.