THE WAR ON SMOKERS
It's called The War on Tobacco, only nobody makes war on an inanimate
object. It's occasionally called The War on Big Tobacco. Big
is a good target. Nobody likes Big. Big, as we all
know, eats the little guys for lunch. And we side with the Little Guy.
Except in truth, in every aspect and phase of this little war it's been
the little guys getting clobbered. It's the little guy, not the tobacco
companies, who pays the exorbitant taxes and gets stuck with the major
tab for Mr. Big's misdemeanors. The Attorneys General sued Mr. Big
but then insisted that he pass on the costs to Mr. Little.
And the only guys who made out big from that suit--with a gigantic
transfer of wealth from the Little class-- were a coven of Big Lawyers
And when smoking is suddenly banned in public places, it doesn't stop
a tobacco company from having a cup of coffee, or a meal, or a glass
of beer-- who it stops is the tired shopper, the guy or girl on a work-break,
or the family that wants to take its smoking mother-in-law to dinner and...you
get the idea.
But the Warriors like to frame it as a blow against Mr. Big. After all,
the cigarette that might be smoked with that beer or coffee is one
less cigarette Mr. Big gets a chance to sell.
The argument passes absurd. The missing smokes are gonna
get smoked. On the street. Or at home. Though it's actually
more likely, that the dinner--or the beer--won't be bought to begin with
if the cigarettes can't go with it.
Another Little Guy getting hurt. The guy who owns the restaurant;
and the folks who work on his staff (many of whom smoke) who may soon be
out of work.
The "Health Advocates," of course, will attempt to convince you (through
unsupportable-- though seemingly scientific-sounding inference) that the
health or the very lives of these workers are at stake. This
is hyperbolic nonsense, as our paper intends to prove, but as a weapon
in the ongoing war against smokers, it's their heaviest Heavy Gun.
And legislatures everywhere have felt it pressed to their spines.
We urge them to read our paper: it's their bullet-proof vest.
THE ANTI-SMOKING MOVEMENT: THE SCOLD WARRIORS
The Anti-Smoking movement has a lot in common with the Temperance movement,
in both its instigators (crusaders), its tactics and strategies (cannily
political; end-justifies-the-means), and finally in its goals.
The Temperance folks didn't want temperance (moderation) what they wanted--and
got-- was Prohibition.
That these are the Warrior's goals can be found in their own words.
Virtually all, with their hair down, have admitted this in the wings.
And if you like, we'll provide the quotes. But we're not there yet.
Their immediate goals, as with Temperance, are merely incremental.
Ban it here, ban it there. Get a critical mass of cities and pretty
soon you can get the state; and then, exactly like Temperance, amend its
constitution (just successfully done in Florida.)
What's important to mention is that, even in the increments, they
hardly represent the Will of the People. That Temperance didn't either,
despite its initial, political success, can be seen-- rather clearly in
hindsight-- by its results.
THE ANTI-SMOKING MOVEMENT IS, BY NATURE, POLITICAL
It has to be. After all, the only way to coerce adults in a democracy
to renounce a legal pleasure (even for the space of a bagel and cup of
coffee) is .....to make it illegal.
To make it illegal, you need a law.
To get a law, you need a legislator.
So today's Carrie Nations and Billy Sundays are running around, eagerly
in search of their Andrew Volstead. Hoping it'll be you.