Sunday, April 26, 2009

Our Brave New World

I found this piece in the San Bernadino Sun rather frightening. It's about even stricter smoking ordinances from local governments a- la- Glass. The prohibitionists are in full force in this country, despite the growing movement to decriminalize marijuana and other drugs. One fellow's statement pretty much sums up their attitude:

"...With Medicare, Medi-Cal ... the government is responsible for these bills and the government is going to have a say in how people lead their lives.

While that guy describes himself as a Republican with a libertarian bent, I'd suggest this country could use a lot less of his type.
As an aside, the latest federal tax increase on tobacco products (Obama's first tax on the poor) has doubled their price with a 6oz can of Bugler tobacco now costing over $40.00, up from around $19.00 before. You folks better start thinking about who you're going to tax next to make up for the shortfall if a bunch of people stop smoking or the tobacco markets go even further underground.

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a communist; Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a socialist; Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a trade unionist; Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew; Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak out for me. - Martin Niemoller



At 1:55 PM, Anonymous Mr. Nice said...

Tax on poor people? Thanks for hitting the nail on the head once again, Fred.

I tried to make the point that Arcata and Eureka's smoking bans targeted at homeless people over at the herald blog. I still think this is true no matter how many times I was told that smoking bans were only about smoke. As to the effectiveness of these bans, the plaza is littered with cigarette butts every morning. Bravo.

You also hit the nail on the head by stating that the smoking ban attitude is a prohibitionist attitude. Prohibitionists want to criminalize tobacco as if this was going to stop people from smoking. Nicotine has been called more addictive than heroin and we have seen how much heroin prohibition has curbed heroin addiction (zero)... so why do the prohibitionists think this is going to work with nicotine?

The prohibitionists have raised the price of cigarettes from less than $1 to more than $5 a pack in the last 15 years. Instead of curbing their nicotine habit, smokers are moving to cheaper brands and therefore lower-quality product. Is this the desired outcome? It seems a little like how people moved from pure MDMA to meth-laced MDA or from quality beer to methanol-spiked moonshine to me.

I don't think smoking is particularly healthy. The problem with these government must make smokers absorb the cost to society in terms of health care arguments is smokers die early. Dead people do not incur more health expense, they incur none. This is especially true given that smoking-related disease such as sudden heart attacks, lung cancer, and emphysema usually kill people within a few months. Nobody wants to touch on the idea that people who kill themselves with poison actually save society money in terms of government-subsidized health care dollars. Instead, we are stuck with the false argument that dead people cost more money. If the government wanted to save money on universal health care, it would recommend that people smoke Midnight Special all day, every day.

At 10:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Larry will have progressive opposition in next year's election. If the conservative/moderate crowd can find someone decent to put up (instead of Alzheimer's patient Wolford), Glass is toast.


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