Some are just cheaper than others.
Eli has shown before that tobacco is really the original sin, responsible for much seemingly unrelated evil in the world, created in an effort to distract others from the problems associated with smoking.
Jules' Klimaatblog has dredged another piece of reality out of the tobacco archive which he modestly calls (Ab)using Libertarians as Useful Idiots. Eli holds there is useful debate about one of the last two words. The memo is from the Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco aka FOREST, an astroturf group, still going today, set up in 1978 by the tobacco lobby to oppose tobacco regulation. The memo is from 1996, when tobacco regulations started to bite. They saw trouble on the horizon from the younger generation who were growing up knowing that smoking was dangerous, but
The world still abounds with reactionaries, and in many ways, the 'fogey' strand of public opinion is probably destined to become even more prominent in the next few years, as the baby boom becomes irretrievably middle aged and gives up trying to pretend oterhwise. The spinsterish attck on smoking and the 'wicked uncle' defenders of it (and of sedentary self indulgence generall) are both likely to gain in prominence and to quarrel with one another ever more publically. Already the health and fitness craze has abated considerablyBut there was hope
However we do not believe that the industry should despair, that the struggle for the right to smoke is destined for eventual defeat. There is one major opportunity that FOREST has neglected in recent years, and this is the intellectual (as opposed to fogey/reationary) defense of individual liberty that has been dragged into public prominence on the coat tails of the classicla liberal or libertarian critique of the welfare state. However in the last few years the obvious commonality of interest between FOREST and the youth wing of the libertarian/classical liberal revival has not resulted in an great active cooperation in this areaA situation they sent out to change by coopting the young libertarian wing of the Conservative Party in the UK. Why, because politics was their only way out
What other argument is there? Although we can and do vigorously refute the passive smoking hysteria, the primary health argument has been lost. There is no way any feasible public case can be argued in medical terms. While there are clearly perceivable psychological benefits from smoking, the evidence of risk to personal health is difficult to challenge. Further, since the general population recognize these dangers our argument that smokers do exercise and "informed choice" is much stronger.and
Moreover the freedom case also proactively strengthens us if the worst should happen: if it were conclusively, scientifically demonstrated that passive smoking constituted a major health threat in normal social circumstances. The libertarian case already argues, to use the jargon of the economists, that "externalities" are best "internalized" by the voluntary means of property rights. In other words it would be up to individual property owners to establish smoking rules on their own property, not for the state to set down an absolute law applicable to all places.Permayhap bunnies recognize the similarity to how libertarians have been coopted by fossil fuel interests. Perhaps they might recognize the same on two recent discussion threads, one at ATTP, and the other at the Good Bishops. Perhaps.