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Secondhand Smoke, Firsthand Nonsense

See the Sage of Mt. Airy for air-clearing thoughts on the HHS report on second-hand smoke and how such an unscientifc focus underscores the left's astounding apologetics for disastrous social behavior (viz. immorality). 
Categories > Health Care

Discussions - 2 Comments

Craig won't rise to the bait here, but it seems the sage spent some time writting a funny essay and I can respect that.

From the perspective of the sensible left, I can assure you that the left believes in false imprisonment, and that as a matter of public policy would be firmly against forcing someone to smoke, shoot heroin or have sex at gun point.

Also the dangers of smoking as the dangers from having sex are fairly probabilistic. Actually if the partner has no STD then forcing the sex is safe, unless you want to get into rape and discuss emotional harm. The risk of pregnancy is probabilistic, unless one of the parties is infertile(and since this is often times a matter of degree also a question of lower probability).

Hypothetically the moral outcome in terms of character formation, and life evaluation of getting and struggling thru cancer, could be positive, but for the sake of any sort of utilitarian calculus we will call Cancer BAD, or something with a negative util value.

So given that Cancer is bad, can we really say that pregnancy is bad? Pregnancy borne of rape? It seems that the "character" bonus that we admit for cancer, is even larger for pregnancy. I am hesitant to embrace the idea that pregnancy is some evil, while on utilitarian grounds I will grant it, a lot of folks who had pregnancies in high school no doubt had life change as a result, but given ten years of seperation from high school I am not sure of the blessings and maturity that have accrued to such people, indeed over the long run, I am not sure that certain mistakes and hardships well timed aren't very strong blessings, and I do believe that you are always even, so that life is a sort of sum total of good and bad choices. Even if Pregnancy is a lemon, Cancer is a lemon with less juice. There is more lemonade to be made from a pregnancy.

So I am a skeptic of sorts when it comes to the demerits of teen pregnancy, in part because I refuse the simple consistency of a "utilitarian" framework. In terms of rational basis I will agree that fighting teen pregnancy is a legitimate state interest. I even buy into the view that from the perspective of the state abortion acts as a sort of eugenics, and following Freakonomics probably reduces the crime rate. So maybe the gun point sex results in a pregnancy that results in an abortion, or a birth. Serious ethical issues here, but no simple version of utilitarianism passes the strict scrutiny I would apply to determine moral worth/dammage.

I think getting cancer is a greater evil than getting pregnant, but accept that moral strength can come from either. I have an easier time treating cancer in a utilitarian framwork and denouncing it as bad or an externality. Cancer is similar to an STD in this regard. On the other hand second hand smoke and smoking trigger probabilistic cancer, while sex does not automatically trigger probabilistic STD's, the partner either has them(probabilistic) or has not(no probability).

Nicotine is more addictive than Heroin, and Heroin use has a stigma attached to it. I assume that liberals are against heroin use, and doubly against it if compelled at gun point. I don't think Heroin use is a drug that is often cojoined with driving, but if at gun point you forced someone to do heroin and they decided to escape in a car while still high this would be reasonable, and any damage they did while escaping could come back and trigger liability upon the kidnapper, under felony murder I believe. If you don't want to be liable for murder, don't kidnap people and shoot them up with heroin and let them escape in a car.

The only instance I have ever heard of where liberals could be said to be colorably pro-heroin, is New York City Transit Authority v. Beazer. 440 U.S. 568 (1979),

Even here the "liberal" argument wasn't that heroin use wasn't harmful, or that using heroin was good, in fact quite the opposite it sought to protect people who used methadone. The only reason to use methadone was to undergo rehab to quit using heroin. Thus the "liberals" challanged the New York City Transit authorities prohibition on employing people who used methadone, since it was possible to use it safely and the blanket prohibition on employment was too broad. They wanted only such prohibitions as were rationally related to a state interest and argued for certain safety related provisions and prohibitions on methadone users. The "liberals" lost and the New York City Transit authority won, and the court basically said that rational basis didn't have to be narrowly tailored to differentiate between classes of drug users. Justice White and Justice Marshall, aka the "liberals" disagreed and felt that the equal protection clause was violated since minorities were more likely to be methadone users.

It is clear that if "liberals" are passing out needles and condoms, they are doing so to help reduce the externalities involved in dangerous activities. Shooting Heroin could put you at greater risk for aids, but a supply of clean needles does reduce this risk. Assuming pregnancy is a risk passing out condoms is intended to reduce the risk.

In a certain ideological world you could with consistency argue that filers on cigarretes, low tar cigarretes, and
"safe smoking" type adds are designed to give a false sense of security, and perhaps condoms and needles do the same thing. Help incourage the behavior by allowing a sense of tailoring(control) over the externalities. I will buy that.

Hypothetically depending on how far you want to attack corporations. You need not put the smack down on Altria (MO), without also gunning at Trojan, aka Church & Dwight (CHD) and for Needles (TGX) or (CAH).

That is even "liberals" must follow the 5th ammendment. While some of these corporations do hand out free condoms or free needles, they are compensated for such either by direct purchases or tax credits which subsidizes the activity.

The IRS has ruled that free samples are not a taxable assession to wealth, because they are gratuitous and because the benefit of the free sample is captured by the corporation. In the case of Trojan CHD and TGX or CAH howhever some portion of this advertising expense is subsidized by the government, because it is congruent with a legitimate state interest.

The government doesn't tax the free samples of (MO) but various programs are not in place to subsidize them either.

Since teen pregnancy on a utiltarian basis is negative for the state I can understand the treatement of CHD.

I am more persuaded than ever that simple swipes at "conservatism" or "liberalism" are misunderstandings regarding various forms of corporate welfare, and the economic interests that are served by the moral arguments.

In this world drinking Coors, eating Dominoes and smoking Altria products makes one conservative, while supporting CHD(Trojan) or Ben and Jerry's makes one liberal.

While this is lacking a sort of philosophical merit, but it is I believe a distinctly american political philosophy, and the only one favored by integrity to exist.

In france one is not free to butcher and distort the ideas of a philosopher, artist or composer of music. These have moral rights and sanctity. If you have a lot of money and doubt me, buy a picasso and burn it in france. You will rot in a prison cell. Ideas and their expression only really matter in France.

Since we signed unto the Berne convention, I am not sure you could do such a thing in the US, but I am almost certain that following Texas v. Johnson you might escape. Also our parody exception and fair use exception under 107-122 are much stronger.

In the United States I can mock your God, I can mock your morality, and I can taunt you like Elijah to bring down fire. In France burning a sacred rennaisance painting of Elijah burning a pile of wood, will see me to the inside of a jail cell even if I buy it first. It doesn't matter that the artist is dead, the droit d'auteur (rights of the author) are moral rights that exist beyond the grave and are enforced by the French Government.

By contrast in the United States we have worthless meaningless definitions of conservatism and progressivism that confuse everything and leave us in a free wheeling straw man creating political philosophy. There will never be any sorting out, nothing to encourage contemplation.

The only reason to attack corporations is that these are the only ones who maintain brand integrity.

If you don't believe me write a book and call if conservative. (no punishment)

Now make a cola soft drink and appropriate the label or even the artistic design changed in some way from a can of coke. Maybe if you just make it red and white(injunction followed by lawsuit).

Take some Locke, Hayek and Augustine, throw in something about the deficit, and abortion, dilute with ice, shake don't stir. (no problem, except that the James Bond folks might come after me.)

Now try diluteing a coke... buy a fountain machine, buy some syrup and concentrate or dilute the mixture to taste (Coca Cola will sue you, and revoke your license.)

Conclusion, all these "philosophical" ideas are B.S. You are either pro-Altria or anti-Altria, pro CHD or anti CHD, against the state interest or for it.

Progressivism and Conservatism must in equal parts be myth(or unapplicable political philosophy) Progressivism as detached from corporatism is complete idealism and wishful thinking. Meanwhile conservatism in its tea party version is a backlash against the establishment, and its ridiculousness is best suggested by considering the economic impact on Washington DC of a Glenn Beck rally.

Its like a torpedo that when it hits a ship explodes in a way that repairs damage. Its like graduating political science majors that will all become lawyers, or work for the government. Supply creates its own demand.

Washington is nothing but a den of lawyers who have gone insane creating morality out of an admixture of corporate interests(thankfully responsive and reflecting reality to some degree), building it on a swamp didn't work, because Adam Smith was right, people of the same trade seldom meet together even for merriment or diversion, and the conversation doesn't turn to defrauding the public.

This entire Washington based Industrial Reserve Ethical structure opperates on an analytical framework that finds racism or sexism or socialism in proportion to the number of folks paid to find it. Everything is a bloody hoax. The word Nigger is nothing but zero's and ones, and man is born tabula rasa, if it were not for the copyrights and the complex web of interests in perceptions of history, one would never know what to hate or think or do(except that this is patently false. but the working premise of the analytical wrestling match.) Can you really teach Pearl Harbor without invoking hate towards the Japanese? Does this not bennefit Ford or GM and hurt Toyota or Honda? The Zulu learn history so they can know where a spear should go. Due in part to our venting free speech, none of this ever gets up and running to the point of mattering. Fairly quickly in america the speech is seen more as a reflection of upon the opinion/sanity of the individual. Is it possible for Glenn Beck to rail against Soros without stirring anti-semitism? Does the conviction of Bernard Maddoff attach itself to his being jewish, and act to rehabilitate hitler just as the unpopularity of Obama rehabilitates Bush? Who in other words who controls the moral rights/significance of any word, who polices the brand? The Individual, and society. Thus in society the SPLC has a historically based promissory estopel interest in the word nigger being an ethnic slur, which is enforced as part of the legitimate state interest in education, and taught by parents and history proffesors and confirmed by television and radio and the general culture. Political Correctness is an ethical system largely based off an agreed upon a historical/linguistic based promissory estopel judgement. One may I think ask if the unpopularity of Obama rehabilitates Bush, one may not extend the logic to Hitler and Bernard Maddoff. That is one can in good faith make Obama proggressive and Bush conservative, and claim that the downfall of one is the rise of the other. While one can in good faith make Hitler the anti-jew one can't simultaneously make Maddoff the jew. There is a sort of floating "good faith" notion that is violated.

The Sage's use of heroin, and gun point rape I think violate the "good faith" notion, as does just about any defense of tobacco products. The plausible argument would involve a Benthamite felicific calculus. The pleasure from a cigarette far outweights the probabilistic harm. It's a free country, caveat emptor. Because the harm from cigarettes is so well known I think the Benthamite argument/caveat emptor argument is quite a bit stronger. At some point folks should certainly be prevented from claiming they didn't know smoking could cause cancer, unless there is some sort of ongoing push by folks like Mount Airy. That's the thing, I don't think Tobacco companies even like third parties making such arguments. It probably just extends the life of plausible liability.

I think that in the future plaintiffs bar for tobacco will spread rumors about how the science is a myth, then they will argue that folks still depended on this.

Bold prediction:

20 years from now all the tobacco companies will be "liberal" because courts will allow suits from people who could show themselves to be conservative now. Look belief that smoking wasn't dangerous was part of my ideology. I relied upon the Sage of Mt. Airy... I relied upon Ken Thomas who posted these types of things under the title of Health Care. I didn't think I would get cancer. Boo hoo hoo, I am a frog that trusted a scorpion to take him across a river.

The only thing that makes the Sage of Mt. Airy pro-tobacco is that his post is so over the top that any court that would apply a rational person standard would claim that no one could rely upon it. That is it is pro-tobacco in the best of worlds.

You guys can try this, but I have my own reliance interest. I am depending on your statements that the courts believe that conservatives are stupid.

The more difficulty americans have with discerning truth, the more liability we can shovel upon the tobacco companies. 20 years from now I will be sueing the liberal tobacco companies on behalf of the good conservative folks you suckered.


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