Sunday, October 25, 2009

Reason Magazine has a hard on for tobacco

A reader emailed me this list of 4 recent articles from Reason Magazine. They illustrate a consistent opposition to government efforts to reduce smoking. We'd expect that sort of corruption from organizations that receive (or have received) large amounts of funding from tobacco companies.

He writes:

Apparently reason mag. has a serious hard on for second hand smoke. You know how cigarettes have a filter to take a bunch of gunk out of the smoke you breathe, apparently being on the other end breathing unfiltered smoke is less harmful. In fact, they argue that smoking bans increase heart attacks, no joke.

"has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and increases risk for heart disease and lung cancer.", they challenge this, well they really don't, but they really do :)

This article seems to be of a type that helps carefully brand anyone who opposes smoking into emotionally driven idiots like environmentalist or liberals, great ad hominem while accusing the opposition of ad hominems. Apparently questioning smoking and cancer might cause the public to brand you something they don't like.

2) The science is irrelevant to the policy question of whether the government should dictate smoking rules on private property.
Classic your only freedom that is to buy argument. Property worship. If your only freedom is to buy or not, do you really have any freedom?

Apparently flavored cigarettes don't cause teens to start smoking, "duh!".


Glen said...

Reason magazine is libertarian, so it tends to reject the nanny state. Reason writers express "consistent opposition to government efforts to reduce" everything that might conceivably be considered a matter of individual preference. "efforts to reduce smoking" are just one example of a much larger general case.

Can we expect you to next to be shocked, shocked that Reason consistently opposes government efforts to make us wear helmets and seat-belts, to make us drive slower, to prevent us from buying big cars, to prevent us from smoking pot or using other FDA-unapproved drugs, to prevent us from buying or carrying guns, to prevent us from buying old and possibly-unsafe toys or books, and to prevent us from eating fatty or otherwise deemed-unhealthy foods?

If not, why not? Clearly as far as you're concerned all those positions must be due to some sort of "corruption" rather than the expression of deeply held and explicitly stated principles, principles that are advertised right on the cover of the magazine in the form of the slogan "Free minds and free markets"...

Mike Huben said...

"everything that might conceivably be considered a matter of individual preference" would make Reason anarchist, which Reason isn't: it's plainly corporatist.

But this position of theirs is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of liberty. Every liberty creates a DUTY to respect that liberty. So if you have a liberty to smoke, then everybody else has a duty to endure the consequences. If others have a liberty from smoking consequences, then you have a duty not to smoke. Thus non-smoking regulations do not create or destroy liberty: they transfer it. Stable property is also such a transfer of liberty by government or other coercive force. But I don't expect libertarians to understand this principle.

When Reason decries the existence, privileges, and harmful practices of its corporate funders as vociferously as it decries unions (because they are both creatures of the state) then I'll think they are less corrupt.

the puzdy said...

Here is an interesting article about smoking bans from Amartya Sen. I think he makes an interesting case. (Mike, I emailed this to you a while back)

Starman1976 said...

Let's not forget that there are those that actually are allergic/asthmatic to smoke.

Michael said...

While I was in Washington in the Summer of '93, this was a big issue among the libertarians. I went to see a speaker at CATO who was up in arms about the government altering the way the statistics were used to deem 2nd hand smoke a danger. Turns out, years later, that the speaker was wrong. Who knew?