Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Blowing Smoke

Wow. I agree with Andrew Sullivan about something. The last time that happened was when he switched to a Mac. He's mostly spot-on with his scathing condemnation of the anti-smoking lobby in general and New York City's likely banning of smoking in public places. A good read, until he tries to squeeze this round peg into the square hole of politics:

"You'd think that some liberal New Yorkers might come to the defense of the down-trodden smoker, especially since he or she is often poorer than the non-smoker, has fewer opportunities for quick and easy pleasure, and already has to pay a hugely regressive tax just to light up. But no."

Um, who says smokers are "often poorer" than non-smokers? The cigarette tax, all by itself, doesn't push people into poverty. Or is it that the poor smoke more, or that they are more likely to smoke at all? I've never seen statistics backing either one up, but surely Sullivan has done some research and can point to it?

Andy, Andy, Andy. I know you're pushing the conservative agenda, but really, me lad, not everything can be narrowed down to conservative or liberal. The funniest part of it, though, is the subtle inference that Puritans are, in this case, somehow "liberals." Or am I misreading that? Certainly even Sullivan didn't dare make that stretch right out loud.

I agree with most of this particular article, until Andy managed to ruin it by trying to introduce a conservative agenda. I've always thought that if the government doesn't want people to smoke for whatever reason, they should simply outlaw tobacco. But...oops! Can't do that; lots of people would be ruined (tobacco farmers, Big Tobacco, and quite a few members of Congress). Not to mention the wads o' cash lost from tobacco taxes. That's the basic hypocrisy of government officials telling us how bad, bad, bad smoking is and we should all just cut it out.

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