Monday, 5 August 2013

Creighton on individual choice

I'm going to have to finally start paying for The Australian if Adam Crieghton keeps coming out with columns like this. 
German doctors were the first to discover a link between tobacco smoking and cancer in the 1930s. National Socialism declared cancer "the number one enemy". Along with a passion for the natural environment, the Fuhrer hated smoking -- a relic of the sort of decadent liberal lifestyle that undermined the health of the "volk".
In measures foreshadowing Australia's own "pioneering" efforts to reduce smoking, Nazi Germany cracked down on cigarette advertising, banned smoking at work, in government offices, and ultimately on buses and trains too.
The Reich itself exhorted Germans to change: "Food is not a private matter" and "You have a duty to be healthy" blared from government placards.
Today's healthy living crusaders, roused into excitement by any tax or ban that might ostensibly improve people's health, most obviously do not adhere to the other heinous tenets of National Socialism. But they do share its bizarre and sometimes shrill desire to curtail others' eating and leisure habits, supposedly in the interests of the individuals concerned and the greater public good.
"Everywhere in the West public health doctrine has drifted from public-good concerns, such as contagious diseases, toward a frontal attack on individual choices and politically incorrect lifestyles," writes Canadian economics professor Pierre Lemieux of University of Quebec.
Hitler's Institute for Tobacco Hazards Research helped calculate the "national economic cost of smoking". But its figures were probably as fraudulent as those routinely concocted today.
I know about Godwin's Law. But counting "reduced productivity" from smoking as a social cost makes most sense where the underlying model is that you belong to the State.


I'll quibble with a couple more minor points. 
First, Creighton notes that economists sometimes recommend tobacco or alcohol excise taxes because consumption is relatively insensitive to price. That's one read of the general Ramsey optimal-tax literature. But I'm pretty sure that the proper reading of Ramsey is that, because we cannot tax leisure, optimal tax policy will tax more heavily those things more complementary to leisure than to labour. It's less the absolute price elasticity of demand that matters than the cross-elasticity with labour and leisure choices
Second, Creighton suggests that government enthusiasm for taxing tobacco rather than alcohol despite that nasty drunks impose more costs on others than do nasty smokers stems from pure classicism and elitism. That could be the case - we tend to impose excise on products imposing fiscal externalities that also draw social disapproval. But I would note that light to moderate drinkers are most sensitive to price. They impose little to no harm on others. And they even have reduced overall mortality rates. Heavy drinkers are rather less responsive to prices. Hiking alcohol taxes does more to turn moderate drinkers into light drinkers than it does to turn heavy drinkers into moderate drinkers. If anything, the evidence suggests that heavy drinkers save up for a few binge events rather than curb consumption from the peaks: they drink less on low-drinking days rather than cutting back on their worst excesses. Prices are blunt instruments for dealing with alcohol related harm in the same way that petrol excise is a blunt instrument for dealing with speed-related car crashes.

Update: In comments below, a few folks have gone a bit farther than I would in opposing tobacco control policy. Rather than get involved there, I'll just put a statement up here.

First, there is no chance that there is any slippery slope connecting tobacco control policy to eugenics or other parts of the Nazi programme.

However, I agree with DragonFly in comments below that there is an underlying mindset that is common to both movements. To view it as a cost to the State that you make choices that burden the State through lower tax revenues requires that, deep down, you think we're all kinda owned by the State. It's the view that says we have a responsibility not to ourselves, but to the State, to choose more healthy behaviours even if we would prefer to consume less health and more fun. It's the vision that says there's one right way of living, irrespective of your own hopes and dreams. To me, that's the vision of human nature that was given fullest policy fruition in Nazi Germany. I do not think that public health paternalism in any way leads us to Nazi Germany. I do think that it will continue pushing on every margin of socially disapproved behaviours that provide individuals, primarily from the lower classes, with pleasure in exchange for risk. Tobacco, alcohol, fast food, soda.

But it's not a view that started with them. You can see it in Thomas Carlyle's view that blacks could never be made fully human unless they had the benefit of slaveowners to guide them towards work with the lash. There's a right way of living, and we'll force you to it with the lash if necessary.

Economics was called the Dismal Science by Thomas Carlyle because, in his view, we would deny blacks the opportunity to become human through the use of the lash. Mill's opposition to Carlyle was grounded as much in his view that slavery was repugnant as in his view that we should all be treated as equally capable of choosing our own vision of the good life. Perhaps comprehensive public education could help us in making better choices as we ourselves see things, or for teaching us about the higher-order pleasures. But fundamentally, the good is subjective and individual. And if I, with full knowledge, choose to consume less health and more fun, then it is too great an infringement on individual liberty to compel me to choose otherwise. Economics starts here: methodological individualism. There is no good outside of what we believe to be good, no value that exists outside the system. And where we disagree on what is good, and where we are not harming any other in our personal pursuit of that good, there is nobody who can stand above us and tell us we have wrongly chosen.

21 comments:

  1. "I know about Godwin's Law. But counting
    "reduced productivity" from smoking as a social cost makes most sense
    where the underlying model is that you belong to the State."

    I don't think people can shout "Godwin's law" when there is actually an evidence based comparison.

    The rhetoric and the logic involved in old forms of social darwinism is comparable to a lot of the public health stuff that turns up - the forms of endowed social preference they are targeting are just different. And large parts of the economic method does, in a form, help pander to that - if not "suggest" it.

    Tis nearing time for people to begin suggesting that, with current computational power, we can compute elasticities and start setting "right and fair" prices centrally. Give it, hmmmm, 20 years methinks :P

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  2. The lack of compassion and empathy evinced by health evangelists for other human beings (or, at least, for those not of their own kind) has made me think more and more that there is some ugly common link between all people who want to control others on a largish scale. Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler etc (and the people that supported them), may be just health evangelists writ large. That seems extreme, I know, but listening to the heartless megalomaniac loons who want to ban smoking in psychiatric institutions and rest homes gives me the chills. These people seem to regard certain sections of society as not really human and not fit to make their own choices. They do not care at all about the distress or happiness of these 'others', and I question how big a step eugenics would actually be for them. I used to wonder where the monsters came from that inhabited Nazi Germany etc, but I realized long ago that in a civil society they take other, more muted forms.

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  3. Something along the lines of the Hitler Youf:
    Proctor (1997) continues that “throughout this period, magazines like Genussgifte (Poisons of taste or habit), Auf der Wacht (On Guard), and Reine Luft (Pure air) published a regular drumbeat against this ‘insidious poison’ [tobacco], along with articles charting the unhealthful effects of alcohol, teenage dancing, cocaine, and other vices. Dozens of books and pamphlets denounced the ‘smoking slavery’ or ‘cultural degeneration’ feared from the growth of tobacco use. Tobacco was branded ‘the enemy of world peace’, and there was even talk of ‘tobacco terror’ and ‘tobacco capitalism’ …. The Hitler Youth and the League of German Girls both published antismoking propaganda, and the Association for the Struggle against the Tobacco Danger organized counseling centers where the ‘tobacco ill’ could seek help” (p.456-457); “Hitler Youth had anti-smoking patrols all over Germany, outside movie houses and in entertainment areas, sports fields etc., and smoking was strictly forbidden to these millions of German youth growing up under Hitler.” (www.zundelsite – January 27, 1998.htm)


    The Führer thanks you from the grave:


    Hitler was a Leftist
    Hitler's Anti-Tobacco Campaign

    One particularly vile individual, Karl Astel -- upstanding president of Jena University, poisonous anti-Semite, euthanasia fanatic, SS officer, war criminal and tobacco-free Germany enthusiast -- liked to walk up to smokers and tear cigarettes from their unsuspecting mouths. (He committed suicide when the war ended, more through disappointment than fear of hanging.) It comes as little surprise to discover that the phrase "passive smoking" (Passivrauchen) was coined not by contemporary American admen, but by Fritz Lickint, the author of the magisterial 1100-page Tabak und Organismus ("Tobacco and the Organism"), which was produced in collaboration with the German AntiTobacco League.

    http://constitutionalistnc.tripod.com/hitler-leftist/id1.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_propaganda

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  4. Ahhh. "Godwins law". An excuse used by communists, or "Greens", or anti-smokers, or anti fattists, or any other hippy grouping, to deflect, or "defeat" any reasoned argument/discussion
    away from the clear fact that there IS no difference between them and the nazis, when that reasoning comes dangerously close to proving the fact. And used by Nazis, who are loosing their argument, but can, or will not be seen to be "throwing-in-the-towel."

    As to "Nazi". It is a methodology. Or a "world view" NOT an end result. (In fact part of Mein Kampf was TITLED "Weltanschauung" (World view)!)

    It does not matter if you end up eradicating Jews, or smokers, if the METHODS, or even the RHETORIC used are the same that were used by the "Nazis", then the title is yours. Go and enjoy it.

    (A simple test is to compare methods used by the anti whatever lobby today, and "News"papers such as "Der Stürmer" ( http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_St%C3%BCrmer ), or "Das Schwarze Korps" ( http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Das_Schwarze_Korps ). If the methods match, are so similar as to make no difference, or even if they FEEL that way, then those methods, and those using/purporting them, are nazis, and "Godwin"cango and screw himself sideways..)

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  5. When mainstream Media starts calling them NAZIS its basically over for the whole damnable business of public health Facism!

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  6. To understand how we got to this terribly messed up state, we need a little background.

    America has been a “leader” in this antismoking insanity which other
    countries are following suit. The problem with Americans is that they
    are clueless to even their own recent history. They have a terrible
    history with this sort of “health” fanaticism/zealotry/extremism or
    “clean living” hysteria.

    Antismoking is not new. It has a long, sordid, 400+ year history,
    much of it predating even the semblance of a scientific basis or the
    more recent concoction of secondhand smoke “danger”. Antismoking
    crusades typically run on inflammatory propaganda, i.e., lies, in order
    to get law-makers to institute bans. Statistics and causal attribution
    galore are conjured. The current antismoking rhetoric has all been heard
    before. All it produces is irrational fear and hatred, discord, enmity,
    animosity, social division, oppression, and bigotry. One of the two
    major antismoking (and anti-alcohol, dietary
    prescriptions/proscriptions, physical exercise) crusades early last
    century was in America. [The other crusade was in WWII Germany and the
    two crusades were intimately connected by physician-led eugenics]. The
    USA has been down this twisted, divisive path before. Consider the
    following. The bulk of claims made about smoking/tobacco were erroneous,
    baseless, but highly inflammatory. Unfortunately, the propaganda did
    its destructive job in the short term, producing mass hysteria or a
    bigotry bandwagon. When supported by the State, zealots seriously mess
    with people’s minds on a mass scale.
    http://www.americanheritage.com/content/thank-you-not-smoking
    http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19981129&slug=2786034
    Nazi War on Tobacco
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2352989/pdf/bmj00571-0040.pdf

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  7. The current antismoking crusade, very much in the eugenics
    tradition, is much like previous crusades. It is a moralizing,
    social-engineering, eradication/prohibition crusade decided upon in the
    1970s by a small, self-installed clique of [medically-oriented] fanatics
    operating under the auspices of the World Health Organization and
    sponsored by the American Cancer Society (see the Godber Blueprint http://www.rampant-antismoking.com ). This little, unelected group, using much the same inflammatory rhetoric of its fanatical predecessors, decided for everyone that tobacco-use should be eradicated from the world. These fanatics were speaking of secondhand smoke “danger” years before the first study on
    SHS, together with advocating indoor and OUTDOOR smoking bans:
    Secondhand smoke “danger” is a concoction to advance the
    social-engineering agenda, i.e., inflammatory propaganda. The zealots
    were also speaking of extortionate taxes as a coercive measure long before estimates of “health costs”.

    The zealots’ goal this time is not to ban the sale of tobacco but to
    ban smoking in essentially all the places that people smoke (combined
    with extortionate taxes). Up until recently the social-engineering
    intent has been masqueraded as protecting nonsmokers from secondhand
    smoke “danger”. But even this fraud is no longer viable in that bans are
    now being instituted for large outdoor areas such as parks, beaches,
    campuses where there is no demonstrable “health” issue for nonsmokers.
    This dangerous mix of the medically-aligned attempting social
    engineering is a throwback to a century ago. We seem to have learned
    nothing of value from very painful lessons of only the recent past.

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  8. In all the world, there were only two major anti-tobacco crusades
    early last century – America and Nazi Germany. This is not coincidental.
    The connecting thread is physician-led eugenics.

    Eugenics didn’t begin and end with Nazism. Eugenics was popularized
    in America decades earlier. The Germans, including Hitler, were students
    of American eugenics. Eugenics views humans, and therefore health, as
    only a biological/physical phenomenon (physicalist). Eugenics is most
    notorious for its racial/breeding/heredity dimension. Not well
    understood is that eugenics also has a behavioral dimension, i.e.,
    anti-tobacco, anti-alcohol (these are viewed as body “poisons”), dietary
    prescriptions/proscriptions, physical exercise. That’s why, early last
    century, the only two countries in all the world that had high-profile
    anti-tobacco crusades were America and Germany. Hitler was simply
    following the eugenics “prescriptions”, although he was also a rabid
    antismoker:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2352989/pdf/bmj00571-0040.pdf

    Some insight into the connection between American eugenics – California in particular – and Nazi eugenics.
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/11/09/ING9C2QSKB1.DTL

    Eugenics was viewed as “scientific and scholarly”. It was
    supported/funded by the mega-wealthy (e.g., Rockefeller, Harriman,
    Carnegie, Ford, Kellogg) and the educated (The American mega-wealthy
    also had intimate connections with Nazi industry). Eugenics was
    eventually taught in prestigious universities. Eugenics had much
    political clout. It was eugenics that legitimized the Temperance
    movement along the anti-tobacco/alcohol lines: Eugenics harnessed the
    temperance movement for its own agenda. From the early-1910s, there were
    progressively more states that had instituted sterilization laws. With
    this momentum came anti-tobacco legislation. There were a number of
    states that had already banned the sale of cigarettes, e.g., Indiana,
    before WWI. The World War changed the fortune of the cigarette: Soldiers
    found the cigarette indispensable. Most tobacco bans were repealed
    before the end of the war.

    The bulk of eugenicists post-WWII were in America. The eugenics
    question was never resolved in America. Eugenicists still thought in
    their physicalist framework. They simply stopped using the “E”[ugenics]
    word because of its horrible implications. Given that the “E” word was
    no longer used, the obsession with physical health that came to the fore
    in America through the 1970s – as a consequence of physicalist thinkers
    – was termed “healthism”. Healthism is simply the behavioral dimension
    of eugenics by another name.

    Healthism involves the same eugenics personnel, e.g., physicians,
    biologists, pharmacologists, statisticians, behaviorists. It involves
    the same reliance on flimsy population-level statistics that were first
    developed by eugenicists for population control (also the term “eugenics” was coined by the statistician Francis Galton). It involves the same dictatorial
    tendencies and social-engineering aspirations. It also involves the same
    perverse repertoire to coerce conformity, i.e., denormalization/propaganda.

    Post-WWII the emphasis has shifted entirely to the behavioral dimension.
    Rather than physical (reproductive) sterilization, the emphasis now
    is on social sterilization. Those engaging in “undesirable” activities
    are ostracized/stigmatized from “normal” society through “denormalization” campaigns.

    People don’t seem to understand that the eugenics catastrophe of last
    century was physician led. The two largest group memberships of the
    Nazi Party, for example, were doctors and lawyers. The combination of
    medical zealots, social engineering, and vested financial interests is
    demonstrably a dangerous mix. And they’re at it again.

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  9. Heres a time line starting in 1900,dont be surprised to see the same thing playing out today nearly 100 years later.

    1901: REGULATION: Strong anti-cigarette activity in 43 of the 45 states. "Only Wyoming and Louisiana had paid no attention to the cigarette controversy, while the other forty-three states either already had anti-cigarette laws on the books or were considering new or tougher anti-cigarette laws, or were the scenes of heavy anti- cigarette activity" (Dillow, 1981:10).

    1904: New York: A judge sends a woman is sent to jail for 30 days for smoking in front of her children.

    1904: New York City. A woman is arrested for smoking a cigarette in an automobile. "You can't do that on Fifth Avenue," the arresting officer says.

    1907: Business owners are refusing to hire smokers. On August 8, the New York Times writes: "Business ... is doing what all the anti-cigarette specialists could not do."

    1917: SMOKEFREE: Tobacco control laws have fallen, including smoking bans in numerous cities, and the states of Arkansas, Iowa, Idaho and Tennessee.

    1937: hitler institutes laws against smoking.

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  10. Just a point on “Nazi” references and “Godwin’s Law. Antismokers typically
    invoke Godwin’s Law to disqualify/ridicule the comments of anyone making a Nazi
    reference to the current war on tobacco. As with many other issues, antismokers
    have mangled Godwin’s Law as well. GL is a point of humour, indicating that the
    longer a discussion goes, the higher the probability that a Nazi reference will
    be introduced, usually without basis. GL is not a criticism of uses of the Nazi
    reference where it is relevant to the discussion.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law

    In the case of antismoking, the Nazi reference is entirely
    relevant. Anti-smoking/tobacco (and anti-alcohol) makes an appearance in Nazism. And, it didn’t just pop-up out of thin air. It is central to the eugenics
    framework, and eugenics was a foundational layer of Nazism:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2352989/pdf/bmj00571-0040.pdf

    Eugenics is a peculiar fascist framework; it has [only] biological health –
    racial and behavioral – as a central tenet. The citizenry, which is viewed as a
    human “herd” and the property of the State, are expected to conform to
    [biological] health edicts, even to coercion, as their duty to the State. The
    [unfounded] promise of the eugenicists was that, under their control, disease,
    poverty, and crime would be eradicated. Rather, in that it entirely disregards
    psychological, social, and moral dimensions, the framework brought out the
    worst in people along these dimensions, e.g., bigotry, racism, cruelty,
    brutality. Also notable is that the Nazis didn’t invent eugenics; it was
    popularized decades earlier in America.

    The current antismoking crusade, the Godber Blueprint, was put into motion
    by the standard eugenics personnel, e.g., physicians, biologists,
    statisticians, behaviorists. It has the same absolutist, social-engineering
    intent that is eugenics. It uses the same vulgar eugenics methodology of
    denormalization/propaganda to achieve its questionable goals. Post-WWII, the
    word “eugenics” is rarely used given its negative connotations. The obsession
    with physical health that emerged post-WWII has been referred to as
    “healthism”. Yet, healthism is really the behavioral dimension of eugenics. The
    antismoking crusade, which is a part of the “healthist” push, is also eugenics
    in motion. It is the eugenics framework that has made antismoking a societal
    ideal with a view to the eradication of tobacco use.

    With antismoking well along, healthism (eugenics) is attempting to extend
    its reach to other behaviors over which it wants control, e.g.,
    http://dickpuddlecote.blogspot.com/2012/01/precedent-what-precedent.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+DickPuddlecote+%28Dick+Puddlecote%29

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  11. This story from Australia just yesterday:
    Smartcard License Scheme Proposed For Smokers
    http://www.theage.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/smartcard-licence-scheme-proposed-for-smokers-20130804-2r7pr.html?#comments

    This was a comment posted 4 times that was not published by the Age:

    “The moralizing zealots just don’t let up. Their recommendations just become progressively more vulgar and obscene as they conspire in their monomania to isolate, denormalize, and stigmatize a group not to their liking. Who put these people in charge of anything? Why do they believe they have the moral high ground and directing “acceptable conduct” when their frame of reference is superficial and perverse?

    People don’t seem to understand that the eugenics catastrophe of early last century in America and then Germany was physician-led. BTW, anti-tobacco/alcohol were also seen last century; they are aspects of the eugenics framework. The two largest group memberships of the Nazi Party were doctors and lawyers. Medicos are not moral superiors. Their attempt to promote themselves as such and to dictate lifestyle through coercive law is a throwback to a century ago. The medical establishment does not have a monopoly on health, although it constantly corruptly strives to monopolize health. Medicos and social engineering is a dangerous mix. Have we learned nothing!

    So Magnusson and Currow are concerned about health? Have they ever highlighted the serious damage done by the medical establishment itself? Do they even know what iatrogenesis is? E.g.,
    http://f2cscotland.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/dangers-to-life-and-public-health-lobby.html

    That the current antismoking campaign has been allowed to get so terribly out of control, to deteriorate into a bigotry bandwagon overseen by a self-installed medically-aligned elite, is symptomatic of a medical establishment that has long been out of control.”

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  12. Here’s a brief history of the antismoking madness (Godber Blueprint) over
    the last few decades.

    The first demand for a smoking ban was in the late-1980s concerning
    short-haul flights in the USA of less than 2 hours. At the time, the antismokers were asked if this was a “slippery slope” – where would it end? They ridiculed anyone suggesting such because this ban was ALL that they were after.
    Then they ONLY wanted smoking bans on all flights.
    Then the antismokers ONLY wanted nonsmoking sections in restaurants, bars,
    etc., and ensuring that this was ALL they wanted.
    Then the antismokers ONLY wanted complete bans indoors. That was all they
    wanted. At the time, no-one was complaining about having to “endure” wisps of
    smoke outdoors.

    While they pursued indoor bans, the antismokers were happy for smokers to be
    exiled to the outdoors. Having bulldozed their way into indoor bans, the
    antismokers then went to work on the outdoors, now declaring that momentary
    exposure to remnants of smoke in doorways or a whiff outdoors was a “hazard”,
    more than poor, innocent nonsmokers should have to “endure”.
    Then they ONLY wanted bans within 10 feet of entrance ways.
    Then they ONLY wanted bans within 20 feet of entrance ways.
    Then they ONLY wanted bans in entire outdoor dining areas.
    Then they ONLY wanted bans for entire university and hospital campuses and
    parks and beaches.
    Then they ONLY wanted bans for apartment balconies.
    Then they ONLY wanted bans for entire apartment (including individual
    apartments) complexes.

    On top of all of this, there are now instances, particularly in the USA, where smokers are denied employment, denied housing (even the elderly), and
    denied medical treatment. Smokers in the UK are denied fostering/adoption. Involuntary mental patients are restrained physically or chemically (sedation) or multi-day solitary confinement rather than allow them to have a cigarette – even outside.

    At each point there was a crazed insistence that there was no more to come
    while they were actually planning the next ban and the brainwashing required to
    push it. The incessant claim was that they were not doing “social engineering”
    (prohibition) when the current antismoking crusade has been so from the outset,
    just like pretty well every previous antismoking crusade. There has been
    incessant (pathological) lying and deception. Many medically-aligned groups
    have been committed to antismoking – their smokefree “utopia” – since the 1960s, and are also in the pay of Pharma companies peddling their useless “nicotine replacement” products. They have prostituted their medical authority and integrity to chase ideology (this is exactly what occurred in the eugenics of
    early last century). All of it is working to a tobacco-extermination plan run
    by the WHO (dominated by the American “model”) and that most nations are now
    signed-up to (Framework Convention on Tobacco Control).

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  13. It’s a bit ruthless to go about lying about how his mother died just to
    score political points. Wonder what the rest of the family think of all
    that, they would know the truth

    Lung Cancer a Different Disease in Smokers and Nonsmokers

    PHILADELPHIA — Lung cancer that develops in smokers is not the same disease as lung cancer that develops in people who've never touched a cigarette, a new study finds.

    http://www.livescience.com/11090-lung-cancer-disease-smokers-nonsmokers.html

    Never-smokers have different mutations in genes than smokers

    http://yourlife.usatoday.com/health/story/2012-01-10/Never-smokers-have-different-mutations-in-genes-than-smokers/52478264/1?csp=34news&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+UsatodaycomHealth-TopStories+%28News+-+Health+-+Top+Stories%29

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  14. Yep as usual Rudds a bloody damnable liar!

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  15. Don't get me wrong - I think there are usually better, and less emotive, comparisons than using "Nazi's". I just think that ruling out ANY analysis for using them as historical comparison gets a bit tiresome - it is like ruling out the Great Depression when studying macroeconomics ... yes the event is abused by people when making short comparisons, but it was still a product of events and offers historic knowledge.

    Note, the view that people's desire to improve society will lead to the same horrors as the Nazi's is a overstatement - but the long-term point that this type of focus can lead to an under-appreciation of the heterogeniety of personal choice is an important one.

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  16. The Nazi connotation is applied to anything that is regarded as overbearing ie ''SAFETY NAZIS'' HEALTH NAZIS'' ANTI=SMOKING NAZIS'' the comparisons are so valid it boggles the mind. In fact its the EUGENICS that began in California that Hitler used to begin his Final solution!

    Eugenics: the California connection to Nazi policies

    http://www.ahrp.org/infomail/03/11/10.php

    Eugenics: the California connection to Nazi policies_SF Chronicle

    Mon, 10 Nov 2003

    On Sunday, Nov 9, the San Francisco Chronicle published an extraordinary, most informative article by Edwin Black, that sheds light on the role played by the American eugenics movement in the Nazi extermination policy. Eugenics is a pseudoscience whose purported aim is to “improve” the human race, while eliminating that portion of the race that eugenicists deem “undesirable.” The article is adapted from Black’s recently released book, “War Against the Weak,” published by Four Walls Eight Windows.

    Black shows that American eugenics played a decisive role in the adoption of racist and even lethal public policies in the US and then in Germany. Black writes: “Eugenics would have been so much bizarre parlor talk had it not been for extensive financing by corporate philanthropies, specifically the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Harriman railroad fortune. They were all in league with some of America’s most respected scientists from such prestigious universities as Stanford, Yale, Harvard and Princeton. These academicians espoused race theory and race science, and then faked and twisted data to serve eugenics’ racist aims.”

    “Stanford President David Starr Jordan originated the notion of “race and blood” in his 1902 racial epistle “Blood of a Nation,” in which the university scholar declared that human qualities and conditions such as talent and poverty were passed through the blood.”

    “The Harriman railroad fortune paid local charities, such as the New York Bureau of Industries and Immigration, to seek out Jewish, Italian and other immigrants in New York and other crowded cities and subject them to deportation, confinement or forced sterilization.”

    The influence of American eugenicists was even more sinister. American eugenicists influenced the Nazi sterilization, experimentation, and extermination policies–including the medical atrocities first conducted on institutionalized disabled human beings–adults and children. What’s more, the scions of American philanthropy financed German eugenicists and actively supported their pseudoscientific research institutes.

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  17. I do indeed know the history of eugenics - but this is not a binary comparison. It is not freedom or the complete abdication of individual freedom.

    We should appreciate heterogeniety - but linking any communal or social view to a slippery slope to eugenic policy is a touch extreme. I suspect this is one of the reasons people try to avoid the "Nazi" comparison ;)

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  18. Matt eugenics and darwinism fed each other hand to mouth. It began during and before the civilwar in America along with the Victorians of the age..........It sprang forth the foundations for Hitlers NAZI GERMANY.

    ............................................

    Rockefeller also created the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Foundation, and the American Lung Association in this eugenics framework)

    Antismoking is not new. It has a long, sordid history. The three antismoking crusades of the last century have been eugenics-driven. In eugenics, health is erroneously reduced to an entirely biological phenomenon and where a self-installed elite attempt to engineer/breed a “better” human herd. In addition to a genetic aspect, eugenics views tobacco and alcohol as racial poisons needing to be eradicated (negative eugenics). Antismoking was rife in early-1900s USA. Smoking and tobacco sales were banned in quite a number of American states.
    http://www.americanheritage.com/artic....
    Dillow (1981) notes that the bulk of antismoking claims were fraudulent and inflammatory. Dillow fails to note that the antismoking crusade of the early-1900s USA was eugenics-driven: Eugenics was mainstream in the USA at this time. At the turn of the last century, eugenics was mainstream in the USA, the UK, some European countries, and a number of Scandinavian countries. The USA appears to be the most prominent. The mega-wealthy in the USA (e.g., Rockefeller, Carnegie, Ford, Kellogg) were supporters and funders of eugenics (and antismoking, anti-alcohol) – and still are. Rockefeller and Ford were also prominent supporters of Nazi eugenics. (Rockefeller also created the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Foundation, and the American Lung Association in this eugenics framework). Rockefeller and Ford had trade agreements with the Nazis through the 1930s
    ...

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  19. Mme Jeanne Calment, who was listed as the world's oldest human whose
    birth date could be certified, died at 122. She had begun smoking as a
    young woman. At 117 she quit smoking (by
    that age she was just smoking two or three cigarettes per day because
    she was blind and was too proud to ask often for someone to light her
    cigarettes for her). But she resumed smoking when she was 118 because,
    as she said, not smoking made her miserable and she was too old to be
    made miserable. She also said to her doctor: "Once you've lived as long
    as me, only then can you tell me not to smoke." Good point! [USA Today,
    "Way to go, champ," 10/18/95]
    ...............................................
    The oldest people on Earth are all smokers.


    According to the World Health Organization and the statisticians of
    the anti-tobacco cartel, however, these are (or will be) all premature
    deaths, for the simple reason that they are smokers. Therefore, these
    individuals did (or will) add to the smoking-related death epidemic
    figures that the charlatans of the numerous anti-tobacco organizations
    keep waving in front of politicians, media, and public.
    http://www.forces.org/evidence/hamilton/other/oldest.htm

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  20. This is an excellent post Eric,and it advances a perspective that is under-represented in public debate.

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  21. @EricCrampton: Tobacco and tobacco smoking is "complementary"
    to both leisure and labour. This is because of the nicotine, which is a
    brilliant mild drug that enhances the brain functions and the working capacity:

    http://dengulenegl.dk/English/Nicotine.html

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