Aside

The same types of lies support most prohibitions

by Carl V Phillips

Dick Puddlecote just posted a nice analysis of the annoying tendency of cannabis users to attack tobacco (and alcohol) use and users, motivated in part by a misguided notion that by joining the attack on other drugs they will somehow make their own drug more respectable.  As DP points out, this is very unlikely to serve their cause, and that the better strategy would be to join an alliance opposed to all prohibitions of moderately hazardous individual choices.  Appeasement of the oppressors is seldom a useful strategy for more than a few minutes.

I would add to that the following:  The exact same lies — junk science, hyping of moderate or trivial risks, scary claims about “chemicals”, hyperbole about cost burdens imposed on others, scapegoating of a minority, etc. — are embedded in the “anti” movements across all of these behaviors.  So not only does appeasement tend to empower the extremists, who move between attacking one behavior they personally disapprove of to another (basically depending on where they can get paid to do it), but it further institutionalizes the lies that can be used to support prohibitionism.  If e-cigarettes and snus can be successfully attacked based on pseudoscience — and that needs to be the basis due to the lack of any real science for attacking them — then it is pretty easy to extend that to attack cannabis and alcohol and junk food, based on the rather stronger arguments that they are a bit harmful.

Moreover, these days, cigarette smoking is most often attacked based on pseudoscience (as opposed to the legitimate science that clearly shows the harms to the smoker), because it is necessary to lie to challenge the retort, “fine, I understand it is bad for me, but I am choosing to do it, and it is no harm to you, so leave me alone.”  So there is a common cause between encouraging substitution for smoking (THR) and the rights of smokers (and others) that is not just related to liberty, but to honesty and legitimate science.  When the types of lies chronicled in this blog go unchecked, countless freedoms are at risk because “Really Good Reasons” will be found (i.e., invented) to curtail them.

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