by Carl V Phillips
The press is the best instrument for enlightening the mind of man, and improving him as a rational, moral and social being
– Thomas Jefferson
Well, if you have read any or all of my Unhealthful News series at EP-ology, you know that the press we have, as it reports on health science, is not “best” by any stretch of the imagination. But there is no doubt that having the press monitoring those in power, rather than not, is an absolutely crucial minimal step toward ensuring rational and moral behavior.
With that in mind, I return to the topic of the FCTC, the meeting of unelected, mandate-less anti-tobacco extremist WHO operatives in Seoul. In addition to their belief that they should have imperialistic control over the world, dictating tax and other national policies, they ejected the press from observing their discussions. So, not only do they have no representation from the primary stakeholders in the matter (users of tobacco/nicotine) and explicitly forbid participation or even observation by the secondary stakeholders (the manufacturers of those products), but they also are working to prohibit the press from telling the public what they are doing. (For more details, this has been covered in the original breaking of the story by Drew Johnson, and by Dick Puddlecote (who took the best title for a post on the topic) and others.)
This is nothing unusual. It is just a particularly obvious manifestation of the cult of secrecy and isolation practiced by the anti-tobacco extremists (who are, of course, the predominant anti-THR liars). These people are not interested in the truth — indeed, they are afraid of it. Conversations make religious zealots nervous. Moreover — and most of their useful idiots probably do not realize this, but those pulling the strings (and pulling in the money) know — when most people learn the truth, they rise up against these extremists.
Of course, that is not how they spin it. Their claim is that the Giant Evil All-Powerful Tobacco Industry will somehow derail their plans if they deal with the world honestly. But think about what kind of idiot someone would have to be to actually believe that rhetoric. The tobacco industry has far less power and room to act than the tobacco control industry. Which, after all, is not demanding an international excise tax be imposed on all the people of the world, and companies have six lawyers look over anything they say because they are afraid to speak up. As further evidence it is only necessary to consider the scientific claims made by each:
Scientific research and claims coming out of the tobacco industry are scrupulously researched and very modestly reported — far more than, say, the average health science researcher working in other areas. Indeed, in the entire realm of health science, the industry’s research may well be the only body of health science research today that fulfills those ideals of science you are taught in grade school about conservatism and complete reporting. Indeed, it probably exceeds that idea and is far too timid to be useful. Those of us outside the industry doing science in support of THR and general rationality are not so over-compensating, but we do tend to fulfill that ideal.
When the tobacco control industry seeks to attack the scientific credibility of the industry (or those outside the industry who produce science that supports THR or otherwise disagrees with the extremists), the single arrow in their quiver is to talk about the behavior of the industry in the 1970s or before. (The world would be much better if the anti-tobacco people who actually remember the 1970s and think they are still living in them leave the discussion.) They have nothing more recent than that which might tend to suggest that their opponents do dishonest research. They certainly never dare try to argue about the research on its merits, which they would surely lose.
By contrast, the tobacco control industry knows that it can get away with spewing obviously false drivel, anti-scientific even by the standards of “public health”. This is not the behavior of people who are afraid of being confronted by a powerful enemy. It is the behavior of people who think they own the whole world, and have the monopoly on words that previous generations of imperialists had on guns (or horsemen or legions or phalanxes).
But like past imperialists, they know that their monopoly is tenuous because there are a lot more of “them” (those that prefer truth and freedom — i.e., us) out there. Once the people are armed 1/10th as well as the imperialists, the latter’s ambitions do not last long. So they have to keep us disarmed. They have to keep the average person so ill-informed that they do not even know what is going on (thus the anti-THR — and anti-smoking — lies), and they have to keep those of us who would inform the people excluded and beaten down.
So as was noted in the comments to me on a recent post (and as, in fairness to myself, I actually did realize), I did not need to bother archiving a copy of what I was commenting on, because there was no chance that the liars (the American Cancer Society in that case) would attempt to cover their tracks. They cannot. They have cornered themselves.
Less than decade ago, the tobacco control industry would have been able to reign in their imperialism and negotiate an honorable sensible victory for health that would have made the world a better place. But instead, they redoubled their misbehavior and extremism. They have closed their ranks, increased their use of force, and launched an Inquisition. They are cornered now and have to keep the people disarmed by lying and avoiding scrutiny. They have reached the point where they win or they die (metaphorically, of course: their professional reputations die, they are remembered with all the fondness of those who gave us alcohol Prohibition, and they quite possibly take down their fellow travelers like ACS).
Some supporters of THR believe that the best way to further the cause is to negotiate with the tobacco control industry, to beg for their permission to act and to concede that giving people freedom need not be a part of that deal. They might want to review the history of what it took to bring about the retreat of empires that did not have to contend with a free press.