If our government has proven anything beyond a shadow of a doubt, it is that their constant and persistent desire to save us from ourselves will not be satisfied until they are hand mixing our organic pap in sterile, recycled bowls and shoving it in our mouths themselves.
Now, they have decided their long crusade against cigarettes has not managed to stamp out that pernicious addiction, so they are going to force the cigarette companies to add graphic, unpleasant images of diseased lungs to cigarette packages. When that fails to shock us any longer, they will replace that image with something even more unpleasant.
Of course, no one backing the new warning labels would call them propaganda. Rather, the FDA’s Lawrence Deyton says, “we are trying to communicate accurate, truthful information about the health impact of smoking, to allow consumers to be informed.”
That is a lie. The old warnings â€” informing buyers that cigarettes cause cancer, and so forth â€” conveyed information. The new labels are designed to provoke a reaction in that lizard part of your brain that thoughts never reach. A warning on a ladder that reads, “Caution: Improper use could lead to serious injury from falling” conveys information. A graphic photo of a compound tibia fracture conveys only sentiment.
It’s the kind of cheap trick you could play with just about anything. Take exercise. Sporting-equipment companies glamorize it just as cigarette companies glamorize smoking, with beautiful idols looking too cool for school as they engage in the activity. But you could de-glamorize exercise in a hurry by forcing people to view pictures of dislocated shoulders, torn ligaments and genitals covered in raging cases of jock itch.
Since the gross-out is cross-functional, it’s reasonable to ask when the federal government will start showing us disgusting pictures on packages of food, in which Washington also takes a keen interest. Indeed, someone asked Sibelius that very question during a press conference about the cigarette labels. Her response was evasive. Food labels are voluntary, she said. And tobacco is unique because smoking is “the No. 1 cause of preventable death.”
It won’t be No. 1 forever. Obesity is gaining ground fast. Sibelius says smoking imposes “$200 billion a year in health costs.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity costs the U.S. about $150 billion. Ergo, Sibelius says the government has an interest in food because “it has a lot to do with underlying health costs and [the] overall health of our nation. … The work around obesity and healthier, more nutritious eating” will be “an ongoing focus.”
Do tell. Already the federal government has organized an Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children in “an effort to combat childhood obesity â€” the most serious health crisis facing today’s youth.”
The working group â€” comprising the FTC, the CDC, the FDA and the Agriculture Department â€” already has proposed that food companies either (a) change their child-centered products to make them healthier or (b) lose the right to advertise them. The proposal is ostensibly voluntary. But then so is paying the Mafia protection money not to burn down your store.
Seriously. Is there anyone left who does not personally know someone who died a hard and painful death of small-cell lung cancer? Is there anyone left who does not know an emphysema victim? Smokers are not ignorant. They have made their choices. The fact that the choice offends our Nannies just causes them to button our coats tighter and restrict our freedom even more.
I promise, when national health care is well and truly ensconced as the law of the land, you can expect to see this on the cover of your favorite ice cream carton:
If that fails to discourage our eating habits, they will ship us off to fat camps.
These people are the anti-freedom people. There is no excuse for forcing a company to advertise against the use of their product. If you are selling a legal product, you should not be allowed to lie in your promotion, but it is an anathema to our creed and declaration to be required on your packaging or in any other way, to harm your business interests. Give me freedom, or give me death.