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Saturday, 25 August 2012

If It Helps Just One Person It's Worth It

How many times have you heard the expression "If it helps just one person it will be worth it"?  Hundreds? Thousands of times, perhaps?

It's certainly in my top ten list of bullshit phrases used by nannying tyrants to justify acts or legislation that are a detriment to a greater percentage of the population. 

From our least favourite country in the world comes this article in the Townsvillle Bulletin titled "Doubt about Plain Packs."  And you guessed it, a rather stout (er...well, he is quite large, to be fair) MP named Ewen Jones said:
"If [plain packaging of cigarettes] stops one person from smoking, it will be worth it."
The article also has him saying (emphasis added) "any act to eradicate smoking was a positive move."

Any act?  Any act at all?  Really, now.  OK.

So, if the nannying tyrants want to -- oh, I dunno, er... tattoo smokers with a serial number as part of a smokers' licensing programme, that's a positive move too?  Must be, since you, Mr Jones, said any act is a positive move.

Why stop there, Mr Jones? Why not just cut off smokers' hands?  If you don't have hands, that would be quite a deterrent in lighting up. Right? 

Any act, you say?  But you also said the word "eradicate."  Any act to eradicate smoking. That's an interesting choice of wording.  Eradicate.  Hmm.

Here's a tip. People smoke. People smoked before there were tobacco companies, and people will continue to smoke regardless of any legislation.  Criminalising cannabis has had zero effect on stopping people from smoking it. Zero.  Criminalising alcohol during the prohibition era didn't stop people from drinking. These things only made common citizens criminals. 

Perhaps, Mr Jones, you might want to rethink that "any act" thing. It's so close to the rhetoric of the National Socialist party in Germany way back in the 30s and 40s that it's quite alarming to hear it used these days. Because in fact, if you can justify any act in support of your cause, you're an extremist. And if there's one thing we all know about the tobacco control industry, they are all extremists and willing to justify any act in support of "The Public's Health."  No lie too big, no grant too small, no harmful act unjustified.

How far are you willing to go, Mr Jones?

In fairness, it's kind of nice that you recognised that plain packs will be a detriment to businesses and that you "felt" for them.  If you really felt for them, you'd realise that you're trying to put them out business. Here's what one of them had to say:
[Retailer Rob Mitchell] said 50 per cent of daily sales were made from cigarette purchases and if smokers were deterred it could be the death of their business. "If it does have an impact, it will ruin small businesses and it will be the end of us," he said.
So if we're just going to save one person with plain packs, i.e. just get one person to quit smoking, it's worth putting hundreds of retailers out of business, as well as trying to destroy an industry that provides billions of tax to the government's coffers.  Thousands of lives destroyed to save only one life by getting that person to quit smoking?

Yeah, that's worth it.

I'm still waiting to hear from the tobacco control industry on my pledge to quit smoking. How much is one life worth?  I guess I should live in Australia, because Mr Jones honestly believes that getting one person to quit smoking by destroying the local economy is worth it, I figure he'd be willing to stump up the cash I requested.

I suspect I'll be waiting forever.