Alex Massie

If Philip Morris is a paedophile, what are his happy customers?

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From - where else? - the Guardian:

No national administration would allow paedophiles a say in setting child welfare policies. So why should the views of Big Tobacco on issues of health be taken seriously? And no, I don't think this analogy is too extreme. 

One wonders what David Cronin - the author of this nonsense - would consider an extreme analogy? Of course, my own view is that Big Tobacco has been utterly spineless when it comes to standing up to the misinformation and propaganda spread by the "health" industry.

Nonetheless, there is something to the notion that Big Tobacco is quite happy to hop into bed with the authorities - but that's because doing so benefits large tobacco companies at the expense of their smaller rivals. This isn't merely a true of smoking legislation: it's the same theory that governs, nay dictates, Walmart's support for some of President Obama's healthcare proposals. It might cost Walmart some money, but it makes life much, much more difficult for all of Walmart's competitors: that's a net win for Walmart.

Still, Cronin's choice of analogy is a reminder that the anti-tobacco brigade really do see smokers as eight year olds brutalised by rapacious paedophiles names Morris and Reynolds and so on, not as adults perfectly capable of making an informed decision for themselves. Needless to say, this analogy contrives to insult smokers while also, rather more importantly, trivialising the suffering of children who actually are abused. Then again, nothing's too hysterical for the health police...

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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