Thursday, July 05, 2007

Children In Charge

In a recent post I wrote about the evils of the smoking ban and how it sidetracks science from looking for the causes that prevent millions of smokers from getting lung cancer. As a adjunct to that post, I present an excellent post by John Brignell at Number Watch. In my post I did not mention any alleged benefits of smoking. I only decried the utter falsehood of the "premature deadly" claims made by the alarmists. But Mr. Brignell quotes Mr. Woodrow Wyatt as saying:
It is well known that smoking , particularly at work, relieves stress, and to outlaw it increases demands on hospital beds. Even the US Surgeon General, in 1964, recognised that Parkinson’s disease (a degenerative disorder of the nervous system) occurred at around half the rate among smokers. In the International Journal of Epidemiology , in 1991, a review of 11 studies showed that non-smokers suffered 50 per cent more Alzheimer’s disease than smokers. And researchers at Erasmus University Medical School , Rotterdam , found that more non-smokers had early-onset dementia than smokers.
He also quotes Dr. James LeFanu:
In the Daily Telegraph, Dr. James Le Fanu wrote: “Smokers have a 50 per cent reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s and the more smoked, the greater the protection.” The New England Journal of Medicine. in 1985, reported that endometrial cancer of the womb occurs at around 50 per cent the rate among smokers as non-smokers. Colon cancer and ulcerative colitis also seem to be about 30 and 50 per cent respectively less frequent among smokers according to articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association and in the New England Journal of Medicine, in 1981 and 1983. The American government’s first Health and Nutrition Examination Survey has found that osteo-arthritis is five times less likely to occur among heavy smokers than non-smokers.
Now I've not checked any of these studies myself so I can't vouch for their accuracy. Nor am I saying that if you fear any of these maladies you should take up smoking. Not at all. This is just another example of the many things anti-tobacco alarmists refuse to consider.

In reading Mr. Brignell's post, I couldn't help but notice, when he pointed out how other British problems seem to take a back seat to the smoking ban, the obvious performance of the altruistic ritual 'it's not for me but for others I do this' on the part of the anti-smoking alarmists. And as I considered how critical it is for our culture to perform that ritual regardless of results, a frightening image came to mind.

Did you ever see a toddler trying to be good to a second toddler? The first toddler tries to give a toy or piece of candy to a second toddler who doesn't want it. Not willing to accept rejection, the first toddler tries to force the gift onto the second toddler. But the second toddler resists and now animosity springs forth. It is usually at this point that a mature adult steps in and stops this process knowing that both toddlers have yet to learn a more rational way of dealing with each other.

What is scary is that when I look at the first toddler I see our current intellectual and political leadership trying to force their idea of the good. When I look at the second toddler I see the American public bewildered, frustrated and anxiously waiting for the mature adult to step in and stop the madness. Sadly, (Objectivism aside) no such adult is coming. The intellectual toddlers are at the helm.
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