Tobacco

Light the Cigarette of Freedom

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"When many of these veterans went to war, the government threw cigarettes at them, and now they are 80 years old, and the government is telling them that they can't smoke in their private club," said Seagraves, who is also a member of the advisory committee. "The government made smokers out of them. … Those guys fought for that freedom."

The sense of outrage comes through loud and clear but I really don't understand what that last sentence means.

The speaker is William Seagraves, Ohio state commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, dissing the Buckeye State's smoking ban, which may or may not cover private clubs such as VFW halls. Ohio voters handily passed the butt ban, which technically went into effect on December 7 but cannot be enforced until the state health department comes up with actual rules to govern the policy.

Full account of the brewing brouhaha here.

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  1. For the VFW, there’s an easy solution:

    Fire the employees and cook your own damn food and mop your own damn floors, and they can smoke to their hearts content.

    What’s really great is that the veterans supported the smoking ban, thinking they were exempt. OOPS!

  2. The sense of outrage comes through loud and clear but I really don’t understand what that last sentence means.

    What do you mean you don’t understand. It’s self explanatory. They went to war on behalf of their government to fight for freedom, and now that government is treading on their freedom.

  3. The government made smokers out of them and they fought for that freedom?

  4. The last sentence is very easy to translate:
    “The government made smokers out of them” – this means that the government put free cigarettes into C & K rations for the troops during WW2 and free cigarettes were otherwise very, very plentiful.

    “Those guys fought for that freedom” – this statement is pretty obvious.

  5. In context of the whole quoted statement, I think Andy has the correct interpretation. Cigarettes were part of the standard rations to WW2 servicemen, smokers or not.

    Strictly speaking, however, they were not fighting for their freedom to smoke. To the best of my knowledge, neither Hitler nor Tojo had, as their cause for war, an intention to impose an indoor smoking ban in the United States.

    Hitler actually favored sort of a mandatory indoor smoking program for some.

  6. Nick,
    It isn’t particularly relevant or compelling. But the meaning is clear.

    Your confusion seems to stem from your combining the last two sentences into a single thought, paying no heed to the ellipsis.

  7. Ohio voters handily passed the butt ban, which technically went into effect on December 7 but cannot be enforced until the state health department comes up with actual rules to govern the policy.

    I don’t mean to nitpick the Ohio legislature, but given that the rules will be the law, shouldn’t they have come with those before passing it?

  8. I’m personally tired of hearing about anyone fighting for freedom. I’m tired of hearing “freedom isn’t free” and “protecting our freedom”. The sad truth is that if any person really decided to fight for their freedom, in the United States at least, they would be branded an outlaw and possibly shot by our fine government defenders of freedom. When was the last time anyone joined or was conscripted by the military and fought for the freedom of American citizens?

  9. There is an interesting book titled Cigarettes Are Sublime that has a chapter on what cigarettes meant to the men in uniform fighting in WWII. The book might have a bit of a slant, but it basically says that without cigs, morale would have been in the dumps and the war could have lasted years longer.

  10. Yes, Hitler did promote smoking for some, but I have read (but not verified) that he got bans on smoking tobacco indoors and around playgrounds, just like the National Socialists of today want to do.

    Now, as far as what happened with soldiers being given smokes back in the day, don’t focus on WWII, it began in WWI.

    Prior to WWI no “decent” men or women smoked cigarettes. It was sometimes described as only being done by “pimps and prostitutes”. Gentlemen, and other men, smoked cigars. After WWI, the cigarette became common among men and women of all classes directly from a government program of passing them out to the soldiers. An unintended consequence or “inadvertant social engineering” as it were.

    Short hair on men can be traced back to the military requiring short hair to reduce disease in the troop population too. Many a social change can be traced back to government policy with the military.

    Now, when the flaiming Leftists try to tell me that the government should decide where I can smoke, I mention that it is the fault of the federal government that cigarettes are common at all and I tell them why. Of course, they try to tell me that some corporation ‘forced’ the feds to do this, as if Noam Chomsky were whispering the answer in their ear.

  11. “”The government made smokers out of them. … Those guys fought for that freedom.””

    We fought for the freedom to be enslaved by Big Tobacco.

    “Private club” in a quaint, archaic, sort of notion, isn’t it?

  12. Peter, you are mistaken:

    The Nazis did identify to correlation between cigarette smoking and lung cancer and and launched a massive public health campaign against it.

  13. “Private club” is*…

    stupid keyboard

  14. Check out http://www.joejackson.com/smokingissue.htm — where an ’80s jazz-singer, in his spare time, does a better job of tobacco-journalism than any actual ‘journalist’ I’ve yet seen…
    JMR

  15. One thing about cigarette bans–they have made it much easier to quit than it used to be. I remember trying to quit many years ago, when smokers could light up anywhere, and it was hell. Now that there are few places anybody can smoke, it’s much easier to quit. I consider smoking bans a useful soft paternalism. Nothing does freedom in like lung cancer.

  16. “Private club” in a quaint, archaic, sort of notion, isn’t it?

    Dammit, my house is a “Private Club”. You can’t come in unless invited. Your continued prescence is also dependant on my wishes. How friggin’ quaint, archaic even.

  17. One thing about cigarette bans–they have made it much easier to quit than it used to be. I remember trying to quit many years ago, when smokers could light up anywhere, and it was hell. Now that there are few places anybody can smoke, it’s much easier to quit. I consider smoking bans a useful soft paternalism.

    And if women all wore burkas, think of the socially desirable result of the probable reduction in STDs. Freedom does have it’s drawbacks, but those drawbaks are miniscule compared to the “Nanny Knows Best” state.

  18. Ohio is known for having a lot of governmental things that make no sense and some they admit are unconsitutional, so I would not expect them to have things sorted out on ANYTHING.

    At least that is my impression being a newer pseudo-resident still confused by the 8 different tax returns and all this crap.

  19. “Dammit, my house is a “Private Club”. You can’t come in unless invited. Your continued prescence is also dependant on my wishes.”

    Tell that to Cory Maye, or Kathryn Johnston.

  20. “And if women all wore burkas, think of the socially desirable result of the probable reduction in STDs. Freedom does have it’s drawbacks, but those drawbaks are miniscule compared to the “Nanny Knows Best” state.”

    But if we ban burkas, it will make it easier for Muslim women who want to break with their culture and throw the burka off, thus increasing their freedom.

  21. Joe Jackson is an 80s Jazz Singer?

    I thought he was 1979 pop.

  22. Let’s see, if I want to smoke, and smoking is banned, my freedom is diminished. But suppose as a result of the ban, I stop smoking and avoid getting lung cancer. No chemo, no radiation, no early painful death. Voila, my freedom is increased!

  23. No. Your life span is increased. Your freedom is still shat upon.

  24. edward is the best troll hit and run has ever had.

  25. I hope I never see Edward use the facist label to describe the right. Smoking bans are the definition of fascism. We are allowed to own private businesses, but we are told what we can and can’t do with it by government nannys.

  26. Silly me, I forgot to ask the mandatory question: if Ohio is not really a State can they make a State law?

  27. Smoking bans are the definition of fascism. We are allowed to own private businesses, but we are told what we can and can’t do with it by government nannys.

    Don’t forget the sister National Socialistic items that go with smoking bans: minimum wages and the call for mandatory healthcare plans.

  28. What we have here is a difference over the definition of “freedom.” I would argue that if I increase my lifespan by not smoking, I increase my freedom to do all those things I can’t do if I’m dead.

  29. The problem with smoking is that the fact that people do it at all is an illustration of how a freedom can be harmful to a society.

    Our culture is gradually coming around to the idea that the freedom to smoke is simply not worth the cost. Sorry.

  30. je,

    The problem with smoking is that the fact that people do it at all is an illustration of how a freedom can be harmful to a society.

    Don’t make the mistake that this is a ban on smoking. It is ONLY a ban on smoking tobacco and it is nothing but an attack on “big tobacco”.

    As soon as pot becomes legal it will be illegal to ban smoking it in a business.

  31. To p iss off the environmentalists, notice the K Rations state on the box to “…hide the empty can and wrappers so they cannot be seen.” My guess is that the metal, plastic, and paper weren’t sorted and placed in their proper recycling receptacles.

  32. tarran —

    No, I am not mistaken. I did not say anything about whether the Nazis launched a public health campaign against cigarettes.

    I said neither Hitler nor Tojo went to war to subject Americans to indoor-smoking bans.

  33. Smoking bans are a definition of fascism only for those whose minds are too weak to entertain more than one thought at a time. It’s like saying that animal rights are a definition of Nazism because the Nazis promoted animal rights or that idiocy is a definition of libertarianism because so many self-proclaimed libertarians are idiots.

  34. Peter,

    I apologize. It appears I didn’t read your post carefully (which is ironic considering comments I made a short while ago on another thread ). I agree, though, that neither Germany nor Japan wanted to conquer the United States (although the Japanese did want to grab the U.S. colonies in the Pacific).

  35. tarran —

    Again, you have misread me.
    I did not say that neither the Germans nor the Japanese wanted to conquer the United States.

  36. Historical note: My father-in-law, as a young B-17 crewman in Europe in 1945, found himself to be the wealthiest man in the Army because as a non-smoker, he was able to trade his cigarettes for all sorts of things (and no, prostitute services weren’t included).

    In WWII, countries that had recently been liberated didn’t have a functioning banking system or stable currencies, so cigarettes (along with US dollars) were often the de facto currency.

  37. Edward,

    Wow, you are great at tossing that ignorance term around while ignoring the actual argument being made.

  38. Sigh, edward sweetie, you need to brush up on what fascism is:
    “A philosophy or system of government that is marked by stringent social and economic control, a strong, centralized government usually headed by a dictator, and often a policy of belligerent nationalism.”

    In a fascist society, the duty of the individual is to further the will of “the people”. Of course, the organization that publishes the will of the people and expresses it is the state, and thus the duty of the individual is to do whatever it takes to further the aims of the state.

    Thus, in all fascist societies, there are exhortations for people to improve their health, since a sick person is less able to do what the state needs him to do, consumes valuable resources, produces little, etc.

    In order to ensure that the people do the work of “the people” and only the work of “the people”, the fascist state must fight people’s tendency to frivolity or waste. high on their targets will be things like unhealthy habits.

    Smoking bans, such as outlawing smoking on private property are inherently fascistic, in that they suppress individual choice in favor of behavior desired by the state.

    You yourself admit the suppression of individual choice: you claim that it was easier to quit when the state limited your and other people’s freedom to smoke.

    You think that never encountering tobacco smoke represents the “will of the people” and thus support the suppression of people’s freedom to engage in that disgusting habit.

    Just because we don’t have concentration camps or goosestepping armies does not mean that we are immune from enacting fascist policies. The U.S. can do fascist things even when it does not have a single powerful … dictator… er even when the U.S. lacks a belligerent foreign… policy… Oh never mind.

  39. Peter,
    Sorry, I assumed that the conquest of America was a prerequisite to enforcing a smoking ban on Americans. I am going to quit while I am behind.

    Anyway, I am not in the “if the Nazis did it it must be bad” crowd. After all, the Nazis did have laws against murder (of loyal Aryans anyway), presumably they on occasion enforced such laws. Yet I will not run around saying that because the Nazi’s condemned murder or loyal Aryans, we must never prosecute the murder of a loyal Aryan.

    I merely found the Nazi health campaign to be quite interesting. Certainly the doctors who identified the link between smoking and cancer where doing groundbreaking statistical analysis (no they weren’t forcing concentration camp victims to smoke the stuff in some Mengelean experiment).

  40. Reason is published by the Reason Foundation, which receives financial support from Philip Morris.

    Sorry, I’m sure you would have mentioned that at some point anyway.

  41. “Dammit, my house is a “Private Club”. You can’t come in unless invited. Your continued prescence is also dependant on my wishes.”

    Tell that to Cory Maye, or Kathryn Johnston.

    Thanks for reminding me why I am a Libertarian. On my proprty, including a business, I should make the rules (assuming no harm is caused to unwitting people).

    Is there anybody smarter than a turnip that doesn’t know if a restaurant does, or does not, allow smoking? The law should not be designed to protect the stupidest people or those those who refuse to take responsibility for their own actions.

  42. Just because we don’t have concentration camps or goosestepping armies does not mean that we are immune from enacting fascist policies.

    You missed the first rule of Leftisim: fashion.

    To the ‘brightest’ folk, ee are a fascist nation because some cops have helmets and uniforms or even tall shiney boots.

  43. What Guy Montag wrote is at least partly true. NY state’s & city’s recent anti-smoking laws refer only to tobacco products, and smoking other substances is acknowledged as outside the scope of those laws (as opposed to earlier fire codes which don’t specify the material being smoked). So, for instance, actors on stage can legally smoke cigarets made to look like standard ones but containing no tobacco. The actors complain, however, that the smoke from the non-tobacco cigarets is more irritating, which can affect the actors’ voices.

    If the adverse health consequences to employees were the real target of the laws, why would they specify tobacco-containing cigarets, cigars, and pipes? Has anyone adduced that second-hand tobacco smoke is worse for health than other smokes?

    Whether there will eventually be laws against prohibitions on smoking cannabis on private property, I can’t predict. I don’t think medical marijuana will be around long enough to make that an issue, so it will have to be recreational pot that would be the subject of such a law.

  44. “As soon as pot becomes legal it will be illegal to ban smoking it in a business.”

    now this intrigues me. explain.

  45. “If the adverse health consequences to employees were the real target of the laws, why would they specify tobacco-containing cigarets, cigars, and pipes?”

    because that is the bulk of what people smoke?

  46. “Private club” i[s] a quaint, archaic, sort of notion, isn’t it?
    _______________________________________________

    Yes. To fascists.

    – R

  47. tarran

    Okay, I guess I’m a fascist. I do like the tune to Giovenezza. When you use terms this way, they lose all meaning, but meaning is obviously not your long suit. Using language as a propaganda tool–now that’s fascistic.

  48. Edward: Why do you come here?

  49. “What we have here is a difference over the definition of “freedom.” I would argue that if I increase my lifespan by not smoking, I increase my freedom to do all those things I can’t do if I’m dead.”

    I find it ironic and amusing that busybodies like Edward seem so intent on extending the length of my life. They somehow conflate being bullied at every turn with freedom.

    Hell, being sent to an early grave by smokes is a feature, not a bug, if it means getting beyond the clutches of the Gladys Kravitz Goose Step Brigade.

  50. Edward, I am confused, what exactly did I say that removes the meaning of terms?

    If you think my conclusions are wrong, why not identify the hole in my logic or assumptions? I mean hell man, if you are going to attack libertarianism on a libertarian website, surely you have some substantive arguments to advance? So far most of what you bring is name calling and puerile put-downs.

    I mean, if you derive pleaseure from posting such comments, fine. It’s a free country, and so long as Reason allows you to use their computers to do so, have at it. But I must admit, I too am baffled as to what you hope to accomplish.

  51. When Edward is the only one that is willing to argue this here, although obviously half-heartedly, you’d think property rights could win a few elections. Its too bad we can’t get a real tobacco prohibitionist over here to lecture us, that’d be a hoot.

  52. James, they’re too busy out hustling legislators to bother with little ol’ us.

    Incidentally, I recall hearing an NPR story last year about some NY bigwig in the anti-smoking movement who suffered from all sorts of mental problems- depression, bipolar, etc. Anyone else remember that story or who it was about?

  53. “…some NY bigwig in the anti-smoking movement who suffered from all sorts of mental problems- depression, bipolar, etc.”

    Rudy Giuliani?

  54. No, it wasn’t a name I immediately recognized, and I’m quite certain he wasn’t an elected official. He was a independently wealthy rabble-rouser.

    The NPR story dealt mostly with his mental problems, including being placed under psychiatric care in a mental hospital.

  55. Tarran

    All communist countries have traffic lights. People who support traffic lights are communists, aggree?

  56. I. Self. Divine.

    I come here for discussion and debate. Why do you come here?

  57. mediageek

    Who said anything about your lifespan? Smoke to your heart’s content. Just don’t do it anywhere where I can inhale the smoke. You can jerk off, too, but not in public places. Seems fair, doesn’t it?

  58. “Who said anything about your lifespan? “

    You did, upthread, genius.

    “Just don’t do it anywhere where I can inhale the smoke. You can jerk off, too, but not in public places. Seems fair, doesn’t it?”

    Yeah, except for the fact that people like you always define private property as “public places.”

    Funny, that.

  59. Oh, and for the record, I don’t smoke.

  60. Who said anything about your lifespan? Smoke to your heart’s content. Just don’t do it anywhere where I can inhale the smoke.

    Then stay the hell away from my lit cigarette or cigar and if you pester me I will beat you with your severed leg until you shut up, k? Hint: if you enter a place that has ashtrays it is for us, not you.

    Some jerk like you was commenting in Bailey’s (a smoking bar) tonight that he goes there for happy hour on occasion and goes home smelling of smoke.

    Hey! Fucktard! Go to GD Ted’s Montana Grill, a non smoking establishment (complete with barbed-wire above the entry door) that is non-smoking and about a block away.

  61. A friend of mine–a smoker–owns a small store in Massachusetts, one of the “no smoking inside a business” states. He does, however, smoke inside his own store, and allows others to do so as well. We’re just waiting for some idiot to try to ticket him, at which point another guy in our social circle–a lawyer licensed to practice in Massachusetts–will take the case pro bono.

    That should get interesting.

  62. I’m starting to like fascists more and more.

  63. I have to echo Captain Holly’s datum. My late Dad was sent to Australia and New Guinea with the Army Engineers in WWII. His unit built airstrips in Northern Oz and the Papuan jungles. A star athlete in college, he never smoked. Still, every ration or Red Cross package came with cigs. He sold his smokes to the other guys in his platoon at the PX price, used that cash for pocket money, and bought War Bonds with the munificent $22 per month a PFC earned. His fellow soldiers appreciated that he didn’t gouge them on the coffin nails. Dad made quite a dent in the downpayment for our family’s first home with what he saved up.

    Demanding that a VFW run on volunteer help only is probably not practical, given the age of many of the vets, and the fall-off in membership among younger veterans. Let them smoke `em if they’ve got `em, damnit.

    Kevin
    (grateful non-smoker)

  64. “If the adverse health consequences to employees were the real target of the laws, why would they specify tobacco-containing cigarets, cigars, and pipes?”

    because that is the bulk of what people smoke?

    By that logic, the law could specify cigarets (as opposed to other smokables), or filtered cigarets, or domestic (non-imported) cigarets. The drafters of the law went out of their way to specify that it would affect only tobacco smokes, when they could easily have left the details of composition out.

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