March 21, 2016 (MMD Newswire) — In the face of the New York City Council’s and the anti-smoker organizations’ attempt to stifle dissenting conduct through force of law, smokers’ rights group NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (C.L.A.S.H.) has a message for them: We will not go gentle into [your] good night.
Jumping on board the latest anti-smoker initiative, the City Council is poised to ban the use of smokeless tobacco (e.g. chew) in stadiums because “impressionable youth” shouldn’t observe “role models” (professional athletes) using it.
That should beg the question about dad’s beer in the seat beside little Timmy and the ride home later. But that’s to digress.
Aside from the conscription of adults into carrying a government message against one’s will by forbidding them to use a legal product, and the fact that they also list family and friends as being just as influential so it’s only a matter of time before it expands, there is no excuse or explanation that saves this proposal from being anything other than a law to regulate speech or that rescues the reputation of our lawmakers as censors.
Proponents insist that the mere sight of tobacco is “a message.” If it’s a message then it is de facto speech. If it’s the elimination of speech in order to mold behavior then it is mind control. This kind of law is no longer a matter of who, when or even what. You are either for censorship or you’re not.
This means to an end cannot be tolerated any more than a law crafted to deny someone the right to wear a t-shirt that says “Smoking is Normal” – a form of free speech with a message that, according to Council Health Committee Chair Corey Johnson and others, would pose the same alleged problem as seeing a ball player chewing tobacco.
If you cannot accept a ban on such a t-shirt as lawful legislation then a ban on the use of a legal product for the very same reason should raise the same objection.
The Health Committee reaches for the ludicrous to justify this ban when they refer to someone going about their own business (using tobacco) as “implicit product endorsements” – a catch-all that reduces each human life to nothing more than a walking billboard. Put sugar in your coffee? It’s an implicit product endorsement for sugar. Feel like eating Italian food tonight? Careful, you’re shilling for Big Pizza.
Audrey Silk, founder of C.L.A.S.H. says, “When a ban restricts what a private citizen can do, then it is the people who are the target and whose lives are impeded, not a faceless industry, by government. Government elimination of otherwise legal behavior from view is not the same thing as banning commercial “advertisements.”
You can silence an industry but this country’s laws do not allow you to silence the people.
Fed up with this dehumanization by the anti-smoker industry and unwilling to stand social experiments that must first dismantle civil liberty concepts in order to “denormalize” smoking, C.L.A.S.H. will be embarking on a national “Smoking is Normal” campaign. T-shirts with that message will be made available and the use of social media with “Smoking is Normal” pages will be created to throw a much needed monkey wrench into the wheels of this crusade.
For the bans don’t create a new normality. They simply suppress a pre-existing one as evidenced by the use of the word “denormalize.” True normality requires no external restraining force to maintain it. Human behaviors that have traditionally been viewed as not a societal norm and against policy do not need signs posted everywhere to remind you of it. That “No Smoking” signs remain proliferate clearly proves that it’s smoking that has been and still is the traditional norm. It’s the measures employed by anti-smokers that are not. Their own words describing their fear that the use of electronic cigarettes or smokeless tobacco will “re-normalize” smoking prove this is the case.
Compounding the injustice of these acts is the way lawmaking bodies across the country are sneaking it past public review in a fraudulent manner by rolling them into their smoking ban laws instead of trying to sell the public on a new law where they are forced to explain its intent…
I italicised some words in this because it’s quite nice when something I write creeps in somewhere else:
Smoking bans don’t create a new normality. They simply suppress a pre-existing one.
I think it’s a great honour when something I’ve written gets re-used. It means that I maybe managed to express an idea accurately – or at least accurately enough for someone else to use it. I don’t give a damn if I don’t get a mention. I don’t want one. I’m just trying to articulate some ideas, not promote myself.
I wasn’t always so indifferent. Back when I was a university student in the 1960s the painting below by me got used (with my permission) in a poster for a rock concert.
But the people who made the silkscreen poster also ran off a few T-shirts for themselves using it. They looked great. But they didn’t give me one. I was furious. I wanted one too.
There’s also going to be a Smoking Is Normal T-shirt. I want one of them too, of course.