We Must Conquer Our Rights
Author: Gian Turci
Article Published: 2008/05/27
Although I am extremely busy these days I felt compelled to jot down a few lines about an anti-smoker's response to an opinion piece in an American newspaper.
I suggest that my readers look at the brief piece from the Cincinnati Enquirer — entitled "Smoking is an individual choice, not a right" — before continuing with this article (you may wish to take some baking soda first to protect your stomach): Article link (stored version)
You see that this is a very typical litany of smoker-bashing and freedom-trashing, full of "politically correct" commonplaces, and prefabricated "sound bites" that can easily be destroyed. There is no reader response function at the Enquirer website. I won't waste the time of FORCES readers arguing with these sorts of banalities here. We've covered this ground a thousand times.
One point merits our focus however. It's the one in that headline: "Smoking is an individual choice, not a right". The harping anti-smoker, a certain David Emery, is right about that. We, as a movement, must get this through our heads. Smoking is not a right and never has been.
Multiple court decisions in the US have ironed that out in the last few years. Many of us still think and say that smoking is a right, but no one can procure a charter of rights in the world where smoking is mentioned.
Do not plead, as others have done, that smoking is a right because it is "implicit" in other constitutional rights, because no court on the planet will agree with you, in these sad days. That wishful interpretation has misled this movement for years. Naturally, smoking should be considered an implicit right, but today the unnatural, the fascistic influence, reigns. We have the task here of reëstablishing sanity, very clearly, on our road to eventual, and very natural, success.
Rights are and must be spelled out, in the public consciousness, and specifically in law whenever that becomes necessary — especially in times such as ours, when antismoking bastards and liberty phobics are sifting constitutions and charters to weed out any and all unstated liberties and rights that they can find.
On another point, the inevitable "harm to others" line, David Emery is absolutely wrong, but this too requires focus. The freedom movement must rout the passive smoking fraud before advocating any rights.
Like it or not, a majority of (dumb and irresponsible) people today believes that "health trumps all rights" — even those that are specifically written down! The body has always been the temple of the brainless and soulless. There are lots of those debased and dangerous fools around these days.
Damned fool David Emery states clearly, “My need to breathe clean air trumps anyone else's luxury to smoke any day. Case closed.” Where does that leave us? Once again, to the inescapable point that we have to hammer home the truth that passive smoking is an epidemiological fraud and that there is no danger from exposure.
When this plain, demonstrable, and intuitive truth gets hammered back into societal consciousness — when the effects of decades of concocted prohibitionist propaganda are reversed — then we shall close our case, and the door, on arrogant and selfish people like David Emery.
We must debunk and disgrace pseudoscience while giving voice to bedrock values without hesitation: declare liberty — not health — as the paramount value of society. In this context, also care to consider: in most free countries, in fact, personal health is not a constitutional right — and it shouldn't be. Liberty is.
Realizing that the "right to smoke" (unfortunately) never existed puts us in the same position other oppressed populations have faced and overcome. For example, American blacks, in fact, once had no legal right to cast off slavery's shackles, or, until quite recently, to expect service at a lunch counter. Gays had no legal right to dance with each other at a night club. Indeed they had no legal "rights to be gay" whatsoever.
In plain, blacks, gays, and other oppressed have had no rights, explicit or implicit, and certainly not in practice, under the many regimes which have disgraced and tormented them. They conquered their rights, always implicitly, always practically, but only eventually and only sometimes explicitly in articles of law. With the case of the Jews in Germany it took a World War to reëstablish sanity. Fight, resist, defy, demand. Then may come the court cases and political petitions: when we have forced the bigots to listen.
Our rights must be spelled out in capital letters, in the public mind, through forceful activism and resistance. We must impel the recognition of our implicit (i.e. natural) rights and progress to their explicit codification in law when and how necessary. This can indeed come, I repeat, with forceful activism. The law will once again become our friend, will once again respect our inherent dignity, when it has no choice but to respect our power to disrupt society.
So, please, no more simplistic statements that "smoking is a right." Rather, more acutely and pertinently to today's situation, smoking is a right to conquer — a right that everyone must once again be free to practice, or not, according to his own will. The only just situation in free societies is freedom to smoke with freedom from vilification and harassment.
Good people smoke. They have contributed enormously to society. In terms of taxes, indeed they've been raped, in the process of government-sponsored targeting and victimization. Don't take it. Let society know you will not take it. Join us in the fight. We are going to win in the end.
After we conquer the right to smoke, the non-smoking “majority” will not be able to impose smoking bans (or belittle us and offend us as it is doing now) any more that the "majority" can preclude access (or control the behaviour of) blacks or gays on the grounds that they are minorities.
We can expect to win the new World War against the resurgence of fascistic ideology. It is natural that we shall win provided that we fight effectively and determinedly. When we accomplish this all the smoking bans already in force will have to be abolished. Then we will be able to state ourselves that, “My right to smoke, where I please and where I'm welcome, trumps any fascistic dictates any day. Case closed.”
Rely on this: the “public health” bastards and their fanatic supporters will use all and every means necessary to prevent smoking (drinking, eating what we like) from becoming a recognised right with the same ferociousness that the white establishment used to prevent blacks from conquering their rights. We had better be prepared for that. The ferociousness can only be answered in kind.
Oppressed groups have conquered their rights when they did what it took. Do we, as a movement, have what it takes — or will we keep on crawling in dark holes in guilt and resentment to sing the smoking blues?
The answer to that fundamental question lays in each of us.