Hollow Victory for Beantown Cigar Bars

Author: Robert Prasker
Article Published: 2009/01/12

The old saying goes: "You can fool some people all of the time, and you can fool all people some of the time, but you can't fool all people all of the time."  It's a tried and true adage, but when even those most victimized by tobacco control won't stand up for themselves, what hope is there for the rest of us?

The attitudes displayed in the fall-out of a recent public health effort to impose draconian tobacco restrictions in Boston, MA indicate the all-too-common symptoms of a widespread derangement.  As Robert Prasker explains, all that is required to "fool all of the people, all of the time" is the cooperation of the victims themselves, as exhibited by some of the reactions to tobacco control's recent efforts in Boston.

This week, the Boston health board considered a ban on smoking in cigar bars. Of course, anyone working in, or patronizing, a cigar bar is an adult. One would presume that the very term "cigar bar" conveys a clear picture of what is going on inside; just like the terms "grocery store" or "pet groomer" or "book shop".

The health board pursued the ban anyway.

The ostensible reasoning for the ban was that it would protect... well, it wouldn't protect anyone from anything. Even if one gave credence to the popular myths and irrational extremes perpetuated by modern healthism, such a ban wouldn't protect anyone from any risk that they weren't, very evidently, ready to assume. It was simply a smoking ban in the truest sense. There was no playing around with "second-hand" arguments: the goal was to ban smokers from having a good time while smoking, and punish the business owners who wish to accommodate them.

Cigar Bar co-owner Linda Riccio was understandably incredulous. As quoted in The Boston Herald, Miss Riccio asked: “Where will it end?...Are they going to tell people they can’t smoke on the streets?

I can answer that. Yes, Miss Riccio, they are going to tell people they can't smoke in the streets, or in your cigar bar, or even in their own homes. In fact, they already have in some places, and they have every intention of extending such draconian prohibitions throughout the entire world.

FORCES supports the cause of business owners like Miss Riccio, and we share her outrage, but we are left scratching our heads regarding the incredulity she shares with so many. Tobacco control has clearly demonstrated that it is a mean-spirited, worldwide effort to stamp out the rights of all individuals, including business owners. It's our mission to make sure that everyone receives our own clear message: tobacco control is evil, and it hates your guts.

Perhaps it is the better nature of so many people which provides them with this wall of denial. If so, tobacco control exploits it at every opportunity. Many assume that there must be some kind of higher motive, or secret, intrinsic knowledge that justifies such an authoritarian disregard for liberty and property. In reality, no such justification exists, and when decent people are incredulous, perhaps it is because they just don't have the indecency within them to understand how evil tobacco control really is.

Tobacco control is an incremental, contagious, and nefarious disease. It is the true epidemic of our time, and just like any disease follows the same course of demonstrable symptoms in monopolizing each of its victims, Cigar Aficionado magazine displays this same primary symptom of denial in celebrating a hollow victory for Boston cigar bars.

The ban on cigar bars was ultimately denied and a ten-year grandfather clause was provided to existing cigar bars. Also, "the option to petition for up to an additional 10 years" was provided to the cigar bars. (Fat chance and good luck with that.)  Meanwhile, "The new rules ban the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies and on college campuses and expand workplace-smoking restrictions to include patios and lodging."

Quoting from Cigar Aficionado's article, cigar bar owner Brandon Salomon "views the new regulations as a good example of city officials and the cigar industry working together to compromise". Salomon said: "We communicated with them and they listened. They were able to see the human faces behind the businesses they were impacting."

Comments like this make me wonder if tobacco users and business owners have come to suffer from something similar to "Stockholm Syndrome". As you may know, "Stockholm Syndrome" is a term for the condition in which hostages sympathize with their captors. It was named for the sympathy hostages exhibited toward their captors during, and after, a bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden  in 1973 that resulted in a six day stand-off between the perpetrators and the police.

The Stockholm perpetrators put their captives lives at risk for the sake of their own evil intentions. Similarly, the Boston health board wanted to effectively destroy the livelihood of cigar bar owners like Mr. Salomon. For this, they are given sympathy for their willingness to "work together" and "compromise", not only by some of the cigar bar owners themselves, but by Cigar Aficionado, a publication that supposedly holds the interests of tobacco users at heart.

I do not read Cigar Aficionado, and I wasn't able to find the magazine's editorial position on such issues with a search of their website. Nonetheless, it seems clear that while Cigar Aficionado celebrates a hollow compromise for cigar smokers, it gives short shrift to increased regulation on on the use and sale of both cigars and cigarettes. The new law still bans smoking on patios, and bans Boston pharmacies from selling tobacco products, whether they be cigarettes or cigars.

Forgiving a ban on smoking on patios gives credence to irrational zealotry in the clear absence of any risk. Forgiving a ban on the sale of tobacco products from pharmacies presumes that private, for-profit businesses were put in place for meeting the authoritarian whims of the state, rather than catering to the various wants and needs served within the market. Such tactics aren't only disturbing, but exhibit a socialistic tendency common to tyrannical governments.

Overreaching is a common tactic of tobacco control. It's a fabianist strategy, a cheap psychological trick designed to manipulate expectations.  Compromises made in the hope of forestalling public health's most extreme demands progress the oppressive agenda nonetheless; new prohibitions exist, but people are happy with them because they've temporarily dodged the bullet of the worst case scenario.
Adopting the attitude exhibited by Cigar Aficionado and some of the cigar bar owners in Boston is a sure path to tyranny. Sympathizing with your oppressors and honoring them for being selective in their oppression is to suffer from a form of derangement. When tobacco control appears to soften the tyranny of its all-or-none approach, it is only because it ultimately views any resistance as futile. Tobacco control will always be able to fool most of the people most of the time, and praising restrictions dressed-up as concessions can only guarantee more of the same oppression. It's incumbent upon those in tobacco control's cross hairs to know better.

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