We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Progressivism is a faith-based program. The progressives' agenda for improving everyone else varies but invariably involves the cult of expertise - an unflagging faith in the application of science to social reform. Progressivism's itch to perfect people by perfecting the social environment can produce an interesting phenomenon - the Pecksniffian progressive.
I have no desire to be improved, unless they can make me taller, smarter, richer, and better-looking - and a few years younger. I would pay money for those things. She Who Must Be Obeyed would pay money to get those things for me, too.
Funny you should bring this up now. I just heard this reported yesterday:
"The World Health Organization announced on November 26, 2010, that its study shows about 600,000 people around the world die from secondhand smoke each year. Even more disturbing, approximately 165,000 of these deaths are defenseless and innocent children."
My first (and current) instinct is to call "B.S." on this. I haven't finished researching this latest "study," but I will, because I believe it has to be a load of crap just like all the others on the subject.
"If second hand smoke is such a danger how can we allow the internal combustion engine to exist?"
The selfless servants of the people require the internal combustion engine to power their Zil limousines, so they can speed along their private driving lanes to the heart of government and there guide the nation.
I still haven't read the full study, which is supposed to be available at thelancet dot com. Requires registration, which I don't want to do.
But consider this: It was funded in part by Bloomberg Philanthropies, which (no surprise here) gets its money from Mayor Michael Bloomberg of NY, known anti-smoking nutjob.
johnjayray at bloggernews.net sums it up pretty well:
"This is utter rubbish: The usual epidemiological speculation combined with assuming what you have to prove.
As far as I can tell, all that these do-gooder Swedish epidemiologists did was look at areas where a lot of people smoked and then looked at illness in those places. And, Hey Presto! Places where a lot of people smoked had more illness! But saying that inhaling other peoples smoke CAUSED the illness is totally unproven. It is just assumed.
A much more likely explanation for the relationship they report comes from the fact that it is mostly the poor who smoke these days and poor people have worse health in general."
Annual worldwide deaths are estimated at 57 million. Even with the dubious assumption that the figure for secondhand smoking deaths is accurate, the 600,000 deaths attributed to secondhand inhalation of smoke accounts for about 1 % of annual worldwide deaths. Trivial.
One Third World public health issue with smoke has to do with wood smoke. Many dwellings have poorly ventilated wood fires inside, for heating or cooking, or both. Dried dung in some places. The inhalation of the woodsmoke is most likely a much bigger public health issue in the third world than secondhand tobacco smoke.
No one knows what causes cancer. The causal mechanism and etiology are unknown. Anybody that tells you this or that causes cancer or this or that will prevent or cure cancer is BSing you.
Here are the facts. In 1971 President Nixon signed the national cancer act and the National Cancer Institute was tasked to find the cause of cancer. They confidently predicted they would find the cause within 5 years, by 1976. Well, have you ever seen the NCI announce they have discovered the cause of cancer? The answer is no. The last time I checked they were confidently predicting they would discover the cause of cancer by 2015. Look at this NCI website, the next to last paragraph http://training.seer.cancer.gov/disease/war/ .