While 55 nations around the world are trying to control the use
of tobacco due to health problems, the killer plague of AIDS
continues to grow. What is strange about this is that
nations are willing to condemn smoking and the tobacco plant,
but they stay away from the issues surrounding HIV/AIDS other
than to finance and promote a cure for the disease rather than
Since it is well known that tobacco use is a hazard to a
person's health, the root cause has been attacked, or at least
it seems to have been attacked.
With HIV/AIDS, the root cause (which might lead back to
condemning homosexuality) is not attacked, but rather, a cure is
sought for the disease. To follow this logic would mean
that smoking would not be condemned, but a high-pressure
campaign would be mounted to find a cure for lung cancer and
I find this curious until I examine what the anti-tobacco
crusade has accomplished, and what the AIDS cure-crusade has
The anti-tobacco crusade involved changing a nation's, even a
world's mindset. From being a socially acceptable habit,
it has been redefined as a drug addiction and fear of the
effects of second hand smoke have been widely disseminated by
the media and various governments, and in the United States,
only smokers have been deprived of any defense against
discrimination. The entire crusade proved that a
government can take one aspect of social behavior and through
litigation, publication and intimidation, turn an entire segment
of society against the other. To avoid persecution one
must conform. The idea that choice may be involved in a
free society does not apply to a government-chosen target.
Since 1983 when the ultra-liberal United States Ninth Circuit
Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a woman who claimed her
health had been damaged by smokers, anti-smoking campaigns have
had this result: three-fourths of the nation now hates
one-fourth of the nation. (It is estimated that
approximately 24% of Americans are still smokers.)
The solution, according to the government, is to get everyone
to stop smoking and to ban it from public life. Now that
would be very far-sighted if it had no other ramifications than
a sincere concern for health and quality of life. However,
the logic is somehow flawed when compared to the next issue.
So ... what if some U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that
HIV/AIDS is growing because one segment of the population
introduced it and perpetuated it in the United States via
homosexual acts and therefore, we, as a nation, should condemn
homosexuality while seeking to find a cure for the HIV/AIDS
Newspapers would be screaming "discrimination"
while radio talk show hosts would be accusing the court of
religious bias and antiquated notions of morality. The
American Civil Liberties Union would have 10,000 lawsuits filed
within 24 hours. Various Gay and Lesbian Rights
organizations would be marching on Washington decrying the
denial and abuse of their civil rights and freedoms. It
would get on the Supreme Court fast-track. Our mindset has
been changed over the past 20 to 30 years so that we are
officially forced to accept homosexuality as an alternative
lifestyle rather than a deviation from the norm. Thus,
discrimination is not allowed in America!
Or is it?
Remember, it depends on what group you want to target and
In 1963 Madalyn Murray O'Hair's son, representing her
organization of atheists, received a ruling from the Supreme
Court that took the Ten Commandments off school walls,
presumably under some redefinition of the First Amendment and
separation of church and state.
Since that time, numerous cases have reached various levels
of the courts regarding whether a student may bring a Bible onto
campus, pray, or engage in any activity that would identify that
student as being Christian. (The same rules have not
applied to students who are overtly Muslim, Jewish, or other
As recently as the 2001 Senate Judiciary Committee hearings
on the nomination of John Ashcroft for Attorney General, the
subject of the man's Christian beliefs came up as the basis for
opposing him, attaching to such religious belief all manner of
accusations that were untrue. But, if you are a practicing
Christian who believes what the faith teaches rather than giving
idle lip service to it, you can be targeted for such beliefs in
the United States.
Now we could get to the matter of ownership of guns, which
has gone from a private matter of choice to a prejudice against
private ownership of guns in the minds of the same people who
have targeted other beliefs, behaviors and rights.
I won't go there, because the gun control issue is well
enough known, and the above outline of how and against whom
discrimination exists in America is enough to allow anyone to
form a conclusion as to the logic applied. I would ask
this: do guns kill people, or do people use guns or the
next handiest weapon available to kill?
The odd world of control is everywhere, and because there's
always a good reason in front of the real reason, many Americans
fail to get the point.
If you are an American, let me ask this: how free are
you? For older Americans, how free are you today compared
to 30-40 years ago?
OH ... you thought this was an article about tobacco.
Look at the title again ... "The Odd World of
Control." It's not about tobacco, it's about control.
in the Dark: The Wayward Search for an AIDS Vaccine
by Jon Cohen
the Band Played on: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic
by Randy Shilts
A Question of Intent : A Great
American Battle With A Deadly Industry
by David Kessler
Civil Warriors : The Legal Siege
on the Tobacco Industry
by Dan Zegart
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