Nieuw boek beschrijft ‘War against Tobacco’
In een nieuw boek beschrijft Dr. Sean Gabb de historie en aard van de eeuwenlange strijd tegen tabak. Hij laat zien hoe al deze acties één ding gemeen hebben: ze proberen allemaal hun doel te bereiken via halve waarheden en leugens.
Maar dat niet alleen. De strijd tegen tabak is een duidelijk teken van hoe op dit moment er in de regerende klasse een stroming actief is die zich per sé wil bezighouden met de regulering van levensstijl van haar onderdanen in het algemeen. Lifestyle regulering als middel om macht uit te oefenen…
Smoking, Class and the Legitimation of Power
by Sean Gabb
© The Hampden Press, Sean Gabb, 2005
First edition, February 2005, 196pp
ISBN: 0 9541032 0 3
The “War against Tobacco” is one of the central facts of modern life. We have high taxes on tobacco, bans or at least controls on the promotion of tobacco products, campaigns against smoking financed by the taxpayers, and growing attempts to criminalise smoking outside the home—and even perhaps soon inside the home.
In this book, Sean Gabb analyses the nature and progress of the “war”. He shows how it began almost as soon as tobacco was first brought out of America. James I of England (1603-25), for example, tried to suppress its use with heavy taxes. Sultan Murad IV of Turkey (1623-40) used personally to behead smokers in the streets of Constantinople. In parts of Germany until 1691, smoking carried the death penalty. By 1901, Louisiana and Wyoming were the only American States not to have passed laws restricting the sale and public smoking of cigarettes.
The stated reasons for the war have varied according to time and place. According to Dr Gabb, however, all reasons have one thing in common—they rest on a base of lies and half truths. The dangers of smoking are far less proven than governments and the anti-tobacco lobbies insist they are. The dangers of passive smoking have never been proved at all.
But this is not simply a book about the history of tobacco and the scientific debate on its dangers. It also examines why, given the status of the evidence against it, there is a war against tobacco. Dr Gabb shows that this war is part of a much larger project of lifestyle regulation by the ruling class, and that its function is to provide a set of plausible excuses for the extraction of resources from the people and for the exercise of power over them. This book provides a kind of “unified field” theory to bring within a single explanatory structure some of the most important attacks on free choice and government limitation that we face today.
This is a class issue, and no discussion of tobacco policy can be complete without an understanding of the dynamics of class.
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