...But of these sophisms and elenchs of merchandise I skill not...
Milton, Areopagitica

Except he had found the
standing sea-rock that even this last
Temptation breaks on; quieter than death but lovelier; peace
that quiets the desire even of praising it.

Jeffers, Meditation On Saviors



More notes:

The Puritan campaign to eradicate smoking seems pretty successful, and it should be, since it's using all the same tools of coercion and subliminal command/suggestion that caused people to take up smoking to begin with - to get them to quit and/or not take it up; but I still can't reconcile all this concern with the pure lungs of children, and public health as far as smoking goes - with absolute silence from the same moral combatants - concerning the automobile.
All these big-number statistics, a million deaths a year from smoking, a million two hundred thousand deaths a year from traffic worldwide - still the assumption behind the graph is that all those deaths are units, vanishing from a mechanical landscape, like ball bearings or pencils in a factory or a school. The unspoken assumption being they're all replacable because they're statistically interchangeable. One death equals another in the moral combat of the moment.
But smoking, when it does kill kills the mature, the middle-aged, the old almost exclusively. I'm not suggesting that's alright, I'm suggesting the emphasis on the evils of smoking is cowardice in the face of a larger, invincible opponent that's attacking the center of what we are, not the edge.
Traffic death is the largest killer of people under 30 in the US.
Smoking is trivial compared to that, meaningless in the face of that, perpipheral and unimportant, as unhealthy as it may be. Just as, whether you want to admit or not, the death of a child is more weighted, more important than the death of an old man, generally.
More children are dying on the road from "accidents" than from any single other cause, right now in the US, and these brave moral soldiers have spent years and millions of dollars attacking the evils of smoking. Congratulations, heroes! Well done!
And those are random deaths in traffic, unconnected to any behavior or genetic configuration. Except in the larger context, where the behavior is being in the car as opposed to walking or some other form of transportation, and the genetic configuration is being in a family that has adapted to a world overrun with steel and poisonous gases.
So we have these champions of children bravely taking down the tobacco companies - though they haven't really, just diverted their corporate focus to other parts of the world and other products - and creating a solid wall of contempt toward the practice of tobacco comsumption, especially among the young.
While death thins the ranks of the young and healthy like an untouchable aristocrat, choosing his little disposable playthings from the streets as he passes.

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