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Friday, November 6, 2009

We Are Better Than "Them" Bigotry

“We are better than them” is a notion that anti-smokers and the anti-smoking movement hold close to their hearts and minds.  But they do not have a monopoly on that sentiment, as I just heard a cigar salesman tell me that “we are better than them” when referring to cigarette smokers.
We know that cigars and pipe smokers enjoy tobacco very differently from cigarette smokers and the products themselves are very different.  But, dependency and patterns of use does not make anyone better than another.
Are you better than me because you work out four days a week and I only work out three?  Are you better because you eat more vegetables?  Are you better because you are thinner?  better looking? have more hair? etc…..  The notion that one person is better than another for the pleasures they choose, their tastes, and/or preferences is absurd, divisive, and it is the reason all smokers are losing their rights.  The anti-smoking/nanny-state/pleasure-police movement capitalizes on the notion that ‘they know better’ and that ‘they are better’.  But, this is a fraud and it is the essence of their bigotry.  The only qualitative measure of a person should derive from how they treat other people.
Ultimately, we must all respect each others’ rights and freedoms in order preserve our own.  Tobacco users are not “dirty”, “filthy”, or “disgusting” people any more than non-smokers, fat, or ugly people are.  In fact, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and taste is subjective, so who are we to judge?
Tobacconists and tobacco lovers are clearly the besmirched underdog in this society and we are going to have to change the way we view the world in order to make significant progress.  We must change our perspective, become less divisive, build more coalitions, and teach others to respect our freedoms and choices as much as we respect theirs.  If every cigar lover, as 5% of the population, convinced 12 people to respect our freedoms, then we could have a chance at surviving the tyranny of the majority.

“We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
- Benjamin Franklin

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