HOW TOBACCO COMPANIES LIVE, AND YOU MAY DIE, BASED ON VICTIM CORRECTION AS A PANACEA

“On crucial points in the debate, the public opinion percentage scores against the industry read like a thermometer in July.  Over 90 do not believe anything we say.  Over 90 think cigarettes are dangerous.  Even among smokers we lose.  People say they want to quit.  In an unaided poll a strong majority said that public smoking should be banned.  About half the people believe that ambient smoke is hazardous.” —Ernest Peppels, Brown &Williamson’s vice president and general counsel, in a “Privileged” memorandum to several high executives, 1978 (Then why do so many people regard respecting the rights of the tobacco companies to engage in outright fraud with lives clearly at stake, and the responsibilities of their would-be victims, to be synonymous with preserving freedom?)

“There is no better argument against cigarettes than the final stage of lung cancer.  It’s like drowning, except that it goes on forever—for about twenty hours, in my father’s case.  He kept fighting for his next breath, but his lungs were shutting down on him.”—Paula Barbieri, from her book The Other Woman, My Years with O.J. Simpson (George Harrison also died of smoking-induced lung cancer; he’d said about a throat cancer that he had removed before it caused a lot of damage,  “I got it purely from smoking.  I gave up cigarettes many years ago, but had started again for a while and then stopped in 1997.”)

The American Council on Science and Health [a group that’s skeptical of claims that chemicals that we may eat or breathe are carcinogenic, unless these claims are well-established] and other advocacy groups have long taken an aggressive and unwavering position on the dangers of smoking [with the ACSH saying “smoking is exceptionally addictive”].  Critics have dismissed antismoking groups as ‘health Nazis’ and ‘health nannies’ — repressive killjoys who want to control how people live and deny them their basic ‘freedom’ to smoke....  Three thousand children under the age of 18 take up smoking every day.  Considering the powerful pharmacological and behavioral factors influencing addiction, the claim that smokers are celebrants of individual freedom should be treated with skepticism.” — Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, founder and president of the ACSH

 “Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.”—Jean-Paul Sartre

 

 

Without this rousing faith, too many losers would have too many excuses, and even legitimate excuses have a price.

 



 
 
The following is based mainly on the documents of the Brown and Williamson tobacco company and its parent company, British American Tobacco, that a whistleblower sent to Professor Stanton A. Glantz.  You could also find the entire Tobacco Control Archives on the Internet.
 

Table of Contents
 

Why the arguments of the tobacco industry, which are their acting true to form, have won over so many Americans, not necessarily to trust the industry, but to accede to them all the rights, and all of the exemption from responsibility, that they need.  The only thing that gets seriously scrutinized is how unstolid were the victims.  You could even see the same logic, concerning big tobacco, today.

How obviously irrational are the labels that the tobacco industry have consistently put on their opponents, yet they strike a responsive emotional chord, even in a public who’s very skeptical about anything that the industry might say

You could see exactly this same pattern of victim correction as a panacea, of acting as if the problem was mollycoddle persecutors, in the way that the tobacco industry covertly handled a California campaign against indoor air pollution by smoking, a pattern that the tobacco industry then followed in other campaigns it controlled.

In these we could see the entire character of victim correction as a panacea, which is also very absolutist.  This is why that strikes such a responsive chord.  A book about a serial killer says, “The extreme narcissistic psychopath almost invariably attributes criticism or a challenge to persecution...,” and this is what red-blooded manipulation tends to look like, whether the supposed mollycoddle persecutors are the government, or those holding the redbloods morally accountable, or public opinion leaders criticizing them, etc.  After all, how those who’d try to persecute people for exercising their freedoms would operate, would be to insist that this is being done to protect victims and potential victims.  That red-blooded manipulation can be remarkably effective, since it could seem that without such protection our freedoms would be in jeopardy.

The blaming of objectors’ objections on supposedly flawed character traits of their supposedly flawed constitutions, is very similar to the “constitutional hypothesis” that the industry used to blame the lung cancer found in smokers.  This blamed the cancer on something in their own constitution that somehow led to both their cancer and their desire to smoke.  A company scientist said that this would require a lot of convoluted thinking to believe it and a lot of rejecting normal but not absolutely infallible proof to disbelieve the truth.  Victim correction as a panacea anywhere tends to require a constitutional hypothesis.  After all, it treats problems as things that the victims allowed to happen continue or bother them.  Maybe they wanted to play the victim role, or get rewarded for suffering, or become a vainglorious martyr to some banality, or persecute the free, or live a melodrama.  Maybe they have dependent, passive-aggressive, defeatist, or resentful personalities.  Maybe they’re too lazy or unskilled to solve their own problems (which others caused); or...

When the problems for the cigarette industry started, when scientists first began to establish the dangers.  Despite the tobacco industry’s insistence that this is just the skeptics’ opinion, the industry came up with similar results and, at first, even used them to try to develop safer cigarettes

What they discovered about the addictiveness of nicotine and its pharmacological properties, properties that at least one person in the company went against when the whole idea of popping tranquilizers for comfort was no longer so popular

Their doublespeak about passive smoking

What all this shows about how little is required to at least get the masses not to give any resistance, to minimize what even evil people might do and magnify what’s supposedly wrong with the victims, since that’s exactly what Christian commands to forgive tell us to do, not to mention the expectations of pragmatic self-reliance on the part of victims


To many Americans and other Westerners, what preserves and enhances freedom is giving the benefit of doubt to anyone who could have judgment passed on them, and, to whatever degree this would seem plausible, giving victims and potential victims the responsibility for their own welfare.  This is the problem-solving approach that could be called victim correction as a panacea, since this is how it operates.  This takes responsibility away from those who cause the problems, and gives it to those whose welfare is at stake.  On my other webpages on victim correction as a panacea, the Victim Correction as a Panacea, the Summary webpages, the Victim Correction as a Panacea webpages, the Candace Newmaker’s Experience webpage and the A Glimpse Into the Soul of Victim Correction webpage, I show how modern Western culture encourages victim correction as a panacea for three reasons:  For the sake of pragmatism, it always allocates responsibility for solving a problem to the person who’s most motivated to solve it.  William James wrote that Americans tend to classify people as either redbloods or mollycoddles.  Other than in extreme situations, the person who caused the problem could seem to be the redblood who has the rights, and even in some extreme situations the victim who doesn’t quietly and effectively take charge of his own welfare could seem to be the mollycoddle who has the responsibilities.  The New Testament gives absolute commands that we forgive unconditionally, and victims who don’t forgive aren’t forgiven.  Several disinterested commentators have dismissed even criticism the deceptive tactics of Enron executives as immature demands for perfection.

Of course, no advertising and public relations campaigns happen in a vacuum.  If advertising and PR firms that know what they’re doing, put out ads with a rather extreme ethos regarding what constitutes a good or bad character, then that would have to strike a chord with those who’d get the message.  And what strikes a chord with the American public, is that the “weakness of character” that we really take seriously is literally weakness.  Sure, we live in a society with a rate of depression that obviously isn’t only natural, but even when dealing with that, we care only about weakness.  Another ad, the Learning About Depression webpage on the Zoloft website, says, “If you have depression, this sad mood along with other symptoms can last weeks, months, or even years if not treated.  Depression isn’t a sign of weakness or a character flaw.  It’s a real medical condition, but there are ways to successfully treat depression....  Depressive disorders affect about 34 million American adults.”

 

 

 

 

So it seems only natural to ask about our rampant depression, only whether it consists of 34,000,000 rather severe character flaws, or 34,000,000 rather severe medical conditions.  Everyone knows that what’s at fault, is inside the millions of victims.  (Victim correctors only want addicts’ kids, etc., to be more self-efficacious, serene, etc.)  As can be seen in Nietzsche, the weak could easily seem to be the dangerously WILLFUL ones, since everyone’s beliefs regarding what they deserve are shaped by their own SELF-WILLS, and the weak can exercise their supposed SELF-WILLS only in ways that would seem mollycoddle, “dishonest” and “ignominious,” whereas red-blooded strength is “honest,” proud, and at least forgivable (i.e. must be forgiven).  We must appreciate all the hidden dangers of unchecked “victim-power.”  As Niebuhr wrote, power, which would include victim-power, “cannot be wielded without guilt, since it is never transcendent over interest,” over (hidden and surreptitious) SELF-WILL, though we dare not talk in such overgeneralized terms when passing judgment on overt sinful power.  We fear fearmongering, but not greed-mongering.  “Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” could happen to anyone.

As one could see in the Great Crash of 2008, such a laissez faire concept of personal response-ability could seem good ’n’ gutsy, until you see the consequences of the moral bankruptcy.  (Of course, this self-response-ability must include the same self-justifying, fatalistic, conformist, simplistic, “upbeat,” absolutist, unconditional, predictable, and dogmatically necessary illusions as laissez faire economics has, the very illusions that got our economy into such trouble; after all, people will do only what they feel motivated to do.)  Economist Steven Landsburg said, “Most of economics can be summarized in four words: ‘People respond to incentives.’  The rest is commentary,” and that’s also how this sort of self-help could be summarized: You’re the only one who has a reliable incentive to solve your problems, and nothing that disagrees with this “natural” pragmatism could matter, no matter what chaos and helplessness result.  Realism simply must be oriented around the fact that you absolutely can change what’s tactically wrong with your own reactions, and absolutely can’t change what’s morally wrong with others’ actions; not being realistic would be ridiculous (said sardonically, or maybe to encourage victims to empower themselves in what laissez faire economists would call “tough love,” though the expression “tough love” originally meant the authoritarian and coercive approach that parents could use on their teenagers who have drug problems and the like).  Our economy reward$ those who think like this.  And even if this sort of thinking leads to a worldwide economic catastrophe, it could always be blamed absolutely on the supposedly mollycoddle weak.  (We all know how insidiously dangerous they are!)  All relationships and marriages considered codependent are treated just as fatalistically, whether or not the problem person is addicted.  As Greenspan said, that’s what works; even behavior problems who aren’t addicted aren’t motivated to change so expecting them to do what they don’t feel an incentive to do won’t work.  Victimhood doesn’t produce anything, so why should we give it any credit?  The ends justify the means, since the ends, functionability and good coping skills, are necessary.  Is someone sociopathic?  Avoid him since you’re incompatible!  End of story!  NO ONE HAS A RIGHT TO ENDURABILITY!  Endurability has to come from somewhere.  Either we have self-responsible self-reliance, or we have nanny-ism, whining, trauma-drama, etc.  Both the economics that led to the financial crash, and self-help for anyone in trouble including addicts’ family members, wear the cloak of realism, which is both all-important and expected of all red-blooded people.  After all, we must have an un-ignorable incentive to do certain things that we may or may not be able to do.  One could say that the fix is in, not in the sense that a conspiracy put the fix in, but in the sense that our untermensch-bashing cultural norms did, so it’s predictable that if you’re the one with the problem, you’d be held response-able for “empowering yourself,” “taking care of yourself,” etc., by solving it.

 

THE GREATEST RISK IS NOT TAKING ONE, AIG ad from 2001, so if you tried to restrain this you’d seem profoundly: weak, whiny, defeatist, controlling, unrealistic, counterproductive, opinionated, manipulative, negative, moralistic, etc.  Sure, post-scandal AIG CEO Edward M. Liddy said, “I have seen the good side of capitalism.  But over the past six months, since agreeing to take the reins of AIG and reviewing how it was run in prior years, I have also seen instances of the bad side of capitalism,” but one could also call the gutsiness of AIG in its PIG era, “character-building,” giving plenty of backbone and fortitude.

 

 

 

In theory this means self-responsibility, self-reliance, gutsiness, anti-controlling, good coping skills, realism, conventionality, respectability, etc., but in practice this means that nothing except, “Can I change this?” including the most basic morality and concern for the weak, can really seem to matter.  Sure, you could recognize that destructive sinfulness is destructive sinfulness, but in the end you’d have to forgive it, or you’d be maladjusted and suffer the consequences of this weakness.  (“YOU VILL ENJOY!”)  Frank Buchman, leader of the Oxford Groups, the club on which AA and then Al-Anon was based and until recently was called “Moral Re-Armament,” (Sinclair Lewis’ novel It Can’t Happen Here, from 1935, includes Buchman in its list of currently trendy “Messiahs.”) said, “D’you know Heinrich Himmler?...  Say, you ought to know Heinrich.  He’s a great lad....  [Hitler] lets us have house-parties whenever we like.”  Anti-Nazi British travel-writer and journalist Robert Byron, who got a chance to observe Nazism up close, wrote in his diary, “Himmler apparently dotes on the Oxford Group [How cute.] and writes to its English members discussing their troubles with them,” so he was their Dear Abby.  If Himmler had sent you some “Dear Abby” letters that didn’t mention the Nazi practices that Buchman didn’t like, the advice that the letters would have given would have helped you become more resilient, courageous, self-responsible, realistic, and abiding by Gelassenheit (a fatalism that teaches that willfulness leads to self-defeating frustration if you’re helpless to get what you want or need), so you would have ended up with a stronger character.  Victim Correction as a Panacea, is Gelassenheit and similar all-encompassing attitudes about physical response-ability for one’s own problems, exactly what a society with rampant depression, anxiety disorders, etc., would most need.  The wave of the future, the “new economy” of self-responsibility, requires that we want to be responsible members of society, take response-ability for our own welfare.

Sure, Niebuhr wrote that he was shocked about Buchman’s admiration of Hitler, though The Serenity Prayer summarizes the book that most shaped Hitler’s thinking, Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation:   As with a panacea, we must see the entire world in terms of the ineradicable SELF-WILLS of the sinful, the ignominious and surreptitious SELF-WILLS of victims who don’t represent their own bad experiences to themselves as being as innocuous as possible (“Those manipulative whiners want to believe that someone owes them something!”), and, therefore, our responsibility to do this.  Niebuhr wrote that Buchman’s faith that dictators, business tycoons, etc., should use their power to push Christianity, vapidly ignored how realpolitik would affect the outcome, “The slightest acquaintance with the history of Christian thought on the problem of the relation of the absolute demands of the gospel to the relativities of politics and economics would prove its childishness,” but the same could also be said about applying a simplistic sloganeering spirituality to the situations that contribute to our rampant depression.  It isn’t possible to get any more vapid than,“Serenely accept everything that happens to you in a society with rampant depression, that you’re helpless to change.”

This was the same Himmler who said, in his speech on October 4, 1943 to the SS Group Leaders in Poznan, “Most of you know what it means to see a hundred corpses lying together, five hundred, or a thousand.  To have stuck it out and at the same time—apart from exceptions caused by human weakness—to have remained decent fellows, that is what has made us hard,” but that personal strength concerned one of the Nazi practices that Buchman didn’t like.  It’s pretty obvious what the “Dear Abby” version of that would advise those in trouble, who are members of an honored group of people who are working on their own resolute and impassively accepting attitudes.  Anything less than, “Happiness is an inside job,” (in general), or, “Things happen.  It’s what we do when they happen that’s key,” (in general), would have been too weak-spirited and blaming for Himmler, so he was their perfect “Dear Abby.”  The only suggestions that Himmler would have made in a Dear Abby letter would have been, (1) courageously change what you can, and, (2) serenely accept what you can’t, since anything else would have mollycoddled WEAKNESS.

Himmler Logic, after all, would focus on whether the person with the problem seems to have a weak (as in literally WEAK) character, and would be quick to interpret inadequacies in problem-solving as weaknesses of character, so the weak seem contemptible, blameworthy, and, possibly, insidiously dangerous.  This self-responsible self-help approach is also like the “exemplary dualism” of the Militia Movement, like classifying people as redbloods or mollycoddles, or as übermenschen or untermenschen; this preaches that those who seem to have (literally) strong characters are the allies of decent people so are at least forgiven, and those who seem to have (literally) weak characters are the enemies of decent people.  This leads to some predictable distortions in our conceptions of right, wrong, shame, etc.  Take the Nazi might-makes-right ethos, remove the racism and war crimes, and you’d have what Western culture considers to be the only conception of personal responsibility that works, which is what Hitler’s Wagner’s and Nietzsche’s main inspiration, Schopenhauer, actually wrote about.

The question of whether “it” can happen here, all depends on whether or not “it” includes the aspects of Nazism and Himmler that Buchman’s formula for living didn’t include; if not, “it” happens every day.  The “it” in It Can’t Happen Here included merely an ambiguous, covert, attitude-of-gratitude racism (“It was understood... that all Jews of all conditions were frequently to sound their ecstasy at having found in America a sanctuary, after their deplorable experiences among the prejudices of Europe....  The allegiance of all such Negroes as had the sense to be content with safety and good pay instead of ridiculous yearnings for personal integrity Sarason got by being photographed shaking hands with the celebrated Negro Fundamentalist clergyman, the Reverend Dr. Alexander Nibbs, and through the highly publicized Sarason Prizes for the Negroes with the largest families, the fastest time in floor-scrubbing, and the longest periods of work without taking a vacation.”), so the “it” in modern America could include merely an ambiguous, covert, attitude-of-gratitude form of the strong horrifying the weak.  A classic cliché expression is, “There is no alternative,” to the power dynamics of our economy, and another way to say this is that there is no alternative besides dictatorship and/or Zimbabwe-style economic failures, so every time that these power dynamics horrify us, we should be grateful that we’re not instead dealing with dictators’ outrages, and/or economic failures including massive unemployment, irrespective of any indefinable abstractions such as integrity.  If you’re in a Wagnerian conflict, and you simply must deal with your realities, then you simply must deal with them as Schopenhauer prescribed.  The psychology of, “You don’t want to think/act like a weak person, do you?” could be called a form of neo-Nazism.

 

 

Yet, in a society with rampant depression, one could just as easily call that “pragmatic logic”: the weak courageously change what they can (themselves) and serenely accept what they can’t (everyone else), and what one deserves is completely irrelevant.  You can’t change your enemies, except for one.  Yet the limits of the threshold of human endurance are a fact, and if we don’t deal with it, it will deal with us.

“Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” is all about what the weak should do, believe, and take responsibility for.  Even sophisticated psychology tends to classify people, aspects of human nature, desires, etc., into categories that are very German, Freudian: übermensch means ineradicable so at least forgivable, while untermensch means true shamefulness, suspiciousness.  (And, of course, treating this moral bankruptcy as necessary for realism seems a lot better than does treating this as admirably open-minded and gutsy.)  These Oxford members no doubt tended to take his ideas about coping skills, to heart, since they wanted self-improvement that would build fiber.  After all, we must accept that if you win, you win, and if you lose, you lose.  That self-responsible self-motivation is also how, and why, market discipline works; we must discipline even perfectly innocent failures.  The more that the weakness of the weak is blamed (What exactly is to blame when someone doesn’t protect himself well enough to succeed?): the more that they’d be motivated to take responsibility for taking care of themselves, the more hope that they’d have that they could change what causes their problems (themselves), and the more that we could all have faith in this red-blooded worldview.   Prejudice against the weak means an optimistic and patriotic faith in The System, and focusing on how the weak could hopefully solve their own problems if only they made themselves worthy, changed what they can.   “Personal strength,” “strength of character,” etc., tend to mean literally strength, transcending “weak” but natural and warranted feelings.  As Langdon Gilkey’s On Niebuhr says, “Thus transcendence is perhaps the key word in Niebuhr...”  Übermensch imperfection such as sinfulness would have to seem at least forgivable, while untermensch supposed imperfection would have to seem to be an insidious (as in “the hidden lie,” and, “We are all victims of victims.”) expression of weak people’s SELF-WILLS.  Dictator or no dictator, just about all of those in any society must define “personal responsibility” in basically the same predictable way and truly believe it, or different people would play by different rules, and plenty of people wouldn’t take the rules to heart when fortitude would be most necessary.  No doubt plenty of Oxford members who weren’t Himmler’s advisees, could have been just as easily, since they were just as free of whiny resentment; all “good” members followed the same school of psychology.

 

 

It seems that the magnitude of this social problem could just be brushed aside, and would be by those who are gutsy enough.  Depression is the only dread disease of which many of the causes seem sacrosanct.  Caring about social problems is so passé, so 1960s, even caring about our rampant depression.  In the 60s it was Big Brother AND the Holding Company, but now it’s Big Brother OR the Holding Company, since it seems that either we accept Wall Street excesses or we’ll have Big Brother.  Those in many societies, would be offended by tobacco ads that treat those concerned with the health effects as the villains.  While this remains consistent through the decades, the rationale for they seem to be the villains, keeps changing.  Yet if you’re writing a PR campaign to be given to a society that accepts both what causes such an extraordinary rate of depression, and discussing this in terms of exactly what problems inside of all those victims are responsible for this, then chances are that this society will cheer for ads that condemn the whiners.  After all, cheering the übermenschen, and condemning the supposed ignominy of the untermenschen, can be very exciting!

The homepage of the Mental Illness—What a Difference a Friend Makes website, by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, says, “An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older—about one in four adults—suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.”  As the title suggests, this website is about getting the friends of the 26.2% of the American adult population, to support these people rather than stigmatizing them.  The ways in which one friend treats another, is one of the few sociological factors of this huge social problem, that we could honorably take seriously. If we take the other sociological factors seriously, we could seem to be trying to manipulate like untermenschen, and/or to restrict the übermenschen.

This sort of “thinking” became pretty standard during the Reagan/Thatcher era, and without it, the logic of the attack politicians would fall flat. If the people of a society used as its favorite strategy for coping, a prayer which said in its small print, “Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it; Trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will; So that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next—Amen,” you’d probably have serious doubts both about the people who’d make themselves so unquestioningly accepting, intentionally without limits, and about how much is required to cope in this society. Yet this is the part of the entire unredacted Serenity Prayer as originally written by Reinhold Niebuhr, that’s usually edited out, but was originally written as the specifics of the Serenity Prayer, following, “God, grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”  “God, grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference,” doesn’t necessarily mean, “Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” but is necessarily that unconditional, all-or-nothing, and

This is our neo-Buddhist paragon for being well-adjusted, and the definitive formula for victim correction. The entry on Niebuhr in The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2001, says that he “defended Christianity as the world view that best explains the heights and barbarisms of human behavior,” so we’re simply supposed to accept the existence of barbarity, and change our vulnerability to barbarisms.

 

 

Only in some situations, to varying degrees, does the Serenity Prayer become the Barbarity Prayer, and does serene acceptance mean in the words of Shakespeare, “like patience on a monument smiling at grief,” but in those situations, unvaryingly, the response-ability goes absolutely to the person whose welfare is at stake.  The bottom line is that judging sinners seems judgmental, but judging sinnees on how pragmatic stolid self-reliant and peaceable their reactions are, seems pragmatic stolid self-reliant and peaceable.  Sinners’ responsibility is conditional qualified subjective and ethereal.  (After all, moral responsibility includes so many mitigating factors!)  Sinnees’ responsibility is a matter of, “Someone absolutely has to take responsibility for dealing with each and every problem, or it won’t get dealt with.”  No problem could really be a problem if the victim prevented solved or dealt with it well enough, so victims who don’t take care of their own problems well enough seem omni-responsible.  The still-popular theme song that was emblematic of Reaganism, is Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA,” which proudly begins, “If tomorrow all the things were gone I’d worked for all my life,” whether this was my fault or not I’d simply take responsibility for my own welfare by rebuilding, while if one instead said, “If tomorrow all the things were gone I’d worked for all my life and I caused their destruction, I’d accept and take care of my problem,” he would have seemed to be abdicating personal responsibility for his own welfare.  The country music classic from 1956, Folsom Prison Blues, is about a guy sent to prison because he committed a thrill-kill, feeling sorry for himself, “But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. When I hear that [train] whistle blowin’, I hang my head and cry,” but when a redneck does that, it seems to have the Great American Mystique.  If one shoots a man in Reno just to watch him die, that’s a slightly excessively normal example of cowboy spirit, but when one shoots a man in New York just to watch him die, that’s sick.

Tom Belford, a communications consultant who later became the treasurer of the People’s Medical Society, which claims to have a populist orientation, wrote in a 1985 memo that the PMS should posture itself as, “independent, feisty, willing and able to arouse a public outcry against the AMA.”  Such choices to have an “independent, feisty” appeal, seems to be the standard operating procedure for the propaganda from Big Tobacco.

(The above includes, “A smoker is about to light a cigarette in public.  He pauses in mid-match, suddenly conscious of the non-smoker next to him.  Bracing for a hostile response, he asks, ‘Excuse me, do you mind if I smoke?’...  Her flagrant tolerance puts the smoker on the defensive...  A deft comeback.  But the non-smoker presses her attack: ‘I will...  and thanks for asking.’”)

The “seven propaganda devices” that the Institute for Propaganda Analysis observed in the 1930s being used by those such as fascist Father Charles Coughlin, which were then described in The Fine Art of Propaganda in 1939, were: Name Calling, Glittering Generality, Transfer, Testimonial, Plain Folks, Card Stacking, and Band Wagon.  That’s exactly what you’d expect to hear from both attack-politician-style pundits, and the untermensch-phobic victim correction as a panacea.

 

If you felt disdain at this allocation of personal responsibility, Heartland America, and the others who love the “plain folk,” would feel disdain at you.  When a law against smokers’ polluting the air in public workplaces, passed and became law in Madison Wisconsin, Alderman Gary Poulson commented about the effort required, “It’s the legislative equivalent of passing a kidney stone.”  It also seems routine that if one has a loud party inside his home but the noise annoys the neighbors, the police come.  A $16.000,000 police brutality award in Los Angeles, at that time the largest ever, was given to those who the police attacked because they attended a bridal shower in a private house, that got too loud.  Yet when a law is passed against smoking within one’s home in such a way that the smoke would intrude into others homes, you start to hear the themes of the tobacco companies’ advertising, about how if the cops stop this pollution, this is supposed to be a stifling of the rights of the polluters.  It seems that if secondhand smoke pollutes someone’s air, he and the smoker are supposed to come to a polite understanding as to when that is and isn’t acceptable, but when partiers make noise, which isn’t toxic, the cops come to stop it rather than sitting back and saying, “Let the noisemakers, and the people who have to hear the noise, come to a polite agreement.”  When American magazines carry advertisements for prescription drugs, the regular full-color ad is then followed by a long list of possible bad side effects.  Though tobacco is the only legal product that’s very life-threatening when used as intended, with active smoking killing 420,000 Americans in 1989 and passive smoking killing 53,000 but alcohol killing only 100,000, and giving smokers a comprehensive warning could tell them all the diseases they’re prone to get so they could get the right medical tests to detect them, it’s as if tobacco is in its own little netherworld. A small inconspicuous box, which was even more inconspicuous during the Reagan era, carrying a very toothless warning, is enough for those who chose such a dangerous thing to do, as if marijuana or anything else was legalized with the understanding that if those idiots want to use it they asked for whatever results.

Here I will give some of the many examples of statements found in what had been internal documents in the Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company and its parent company British American Tobacco, as well as confidential documents it received from other organizations such as the supposedly independent Tobacco Research Council, recently disbanded by the 1998 Settlement Agreement.  A whistleblower sent these to anti-tobacco activist Professor Stanton A. Glantz, which were quoted in the book The Cigarette Papers.  This whistleblower had access to a great deal of their papers going back several decades, so the quotes in this book give a pretty comprehensive look into how Brown and Williamson, and probably other tobacco companies, responded to science letting the world know that it could prove cigarettes dangerous.  In the beginning they could act as if this was still unestablished so what science was proving was just their side in a “controversy,” and what suited the business plan of the tobacco companies was the other side.  The only problem with that was that science could prove what it was saying, and any clod could know from people’s personal experiences that nicotine is addictive.  The more time that passed, the more that science could prove what it was saying, yet the tobacco companies continued to allocate responsibility to its victims as a sociopath would, sometimes in the self-contradictory self-justifying fashion that you’d expect of a sociopath.  After all, they had to sell the public that it could trust their products, and therefore had to go on record as propounding this, but once people were hurt and sued, they had to be blamed for knowingly assuming the risk.  Many in the public then echoed such expectations of self-reliance and self-responsibility.  The excerpts I quote here are just samples, to let you know that each of these, at each stage of the development of the business plan, are typical of the rest at that particular point in time.  These, in total, should give a good picture of exactly what it means to accept this much cold-blooded fraud because anyone who smoked should have known better.  For more examples of the same, you could also look at the web page by the Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, Manipulation: The Story of Imperial Tobacco and Its Cigarettes, and an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, “In an August 1977 letter to his United States headquarters, Dr Helmut Gaisch, of Philip Morris Europe, wrote of a meeting between British and US tobacco company scientists.  ‘At the beginning of the meeting we almost came to a deadlock...  The three representatives of the British companies accepted that smoking was a direct cause of a number of diseases,’ he wrote.  ‘They shared the opinion of the British medical establishment that a consistent statistical association between one risk factor and a disease was sufficient to be able to assume causality.’ In the end, the US approach won out and the British scientists did not admit smoking caused disease,” and no doubt there’s plenty more documentation where these came from that hasn’t yet been discovered.

Victor Crawford, who had been a tobacco lobbyist, became a tobacco control advocate.  He died of lung cancer, on March 2, 1996, at age  63.  While a tobacco lobbyist, he coined the phrase, “Health Nazis.”  He later said, “I used the oldest trick in the book—when there’s no way you can attack the message, attack the messenger.  There was no way I could attack anything advocates said about health and addiction and win.  It wasn’t even an option.  So I’d always say, ‘Well, the jury’s still out on the health stuff, but that’s not the real issue. The real issue is freedom of choice, freedom of choice, and these health Nazis want to take it away!’”  Actually, that had exactly the gutsy Wagnerian appeal that the Nazis used to get their following!

(Nazi poster saying “EUROPAS FREIHEIT,” or “EUROPE’S FREEDOM”)

And in case the following quotes sound outdated, take a good look at two articles from the Capital Research Center, The Dangerous Anti-Smoking Lobby, How Its “Quit-or-Die” Hostility to All Tobacco Products Harms Public Health, dated July 2003, and Give Facts A Chance, How a Campaign of Misinformation Deprives American Smokers of Facts They Should Hear About Smokeless Tobacco, dated July 2004.  Both of these hold that smokeless tobacco is radically less dangerous than is smoked tobacco.  Since of the 46 million smokers in the United States, 25 million of them were estimated to be inveterate, or incurably addicted, marketing spit-tobacco as safer would seem to mean, “harm reduction.”  Therefore, it would seem beneficial for spit tobacco manufacturers to market their product as safer, to the public at large.

Yet representatives from Big Tobacco were testifying before Congress in 1994 that nicotine isn’t addictive!  The LETTER AND PROSECUTION MEMO FROM CONGRESSMAN MARTIN MEEHAN TO ATTORNEY GENERAL JANET RENO, dated December 14, 1994, says that William Campbell from Philip Morris testified before Congress, “Cigarette smoking is not addictive,” “The presence of nicotine, however, does not make cigarettes a drug or smoking an addiction,” “Philip Morris research does not establish that smoking is addictive,” etc.  The letter says, “DeNoble in his testimony also flatly contradicted Campbell’s and the other tobacco witnesses’ sworn testimony that nicotine was in cigarettes for ‘taste,’ noting that nicotine’s effect on the brain, not flavor, was the sole focus of Philip Morris’ research.”  Joseph Taddeo of U.S. Tobacco testified, “The assertion that smokeless tobacco use can be addictive is without merit.”  So even in 1994, Big Tobacco was even testifying before Congress as if those who hold that nicotine isn’t addictive are the respectable true Americans, while those who hold that it is are the unscientific whiners.  Yet those articles say that those who show understanding that inveterate nicotine addicts should be told that spit tobacco is radically safer, are the respectable true Americans, while those who don’t have this resigned total acceptance are the unscientific whiners.

Harm reduction is the term that those who disagree with the war on drugs, use to describe an approach that accepts that a certain percentage of the population will always be druggies, so the best approach would be to cooperate with the druggies to reduce the harm.  One might think that this is a rather dicey position to take, even concerning a legal but very dangerous drug.  Yet the tone that those articles take, is that this represents freedom and what’s righteous.  And in order to make themselves seem righteous, they condemn some of the things that, previously, the tobacco-equals-freedom position treated as pro-freedom.

The 2003 article begins, “The ‘Quit-or-Die’ strategy that the anti-tobacco movement has used for decades is increasingly ineffective in deterring smoking..”  This went on to say, “Blinded by a zealous adherence to a ‘quit-or-die’ scare strategy, two groups that represent a new generation of antismoking activists spearheaded a lobbying campaign to have the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reject the petition request.”  “Health groups can take credit for helping reduce smoking rates and improving public health.  But their ‘quit-or-die’ strategy has about run its course.”  “The most prestigious groups on the list are among the richest: American Heart Association has $502 million in revenues; $852 million in assets (2001); American Cancer Society — $322 million....”  “Myers and Klaus show no sign that they will abandon the failing ‘quit-or-die’ anti-smoking strategy that grows ever more shrill as its effectiveness dims.  Unfortunately, U.S. Surgeon General Carmona is in agreement with the anti-tobacco lobby.”  If one supposes that spit tobacco really is a radically healthier alternative to smoking, then those who don’t agree with this hope, would seem to be saying that the only choices that addicts have are, “quit,or die.”

The 2004 article has near the beginning, a photo captioned, “Anti-tobacco crusaders, such as the Mayo Clinic, don’t tell the truth about the relative safety benefits of smokeless tobacco.”  This then goes on to say, “Tobacco harm reduction faces opposition from a powerful crusade that has waged war -- incorrectly and irresponsibly -- on all tobacco products.  The crusade is composed of many groups who profess an overriding interest in public health, including the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association...”  “For years anti-tobacco crusaders have emphasized the dangers of tobacco use.  When the spotlight is on smoking, the task is easy because the risks are so high.  However, when the subject is much safer smokeless tobacco, anti-tobacco extremists have been forced to exaggerate, even fabricate, health risks. And they have done so with enthusiasm.”  “It is, therefore, particularly unfortunate that the Mayo Clinic has chosen to use its prestige, influence and financial resources to misinform the public about the relative health benefits of smokeless tobacco.”  “Yet Mayo has tried to frighten the public by asserting that smokeless tobacco use leads to ‘an increased risk of oral cancer.’” “So why did U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona claim last year in Congressional testimony that ‘there is no significant scientific evidence that suggests smokeless tobacco is a safer alternative to cigarettes’?...  Saying that smokeless tobacco is as dangerous as cigarettes sends a callous, medically misleading message to smokers from America’s #1 doctor: ‘Quit or Die.’  For the 25 million inveterate smokers who simply cannot quit, it is a prescription for premature death.”

Both of these articles ignore the fact that though we tend to associate smoking deaths with cancer, more smoking-related deaths come from heart attacks, and nicotine is what’s largely responsible for that.  The whole idea is that spit tobacco provides the same dose of nicotine.  The 2004 article even says, “In fact, nicotine itself is about as safe as caffeine, another addictive drug that is consumed daily by tens of millions of Americans in their coffee, tea and soft drinks,” though if that were true, then naturally we’d be treating it as dangerous.  We’d be making sure that underage people don’t drink cola, etc.  But emotional reasoning doesn’t tend to care about such facts.

This would certainly appeal to today’s attack politicians.  Condemn respectable groups like the American Heart Association and American Cancer Society as elitist.  Treat anti-tobacco activists, as if their thing is shrilly threatening “Quit-or-Die,” and enthusiastically exaggerating, even fabricating, health risks about the proposed harm reduction.  Even the Mayo Clinic seems to have chosen to use its prestige, influence and financial resources to misinform the public about the relative health benefits of smokeless tobacco, and tried to frighten the public.  What Dr. Richard Carmona was really telling the public when he said that smokeless tobacco is as dangerous as cigarettes, was “Quit or Die.”

Ironically, until fairly recently, if you said that tobacco is addictive enough to make such a high percentage of the population “inveterate” addicts, or that smoking was that dangerous, then that same emotionalist tobacco-equals-freedom position would have treated you as if you were shrilly threatening, enthusiastically exaggerating even fabricating health risks, etc., even if you were a reputable group.  Back then, you’d dare not suggest that Big Tobacco would ever proceed as if, as long as they’ve got a sizable fraction of the population incurably addicted, then those who don’t accede Big Tobacco the moral right to keep selling to them, are perils to society.  In fact, the 2004 article even says, “Eliminating children’s access to tobacco is a worthy and honorable goal, but the 10 million Americans who will die from smoking-related diseases over the next two decades are not now children.  They are adults.  And they have a right to accurate and lifesaving information about satisfying and safer tobacco products,” so even if Big Tobacco hooked them when they were underage, as long as they’re adults now, those who don’t accede Big Tobacco the moral right to keep selling to them, are perils to society.

And since there was likely a time when these supposedly pro-freedom ideas held that it was acceptable to treat active smoking as dangerous but not passive smoking, then this would say that while those who treat active smoking as dangerous are fine, those who treat active smoking as dangerous are enemies of freedom.  Or possibly right now, this sort of thinking would hold that smoke-filled rooms are dangerous whereas if a room has smoke levels that they consider to be moderate then they consider it to be safe, so if you opposed smoke-filled rooms you’d seem honorable, but if you opposed what they consider to be a moderate level of smoke, you’d seem dangerous.

This strangely shrill tone, originated with tobacco companies’ ad agencies, back when the dangers from smoking could seem unproven.  This tone continues to be a good example of the sort of victim-posturing that only the strong could get away with.

Certainly you could imagine how this mentality would react to the fact that the U.S. Surgeon General’s 2006 report on passive smoking, is titled,

and begins by saying that the 1986 Surgeon General’s report about this was titled, The Health Consequences of Involuntary Smoking.  Oh, heavens, what an inflammatory name those crusaders are using in waging their war, involuntary smoking!

The extremist absolutist accusations that those who are skeptical of the tobacco industry, get, and the degree to which the public accepts them despite their distrust of the industry, are among the most graphically shocking things in The Cigarette Papers.  It includes some examples of the ads that the cigarette industry ran claiming that any claims that active and/or passive smoking are unsafe, are conjectural.  You’ve probably seen them yourself, ads that are starkly black-and-white both literally and figuratively, though it should have been obvious to anyone what the risks really are.  I’ve included some quotes from some of the recently uncovered documentation below, to show just what they knew and when they knew it, despite all their self-righteous bluster.  One of the ads that The Cigarette Papers quotes in full, which it says was a part of a media campaign aimed at political leaders called “Project Truth,” started out with the following ad, which uses basically the same accusatory language as more recent political ads from the cigarette companies have used:

 

HEAD:    Who’s next?

 COPY:    The cigarette industry is being maliciously, systematically lynched.  Who is to say that it won’t happen elsewhere?

As an advertising agency, we view the problem subjectively because we’re proud to represent the Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corporation.  Yet we view the problem objectively, because we’re alarmed to witness the lynching of free speech in the marketplace and the American system of free enterprise.

Ten years ago, there was a cancer scare over the wax in milk cartons.  And over using iodine to get a suntan.  These theories were about as valid as the one that says toads cause warts.

And they’re about as valid as today’s scare-tactics surrounding cigarettes.  Because no one has been able to produce conclusive proof that cigarette smoking causes cancer.  Scientific, biological, clinical, or any other kind.

It’s more than cigarettes being challenged here.  It’s freedom.

We will continue to bring to the American people the story of the cigarette and any other legal product based upon truth and taste.

We believe that free speech and fair play are both the heritage and promise in our society of free and responsible enterprise.  [emphasis in original]
 
 

Remember, this was after the Surgeon General’s Report, at the time that tobacco advertisements on TV and radio had to be balanced by anti-smoking public service announcements, like the one where the cartoon cigarette turned into a snake. The Cigarette Papers says regarding this, “And many of the ‘buzzwords’—such as ‘scare-tactics,’ ‘freedom,’ ‘legal product,’ ‘truth,’ ‘free speech,’ ‘fair play,’ and ‘free and responsible enterprise’—are constantly used today in the industry’s public relations efforts.”  Yet nowadays, the scare tactic that anti-tobacco activists are supposed to use, is to say “Quit or Die,” meaning quit tobacco in general, or die from the admitted effects of smoking tobacco.

In the outline that, in August of 1969, was sent to B&W’s senior marketing supervisor, which spelled out the strategy for an ad campaign aimed to campaign among average people, the objectives were spelled out as follows: “Objective No. 1: To set aside in the minds of millions the false conviction that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer and other diseases; a conviction based on fanatical assumptions, fallacious rumors, unsupported claims and the unscientific statements and conjectures of publicity-seeking opportunists.  Objective No. 2: To lift the cigarette from the cancer identification as quickly as possible and restore it to its proper place of dignity and acceptance in the minds of men and women in the marketplace of American free enterprise.  Objective No. 3: To expose the incredible, unprecedented and nefarious attack against the cigarette, constituting the greatest libel and slander ever perpetrated against any product in the history of free enterprise; a criminal libel of such major proportions and implications that one wonders how such a crusade of calumny can be reconciled under the Constitution can be so flouted and violated.  Objective No. 4: To unveil the insidious and developing pattern of attack against the American free enterprise system, a sinister formula that is slowly eroding American business with the cigarette obviously selected as one of the trial targets.  Objective No. 5: To prove that the cigarette has been brought to trial by lynch law, engineered and fostered by uninformed and irresponsible people and organizations in order to induce and incite fear.  Objective No. 6: To establish--once and for all--that no scientific evidence has ever been produced, presented or submitted to prove conclusively that cigarette smoking causes cancer.”  Accompanying this B&W outline was a memo saying, “In thinking over what we might do to improve the case for cigarettes, I have looked at the problem somewhat like the marketing of a new brand.  Here is a chart where I have defined the basic marketing elements which I see in the smoking and health problem.  Our consumer I have defined as the mass public, our product as doubt, our message as truth--well stated, and our competition as the body of anti-cigarette fact that exists in the public mind.”  Currently, the supposed “nefarious attack,” “criminal libel,” “sinister formula,” and,  “lynch law, engineered and fostered by uninformed and irresponsible people and organizations in order to induce and incite fear,” are the anti-tobacco activists supposedly threatening shrilly, “Quit-or-Die,” and enthusiastically exaggerating even fabricating health risks about smokeless tobacco.  As usual, the product is doubt, and the message claims to be truth.

How often do they really think that this little allegory, this passion play of the horrid mollycoddles stringing up the redbloods who only want to live as independent individuals, really happens?  The Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines “allegory” as, “1: the expression by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions of truths or generalizations; also : an instance (as in a story or painting) of such expression  2 : a symbolic representation : EMBLEM,” and this is about how unrealistic overgeneralized and emblematic such depictions of the world are.

This cultural norm, the reason why The Serenity Prayer struck such a responsive chord, could be called “sociopathy in the third person.”  A sociopath would say about his own sinfulness and the victims’ responsibilities in relation to it, “If you don’t just take in stride what I did, and pragmatically get on with life, you’re letting this bother you though you don’t have to, you’re just trying to manipulate people by getting them to feel sorry for you, you must love to play the victim role, you’re acting passive-aggressive....”  Victim correction as a panacea would say about others’ sinfulness and the victims’ responsibilities in relation to it, “If you don’t just take in stride what he did, and pragmatically get on with life, you’re letting this bother you though you don’t have to, you’re just trying to manipulate people by getting them to feel sorry for you, you must love to play the victim role, you’re acting passive-aggressive....”  For example, when Marjorie Knoller said that she wasn’t to blame for her dog attacking and killing Diane Whipple because she “had ample opportunity to move from that apartment,” that was sociopathy in the first person.  If an expert in self-help survival skills said that it was up to Whipple to take seriously her fear of the dogs and move away, just as it would be up to a woman who fears that a man could hurt her to take those fears seriously and move away, that would be sociopathy in the third person.  This is why we’ve gotten so much inspirational strength from a prayer to tell us how to cope with reality, which was written by someone who regarded barbarity as a part of life on life’s terms

The book Your Mental Health, A Layman’s Guide to the Psychiatrist’s Bible, by Allen Frances, MD, Chairperson of the DSM-IV, and Michael B. First, MD, Editor of the DSM-IV, says that if you have Antisocial Personality Disorder, “Glib rationalizations justify everything you do—you blame your victims for being so stupid or helpless and claim that they had it coming. ‘If I didn’t do it, someone else would.’” This is also how self-help books on codependency and poor survival skills, assign blame, saying that if only the women prayed for more wisdom and courage, they’d stop failing, and that self-defeating people have it coming, since if one of them got rid of the husband who’s causing her problems, she’d marry someone else who would. In either case, it’s naturally every person for him/herself, and the victims’ survival skills are the only things to be impugned firmly. John Walsh’s book No Mercy quotes Detective Bernard Tracy of the Westfield, New Jersey police department, obviously familiar with criminal types, as saying about family annihilator John List, “He’s the type that could stick a guy in the oven and say, ‘boy, it’s hot in here,’” and self-help books are the type that, if someone stuck a guy in the oven, would say to him, “Boy, it’s hot in here, so what are you going to do about it?”.

The webpage Dealing with Manipulative People defines “Vilifying the Victim” as, “This tactic is frequently used in conjunction with the tactic of playing the victim role. The aggressor uses this tactic to make it appear he is only responding (i.e. defending himself against) aggression on the part of the victim. It enables the aggressor to better put the victim on the defensive.”  So despite all of the virulent self-righteous victim-vilifying accusations as if there’s no doubt about them, their campaign is really going to operate as a desperate defense attorney would, where his client could be proven guilty by a reasonable doubt, but the lawyer insists that if you can’t prove him guilty beyond any doubt whatsoever, you wouldn’t dare send the scuzzbucket to the slam.  In doing so, they make themselves the ones who use scare-tactics, fanatical assumptions, unsupported claims, nefarious attacks, libels and slanders, and a sinister formula, but according to Niebuhr’s logic, which most of those around us at least accept, sinners’ scare-tactics, fanatical assumptions, etc., are just things we’ll have to deal with.

In some situations, it would be tenable to say that since the victims could have stopped the problem, holding the sinners responsible would seem to require chutzpah, but not holding the sinnees responsible would seem weak and lax.  Weak and lax seems unforgivable, while sinful, as Niebuhr said, is necessarily forgivable.  Both the intent, and the consequences, of what the tobacco industry does are covered here.  They claimed that their product was safe even when all that they had to support this was wishful thinking.  Then, as these documents proved, even after they knew the dangers of active smoking, passive smoking, and addiction to nicotine, they continued to say that smoking is safe.  Right now, the standard American book for diagnosing mental disorders, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV, even includes a special entry for “Nicotine Dependence,” with such possible symptoms as biological tolerance to nicotine, and on withdrawal: sweating or rapid pulse, increased hand tremor, insomnia, nausea or vomiting, physical agitation, anxiety, transient visual tactile or auditory hallucinations or illusions, and/or grand mal seizures.  This certainly isn’t just a bunch of troublemakers’ conjectures, yet tobacco companies dismiss any claims of addictiveness, as being just somebody’s opinion. When the tobacco companies cause horrendous misery, they evade being sued on the grounds that their customers were responsible for “assuming the risk,” meaning that they had the responsibility for disbelieving what those very defendants chose to claim for decades.  The common beliefs which the Serenity Prayer expresses, would say that these sufferers and their sympathizers are the only ones to be held responsible, no matter what the tobacco companies intended, no matter how much this would obviously cause agony and death for tens of thousands each year (in many cases addicting them when only minors).  Central to the issue of smoking is nicotine addiction, but if one wants to be optimistic, and wants to give the accused the benefit of the doubt, he’d insist that even smokers who started when underage should fall under the Schopenhauerian worldview.  It would seem that they should be confident that they could overcome the craving if they really wanted to, even though they’d have to function productively at the very same time.  Also, even if hypothetically these companies did things in which the victims, in order to solve their own problems, had to do more than just not fall for fraud, the responsibility would still go completely to them to courageously change, so if they didn’t live up to these expectations they’d seem to be cowards.  And of course, if you tell someone who agrees with the beloved Serenity Prayer, that you don’t agree, you’ll likely be treated as if you’re letting the hardship or the effects of sinfulness happen continue or bother you, and/or as if you’re trying to be too heavy-handed with the sinners.

This is the philosophy that our culture, especially those who’d defend the tobacco industry, have so taken to heart, and on which they base the expectations that they make of each of us.  Outside the field of psychology it would usually seem very inappropriate to correct suffering like this.  In connection with the effects of smoking or chewing tobacco, it seems that no matter what tobacco companies choose to do in lying and covering up facts, and telling the public that they expect us all to deal with our own problems with gutsy Stoic self-reliance as would a sociopath, many regard the tobacco companies as absolutely immune from responsibility, as would sociopathy in the third person.  It would seem that the victims should have known better, even though 90% became addicted before they turn 20.  It seems reasonable for friends of a battered wife to tell her that since she saw her husband act tough before she married him she should have known that he was the violent type, but it seems unreasonable for the husband to tell her that he’s immune from responsibility for the same reason.  Yet many think that it’s reasonable for tobacco companies to lie about what they discovered on the risks of smoking, then defend themselves when being sued by saying that smokers assumed the risks of smoking in that they should have known better.

Many accept this as if no matter what the tobacco companies chose to do, they’re the redbloods who have the rights, and any suffering smokers who don’t simply keep their problems to themselves are the mollycoddles who have the responsibilities.  Also, if you accept sociopathy in the third person, then also you’d have to accept sociopathy in the first person, since either one’s failing to face quandaries as a redblood would, would make him an unpragmatic unforgiving emotional mollycoddle, or it wouldn’t.  On my Victim Correction as a Panacea webpages I suggest that the best response to this is, “On a scale of one to ten, to what degree am I responsible for this, and why?” and the best response to each of the choices that tobacco companies made to deceive people into killing themselves might be, “On a scale of one to ten, how much responsibility does this give them for their life-endangering fraudulent business plan and the results thereof, and if none of it gives them any, why not?”.

And this is very predictable.  The July 2004 articles from the Capital Research Center, begins, “‘Crusades typically start out by being admirable, proceed to being foolish, and end by being dangerous.’  In 1994 Russell Baker used these words in his New York Times column to describe the anti-tobacco crusade, and he characterized the holy war against tobacco as entering the dangerous stage.”  Actually, not only has the anti-tobacco movement always been treated as dangerous, but this was with exactly the same tone of aggressively fighting for freedom, as you see in those current articles.  The only difference is that then it seemed acceptable to use that tone against those who said that smoking is dangerous.  Now fighting against smoking seems admirable to any rational person, but it still seems acceptable to use that tone against those who say that spit tobacco is too dangerous.

You could see this same sort of pattern in a campaign against Proposition 5 in California in 1978, which would have restricted smoking in public buildings.  At that time the tobacco companies knew that, as The Cigarette Papers put it, “(as shown by its own polling) the industry knew that it had virtually no public credibility, it decided to act through a nominally independent campaign committee known as Californians for Common Sense (CCS)”  The planning for how this group was to operate, as written by Ernest Pepples, which, as The Cigarette Papers says, “was to become the industry’s classic three-phase approach to tobacco control measures, whether at the local or state level, which is still in use today,” and was, “(1)  First phase program was to redefine the enemy.  The enemy CCS selected is the foe of every voter.  He passes stupid laws, wastes billions of taxpayer dollars, contributes nothing useful, dreams up useless initiatives.  He is ubiquitous and he is obnoxious.  Who is he?  To take a small liberty with the imperishable wisdom of Pogo, ‘We has met the enemy, and they is They’  Phase one: ‘They’re at it again!’  (2) Phase two sharpened the picture of the enemy, defined him more narrowly, crowded him into a small territory.  It introduced the thought that this kind of regulation is dangerously precedent setting.  Voters were reminded that freedom dies a bit at a time.  If they regulate smoking now, what will they regulate next?  Freedom of assembly?  Freedom of speech?  Phase two: ‘What will they regulate next?’,” and then a third phase which isn’t devious.  These are the same themes as in those recent tobacco-equals-freedom writings, that anti-tobacco activists are at it again, and the enemy is mislabeled as marginal people against freedom.  Again and again, we have the Catty Mollycoddles Versus Noble Redbloods allegory.

This very same Pepples, five months before he wrote that, wrote that he realized that we don’t have a Constitutionally protected right to smoke.  And if we got beyond the double standards of victim correction as a panacea, we could see that it makes more sense to say that if people are allowed to pollute your air with cigarette smoke then what next, allowing a greater amount of driving while intoxicated?  Also, the first phase has the quality of Dr. Burns’ cognitive distortions of Western depression.  Virtually all MD’s, etc., and probably you, would seem to be lumped together into a mollycoddle “they” who’s inexcusably putting a cramp on the redbloods in some absolute way, contributing nothing useful, wasting billions of dollars, etc.

 I can still remember a black-and-white ad I once saw that tried to vindicate environmental tobacco smoke, which said something about anti-tobacco zealots finally finding their opportunity to make smoking socially unacceptable by condemning public smoking.  As usual, this would leave one wondering why someone would have as a hobby trying to make smoking socially unacceptable, but if it seems that the mollycoddles are out to put the clamps on the redbloods, that would strike a responsive emotional chord.  Even in 1973, B&W knew that the public was concerned about the risks of passive smoking.  These documents include one which said, “Increasing emphasis is being given to the smoking habits of employees and the whole question of occupational exposure... More and more, smoking is being pictured as socially unacceptable.  The goal seems to be the involvement of others--non-smokers, children, etc.--in addition to health and government organizations.  The main thrust of these zealots seems to be that smoking is not a personal right because it hurts others; that smoking harms non-smoking adults, children, and even the yet unborn.”  This strange idea of those who are zealous first, and then in looking for excuses for their zealotry they came up with the harm done to involuntary smokers who are then the tools that they “involve,” is decades old.

In California this struck a responsive chord.  Proposition 5 lost though originally it had a majority of public support.  Just after Proposition 5 lost, Pepples wrote in a letter, “Close to 90% of the smokers who voted on Proposition 5 voted against its enactment...  This contrasts with the pre-campaign mood which even among a majority of smokers was solidly in favor of restricting public smoking.  Verbatims [comments?] from early public opinion surveys had the smokers saying that Proposition 5 might help them quit or cut back and for that reason, at that early point in time, they expected to vote for it.  As the campaign progressed and as these smokers heard the messages which Californians for Common Sense put on radio and television, the attitudes of the smokers toward the right to smoke in public underwent a favorable change.  Verbatims from focus groups held toward the end of the campaign demonstrated that smokers became much less defensive in the sessions and would actually pull out their packages of cigarettes and proudly display them on the conference table.  The health issue was never addressed in the ’Vote NO’ messages; they raised instead the basic economic and freedom issues.  It is possible to theorize, therefore, that in addition to avoiding a negative sales impact from the legislative restrictions which Proposition 5 would have represented, the industry may have achieved a positive effect among smokers in support of their custom of smoking.”  So despite supposed truth campaigns supposedly about health, what we really have here is a bunch of emotion regarding what is and what is not supposed to be freedom, that freedom is supposed to mean freedom from restrictions in polluting others’ air, but not the freedom to breathe healthy air, due to all the double standards in victim correction as a panacea.  Hypothetically, in brewers’ and distilleries’ campaigns against proposed laws that would reduce the legal blood alcohol count for drivers, the companies could also talk about the freedom to drink booze and the companies’ right to sell their legal product in the American free enterprise system. If that Project Truth succeeded then drinkers in focus groups would proudly put their drinks on the conference tables, even alcoholics who’d formerly wanted help in kicking the habit.

In the Project Truth and similar campaigns, we could see basically the entire character of victim correction as a panacea, especially if you add the fact that for anyone who believed this, smoked, ended up dying from a smoking-related illness, and sued the tobacco companies, the jury probably would have figured that he should have known better so the cigarette companies don’t owe him anything.  Antidepressant Treatment—the Essentials, by John H. Greist, MD and Thomas H. Greist, MD says, “According to National Institutes of Mental Health figures, 20,000,000 people or approximately 15% of the U.S. adult population suffers from a serious depressive disorder in any given year.”  To say that as doctors treat the million of Americans who suffer a serious depressive disorder in any given year, they should know this rate since it would help the doctors treat each individual as if their depressions simply are their problems, completely ignores the fact that this involves an unnaturally high rate of helplessness, happening to millions of people, year in and year out.

Intercultural studies have consistently found that depressed people who’ve lived in developed areas outside of the modern West have tended to feel paranoid, but modern Westerners, whether depressed or not, have tended to figure that even if someone did “get you,” that would mean only that you lost the battle so you’re a loser.  David D. Burns, MD, in his book Feeling Good, lists the “Cognitive Distortions” of Western depression as: All-or-Nothing Thinking, Overgeneralization, Mental Filter, Disqualifying the Positive, Jumping to Conclusions, Magnification [of what’s wrong with you or right with others] or Minimization [of what’s right with you or wrong with others], Emotional Reasoning, Should Statements, Labeling and Mislabeling [which Dr. Burns describes as “an extreme form of overgeneralization”], and Personalization [which Dr. Burns defines as, “You see yourself as the cause of some negative external event which in fact you were not primarily responsible for.”].

Just look at all the wild accusations made of those who only want cigarettes to be treated as being as dangerous and addictive as they really are.  In this absolutism you could see that devastated victims who bought this would have plenty of All-or-Nothing Thinking, Overgeneralization, Mental Filter, and Disqualifying the Positive.  This certainly jumps to conclusions about how all the victims supposedly scheme.  This certainly magnifies what’s supposedly wrong with the victims and minimizes what’s genuinely wrong with the killers.  This is certainly Emotional Reasoning in that its idea of presenting the “truth” about the dangers of tobacco is to make wild accusations about anyone and everyone who objects to them, which would include the American Medical Association.  Red-blooded anti-intellectuals could love emotional reasoning.  That’s nothing but a bunch of should statements addressed to victims and their supporters.  This certainly puts some wild mistaken labels on victims and their supporters.  This also certainly personalizes their natural outrage, as results of pathologies raging inside of them.  Since this is how the devastated automatically see themselves, the writers of an arrogant industry’s public relations wouldn’t have to try too hard to get others to see the suffering like this.

Patriotism has been called “the last refuge of the scoundrel,” but patriotism is pertinent in only some instances of scoundrel behavior, while a Schopenhauerian acceptance of everything from disappointments to barbarity, is probably pertinent and true in all of them, so it could be called the last refuge of potentially all scoundrels.  The word “moral,” at best, would imply “luxury that’s a nuisance to provide to those who’d want the world to be as they’d have it,” as in the statement of Australian Industry Minister, Senator Nicholas Minchin, in response to the Australian Medical Association getting from the government an admission of their giving tax concessions for research and development on high-tar cigarettes for Africa and the like, “This is the first time I’ve heard it suggested that the Government should discriminate against any industry that pays tax. Everyone is treated equally in the company tax system, and this is a company tax deduction, in effect. Governments decide what products can be legally produced and what products can’t. At the same time we warn our citizens of the dangers of smoking. These two must and should coexist in a free society. There is no case for discrimination—what other industries would then be subject to this moral approval?”  In response, Australian Medical Association president Dr. David Brand said, “if someone said now ‘We have a product that will kill 18,000 Australians a year and cost the community $12.7 billion a year’ there’d be a riot—the Government has just got to start acting on the biggest health problem in this country after indigenous health.”  Formerly, Situation Ethics, which determine the ethicality of an act on what the consequences would be in a given situation rather than on what a holy book or other code of law dictates, was supposed to be permissive since it told people not to simply obey the dictates of a holy book.  Compared to Schopenhauerian forgiveness, the practicable concern that Situation Ethics has for moral questions about the consequences, would seem to be too judgmental, with victims getting too self-absorbed.  As long as the victims or potential victims could have eliminated the consequences or made them seem immaterial, then Situation Ethics would seem irrelevant in judging the person who’d caused the consequences which didn’t have to continue to exist.

The tendencies of Big Tobacco to play the victim role when held morally accountable, are basically the same as are the tendencies of the Catholic hierarchy and their loyalists, to do the same.  On September 22, 2005, a Philadelphia grand jury released the Grand Jury Report on the Sexual Abuse of Minors by Clergy.  This was a normal grand jury proceeding, with plenty of documentation.  Yet the archdiocese responded by calling the report “discriminatory” and “sensationalized,” and said that the investigation and report were “a destructive process of colossal proportions,” “a vile, mean-spirited diatribe” that was “reminiscent of the days of rampant Know-Nothingism in the 1840s,” a time of much bigotry against Catholics.  As with any paranoia, there’s no need to prove that, or explain why, everyone’s out to get you.  Rosalind Arrington, the grand jury forewoman, said that Catholics on the grand jury were also offended, and may have been “a little more affected” by the enabling of the perverts.  “We had just as many Catholics saying, ‘How could they do that?’”

That’s the technique that the Catholic hierarchy predictably use when they’re held morally accountable, and if that sounds like bigotry, just look at how consistently they actually do this.  Yet as with Big Tobacco, it seems respectable to play the victim role, as long as one’s defensiveness claims to be defending one’s own rights.  Those who are involved in Catholic charities, especially, should be able to see that when powerful organizations like the Catholic Church play the victim role, that looks a lot more respectable than it does when the poor clients of these charities talk about their own suffering.  In fact, the word maudlin, was based on the name Magdalene, since old art tended to portray Mary Magdalene as acting maudlin.

 

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You could be that the Catholic hierarchy’s playing the victim role wouldn’t seem maudlin, but when the clients of Catholic charities talk about their own genuine victimization, that could.  And this is in the same absolutist terms as you could see in the cognitive distortions of modern Western depression, that the strong who act like victims simply can’t seem maudlin, but if the weak claim victimization and take this seriously, that eventually would seem maudlin.  The bottom line always seems to be that strong equals good, or at least excusable or defendable, and weak equals bad or at least suspect.

About a century ago, William James wrote that Americans tend to classify people as either redbloods or mollycoddles.  What I’ve seen this mean in practical terms is that those who Niebuhr would call the “sinful” would tend to be classified as redbloods, and redbloods have rights, while their victims, unless they remain inconspicuous by shutting up and dealing with their own problems, would be classified as mollycoddles, and mollycoddles have responsibilities.  This is a victim-correction theme that you see very vividly in the idiocy from the tobacco companies and the Catholic hierarchy and loyalists.  The tobacco companies also have going for them, the evasion of responsibility that would come from the fact that smokers should have known better.  The companies’ victim-posturing doesn’t seem maudlin, but the victims’ objections, do.  Then there’s also the pragmatism for each of us to take responsibility for our own welfare no matter what our problems are, who caused them, and how they were caused.

Once the American tobacco companies’ outrageous behavior was uncovered, the double standard found in the Serenity Prayer could also come into play, such as in the fact that, as shown below, while the tobacco companies were whining about being lynched, being attacked nefariously, etc., they knew that they themselves really were guilty, but kept on using this approach in order to manipulate people.  One of the kudos on the back cover of The Cigarette Papers, by James S. Todd, MD, Executive Vice President of the AMA, says, “This book picks up where the Journal of the American Medical Association left off.  The evidence of manipulation and deception by tobacco companies to dupe the American public is overwhelming,” but this is sinners’ manipulation so we’re expected to accept it as life on life’s terms.  As is shown below and on my Candace Newmaker’s Experience webpage, sinnees don’t even have to decide to manipulate anyone before they’d seem manipulative.  All they’d have to do is not handle their own problems resiliently resourcefully and independently.  Such supposed manipulation would seem intolerably unserene uncourageous and unwise.

The tobacco companies also tried to evade responsibility for the addictiveness of nicotine, as outlined below, but this wasn’t done by accusing those who realized that nicotine was addictive, of trying to wimp out on taking responsibility for choosing to continue smoking.  That just might encourage some people to muster up enough determination to give up smoking.  Recent letters that Brown and Williamson wrote as a response to the Journal of the American Medical Association’s printing some excerpts of these documents, dated June 8 and July 12, 1995, said, “Dr. Glantz has admitted cooperating with plaintiffs’ attorneys and we seriously question his objectivity in addressing these issues,” “Documents stolen by a person who is ‘out to get the company’ [He wasn’t a disgruntled employee getting revenge, but someone working for B&W’s lawyers who became disgusted and outraged after he saw these documents.] should not be portrayed as presenting the whole story,” “The American Medical Association’s planned publication of articles relating to Brown & Williamson’s stolen documents is little more than a cherry-picking exercise designed to advance its stated mission to eliminate smoking,” and “The bottom line is that the AMA’s approach to selectively present company documents advances only one agenda—that of the anti-tobacco establishment, including the plaintiffs’ bar, which is involved in extensive litigation against the tobacco companies.”  Big Tobacco never dreamed that someday they could use the addictiveness of nicotine as an argument in their favor, in that the public would simply have to accept that the best that we could expect is harm reduction in getting the nicotine into the inveterate addicts.  Now, the agenda of the anti-tobacco establishment seems to be to be insensitive toward the addicts’ ineradicable addictions.

The self-justifying quality of the absolute labels that they put on victims’ allies, and the convolutions of thinking that would be required to believe them, are the same as the convolutions needed for their self-justifying ideas that it’s the victims’ biological weaknesses that led to their cancer.  Yet this requirement for convoluted thinking is also necessary to make victim correction as a panacea seem like more than an expediency done as a last resort, but obviously the public is prone to swallow this thinking when used even by the tobacco companies.  As the concluding quote in The Cigarette Papers, Dr. Glantz et al give a quote from Dr. S. J. Green, head of BAT research and development and a member of the BAT Board, from 1976, in which he wrote that what the cigarette industry required from science before it would admit defeat is more certainty than science is capable, while to believe that it’s innocent would require some pretty convoluted thinking, “In summary, for social policy purposes it is sensible and totally relevant to use the experimental evidence pertaining to large groups and also to select the simplest hypothesis.  It may therefore be concluded that for certain groups of people smoking causes the incidence of certain diseases to be higher than it would otherwise be.”  This principle of selecting the simplest hypothesis is the scientific principle known as Occam’s Razor, and it would say, for example, that if one person has a hypothesis that says that smoking causes cancer, this would make a lot more sense that would the “constitutional hypothesis” which the tobacco companies were doing their best to validate at the time.  This said that somehow those who are constitutionally prone to lung cancer are also constitutionally prone to want to smoke and that’s why so many people who smoke also have lung cancer.  The same would also go for why so many people are so outraged at the cigarette industry. Hypothesis Number One would be that the tobacco industry warranted this, and Hypothesis Number Two would be the constitutional hypothesis, that those who campaign against what the tobacco industry is doing to all of us, are constitutionally: fanatical, rumor-mongering, unscientific, publicity-seeking, opportunistic, nefarious, attacking, libeling, slandering, anti-free-enterprise, criminal, crusading calumny, flouting of the Constitution, insidious, developing a pattern of attack, sinister, lynching, uninformed, irresponsible, and fear-inciting.  Which of these would require the most work for it to make sense?  The same would go for most other victim correction as a panacea, which would treat any victim’s problem according to the constitutional hypothesis, as if he allowed it to happen continue or bother him, so the features of a problem seem to result from what the victim is like constitutionally, so whatever is the character of the situation, also seems to be the character of the victim.  That wouldn’t be the simplest hypothesis, since his character is probably different in several ways, so you’d have to come up with several convolutions as to why this situation is supposed to have stemmed from his character, but this hypothesis seems so good-old-fashioned.

The problem for the tobacco industry started around 1950, when science first very much demonstrated the health dangers of smoking.  As a response, the cigarette industry began to market filter cigarettes and claims for low tar delivered to the smoker, in a competition between brands that was known as the “tar derby.”  There are two big problems with this, though.  First off, there are so many toxins in cigarette smoke that one can’t devise filters that could filter these out but leave in the nicotine, which is what sells cigarettes.

The second is that, while you could measure exactly what is the percentage of alcohol in an alcoholic beverage and tell what proof that beverage is, the rating for tar or nicotine that’s given for a brand of cigarettes depends on how much a smoker, or a smoking machine which is supposed to simulate a smoker, would inhale.  In reality, smokers who wouldn’t get the fix of nicotine they need from smoking normally, would compensate by inhaling more than the measuring machine would.  1n 1976, Ernest Pepples wrote a memo that said about this era, “In most cases, however, the smoker of a filter cigarette was getting as much or more nicotine and tar as he would have gotten from a regular cigarette.  He had abandoned the regular cigarette, however, on the ground of reduced risk to health.”  A “Chronology of B&W’s Smoking and Health Research” said, “Compensation study conducted by Imperial Tobacco Co., a BATCo affiliate, [shows that a smoker] adjusts his smoking habits when smoking cigarettes with low nicotine and TPM [total particulate matter] to duplicate his normal cigarette nicotine intake.”  Yet before the mid-1970’s, when this was firmly scientifically established, the cigarette industry worked to find how they could design and produce a safer cigarette.

The entire tobacco industry founded the Tobacco Industry Research Committee (TIRC), and later, to hide the connection to the tobacco industry, was renamed the Council for Tobacco Research (CTR), in 1953 at the suggestion of the tobacco industry’s public relations firm.  Most of the 1998 settlement of the lawsuit brought by most of the states against the major tobacco industries, concerned underage smokers, but this settlement also dissolved the CTR and agreed that the companies that settled wouldn’t set up similar organizations which shared executives or lawyers with tobacco companies or other trade organizations, and which didn’t keep its records very open for scrutiny.  (If, hypothetically, marijuana were legalized, trade associations of marijuana growers and manufacturers, even mom-and-pop marijuana farmers who’d naturally get a lot of people’s support, couldn’t get away with fraudulent tactics like this, even if the association used such tactics explicitly only some of the time so they could truthfully say that talking about documents describing them would constitute a “cherry-picking exercise.”)  In 1954 the tobacco industry ran an ad announcing the formation of the TIRC, saying, “Distinguished authorities point out:: 1. That medical research of recent years indicates many possible causes of lung cancer.  2. That there is no agreement among the authorities regarding what the cause is.  3. That there is no proof that cigarette smoking is one of the causes,” and, “We accept an interest in people’s health as a basic responsibility, paramount to every other consideration in our business.”  In a memo dated April 4, 1978, Ernest Pepples wrote to J. E. Edens, chairman and CEO of B&W, “Originally, CTR was organized as a public relations effort...  The research of CTR also discharged a legal responsibility...  There is another political need for research...  Finally the industry research effort has included special projects designed to find scientists and medical doctors who might serve as industry witnesses in lawsuits or in a legislative forum.  All of these matters and more should be considered in asking what kind of research the industry should do.”

At the time of the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health in 1964, John W. Blalock, B&W’s director of public relations, wrote to J. W Burgard of B&W’s Marketing department, “The consensus is that the industry is an a ‘grave crisis,’ and the philosophy is ‘to expect the worst and work for the best.’.”  Blalock also discussed a problem that could come from the industry’s denial of health risks, the immunity that the tobacco industry would get from legal liability due to the smokers’ assuming the risks of smoking.  “Litigations, of course, have vastly affected the Public Relations posture--and understandably so.  Certainly, no one can quarrel with the urgent necessity of complying with the lawyers’ position in regard to assumption of risk.  It would be foolhardy indeed to take a form of ‘aggressive’ action which implies assurances, denial of harm, and similar claims.”  Addison Yeaman, who then was B&W’s vice president and legal counsel, wrote that the cigarette industry should respond to the Surgeon General’s Report by trying to make cigarettes safer, “Certainly one would hope to prove there is no etiological factor in smoke but the odds are greatly against success in that effort.”  He suggested that to develop a safer cigarette the cigarette industry could join forces with governmental and non-governmental groups that work to fight the diseases that safer cigarettes could reduce.

A BAT memo dated March 1, 1957, “Smoke Group Program for Coming 12-16 Week Period,” was, of the documents received by Professor Glantz one of the first written that told of trying to find a way to make safer cigarettes, which would require knowing all of what’s unsafe.  This document sounds like a bunch of sociopaths put it together.  Even though it discusses lung cancer and the generation of two of the chemicals in cigarette smoke that could cause it, the document refers to lung cancer as “ZEPHYR” and to the two carcinogens as “BORSTAL” (probably arsenic) and “3,4,9,10-DBP” (probably dibenzo(a)pyrene).  “As a result of several statistical surveys, the idea has arisen that there is a causal relationship between ZEPHYR and tobacco smoking, particularly cigarette smoking.  Various hypotheses have been propounded, from time to time, as explanations of this conception.  The two which seem most important at present are:  (i)  Tobacco smoke contains a substance or substances which may cause ZEPHYR  (ii)  Substances which can cause ZEPHYR are inhaled from the atmosphere, e.g. in the form of soot... Until very recently the most suspected compound was BORSTAL,” and on and on it went from there.  Even then these people clearly had a consciousness of guilt.  Sir Charles later wrote, “The Board recognizes that this problem must be tackled from two sides, the first being medical research on the origin of lung cancer and bio-assay on the biological effects of smoke, and the second being the composition of smoke and the possibilities of modifying it.”  The standard test for cancer was painting the skin of mice with suspected carcinogens, which clearly showed that tar is carcinogenic, and, of course, BAT condemned this test while at the same time using it to determine how well their current filters were doing in filtering out the chemicals which were supposedly only theoretically carcinogenic.  The minutes of a meeting in Britain said that one attendee said that, “if we did get a break through and were able to improve our product we should have to about-face, and this was practically impossible at the P.R. level.  If we could ease the approach a bit, then when we did make positive contributions we could at least say so without having to crawl behind the door,” and another said that he, “did not quite agree that we in this country had got ourselves into that position, although it might be true of other countries [presumably, the United States].  We had more room to manoeuvere because, whatever we had said initially, in the last year or two we had been prepared to admit that there was a working hypothesis which ought to be examined.”  In time different chemicals were found to have deleterious effects.

A letter between doctors, clarifying when virtually the same thing was said at a research conference in 1968, “Would it be better to say ‘A new product development might give undesirable biological test results, and the research staff should lay down guidelines insuring, in context of present understanding, a new product would have no greater activity in biological testing than current products.  Preferably, the new product would give lower values.  It was also recognized that there are two types of health products possible and that they should be distinguished.  a)  Health image (health reassurance cigarette) such as a low tar-low nicotine cigarette which the public accepts as a healthier cigarette and  b)  Health-oriented cigarette which has minimal biological activity; for example, one which would yield a near zero reading in a mouse skin-painting test?”  So we have here three very important facts, that they sought to market cigarettes that had an image of health that wasn’t based in reality, that they realized that currently existing cigarettes had significant biological activity, and what’s meant by “biological activity,” which could also be seen in, “the origin of lung cancer and bio-assay on the biological effects of smoke.”  At least some Britishers know how to be more subtle than calling it “ZEPHYR.”

By 1970, BAT had started to give up on the idea of a safe cigarette.  According to the minutes of a conference in 1970, the 1967 meeting had concluded, “The smoking and health problem is amenable to a research solution.  This is a significant change in thinking and is a direct result of research,” but the 1970 conference concluded, “The smoking and health problem is at least partially amenable to a research solution,” in both cases admitting that there is a smoking and health problem, at about the same time of all that unqualified victim vilification of 1969.  The minutes of a conference in 1972 envisioned as a “main objective” for research and development, “The main Southampton objective was stated, ‘To design cigarettes which are preferred either generally or in significant special cases.  The products are to conform to policy requirements with respect to composition and biological activity.”  The main criticism was not with the objectives but that they may be too difficult to achieve.”  Later on in the same minutes was, “One suggestion was that our aim should be to provide smoking pleasure accompanied by risk no greater than that with comparable habits, such as alcohol.  This may already be the position achieved in some countries.”  But even that may be unachievable, unless by “habits, such as alcohol” they mean alcoholism, which clearly wouldn’t be acceptable.  Moderate drinking isn’t going to hurt anybody but any smoking whatsoever would, which is the reason why so much of the public took offense to cigarettes.  This wasn’t because regarding cigarettes they’re constitutionally fanatical, rumor-mongering, unscientific, publicity-seeking, opportunistic, nefarious, attacking, libeling, slandering, anti-free-enterprise, criminal, crusading calumny, flouting of the Constitution, insidious, developing a pattern of attack, sinister, lynching, uninformed, irresponsible, and fear-inciting, but regarding booze they’re not.  (Even the Prohibitionists of old didn’t seem to be sinister criminal vanguards of the Commie Conspiracy, and those who’d tried to hold tobacco companies responsible haven’t been trying to make tobacco contraband.)

A B&W file memorandum dated March 15, 1973 on how they were to respond to the Tobacco Working Group, a federally-funded group set up to try to develop a less hazardous cigarette, chaired by Dr. Gio Gori, said, “Dr. Gori should also be informed that the scientific director does not accept the premise that smoking is harmful.”  After this a marketing management consultant submitted a draft proposal for a “low delivery project,” which in its original draft read, “The parameters of a ‘safe’ cigarette have been defined by Dr. Gori of the Federal Government, although his definition of ‘safe’ is believed to be as yet largely unrecognized by the medical community at large,” but this was edited to read, “Within the past several years, Dr. Gogio Gori of the National Institute[s] of Health has discussed guidelines for the potential reduction of selective cigarette smoke components,” and the word “safe” was eliminated in three other places as well.  The first conclusion at the Sydney Research Conference in 1978 was, “There has been no change in the scientific basis for the case against smoking.  Additional evidence of smoke-dose related incidence of some diseases associated with smoking has been published.  But generally this has long ceased to be an area for scientific controversy.”  Near the end of the minutes, is a definition of what the desired safer cigarette would be.  “Cigarettes of substantially reduced biological activity (SRBA) can be made by product modification and will continue to present a range of marketing opportunities.  By SRBA is meant cigarettes where epidemiology would show no greater incidence of disease for smokers than non-smokers.”  Additives were even more of an issue, since many believe that tobacco companies have an inherent right to sell tobacco and not have to pay for the consequences, but they don’t have a right to add whatever additives they please and not have to pay for the consequences.  Yet with tobacco being so inherently dangerous, one couldn’t possibly prove that a disease resulted from the additives rather than from the tobacco.

So today, the cigarette industry continues to sell unsafe products as safe.  Canada only recently outlawed claims of cigarettes being “light,” or “mild.”  The Canadian government also ran an advertisement which showed a shelf of steely-looking bottles labeled with components of tobacco smoke, “arsenic light,” “benzene mild,” “smooth light ammonia,” “ultra light formaldehyde,” and “extra mild cyanide,” with a deep voice that announces, “No one would label a hazardous product like this light or mild. Except the Tobacco Industry.”  The screen then turns black, the words “Light and mild? Deceptive and deadly” appear, and the voice says the same.  Then again, in Canada it could be more socially acceptable to act like a victim.

According to The Cigarette Papers, “Prior to the products liability litigation that began in the 1990s, there had been two waves of litigation against the tobacco industry.  The first wave began in the mid-1950s, after the evidence of a relationship between smoking and lung cancer was published, and it lasted for about a decade.  The second wave began in the mid-1980s, when public concern over health and the environment had reached a new peak and products liability law regarding toxic substances had taken on a new significance.”  Lawyers kept an unusual amount of control over scientific research, a few examples of this being:  Company lawyers used their usual distorted logic to treat certain statements as dangerous only because juries could misinterpret them, such as, in a memo from one of the tobacco industry’s principal outside legal counsel, “At the St. Ives [research] Conference, May 8 to 12, 1970, an opening statement was made which included an acknowledgement that tobacco manufacturers are not competent to give authoritative medical opinions and stating that ‘causation’ is still an open question,” followed by statements made of bad health effects observed, which would mean that no matter how much BAT scientists observe evidence of the health disasters that other scientists had also proven, the BAT scientists’ observations would seem to be just observations made by ordinary Schmoes.  Exchange of information between subsidiaries of BAT was limited, so that each subsidiary could claim ignorance to as much as possible, “I am in complete agreement with your statement that the subject of the exchange of information [on smoking and health] between individual companies within B.A.T. is full of difficulty,” much as “cells” of subversive organizations operate.  Between 1972 and 1991, the CTR, the group that was dissolved by the 1998 settlement agreement along with requirements that tobacco industry groups like it not share officers and lawyers, with a special clause saying, “The Participating Manufacturers may not reconstitute the CTR or its function in any form,” awarded at least $14,636,918 in funding for what it called “special projects,” which were decided by corporate lawyers rather than by scientific decision-making.

On November 6, 1984, Ernest Pepples sat on the board of the Kentucky Tobacco and Health Research Institute at the University of Kentucky as the representative of the tobacco industry.  He wrote to attorney Timothy Finnegan, who was requesting funding, “I wish you would find out, without tipping over any cans, what Dr. Justus has done in the tobacco allergy field.  At this point all I would like to have is a search of the literature to see if Dr. Justus has published on tobacco and how we assess his work.  I would not want him to become worried that a tobacco company somehow is reviewing his request for continued assistance from the [Kentucky Tobacco and Health Research] Institute.”  In 1984, in a memo that summarized a conference on US products liability litigation, J. K. Wells, B&W’s corporate counsel, wrote, “BAT Legal acknowledged the needs for lawyer involvement in the [research] project and for possible restructuring, but there was not enough time to plot a course of action.... For example, if Project Rio must continue, restructuring probably will be required to control the risk of generating adverse evidence admissible in U.S. lawsuits....  Direct lawyer involvement is needed in all BAT activities pertaining to smoking and health from conception through every step of the activity.”

In 1985, Anne Johnson, a member of the BAT legal department, wrote a lengthy memo about what the company faced in the second phase of lawsuits against tobacco, at a time that science really was certain that smoking caused certain diseases.  This memo said, “We have a responsibility--both legal and moral--as a cigarette manufacturer to ensure that people are aware of the facts relating to our products, that a factual and balanced picture is presented, and that inaccuracies and imbalance are corrected....  We recognize that there are legal constraints in the US which we must observe and we appreciate the practical problems of discussing causation on the voluntary assumption of risk defense....  We have no wish or intention to ‘overplay’ the causation argument or to mislead consumers (or anyone else) into thinking that smoking is free of risk, or that the risks are minimal, or that they can ignore the potential risks or health warnings....  There is a lot of evidence which links smoking statistically with certain diseases....  Statistics alone cannot prove cause and effect....  Research is needed to clarify the situation....  It is therefore impossible to claim as a fact that smoking is the only or main cause of lung cancer and other diseases.  On the other hand the views of the medical profession and the judgement they have made cannot be ignored and the reverse has not been established either--it is equally impossible and quite wrong--factually and morally--to suggest or imply that smoking is safe or free from risk or that the risks are not particularly great....  As has been pointed out... there is risk that the real causes of diseases may be ‘missed’ by ignoring ‘non traditional’ research.”

So here we have B&W’s attitude towards the risks as of 1985, that B&W would look absolutely ridiculous if they pretended that the medical evidence didn’t exist, and their assumption of risk defense was dependent on their victims knowing the risks, yet these risks are minimized as if what the medical profession is saying is just their views and judgment.  It’s as if all that they have to do is play enough head-games with themselves, and they could plead that they didn’t intend to sell people very potent poisons.  And this stuff about “non traditional” research sounds like something that a New Ager would say.  Science is either reliable or unreliable, not traditional or untraditional.  Though the tobacco industry has accused those who try to hold them accountable of being opportunistic, this attempt to take advantage of supposed doubts as to the risks, their own statements minimizing the risks, and their taking the assumption of risk defense, has got to be as opportunistic as you could get, but according to Niebuhr’s logic, sinners’ opportunism is just something we’ll have to deal with.  Yet duplicity like Johnson’s is sociopathy in the first person, not the usual victim-blaming that’s sociopathy in the third person.

The addictiveness of nicotine, and the fact that it’s a mind-altering drug, were other issues that the scientific work of the tobacco industry had to address.  According to The Cigarette Papers, “Half of those who smoke cigarettes as adults have started by age 14, and most of those who will smoke as adults are already smoking every day by age 17.  Among young people (12-17 years old) who smoke at least twenty cigarettes daily, 84 percent reported that they ‘needed or were ‘dependent on cigarettes.”  By 1963, B&W and BAT scientists had already seen the addictiveness of nicotine, before science at large had.  The keynote speech at one of BAT’s research conferences in 1962, by executive Sir Charles Ellis, said, “...smoking is a habit of addiction that is pleasurable; many people, therefore, find themselves sub-consciously prepared to believe that it must be wrong...  One result of the recent public discussions on smoking and health must have been to make each of us examine whether smoking is just a habit of addiction or has any positive benefits.  It is my conviction that nicotine is a very remarkable and beneficent drug that both helps the body to resist external stress and also can as a result show a pronounced tranquilizing effect.  You are all aware of the very great increase in the use of artificial controls, stimulants, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and it is a fact that under modern conditions of life people find that that they cannot depend just on their subconscious reactions to meet the various environmental strains with which they are confronted: they must have drugs available which they can take when they feel the need.”  So this guy seemed to think that the reason why those antsy about an addictive mind-altering substance “believe that it must be wrong,” is that it’s “pleasurable,” as if like the Prohibitionists we’re Puritanical.  Sir Charles reminds me of the award-winning writer of advertisements who I tell of one of my About Us webpages, who says that he thought of those who objected to his serious alcoholism, as old fuddy-duddies with thin blue lips who talked in prim voices.

None of the following speakers showed any disagreement with these statements that nicotine is addictive, that it has these other pharmacological properties, or that it therefore constituted a mind-altering drug.  Sir Charles was at that time heading a BAT research project being done at The Battelle Memorial Institute in Geneva, to develop a new delivery system for nicotine, that wouldn’t require the inhalation of the smoke of cigarettes, though in the US nicotine in a new form would have required FDA approval as a drug.  Between the late 1950’s and 1967, Battelle performed other work for BAT on the pharmacological actions of nicotine, including a speculative essay, “A Tentative Hypothesis on Nicotine Addiction,” tentative in exactly what causes it, not on its existence, “A body left in this unbalanced status craves for renewed drug intake in order to restore the physiological equilibrium.  This unconscious desire explains the addiction of the individual to nicotine.”  In 1963, when debating whether to send their findings on the pharmacological properties of nicotine to the Surgeon General who was about to write his report, Yeaman wrote, “The determination by Battelle of the ’tranquilizing’ function of nicotine, as received by the human system in the delivered smoke of cigarettes, together with nicotine’s possible effects on obesity, delivers to the industry what well may be its first effective instrument of propaganda to counter that of the American Cancer Society, et al, damning cigarettes as having a causal relationship to cancer of the lung,” but the Surgeon General didn’t get it.

A cable from Yeaman saying to withhold this, said, “we agree continuance of Battelle work useful but disturbed it its implications re cardiovascular disorders.”  At that time BAT did its own research on the pharmacological effects of nicotine, which found basically the same things, “The presence of nicotine is the reason why the tobacco plant was singled out from all other plants for consumption in this rather unusual way.  Nicotine has well-documented pharmacological action.  It is claimed to have a dual effect, acting both as a stimulant and as a tranquilliser.  It is believed to be responsible for the ‘satisfaction’ of smoking, using this term in the physiological rather than the physical sense.”  After a while, the tobacco industry even started to explore the idea of chemists devising analogues to nicotine, which would have the desired pharmacological properties of nicotine but not the bad cardiovascular effects, since in the era of wonder drugs, the “age of anxiety,” the tobacco companies were afraid that a wonder-drug tranquilizer would have a competitive advantage over cigarettes.  For example, a report written in November 1972 says, “Should nicotine become less attractive to smokers, the future of the tobacco industry would become less secure.  Factors that could influence the attractiveness of nicotine are discussed, and it is concluded that substances closely related to nicotine in structure (nicotine analogues) could be important [though these would also have to get FDA approval as drugs]... The effect of nicotine could be inhibited by an antagonist [as naltrexone is given to those overdosing on opiates to block their action], and cigarettes would tend to become insipid.  Such an antagonist could arise by accident or design from the pharmaceutical industry.  It might be used tactically to advance that industry’s alternative product, or its general use could be advocated by the anti-smoking lobby, with or without government support.”

On the other hand, the tobacco industry’s public statements on addiction were, as to 1994 when The Cigarette Papers was published, still that what constitutes an addiction rather than a habit is a matter of definition, and one could honestly believe that the cravings that smokers get when they try to go cold turkey doesn’t mean that nicotine is addictive.  This is something like what the Clinton-haters accused him of doing when he said that as long as he defines sex not to include what he did with Monica then he’s not guilty of having sex with her, except that the only thing that could be accomplished by knowing objectively whether or not he had sex with Monica is that if he did then his enemies could score some points.  Knowing whether or not smokers with addictive cravings are addicted makes all the difference in the world.  A set of proposed responses given to spokespeople from the tobacco companies, from the early 1980s, told these employees to respond to the question “Aren’t cigarettes addictive?” with, “It is difficult to discuss addiction today because people apply the term to many different circumstances.  Some people say their children are addicted to TV.  The 1964 Surgeon General’s report concluded that cigarettes should be classified as habituative, like coffee, not addictive, like morphine [Yes, and science has progressed since then.].  Many people have given up smoking [and many have given up heroin addictions].  Why do people continue to smoke who say they want to quit?  Why do people continue to overeat when they say that they are overweight? [since they have biological cravings for more food].”  A memo from 1984 from Pepples, about a recent report titled “The Functional Significance of Smoking in Every Day Life,” said, “Even the theme of the report, which promotes the concept of ‘the psychological benefits of smoking,’ is not appropriate or advisable as a public affairs position.”  Though they had been actively in the hunt for how nicotine’s physiological effects could be used to achieve better living through chemistry, but this sort of use of mind-altering substances to deal with normal stresses was no longer acceptable.

And then there’s the doublespeak about passive smoking.  Here we also had, at first, the work on controlling the sidestream smoke, and then, work to try to prove that it’s harmless.  Sidestream smoke, the smoke that goes off to the side of the cigarette as it burns, has a higher concentration of certain toxins than does mainstream smoke, the smoke that the smoker would draw in off the cigarette, since mainstream smoke is filtered, and  because as the smokers draw in smoke they’d pull considerable oxygen over the burning tobacco so the combustion would be more complete, producing a greater heat to make the combustion even more complete.  This is much as the smoke over a campfire is less dirty than the smoke over the embers of a campfire.  The tobacco companies could always disavow responsibility for voluntary smokers’ injuries from smoking since no matter what fraud the tobacco companies chose to pull it could seem that the smokers still should have known better and could have chosen to give up their habits, but passive smoking is involuntary.  Also, those who passively smoke could include children and those with health conditions that could be aggravated by smoking.

The minutes of a BAT research conference in 1975 say, “Passive smoking was discussed and reviewed in detail.  It is considered that this is an important area and interest in it is unlikely to recede.”  A biological research meeting in 1976 discussed glycoproteins, a component of tobacco smoke to which enough people are allergic with serious symptoms involving blood clotting, “The work in GR&DC... has shown that glycoproteins with characteristics similar to those found by [Carl] Becker and Stedman are present in tobacco leaf and in saline extracts of mainstream smoke.”  Yet in a meeting in 1977, it was said, “RB explained that, whereas Becker’s findings in relation to the presence of glycoproteins in mainstream and sidestream smoke had been confirmed, this did not mean that we agreed with his interpretation of their effects on man,” though how they were going to make these effects seem nonexistent is beyond me.  In a conference in 1978, “It is clear that in many countries there is concern over the level of nitrosamines in foodstuffs.  This explains in part the sensitivity to the presence of nitrosamines in tobacco smoke and, perhaps particularly, the levels in sidestream smoke.  The latter is a potential threat to the currently held view by many authorities that passive smoking does not constitute a direct hazard.”  In a conference in 1979, “The likely increase in pressure in this area from the anti-smoking lobby was noted.  In the absence of threshold figures (e.g. safe levels for nitrosamines) any measured level could harm the Industry.  Consideration should be given to the possibility of establishing thresholds.  It was agreed that on nitrosamines some shots should be aimed on both ambient air and sidestream smoke.”  Not only does this admit that they realized that above a certain level the nitrosamines from sidestream cigarette smoke wouldn’t be safe, but that even if such a threshold number existed they couldn’t engineer a cigarette which would guarantee that the nitrosamine level in the air of a given room would stay under this level, since the level of any gas or particles in the air of the room would depend to how much was smoked in it, how much the ventilation is limited to conserve energy, etc.  A special project in 1981, done by a group called Healthy Buildings International because it blamed problems on the fumes trapped by buildings tight on ventilation, came up with a result, “with good ventilation, acceptable air quality can be maintained with moderate amounts of smoking,” and those who took the readings were found to have distorted the results considerably, but even if the results weren’t distorted, they’d be that if a building has tight ventilation to save energy, the air quality would be unacceptable.  If tight ventilation is blamed for trapping in paint and glue fumes, then the ventilation would have to be just as tight when judging the cigarette smoke.  One of the groups dissolved by the Settlement of 1998, under the same rule that such groups can’t exchange board members and lawyers, had a similar name, the Center for Indoor Air Research, Inc.

In the notes from a research conference in 1980, “There was strong support for research into the generation and control of sidestream smoke,” and “The research into the source and mechanism of formation of nitrosamines in both sidestream and mainstream should be continued with urgency.”  The summary of a 1982 conference gives as recommendations, “We should keep within BAT:  i)  animal research on sidestream activity  ii)  thoughts on the biological activity of sidestream  iii)  research findings on the consumer annoyance aspects of environmental smoke--since these have potential commercial value.”  In 1983 they were already working on “(a)  The development of analytical techniques for measuring sidestream smoke constituents.  (b) Development of new cigarette paper for sidestream reduction using alternative fillers and additives.  Work to improve existing papers is also included,” and more similar new innovations.  At a research conference in 1983, regarding environmental tobacco smoke “The programme of work set up in response to the BCAC directive was supported--but it was stressed that the programme should consider the reduction of specific biological activity, as well as the reduction of visible smoke irritation and unpleasant odour.  It should also consider the more general program of ambient smoke.”  The research activity both to make a cigarette safer for those nearby, and to find support for the idea that cigarettes are safe for those nearby to begin with, went on.  Some of the consultants of the tobacco industry told it that a major study indicating that environmental smoke does indeed have “biological activity,” i.e. causes lung cancer, was valid.  Yet the desperate hunt for legitimacy for the idea that the dangers of passive smoking were just another viewpoint in a controversy, went on.  And what really makes the genuine scientific findings go against our popular notions about freedom, is that, as feminists could see from attitudes toward all sorts of pigheaded behavior inside one’s own home, it seems that the place where freedom of choice regarding smoking should really reign supreme is inside one’s own home, one’s own private space.  Yet all the real scientific research on this has shown that passive smoking is a lot more dangerous to kids than to adults, so for smokers with kids, the place where it’s most important that they not smoke is the place where their freedoms seem the most sacred.

So here we have the reality of what was really going on behind all of these claims that those who objected are just a bunch of troublemakers, and just how much obfuscation is necessary to make the victims seem to be the only ones responsible for the outcome.  When Dubya was running for election, he gave a treatise of his own religious beliefs, which included the following in its conclusion:

“During the more than half century of my life, we have seen an unprecedented decay in our American culture, a decay that has eroded the foundations of our collective values and moral standards of conduct. Our sense of personal responsibility has declined dramatically, just as the role and responsibility of the federal government have increased. The changing culture blurred the sharp contrast between right and wrong and created a new standard of conduct: ‘If it feels good, do it.’ and ‘If you’ve got a problem, blame somebody else’.”

“‘Individuals are not responsible for their actions,’ the new culture has said. ‘We are all victims of forces beyond our control.’ We have gone from a culture of sacrifice and saving to a culture obsessed with grabbing all the gusto. We went from accepting responsibility to assigning blame. As government did more and more, individuals were required to do less and less. The new culture said: if people were poor, the government should feed them. If someone had no house, the government should provide one. If criminals are not responsible for their acts, then the answers are not prisons, but social programs....”

So it seems that personal responsibility and not finding blame is his Godly ideal, but only for those who’d be classified as mollycoddles in the redblood/mollycoddle dichotomy.  Those who are classified as redbloods certainly can evade responsibility and find blame, such as the tobacco companies acting as if the fact that the world’s medical associations, is the fault of the doctors’ attitudes.  The tobacco companies are also certainly evading responsibility when they try to cook up as much sophistry as possible to make their products seem safe to both active and passive smokers, and non-addictive, but then when sued for damages they get off because those who they defrauded should have known better.  As usual, their exemption from responsibility doesn’t seem partial but absolute, in that they’re simply supposed to be heroes of freedom.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also... You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?  Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others?  Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect...  Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors...  For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses....  Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get,” and if you were alive in that time and place of, and after you heard him preach the Sermon on the Mount you told him a true story of conniving and fraud of this magnitude, he would have struck you with a bolt of lightning as punishment.

Because of these and similar Bible verses by Jesus and his followers, the beloved Prayer of Saint Francis comes close to an obsession with re-engineering victims’ human nature, “Lord, make me an instrument of your Peace.  Where there is hatred, Let me sow Love.  Where there is injury, Pardon.  Where there is doubt, Faith.  Where there is despair, Hope.  Where there is darkness, Light.  Where there is sadness, Joy.”  Since the average American would give you a puzzled look if you said that you thought that what the Serenity Prayer expects of us is unhealthy, he should also like the following Alcoholics Anonymous slogans which were no doubt inspired by this same spirituality, “We are all victims of victims,” “There are no victims, just volunteers,” “Life is like wrestling a gorilla. You don’t stop when you get tried, you stop when the gorilla gets tired,”  “Change what you can, and change your mind about what you can’t [no matter how objectionable it is?],””Forgiveness is relinquishing the role of being the victim [But what if one’s victimization isn’t playing a role that one must relinquish?],” “When one finger is pointed at someone else, there are three pointing back at me,” “Things happen. It’s what we do when they happen that’s key,” “To be wronged is nothing, unless you insist on remembering it,” “Put aside the idea of fairness or unfairness,” “The only requirement for serenity is a desire to stop thinking,” and “It’s not the load that breaks you… it’s the way you carry it.”  These are among the slogans included on my A Glimpse Into the Soul of Victim Correction webpage.  With cultural norms that either take these originally Christian teachings as a legacy, or because of this legacy accept the newer expressions of unconditional forgiveness, it’s no wonder that genuine evil schemes are minimized, while victims’ responsibility to control their addictions is magnified, with no conditions such as, “If I’m sufficiently convinced that nicotine is sufficiently addictive to really constrain the choices of a smoker who started during adolescence, then I’ll no longer consider this to be a question of the noble redbloods versus the catty mollycoddles,” or, “If I’m sufficiently convinced that passive smoking is dangerous, then I’ll no longer consider this to be a question of the noble redbloods versus the catty mollycoddles.”  If the harm and the evil don’t seem to matter, the harm and the evil don’t seem to matter.
 
 
 
 

Sincerely Yours,

 
 
 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

               


  

 

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