Conventional collectivist created authority is a deception in consciousness. You are your own Authority!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Smokers vs. Kids

Libertarian Chris Tame opines recently that prohibiting smokers from adopting or fostering children is anti-liberty, wrong and would set a dangerous precedent. Just a few years ago, as a libertarian myself, I would have agreed with him, but not today.

Today it is a known, established, documented and widely accepted scientific fact that smoking makes people sick and too often makes them sick to death. 

Never-the-less, as a libertarian, I still do agree that individuals own themselves and therefore have the right to smoke as long as they can do so without subjecting other individuals to the stinking unhealthy consequences of the habit.  

“In both the US and Europe, anti-smoking activists are increasingly describing smoking as a form of child abuse that should be prohibited,” Tame observes. So adoption and fostering organizations are proposing a ban on allowing smokers to adopt of foster kids.

He is appalled at this “threat to civil liberties” posed by “political correctness” imposed by the Nanny State.

Tame claims that the evidence suggesting that environmental tobacco smoke can be harmful to non-smokers is “junk science.” Then he suggests that the pro-health proposals to ban smokers from adopting or fostering kids amount to “anti-working class” measures.


He admits that: “working-class children are all at risk, and always have been, through their less generally safe environment and through alleged working-class values (such as immediate rather than “deferred gratification).”

“So, if safety is such a big issue,” he posits, “why stop with smokers? Why not forbid adoption and fostering by anybody who is working class? After all, working-class health, working-class education, working-class life expectancy, working-class life in general is, statistically speaking, less good than life for the middle and upper classes. Once you concede that environmentally unsuitable parents may not adopt, where does it stop? Why should “inappropriate” adults even be allowed to have children at all?”

Why indeed! If any parents, whether working class or not, provide a substantially unhealthy and harmful environment for their children they risk the possibility of termination of parental rights. Thus, alcoholics, drug addicts, abusers and the like who subject their children to real risks of harm can rightfully lose their rights to parent them. That’s the law everywhere. Working class has nothing to do with it.

In my own case, I’m ashamed to admit that I began smoking during my early teens largely due to the influence of my middle class parents, grandparents and just about every other adult around me from every social class at the time. 

It seems that almost everyone smoked during the late 1940’s, ‘50’s and 60’s while I was growing up. Humphrey Bogart did it. Edward R. Murrow did it. All the sophisticated people did it. It sure seemed cool. Smoking infused the entire American culture then; you saw it constantly in movies; on television; restaurants; theaters; trains; buses; airplanes; everywhere.

My dad tried hard to discourage me from smoking to no avail. Of course, he and everyone else knew full well even then, well before the scientific evidence confirmed it, that smoking is bad, very bad, especially for kids. Thankfully, the culture of smoking is slowly changing, but in my opinion not fast enough.

I was hooked on smoking for many years even though I witnessed both my grandfathers dying of lung cancer due to heavy smoking. My father died at an early age of heart disease brought on by, among other bad things, heavy smoking. Since then, smokers in America have been dying early deaths like flies.

It was inevitable, I suppose, that even after I had quit smoking altogether for 10 years, I now suffer with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) brought about from the years of smoking. Yet I consider myself one of the lucky ones so far. It could have been cancer.

Today when I am exposed to second hand environmental “passive” smoke, the stinking clouds of the poison make me physically sick. So don’t try to tell me that secondhand smoke isn’t harmful.

Maybe I’m selfish, but I hope the day comes very soon when people aren’t allowed to smoke anywhere in public. Better still, I hope that all the smokers of today come to finally realize as I have that smoking is a health hazard, a killer and it’s time to quit now. It won’t happen in my lifetime but someday no one on Earth in their right mind will smoke tobacco just like no one today knowingly ingests lead.

Smokers deserve and should rightfully be relegated to the social status of pariahs.

There is no right to adopt or foster kids. So if smokers today want to adopt or foster children I don’t think it’s too much to require them to either quit the habit altogether or at the very least never practice it in proximity with kids.


  1. a "recent" article by C. Tame? Chris died many years ago

    I am a anti-smoker but the health grounds for opposing it are not strong. Some centenarians smoke, for instance

    1. Thanks, I stand corrected. The Chris Tame article was originally published in 1992, and republished by Mike Moliver earlier this month.

      Yes, some centenarians smoke -- the lucky ones.

    2. Yep, the detrimental health aspects of smoking- and especially exposure to second hand smoke- are greatly exaggerated much along the same lines as global warming arguments are. TobakkoNacht has more:

  2. "If any parents, whether working class or not, provide a substantially unhealthy and harmful environment for their children they risk the possibility of termination of parental rights."

    And what else should be prohibited? Perhaps gun ownership? Maybe "climate change denial"? Why not religion (choose which ever)? There is ample support for all of these, scientific and political.

    It is a simple philosophy: Be good, or you'll kill them. Now, that's authority.

    1. Gun ownership and climate change denial are not hazardous conditions that make people sick .... Religion? ... Don't get me started on that one.... I'm tempted to agree with you.

    2. Why not just test everybody when they're young to determine who is allowed to have children? Those who don't pass, smokers, the religious, those who don't think right, can simply be sterilized. Nip it in the bud. With the state controlling healthcare now, it would be easy. It's only for their own good, for the good of the children, for the good of the world.

    3. Well, because you don't know when they're young whether they will be fit or not, that's why.

      So you would allow anyone to adopt or foster a child, huh? -- psychopaths, homeless people, convicted child molesters, ... are there any limits in your opinion?

    4. So, maybe you should do it the other way. Prevent everybody from having any children until they are old enough and 'good' enough to prove to the state they can handle children.

      Smokers are not psychopaths, homeless, or child molesters, yet they are apparently equivalent in your moral assessment. Are there no limits in your opinion?

    5. Wow Uncle Tim! I'm fully engaged in this. I started smoking at 15. 20 years later I had a son and I quit. Never looked back. I despise how I've treated my body and would never want that horrible habit to pass to my own. The smell of second hand smoke is crippling now. I can't believe I was once 'that person' who irritated and imposed on others while foolishly indulging on this disgusting product.