I was recently driving east from Omaha for sixteen hours and there was nothing much to do so I let the radio linger on a “public news” show that consisted of two rational-sounding adults discussing how “the” science is now clear, the government must ban the production and sale of menthol cigarettes.
Article by Robert E. Wright from AIER.
In 2019, I would have busted out laughing but now that America’s authoritarians have so clearly revealed their cloven hooves I figured I better pay close attention. I have never smoked and all my friends and relatives who did are now dead (none from smoking-related illnesses interestingly enough) so the matter interests me only as an example of the use and abuse of state power and the rhetoric of science.
According to the discussants, one of whom apparently is funded by the Kochs (who pay federal taxes), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to ban all “combusted” tobacco products but it is statutorily banned from eliminating an entire class of goods, so for now it is targeting just menthols and flavored cigars.
Before I could muse too deeply about that logical solecism, the Koch-funded guy said the ban was specifically designed to help African-Americans as four out of five of the smokers among that group prefer menthols. The host pushed back modestly, suggesting that menthols could become the new marijuana, i.e., the excuse to accost, arrest, and convict African-Americans for possessing or dealing something that should never have been illegal in the first place. Oh, the G-man said, law enforcement would never do that. The ban, he claimed, presumably with a straight face (but again it was radio so …), is all about stopping production.
Okay, let’s think this through. A ban will not appreciably diminish demand and in fact may increase it because, you know, people be people. And while there is no doubt that the FDA can crack down on mass manufacturing, it is almost powerless to stop smaller scale production. A ban will increase production costs and prices for African-American smokers and cause some to be hurt by botched illegal batches.
After all, tobacco would still be legal so nothing could be done about growing, processing, or shipping it. Tobacco turns menthol by adding synthetic chemicals, all legal for other purposes like mouthwash, or oil made from mint plants (Mentha arvensis), which can be farmed but also naturally grows throughout temperate Eurasia and North America. Even with concerted human effort to eradicate it, mint will go extinct the same time cockroaches and sharks do.
Because some mathematicians now claim that one plus one does not equal two, let me explain what those facts mean in the real world that policymakers, of all people, are supposed to inhabit. Anyone can easily make menthol cigarettes. In fact, entrepreneurs right now are probably planning on making menthol conversion kits that will allow smokers to soak legal tobacco in mint oil, dry it, and roll it by machine (here is an example of the last mentioned technology if you are unfamiliar), for self-consumption or under the table sale.
So to effectively ban menthol cigarettes, the FDA will have to ban tobacco entirely, something it has admitted is not in its power to do. Or it would have to destroy the environments in which mint grows naturally throughout the world and ban all possible chemical substitutes and their constituent parts. This is why liberty lovers always warn about the “slippery slope” of regulatory authoritarianism. Effectively banning just one simple thing usually requires widespread repression.
The racial component of the FDA’s argument is extremely troubling. Too much of anything, even water, can be harmful. (No joke, it is called water toxemia among other things.) Apparently, nothing could stop the FDA from banning monosodium glutamate (MSG), matzo balls, Buffalo wings, or anything else. All it needs to do is to find “scientists” willing to publish studies showing such things to be harmful — and again everything, even MSG, is harmful to some extent — while carefully parsing the category so as not to include all sodium salts, dumplings, or chicken wings.
But the FDA would never have an incentive to ban such things, you might think. Well, what motivation, other than paternalistic control over others, does it have for banning menthol smokes and cherry blunts? Whatever happened to our bodies, our choice? Where does the government think that its power ends? How many Americans agree with that line? What is to become of those who disagree, who still believe in freedom and individual responsibility? Banishment? Reservations? Soft execution by forcing them to smoke seized menthols?
There exists only one thing that needs to be banned that I can think of — big, intrusive government.
‘The Purge’ by Big Tech targets conservatives, including us
Just when we thought the Covid-19 lockdowns were ending and our ability to stay afloat was improving, censorship reared its ugly head.
For the last few months, NOQ Report, Conservative Playbook, and the American Conservative Movement have appealed to our readers for assistance in staying afloat through Covid-19 lockdowns. The downturn in the economy has limited our ability to generate proper ad revenue just as our traffic was skyrocketing. We had our first sustained stretch of three months with over a million visitors in November, December, and January, but February saw a dip.
It wasn’t just the shortened month. We expected that. We also expected the continuation of dropping traffic from “woke” Big Tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter, but it has actually been much worse than anticipated. Our Twitter account was banned. Both of our YouTube accounts were banned. Facebook “fact-checks” everything we post. Spotify canceled us. Medium canceled us. Apple canceled us. Why? Because we believe in the truth prevailing, and that means we will continue to discuss “taboo” topics.
The 2020 presidential election was stolen. You can’t say that on Big Tech platforms without risking cancellation, but we’d rather get cancelled for telling the truth rather than staying around to repeat mainstream media’s lies. They have been covering it up since before the election and they’ve convinced the vast majority of conservative news outlets that they will be harmed if they continue to discuss voter fraud. We refuse to back down. The truth is the truth.
The lies associated with Covid-19 are only slightly more prevalent than the suppression of valid scientific information that runs counter to the prescribed narrative. We should be allowed to ask questions about the vaccines, for example, as there is ample evidence for concern. One does not have to be an “anti-vaxxer” in order to want answers about vaccines that are still considered experimental and that have a track record in a short period of time of having side-effects, including death. One of our stories about the Johnson & Johnson “vaccine” causing blood clots was “fact-checked” and removed one day before the government hit the brakes on it. These questions and news items are not allowed on Big Tech which is just another reason we are getting canceled.
There are more topics that they refuse to allow. In turn, we refuse to stop discussing them. This is why we desperately need your help. The best way NOQ, CP, and ACM readers can help is to donate. Our Giving Fuel page makes it easy to donate one-time or monthly. Alternatively, you can donate through PayPal as well. We are on track to be short by about $4100 per month in order to maintain operations.
The second way to help is to become a partner. We’ve strongly considered seeking angel investors in the past but because we were paying the bills, it didn’t seem necessary. Now, we’re struggling to pay the bills. We had 5,657,724 sessions on our website from November, 2020, through February, 2021. Our intention is to elevate that to higher levels this year by focusing on a strategy that relies on free speech rather than being beholden to progressive Big Tech companies.
During that four-month stretch, Twitter and Facebook accounted for about 20% of our traffic. We are actively working on operating as if that traffic is zero, replacing it with platforms that operate more freely such as Gab, Parler, and others. While we were never as dependent on Big Tech as most conservative sites, we’d like to be completely free from them. That doesn’t mean we will block them, but we refuse to be beholden to companies that absolutely despise us simply because of our political ideology.
We’re heading in the right direction and we believe we’re ready talk to patriotic investors who want to not only “get in on the action” but more importantly who want to help America hear the truth. Interested investors should contact me directly with the contact button above.
As the world spirals towards radical progressivism, the need for truthful journalism has never been greater. But in these times, we need as many conservative media voices as possible. Please help keep NOQ Report going.
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JD Rucker – EIC