Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Logical Fallacies

In more ways than one, I'm getting ready to leave Cold Lake.

From today's Cold Lake Sun:

"THIS LETTER IS written in the hopes that smokers will band together to have the laws regarding smokers changed. The governments have gone way too far by increasing the price of cigarettes, and yet they are banning smoking. As you know, cigarettes are sold in most grocery stores, drugstores, service stations and convenience stores. This is a legal substance and the governments gather billions of dollars in taxes.

If smoking is so terrible, why are the tobacco companies still in business? Car exhaust gives out more pollution than a few puffs on a smoke, and yet car manufacturers are spewing out millions of cars each year. Does this make any sense? Smokers’ rights are being compromised, and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms seem to be for the immigrants, non-Canadians and, of course, the non-smokers. Is this fair?

It just boggles my mind that we have a bunch of hypocrites in government. "Buy smokes but don’t smoke" must be their motto these days.Smokers have a right to smoke just as non-smokers have a right not to smoke. If this is a democratic country, let’s all stand up and be counted."

Oh, and just for the record--you're still allowed to smoke in the bars in Cold Lake.

I figured you could probably all use a laugh today. (I'm also wondering how long it will be before Tyler writes a rebuttal?)


  1. Anonymous1:48 PM

    Did you see this? Smoking in bars should cease in due course.

    Things are changing now that King Ralph, who is a smoker, is gone.


  2. Its really not THAT bad until she is starts talking about immigrants. Oh yeah and the whole car thing doesnt really make any sense. I do think that government takes advantage of smokers tho because it is very strong addiction and I am sure that tax money collected on cigarettes more than covers the health costs of looking after smokers when they all get sick and die. Cigarettes should just be made illegal. bah. Thats never gonna happen. Hey when I was in grade 9 probably you were aloud to smoke INSIDE the mall in summerside.

  3. Oh, sure, she'll bitch about smokers' rights, but where is she on the fight for my rights as a heroin user?

    And she calls the government a bunch of hypocrites.

  4. Anon- Yup, I know the smoking laws are going to change. I'm pretty excited about it. There's a reason I've only been to the bar 3 times since I got home. . .

    Melissa- Yah, I thought the argument about cars was hilarious and made no sense, hence the title of this post: logical fallacies.

    Dave- I support any and all addictions you acquire, including your addiction to love (cue robert plamer right about. . .now!)

  5. Anonymous5:16 PM

    Oh man, that's both funny and sad.

  6. I think the person who wrote the letter was just having a bad day. Clearly they were trying to quit for the umpteenth time and niccing out.

  7. >> Cigarettes should just be made illegal. bah.

    NEVER! It is not the responsibility of the government to regulate what we choose to put into our bodies -- be it nicotine, red wine, dark chocolate or Super Sized Quarter Pounders!

    Yes, cigarettes are unhealthy, but have you been to the local Kwik-E-Mart lately and read the ingredients of the food we eat?

    Ban smoking in public places all you like as it infringes on other people's rights to NOT breathe carcinogens, but people should have the right to smoke (anything they like) if they so choose.

    Prohibition DOES NOT work. It never has and it never will.

    Regarding the boo-hooing of the price increase, the writer has two options as I see it -- (1) grow and roll your own or (2) suck it up and pay for increased medical expenses one pack at a time.

    My $.02

  8. Anonymous12:25 AM

    This might be the only reverend I've gotten along with in about eight years. I like him.

    This article is by no means a perfect representation of Cold Lake I am sure, especially considering the incompetence of whom I am guessing wrote this article. However, it is still a representation of the extreme juxtaposition of Cold Lake to, say, Toronto and I definitely wouldn't want to be there. It's a different world up there. I feel like it supports the controlling of giving birth more than any drug use.

    Murder the Government.

  9. Anonymous1:05 AM

    I agree with most of the things Reverend Raheen M. Shabbazz said.

    I'm not a smoker and I do not wish to be around cigarette smoke but that should be my decision to make as long as I'm not infringing upon anyone else's rights.

    On the same note, I don't believe anyone should have to go out of their way to accomodate smokers.

    Kick me out of public w/smokes but leave me alone in my own home. I even agree with the idea of being told I can't smoke in my own home or car w/a minor around (although enforcing and investigating that law could become hairy).

    The heroin comment was funny but on a serious note it is completely different. Your actions while using heroin could infringe upon my rights. It's the same with alcohol, meth, cocaine etc.

    The question is not whether or not you like cigarettes (or are addicted). Where does your freedom end?

    BTW -- I thought the author had a pretty decent point about the automobile pollution.

  10. To my knowledge, nobody has ever blamed mass air pollution or global warming on cigarette smoke, the same way nobody is blaming lung cancer on car exhaust. Sure, some comparisons can be made, but in this particular context car exhaust and cigarettes really have nothing to do with each other. Which is why thc comment doesn't make any sense to me. But that's just how I see it.

  11. The car pollution thing was a complete logical fallacy. It's as though the author learned to develop arguments by watching Michael Moore films.

    Rev- I agree with you. To a point. I guess the slight differentiation, and the major argument regarding the legalization of any sort of substance is that is DOES affect everyone else, because we have universal healthcare in Canada. If someone gets lung cancer because they've smoked a pack a day since they were 12, that's their choice--I don't feel that I should have to pay tax money to help that person recieve medical treatment.
    (On that note, though, you have a completely valid point about the food we eat.)

    I think the government should just keep taxing the shit out of cigarettes.

  12. Anonymous11:19 AM

    I would just like to say that I was the first anonymous up there and am in no way connected with the other anonymouses.

    I despise smoking and think that tobacco sales should be made illegal. I think prohibition would work because it would be impossible to smuggle tobacco in the volumes now consumed in Canada. And "growing your own" is an unlikely scenario, as this is much harder to do than growing pot or making booze.

    Thank you and have a nice day.


    Anonymous Dave.

  13. Jess -- totally understand your assesment of the Universal Healthcare system as it relates to substance abuse (which, btw, is different than substance use). But that argument applies across the board to prescription drugs, Bovine Growth Hormone, pesticides, herbicides, "Natural Flavors", you-name-it. I fully support taxing cigarettes to pay for the inpending healthcare costs (as noted in my previous post), but not EVERY smoker gets lung cancer and drains the system. Abuse of nicotine also causes heart disease which leads to sudden death via heart-attack.

    Dave -- prohibition of substances has never worked in the history of civilization. If it did, the world would have run out of addicts millenia ago. And I'm guessing you have never tried to grow tobacco or pot? Tobacco is a relative of the tomato and is just as easy to grow. A little difficult to cure, but unbelievably easy to grow. The same is true of pot -- it is a weed that grows (grew) natively all over North America. Growing GOOD pot takes some skill, but that's another story. Also, I'm not sure how prevelant home-distilling is up North, but it was pretty common where I grew up. You can whip up a hefty batch shine in your own kitchen in a matter of hours if you try hard enough. Self Reliance -- the hallmark of Jeffersonian Democracy!

    I would also caution you against arguing "There ought to be a law!" against things that you personally find displeasing. As the old expression goes -- "Freedom is a double edged sword. Watch the backswing."

  14. Anonymous11:48 AM

    Rev. We prohibit all kind of things, including hand-guns, molesting children, and speeding on roadways and it mostly works. Vis a vis the growing of tobacco, I'm talking Canada, not California. It would not be easy to cultivate the quantities now enjoyed.

    And your argument along the lines of "other things besides tobacco are bad for you, so why single out tobacco" is fallacious. We can debate the pros and cons of the other things you mentioned, but tobacco does a huge amount of damage and does absolutely no good to anybody, other than to temporarily satisfy a craving. Aesthically, it is a gross habit.

    The burden on society in terms of increased health care costs, premature death, lost productivity, morbidity in bystanders ( I have nasty asthma, and small bits of smoke set me off) is such that I think the stuff should be cut off, Jefferson be damned.

    Perhaps the issue here is not what is being banned, but to what extent we tolerate rules imposed by society?

    Different strokes.

  15. >> Jefferson be damned

    Thems is fightin' words (har har har)!

    >> We prohibit all kind of things, including hand-guns, molesting children, and speeding on roadways and it mostly works.

    That's a bit of an apples to elbows comparison, doncha think? We're talking individual freedoms as it relates to substances here, not murder and molestation. I'm betting ecstasy, for example, is illegal in Canada and I'm betting double-to-nothing that you can score some ecstasy in any major city with little-to-no real effort. Prohibition does not work -- it never has, it never will. If prohibition worked, crackheads and junkies would be a distant memory. All you have to do is take one look at George Clinton to see first-hand how well that's going.

    >> but tobacco does a huge amount of damage and does absolutely no good to anybody, other than to temporarily satisfy a craving

    The same argument can be applied to Pixie Stix, grain alcohol and Lays potato chips. Moreover, I think you are confusing "use" of tobacco with "abuse" of tobacco. Tobacco can be very beneficial when used in moderation and has been used by the natives in religious ceremonies for eons. Tobacco, just like any other substance, is not inherently "good" or "bad". Abuse of anything is unhealthy and drinking too much water can be fatal.

    >> I have nasty asthma, and small bits of smoke set me off

    I know folks who are deathly allergic to peanut butter, but they would never argue that Nutty Buddys should be rendered illegal by the state. I fully support any measures to ban smoking in public buildings, but freedom requires a certain amount of risk.

    >> I think the stuff should be cut off

    The Temperance Movement is sooooo 1930 (har har har)!

    Just for clarification, I am not a smoker.