An ALERT MESSAGE from TSRA
Before anti-smoking lobbyists leap to condemn my Guest Author of today, me, my blog or my parentage, may I just state that I am in agreement with Voltaire when he said:
“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it”
The Tale of a Smokin’, Bicyclin’, Peace Activist…
Michael J. McFadden grew up in Brooklyn in the ’60s, studied Peace Studies and Peace Research at Manhattan College (BA) and the U of PA’s Wharton Graduate School, and then moved to being an activist/trainer in a nonviolence commune, canvassing door-to-door for an anti-nuke group, organizing bicycle activism, and eventually writing two books aimed at fighting the antismoking movement.
So how does a hippie peace/bicycle activist become a pro-smoking activist and writer?
The answer is that I’m NOT a “pro-smoking” anything: I’m a pro-freedom, pro-science, anti-overpowering-government-control, anti-manipulation-through-dishonest-propaganda activist and writer.
The first five sentences of my first book, the 380 page “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains” published in 2004 are as follows:
I am not now, nor have I ever, been a member of the Communist Party.
I am also not now, nor have I ever, been affiliated with Big Tobacco or their stocks, nor do I have any plans to be.
I also do not here, nor have I ever, tried to claim that smoking is generally good for you, although many find enough enjoyment in it to justify its risks. I do however argue that long-term risk from normal contact with other peoples’ smoke are virtually non-existent. Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains will show clear evidence that the risk of secondary smoke to nonsmokers has been twisted and exaggerated beyond all reason purely as a tool of social engineering.
Dissecting was basically split into three parts:
(1) An examination of the types of people who make up the antismoking movement and a layout of the argument that it was more of a “perfect storm” phenomenon than any sort of organized conspiracy;
(2) An examination of the linguistic and statistical trickery used to advance such things as smoking bans;
(3) A collection of supportive documents and writings.
Over the past ten years it has sold somewhere between 1500 and 2000 copies and, I believe, it has helped in the building and guidance of a truly grassroots unfunded effort against what has now become a far more highly organized worldwide campaign to virtually ban the legal use of tobacco.
Several months ago, my second book (I obviously write a bit more slowly than Stephen King) was published: “TobakkoNacht — The Antismoking Endgame.” TobakkoNacht is also split into a number of very distinct sections, both due to the demands and form of the subject matter and also as a matter of choice in providing an accessible and enjoyable reading experience to a wide audience.
It has two short fiction pieces looking at dystopian extremist futures, several short satirical efforts, a major set of “study dissections” that strive to satisfy strict scientific and academic requirements in analyzing research while also being accessible to anyone with a good head and decent education, a number of short “letter to the editor” type presentations with backgrounds on particular points and arguments, and, finally, a look at the “Endgame” for smoking — something which has just recently begun to be admitted and featured in the news — and thoughts about fighting it.
The analyses are really the main “meat” of the book — about 150 pages of its 530 — and of course they are somewhat biased in terms of them all being highly critical of studies that have been presented as supporting smoking bans and taxes; but they are also completely honest and open in their presentations and have not been “cherry-picked” as particularly vulnerable to attack. Instead, they represent the studies that have made the headlines — over and over again — and have served to make ideas that were laughable 30 years ago into beliefs that are now uncritically accepted as “common knowledge” by far too many people who should know better.
Special attention is paid throughout the book to the harms of a movement that, at its roots, would seem to be a good and worthwhile thing. Most people and most doctors would agree that smoking is not a very healthy thing to do, and most would agree that it causes a certain, and perhaps a large, amount of illness and death. You may wonder how, if I believe that’s true, I can justify a fight against such a movement. The answer lies in several main areas:
(A) I have a strong belief in the value of truth. If an idea or a movement is a good one, it does not need to rest on a basis of distortions and lies. Throughout my books I reveal such distortions and lies within the antismoking movement and argue that the end does NOT justify the means.
(B) There are real and palpable harms caused by the antismoking movement. They range from familial and personal life disruptions, to the loss of jobs and housing, to the destruction of social communities, to the acceptance of hatred and discrimination aimed at, and the exploitation of, a defenseless minority group, to a degrading of the enjoyment of life, to the actual loss of life itself sometimes.
(C) As laid out in the Author’s Preface of TobakkoNacht, I am concerned about how effectively an entire population has literally been “brainwashed” in having its thinking patterns and language changed in pursuit of a social engineering program that treats people as being little different than rats to be trained through the proper application of electric shocks.
(D) A belief that this sort of behavior modification has been greatly refined in the process of building the antismoking movement over the past 30 years and presents future threats in areas that go far beyond simply reducing smoking.
Read the material at Antibrains and Tobakkonacht (in particular the Author’s Preface) and think about it. If you know someone in your life who smokes or whose relationships have been harmed by the divisions between smokers and nonsmokers that didn’t exist 30 or 40 years ago … please share this with them.
I write in order to help people, not to tell enjoyable stories (Although I *GREATLY* admire and appreciate those who can and do write them — I’m a voracious fiction reader!) or to make money (Heh, yeah, right: my rough computations indicate about twenty cents an hour for my writing/research/action time in this area over the past twenty years!), or because I love writing — writing for me is a tool to a goal: education and social change that will make life better for people.
I also write, sadly, in the knowledge that, because of the contentious nature of the subject matter, my writing will induce a lot of people to dislike, hate, and even attack me in various ways.
But that’s the price we pay sometimes, eh? Meanwhile, although my writing may not have “enjoyment” as its primary goal, I do believe and hope that many of the people who take the time to read either of my books will both enjoy them and take something valuable away with them when they’re done.
Michael J. McFadden