• So, it's the companies, rather than the smokers themselves, who will pay the price. This denial of personal responsibility is part of a distressing trend (in the courts, it's called the "abuse excuse") that is degrading both human worth and civilized society.

    It's based on a view of people lacking free will and good judgment []Online Cigarettes Free Shipping[/url], being hopelessly manipulated by outside forces -- in this case, greedy corporations armed with advertising and chemicals []Cheapest Marlboro Cigarettes Free Shipping[/url].

    In a novel approach, the tobacco settlement extends the abuse excuse to governments []Newport 100S Cigarettes[/url]. States, for example, claimed in lawsuits that the tobacco industry should pay their Medicaid costs for making smokers sick. But were the states themselves so helpless all these years? If smoking is so terrible, ban it -- or tax it heavily.

    Instead, a passion for hypocrisy, pomposity and the main chance has won the limelight -- and perhaps, ultimately, higher office -- for attorneys general such as Mike Moore of Mississippi and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.

    The irony is that individual Americans understand perfectly well that the decision to smoke is an informed personal choice []Marlboro Cigarettes Website[/url]. For that reason, juries for decades have denied claims by smokers and their families for compensation.

    Anti-smoking hysterics try to present a model of children being lured into addiction by cartoon characters []Buy Cigarettes Online[/url]. Certainly, kids shouldn't smoke; parents, taxes and laws should deter them.

    But children puffed behind barns long before Joe Camel's snout nosed onto the scene. And smokers aren't hooked for life. A survey at my 25th reunion found that fewer than 5 percent of my classmates smoked. But I'd estimate that, back in college, at least half did. That means 90 percent kicked whatever habit they may have had.

    The vast majority of smokers make a free choice, a Faustian bargain: Knowing they may live a half-dozen years fewer, they opt for cigarettes, which, in addition to pain, offer pleasure, solace and wisdom (as Sartre and Mallarme can attest).

    As long as smokers don't hurt others, they should be allowed that choice. Cigarettes don't make us crash our cars or rob convenience stores or beat our spouses. Yes, they can cause lung cancer and heart disease, and some of those medical costs are paid, thanks to collectivist Medicare and Medicaid, by the public as a whole. If smokers paid for their own health care, they'd have a greater incentive to quit. Barring that, governments are free to use cigarette taxes to recover the expenses.

    Instead, we have an insane tobacco deal that sends precisely the wrong message to both adults and children: You're not responsible for your own health []Cigarette Tobacco For Sale Online[/url]. Or anything else for that matter.

    "In the end," wrote Toqueville, "each nation is no more than a flock of timid and hardworking animals with government as its shepherd."

    The tobacco deal will enshrine this noxious idea into law -- and back it up with $368 billion in cash, big chunks of which will go to lawyers (an incentive for them to try again with another industry: ice cream, maybe?) and to further attempts to nationalize health care (disguised as insurance for children).

    For the companies themselves, I have no sympathy. They believed that quantifying an open-ended liability would boost the price of their stock. I hope they're wrong; it would be a joy to see their shares plummet. In their cowardice and disregard for principle, they're just as villainous as the rest of the actors in this sordid drama.
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