Scientific Evidence Portal
‘I Can’t Help Myself’: Addiction as Ideology | John Luik
Article Published: 1996
Type: Articles and Dissertations
Published By: Human Psychopharmacology, Vol. 11, S21-32 (1996)
Further Information This powerful essay by John Luik illustrates well the elusive concept of addiction. As we know, today everything is an addiction. Beside heavy drugs – and smoking, of course! – there is addiction to computers and chocolate, to alcohol or sex … if you like it, you're addicted to it.
How did this come to be? Once again, the matrix of the science-to-fit-ideology must be retraced to the war against tobacco. The concept of addiction has been well accepted by the public at large because of one fundamental reason: it removes personal responsibility for any and all decisions and behaviours and shifts it – and the blame – on those who propose or offer.
Furthermore, addiction has demonstrated itself particularly useful in legal litigation, and once again tobacco was the cutting edge. The shift of personal responsibility to the collective used to be a characteristic of Communism, but it has now become an almost standard procedure for the continuous erosion of freedoms and the systematic destruction of private industries: both, in fact, in contradiction with Communist ideology.
We call the attention of the reader to page four of this document, where is shown an important example of science-to-fit-ideology at the “public health” institutional level. In 1957 smoking was not considered an addiction by the World Health Organization but in 1993 – to set the stage for the international persecution of smokers – the WHO defined smoking a “dependence”. By the same token (and in the same time period) the US Surgeon General's office did not define smoking as an addiction in 1964, but did so in 1994.
Those changes were not dictated by the evolution of knowledge, as no “revolutionary” acquisition of knowledge occurred in the last 40 years. The changes were dictated by a shift in ideology by “public health” – from hard and objective presence (or lack) of scientific facts to science-to-fit social and mercantile engineering programs and policies.