For many of us here at FORCES, Michael Siegel of the Boston University School of Public Health is our very favourite ‘tobacco control advocate’ because — without knowing it — he really isn’t one. One day, if he every summons up the courage, he may realize it himself.

But for now he stays busy expressing shock and outrage over virtually every move made by his ‘colleagues’ in the movement Good old Michael is such a decent, old-fashioned fellow that he seems constitutionally unable to figure out that the ‘movement’ he is part of is energized by a draconian, totalitarian-tending mindset willing to go as far as circumstances permit it to trample every classical liberal-democratic value that he holds dear. Valiantly, he seeks to redefine the ‘club’, that is, the anti-smoking movement, on his own terms. Repeatedly and predictably, he fails.

His recent comments on the news that some 6,000 American companies now refuse to hire smokers is a case in point.

"One might argue that the employer has the right to ask about my tobacco use in my home because he wants to reduce health care costs and he believes that my health care costs may be higher if I am a smoker. The problem is that if the invasion of my privacy about my own personal lifestyle is justified in order for the employer to reduce his health care costs, then the employer is also perfectly at liberty to ask me about my diet, the number of times I exercise each week, how much I weigh, and various aspects of my sexual behavior (limited only, in some states, by questions related to my sexual orientation)," he notes. "For example, the company would be perfectly justified in greeting potential job applicants with the message "Fat People Need Not Apply," "One Sexual Partner Applicants Only," or "Applicants without Children Under Five Years Old Only."

He goes on to denounce the setting of a precedent in this direction, making the assumption that a significant number of others will share his outrage over public health’s aggressive and humiliating intrusions iinto the private lives of people. Many people do share his point of view, of course, but they are not to be found in the ranks of the anti-smoking movement. The truth is this: well-funded and highly motivated people in both private and public sectors are moving towards curtailing or eleminating freedom in every aspect of life where a health costs reduction argument can be applied. In other words — most aspects of life. A compliant media and a rudderless political class are going along with this like meek lambs.

In the world that is being prepared, the employer WILL be perfectly at liberty to reject anyone who is fat, who does not fit the sexual profile that the company deems as less than optimally healthy, who have the (stress-inducing) burden of having to raise children at home, etc. Common opinion is already being crafted to accept this. Unless specifically prohibitted by legislation, it may be possible for the employer to demand security cameras, wired into the company’s computers, to be installed in the employee’s kitchen and bedroom. Two key arguments will be used to support this. One is that privacy is a trivial thing, a self-indulgent luxury. The other is that, since no one is forcing people to apply for jobs in a companies that make such demands, no one is really getting hurt, and the ‘rights’ of eccentrics who object to such practices are thereby protected. Get it, Michael?



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