The first Round Table of 2008 is in French. We are pleased to present Iro Cyr from C.A.G.E. Canada (host), Arminda Mota from the My Choice Smokers’ Rights Group also in Canada, and Dan Romano, president of C.A.G.E.
This Round Table, by the title “L’épidémie du gouvernement salutiste”, concerns mainly the interference of the pharmaceutical giants in state policies and their massive financing to antismoking groups to create a social atmosphere of prohibition and fear that is favourable to their marketing agenda.
Discussion examines the issue of credibility related to funding. On what grounds should groups that are financed by Big Tobacco be considered less credible than groups that are financed by Big Pharma? By the same token, if some groups and scientists who believe that man-made global warming is a fraud may receive funding from industries such as the big oil companies, those who espouse the scare are more richly funded by industries and regulatory agencies hoping to benefit from burgeoning environmental regulation. Indeed, "health and safety" (H & S) research has become a grant-funded industry in itself, which can only promote and perpetuate itself by generating "concerns," "threats," "epidemics," and "crises."
Shouldn’t the arguments and the science themselves stand on their own merits regardless of the financing? Or, if financing is not acceptable, why is it condemned on only one side, while being conveniently overlooked on the other? Is a one-eyed view of "morality" good enough? For the fanatical of course it is. Fanaticism is effectively dependent on a lack of depth perception: it seeks not reality nor morality but false and shallow substantiation of self-interested or emotional views.
One-eyed views, on funding, and on research generally, are widely disseminated, and widely accepted, in an era which foolishly venerates H & S blowhards. Just of late, the public does appear to be catching on, gradually, to the fraudulence of the H & S industry and cult. This dawning awareness must be fostered.
Of course the vested interest of any party to a debate is a matter of account. Reasoned debate welcomes advocacy from all perspectives, providing depth, on factual bases. Logical assessment weighs evidence, considering, for example, that statistics are a highly imperfect tool of inquiry, highly subject to manipulation, and that statistical association is not evidence of causation.
Nothing the tobacco industry says, or the oil industry says, or that anybody says, whether or not financed by anybody else, should be taken as either sanctified or daemonic based on who says it. Least of all should the H & S creed be swallowed as pabulum. This ideology derives directly from the eugenics pseudo-science which devastated the twentieth century. As we say, public awareness of this is dawning, rather late. Increased activism against this monstrous movement is urgently required.
We at FORCES have no particular affection for any industry, Big Tobacco, and Big Pharma, perhaps, least of all. Tobacco itself, however, does not "kill," any more than wine, or bacon and eggs "kill." You are going to die sometime, probably in your seventies, out of a quintillion influences amounting to one: you are mortal.
We will say, on the other hand, that through medical misapplication, misprescription, over-prescription, hospital-borne pathogens, and so on, our medico-pharmaceutical "authorities" do, very specifically and directly rather than abstractly or statistically, kill lots of us every day. With respect to smokers, in particular, dangerous and ineffective drugs are now commonly prescribed for "cessation" of a smoking habit, in the cause of warding off abstract and unproven risk to statistical longevity, but resulting in stark and immediate harm or death.
This brings to mind a passage from a popular book published in 2005, Selling Sickness, by Ray Moynihan and Alan Cassels: "Thirty years ago the head of one of the world’s best-known drug companies made some very candid comments. Close to retirement at the time, Merck’s aggressive chief executive Henry Gadsden told Fortune magazine of his distress that the company’s potential markets had been limited to sick people. Suggesting he’d like Merck to be more like chewing gum maker Wrigley’s, Gadsden said it had long been his dream to make drugs for healthy people. Because then, Merck would be able to ‘sell to everyone.’ Three decades on, the late Henry Gadsden’s dream has come true."
Moynihan and Cassels conclude that the over-expansion of the pharmaceutical business in recent decades, if dreamy for the greedy business itself, is a nightmare for the rest of us. They’ve got that right. Big Pharma and the H&S ideology it promotes are a menace to real science, to reason, liberty, justice, and the very decency of society. Any "fact" that spouts from these fonts deserves close scrutiny indeed. Very little that is pure ever comes from a poisoned well.
Click the link below to view the video (in French).
Cliquez sur le lien ci-dessous pour la vidéo en français.