FORCES International is an organisation in support of human rights and – in particular, but not limited to – the defence of those who expect from life the freedom to smoke, eat, drink and, in general, to enjoy personal lifestyle choices without restrictions and state interference.
At the same time, FORCES is an organization in support of scientific integrity and the use of appropriate scientific methodology in the science which is claimed to be at the foundation of public policy. The issue of poor scientific/statistical methodologies, presented as unquestionable and sound science, and the further misrepresentation of the results of those faulty methodologies to the public to justify the current draconian public health policies are fundamental issues taken up by our organization.
FORCES is an acronym of Fight Ordinances and Restrictions to Control and Eliminate Smoking. That name reflects the organisation’s original intent when it was founded in 1995 in San Francisco, USA. When it became clear that smoking repression, and the use of “junk” science to justify it, was going well beyond the petty prohibition to smoke in public, and implied instead a fundamental subversion of professional ethics and social values on an unprecedented scale, the scope of FORCES greatly expanded, and so did its size, through many chapters and affiliates in the United States and around the world. We are proud of our grass-root origins, as we have always grown in full independence, free of subservience to any and all special interests.
Philosophy and message
The message of FORCES is based on the values of liberty for every individual in his personal choices. In this, FORCES is aligned with those who fight the antismoking movement, which is essentially false and oppressive. However, FORCES goes well beyond this, into a critic of aspects of medicine, politics, public policy and scientific research that tend to undermine cherished barriers between public and private, between the state and the individual, and between those special powers that the liberal democratic state can normally only claim only in extraordinary circumstances (crises of epidemic disease, war) and those much more limited powers that are understood as appropriate under normal conditions of life. At a time when “public health” based claims to restrict and censure citizens have become constant, we stand against the rapid expansion of authoritarian power using “health” or “public health” as a conduit for acceptability. Such expansion of power is often simply unethical, undermines the constitutional protections that we are heir to, and wastes great human and public resources and energy in unproductive endeavours.
In this perspective, then, smoking prohibition and the campaigns for behaviour modification are a front to hide the self-righteousness of those who feel entitled to impose advice on health, choice, behaviour and social values. Furthermore, “health” campaigns disguise the prevarication of those who want to impose their ways with laws and taxes, programming the lives of individuals and their children without sufficient knowledge of the values that many people hold dear, and of those liberties and pleasures which are as essential to the political and psychological well-being of people in a free society as health is to the well-being of the body.
To FORCES belong those who consider what follows unacceptable:
- The siding of the state with one group of citizens against another.
- The interference of the state in private life and property.
- Paternalistic “guidance” and life prescriptions, which are harmful to the dignity of adults in a free society.
- The principle that public and private health – instead of general and individual liberty of choice, behaviour and enterprise – is the paramount value of society, to which any and all other values must submit.
- The ideological equation of health with liberty.
- The Precautionary Principle that is at the basis of modern policies and politics. In its present form, the PP states essentially that when an “authority” states that something is “harmful”, the “authority” does not have to demonstrate its harmfulness scientifically; rather, those who oppose the claim must demonstrate absence of harm. We consider this way of thinking perverse, unjust and essentially immoral.
- The concept, implied or expressed, that exaggeration, misinformation, one-sided information, lies or fraud – merely renamed as “science” or “freedom”, “facts” or “truth” – are morally legitimate means to combat what is perceived to be “wrong” or “unacceptable” or “harmful”.
For more information on our guiding principles, CLICK HERE TO READ OUR CONSTITUTION.