Do smokers cost society money?

Apr 08, 2009 By ERICA WERNER , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- Smoking takes years off your life and adds dollars to the cost of health care. Yet nonsmokers cost society money, too - by living longer.

It's an element of the debate over tobacco that some economists and officials find distasteful.

House members described huge costs associated with as they approved landmark legislation last week giving the authority to regulate tobacco products. No one mentioned the additional costs to society of caring for a nonsmoking population that lives longer.

Supporters of the FDA bill cited figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that smokers cost the country $96 billion a year in direct , and an additional $97 billion a year in lost productivity.

A White House statement supporting the bill, which awaits action in the Senate, echoed the argument by contending that tobacco use "accounts for over a $100 billion annually in financial costs to the economy."

However, smokers die some 10 years earlier than nonsmokers, according to the CDC, and those premature deaths provide a savings to Medicare, Social Security, private pensions and other programs.

Vanderbilt University economist Kip Viscusi studied the net costs of smoking-related spending and savings and found that for every pack of cigarettes smoked, the country reaps a net cost savings of 32 cents.

"It looks unpleasant or ghoulish to look at the cost savings as well as the cost increases and it's not a good thing that smoking kills people," Viscusi said in an interview. "But if you're going to follow this health-cost train all the way, you have to take into account all the effects, not just the ones you like in terms of getting your bill passed."

Viscusi worked as a litigation expert for the tobacco industry in lawsuits by states but said that his research, which has been published in peer-reviewed journals, has never been funded by industry.

Other researchers have reached similar conclusions.

A Dutch study published last year in the Public Library of Science Medicine journal said that health care costs for smokers were about $326,000 from age 20 on, compared to about $417,000 for thin and healthy people.

The reason: The thin, healthy people lived much longer.

Willard Manning, a professor of health economics and policy at the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy Studies, was lead author on a paper published two decades ago in the Journal of the American Medical Association that found that, taking into account tobacco taxes in effect at the time, smokers were not a financial burden to society.

"We were actually quite surprised by the finding because we were pretty sure that smokers were getting cross-subsidized by everybody else," said Manning, who suspects the findings would be similar today. "But it was only when we put all the pieces together that we found it was pretty much a wash."

Such conclusions are controversial since they assign an economic benefit to . U.S. government agencies shy away from the calculations.

The goal of the U.S. health care system is "prolonging disability-free life," states the 2004 Surgeon General's report on the health consequences of smoking. "Thus any negative economic impacts from gains in longevity with smoking reduction should not be emphasized in public health decisions."

Dr. Terry Pechacek, the CDC associate director for science in the office on smoking and health, said that data seeking to quantify economic benefits of smoking couldn't capture all the benefits associated with longevity, like a grandparent's contribution to a family. Because of such uncertainties the CDC won't put a price tag on savings from smoking.

"The natural train of logic that follows from that is that then anybody that's admitted around age 65 or older that's showing any signs of sickness should be denied treatment," Pechacek said. "That's the cheapest thing to do."

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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3.9 / 5 (12) Apr 08, 2009
neither of them "cost" society anything as this is not a totalitarian state, they are not owned by society, and therefore do note have an proper ammount of X they have to give to it or else society is cheated.

unless this is a farm and you are trying to have better productivity reports, and trying to see who is worth more than another (to you and your interests) the whole concept of costing society is a false argument (as is a whole bunch of others).

whats interesting is that its selectively applied or rather haphazardly applied so that the nonsense of it doesnt come out because we dont apply it to everything to see the nonsense, just to things that seem like its great.

smoking. we dont like it thanks to a huge propaganda campaign (not because we chose not to like it), and so we start to try to justify the intrusion because a presumptive end justifies the means (seldom do we get that end).

how do you justify invading the life of a free person so as to increase their productivity as if they are farm horses? well, you come up with some inanity that makes everyone else in society feel cheated becuase this person is enjoying life (eventually this practice will lead to work and nothing else)

who has rights to the labor of that individual? the state? society? well if your totalitarian communist you would say, yes the state, yes society.

if that is so, then those who commit abortion are cheating society out of a lifetime of a persons productivity. the productivity of 50 million people since abortion started in the united states. worldwide the population of a country the size of italy.

why are we not concerned with the cost of the loss of productivity of the person not allowed to live?

because the argument doesnt serve the purpose of putting a millstone around peoples lives and controlling them under the presumption that the people that run the farm, own the farm.

you cant achieve ends that you promise uness you can contrll the means. and controlling the means is controllnig people. social scientists are so high and mighty but they refuse to see that they are just making up policies and experimenting on children and people en masse. if they wanted to do such to a small number they woudl ahve to get approval and forms, but they can do it to a quarter million by asserting they know what the manipuation will do.

who gives them the rigth to manipulate? oh, the same mentality that says without the manipulation these people are costing us.

the truth is that none of them are costing us anything. the kind of world that the presumption describes cant exist, can never exist, and isnt even consistent as a fantasy. your not costing socieyt more by living longer, your not costing society if your smoking and not working as much, and your not costing society if your wealthy and you fritter like paris hilton. no one has a standard productive capacity, because people are FREE.

or are we accepting the fact that people are not free, they are owned by their leaders, and can be compelled to work, and their choices are only to be looked at as if they were cattle and we were optimizing production... for then, old cattle are a waste, smoking cattle are less productive, adventurous cattle cost more, and on and on... with the contradiction that culling the herd by abortion is not removing productive capacity, but just maintaining optimum numbers of cattle.

so which is it? are we owned, or are we free?
do we fulfuil the communist george barnard shaws missive that each shuld justify their existence every 5 years?

and why do some hacve the right to look at others that way and by so doing get to excuse themselves from such outcomes?

4 / 5 (3) Apr 08, 2009
I think i understand your angst here. But this really is just a data point. It isn't really analyzing why people cost the government money or even if they should. Just that they do. (on average)

Most people, have paid into social security and taxes. They weren't given a choice when doing so. They then rightfully expect to collect on all the money they paid in over their lifetimes when they cant work anymore. They are now a 'cost' to the society money pool. In the pure libertarian world where individuals could actually choose their own amount of cooperation with the collective, all your issues would be addressed. But given that that form of government doesn't exist and probably never can, we have to work out our issues given the current government/taxation/society systems (i.e. the messy real world) we have.
4 / 5 (1) Apr 08, 2009
ArtflDgr: What an unexpected and reasoned response! You made my day.

oh... and MenaceSan, it would be incorrect to say "rightfully expect to collect on the money they paid in". That is not how the system works. It is a ponze scheme and has always been one. If one thinks Madoff is a bad guy -- he is chump change.
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 08, 2009
Well excuse me guys but isn't this all a bit asinine?
Aren't there a whole lot of issues being ignored by the writer and those he reports?

Surely the relevant question is: What is the real effect on the quality of people's existence? Economists like to believe that they are getting to the nitty-gritty details of life when creating mathematical models. They don't seem to understand that reducing the evaluation of life and human values just to comparisons of money's worth is ultimately self-defeating; they become incapable of relating to the very people who create the value the economists purport to be measuring.

I think however that ArtfulDodger is oversimplifying things. "Freedom" is not simply a lack of constraint, the ability to do whatever you like. Freedom entails taking responsibility for your actions. Perhaps one way of dealing with the economic rationalists - who could be rudely characterised as running-dogs of the laissez faire bandit capitalists - [grin] might be to ascribe to everyone in the society a lifetime running balance account: resources absorbed from the commonwealth versus resources contributed to the commonwealth. Contributions obviously would include tax revenues paid [actually paid that is] but could also include attributed money's worth representing other forms of good created and relinquished into the commonwealth. Conversely, services and amenities received in the forms of social security payments, public-sourced subsidies of education, health care, policing, libraries, roads, etc could also be accounted and a balance ascribed, with adjudication where necessary of course.

I think it would be very interesting to see a deep and honest record and analysis of lives such as this. I think some of the self aggrandising celebrities, entrepreneurs, lawyers, politicians, and criminals who get caught would all be mortified to realise that a great deal of what they have been doing was not actually creating value at all; they just managed to position themselves so as to amass value created by the labours of others. This is not to say that any particular social class, ethnic group, age group, gender, etc is better than any other. Rather, what I'm saying is that an ACCURATE analysis of the actual value created by people's labour, including in the account reasonable assessments of 'externalised' costs in terms of social and environmental consequences would show up who creates net increase of value, what kinds of life style best serve to improve the quality of existence, what things are really worth doing. It may well turn our that the best thing sometimes is just to pay people enough to stay alive and healthy and let them do the volunteering that brings most meaning to their existence. Others - the majority perhaps will be found to be much better off in structured large work organisations. Who knows? Consider this: an analysis in Australia some years ago came to the conclusion that unpaid labour at home and by people volunteering in various organisations contributed labour value equivalent to about 60% of that measured as GDP!
2 / 5 (4) Apr 08, 2009
I think however that ArtfulDodger is oversimplifying things. "Freedom" is not simply a lack of constraint, the ability to do whatever you like. Freedom entails taking responsibility for your actions

I never said or argued absolute freedom vs limited freedom. John stewart mill said everything on that better than I would or could, as did many others who are ignored today.

The person who smokes (and does not try to benefit from it in court), is a person who is taking responsibility for their actions. They are going to die early in exchange for the pleasures they are stacking up today. The way others feel about the outcome doesn%u2019t give them any rights to effect a change in the first person%u2019s life to change that outcome.

The act of a smoker does not remove the rights of others, and so the smoker in a free society (not a anarchistic one), does not deny anyone else their rights.

Perhaps one way of dealing with the economic rationalists - who could be rudely characterized as running-dogs of the laissez faire bandit capitalists - [grin] might be to ascribe to everyone in the society a lifetime running balance account: resources absorbed from the commonwealth versus resources contributed to the commonwealth.

Well now I know you%u2019re a communist who has never lived under such a system, as my family did. Your now paraphrasing George Barnard Shaw in saying that everyone should stand before a council every five years and justify their existence.

In your system, 50% of the population in this free country would be in BIG trouble as they take more than they give. Like a true communist you can%u2019t see the implications and outcomes of your points.

It was such thinking that led the Spartans to murder the infirm, the romans to leave babies to the wolves, the Germans to exterminate the dysgenic, the Russians making new socialist man, and on and on.

May I ask who is the god that will chair that session do decie what others are worth? Does it man that if I have a lot more worth, I can just pay the difference and murder them? (it did in history).

I am not the one that is oversimplifying, your oversimplifying till you see no implications to your suggestions other than the target you fantasize about, but your suggestions can NEVER lead there. How can they?

And under your plan, not only would every welfare recipient, every infirm person, be in trouble, but every person that works for the state, since the state is not productive, their WHOLE LIFES salary is a negative on the books.

I think it would be very interesting to see a deep and honest record and analysis of lives such as this. I think some of the self aggrandising celebrities, entrepreneurs, lawyers, politicians, and criminals who get caught would all be mortified to realise that a great deal of what they have been doing was not actually creating value at all; they just managed to position themselves so as to amass value created by the labours of others.

Spoken like a true communist%u2026 for the communists have no idea what value is. and from your writing you have no idea what it is. You follow an ideology that denies there are absolutes that then contradicts itself by saying that value is an absolute and fixed concept.

But its not. VALUE IS CONTEXTUAL%u2026 does a plate of food always have the same value? really? Or is a plate of food worth more to a starving person, or is it worth more to the obese?

I am going to WAKE you up and I am going to make capitalism make sense to you. I will in one paragraph get you to let go of your idea that these people you listed, entrepreneurs, lawyers, politicians, stars, etc%u2026 all make lots of money%u2026. But not providing value.

You want to know why a baseball player gets 30 million, a teacher gets 30k, and you are very poor?

Easy. You say that these (other than you) create no value, and so they shouldn%u2019t have the money%u2026 but in the world what has the GREATEST VALUE? I will give you a hint, its in the constitution, but no one gets it.


You make almost no one happy%u2026 so you make almost nothing.

The teacher makes a small group of people happy%u2026 (employer, students, parents, etc)

The baseball player can make a million people happy in one hour.

You don%u2019t persue your own happiness, you persue and provide others their happiness.

If you have an apple, who would you make happier selling it? The starving person or the obese person? the starving person of course, and so the starving person would pay more (and it doesn%u2019t have to be money if there are no minimum wage laws, and rights to medical care, and such!!!)

You cant set an absolute value because you cant measure how happy something will make others. and others will NOT part with their money (without force) unless they are made happy.

A magician is an honest con man. he tells you he is going to cheat you. he is going to trick you out of your money. But he is honest, he says he is only going to take what you are willing to give him, in exchange for being made happy watching the con without the pain of loss%u2026 so he makes a lot more than a gas station attendant.

They didn%u2019t position themselves, some mhystic thing that your ideology does not let you grasp, since its not built on merit but envy and jealousy. Two of the most unproductive forces of man.

Merit allows one to position oneself as being able to figure out what you do best and what you can do to make others happy. Socialists think that everyoje else is there to make them happy%u2026 and they sit and whine that its not happening. then they give all the power to a despot to make it happen, but they don%u2019t get it then either.

Alas, they are envious of the capitalists%u2026 why do they have so much? why can they solve these problems? Why can they get so much that the presidents wife feeding the homeless has her picture taken by the homelss with their cell phones? Go ahead, take a look at the news photo. homeless people with cell phones, and yet we cant see the wealth trickle downwards? Do the homeless in china have cell phones? How about russia? Cuba?

No, in the west where they are oppressed, the homeless have cell phones, medical care, and housing%u2026 of which it%u2019s a negative burden in excess of half our GDP%u2026

Did you wake up yet?

Rather, what I'm saying is that an ACCURATE analysis of the actual value created by people's labour, including in the account reasonable assessments of 'externalised' costs in terms of social and environmental consequences would show up who creates net increase of value, what kinds of life style best serve to improve the quality of existence, what things are really worth doing

Not possible and only a communist completely ignorant of what value is would say that.

By the way%u2026 marx never earned in his life. he was a parasite%u2026 according to your own words, marx was a waste to society%u2026 he produced nothing of value, what he did produce created more misery, torture, pain, and horrors than mankind or the universe had ever seen!!!! In one winter Stalin starved to death the population of NY city and outlying areas.


Because Stalin learned from a parasite what value was, as did you.

While the American founders and the immigrants that come her to change their lives, learned what REAL value is. which is why they have more, do more, and bring back more to their home countries.

America did not isolate itself and then keep hidden how it makes all this stuff. it freely shares that with the world.

Capitalists do not see this as a zero sum game because they see the whole universe, solar system, and reality through time%u2026

You cant run out of natural reasources%u2026 its impossible%u2026 except in the mind..

In 1 million years what will be of the garbage? Why do we need to store nuclear waste for 10,000 years when in less than 200 we will be in space (or are we not to be allowed to do so?) and can send it to the sun%u2026

If we moved every human on the planet to texas, everyone would get an acre or more of land%u2026 that%u2019s how big this place is%u2026 but in our minds, no.

You are frustrated%u2026 mostly because what they taught you were the lies of a parasite fomented by con artists who could not succeed by merit and so succeed by other means, like teaching you garbage.

What they taught you doesn%u2019t work. you were taught we are all the same%u2026 but that%u2019s a lie%u2026 if we are all the same, all value is the same, since everyone is a clone and has the same value%u2026 but this is not true, since some will be born first, others later, some will be over here others over there. so none of this is valid.

You assume that others get what they get by greed. Why? because we are all the same and if you cant succeed easily, then they must be better at cheating than you are.

A communist looks at the wealthy and says %u201Cno one should live like that%u201D

And true to form, the majorioty in communist countries are miserable, they are not living as well as the politicians and their chronies%u2026 no one lives like that.

A capitalist looks at a wealthy person and says %u201Ceveryone should live like that%u201D

And true to form, you have a computer to key on. you have cell phone. A nice apartment or home%u2026 you can choose to work at what you want, you can choose to earn more, or less. youc anchange yoru course at will. libraries created by Andrew Carnegie dot the landscape and provide you all the knowlege you need to succeed. Organizations are there to help you succeed.


They can choose to live as they wish, they can get together and work together for an end. they can figure out how to make people happy, and they will earn for it.

But they are too busy waiting for the world to make them happy first. And they don%u2019t appreciate what they world is giving them to make them happy!!! None of it is enough because someone who chooses not to sit around and vegetate has more than them.

Time for wake up lesson number two..
Want to know why you hate capitalism, and like socialism?

Because in a socaiilst state the state is in charge, and you can blame everyone else for your failure to get someplace and the outcome of your life.

In a capitalist state, you can only blame yourself. You cant blame the government, they didn%u2019t fail you as it wasn%u2019t their job. you cant blame the capitalists, as they are actually making a fertile place for you to succeed. Try working a farm in northern china vs hong kong and see who has opportunity.

You have no one to blame but yourself%u2026 you chose to accept a false ideology%u2026

In fact, you don%u2019t get that an ideology attempts to simplify life so that you dont have to learn the rules of the real world, which are complex, difficult, and have no mercy. You only have to learn the rules of the ideology and life will be perfect (for the leaders).

Look at the stock market. can you really blame bush for your lack of success? Or can you only blame your entitlement attitude, and your inability to understand what REAL value is.

You belive in the labortheory of value? why? because it uplifts the lazy person who does nothting to change their lives to being the key important cog. But the key important cog is so fluffed with self delusion, that ethy never see that those who are complimenting them and uplifting them are putting them to work and keeping all the output.

Your hunger for self agrandisment exceeds your hunger to earn what is to be yours. So they appeal to your VANITY with a lie. No, the person organizing and running a business with 50,000 people really has no skills, you. yes you are the one, the broomsweep that is clearly the key and the important part of that company and should earn as much as that do nothing in the office.

That%u2019s what you believe, even if you don%u2019t realize it. and everything is someone elsees fault. Nothing is yours, so your life never changes.

Lawyers didn%u2019t %u201Cposition themselves%u201D, they are not immortal. Whats stoppingg you from learning law? YOU. entreprenures are positioned? Whats stopping you? well you have no idea what value is, so you have no idea what would get you returns. you believe that he is not a meritocritous worker who has skills you don%u2019t, ability to handle risk you don%u2019t, and willing to earn the experience through hard knocks that you wont. Much easier for you to believe that he is not good, that way you can hate the people that give you a chance to live better if you want it. (after all, what stops you from working for them, learning what they do, and then starting your own business and doing it better? nothing but you!!!)

The world owes you NOTHING.
What you achieve or fail to achieve is directly related to what you choose to do or choose not to do.

It may well turn our that the best thing sometimes is just to pay people enough to stay alive and healthy and let them do the volunteering that brings most meaning to their existence.

You mean like the charities that started hospitals, and other things? socialism kills that. duh.

Others - the majority perhaps will be found to be much better off in structured large work organisations.

Who decides? Maybe I will make you the cesspool cleaner%u2026 its how russia worked (or didn%u2019t) at one time. and I bet you would be happy with the books they provided that let you get products. Of course the books for the politicians who assign the work you will do are better, as are the military ones. you get 1200 calories a day%u2026 regardless of your size, and needs%u2026 the politburo wives get to have fur coats.

Of course you are only living a fantasy%u2026 here is a few samples of reality

Jones also tells of the city's ballet director ordering a performance before Soviet officials even though all her dancers had scurvy and their legs were too weak to perform the classics: "The concert commenced, with the starving dancers struggling to entertain the self-satisfied and well-fed." One dancer collapsed at intermission, "vomiting up the small amounts of bread he had been given."


Food rationing left many citizens with only 500 calories a day, month after month%u2014adults normally need 2,000 to 2,500%u2014but Communist Party leaders and their families ate well. Jones tells the story well by quoting survivors like Elena Skrjabina who found herself in a vehicle with her starving children alongside an official's wife and her two well-fed girls who were gorging on fried chicken and meat pies. They didn't offer any of it to their fellow passengers, even as Skrjabina's son fainted.

Unless your well connected to the heads of state sir%u2026 your not going to be like the leaders, your going to live more like Elena. Maybe you might want to read about "Chagnits" and how they selected weak companions for their travels.

You might want to read more REAL history%u2026
not rated yet Apr 08, 2009
You really need to preview your posts.
not rated yet Apr 08, 2009
You really need to preview your posts.

Who would have the time to preview all that?

On second thought, anyone who has time to bang out 2,652 words in a single comment reply to another post must not have much going on in his life to begin with. So yeah-- preview your self-gratifying manifesto before hitting "Submit!"
1 / 5 (1) Apr 08, 2009
People have been arguing about whether smokers are a net drain or gain on health care costs and while it is nice to get some serious analysis this will likely not end the debate.

I find it amusing that thin and healthy people may actually be a bigger drag on costs than those of us who are a bit out of shape, given how the health Nazis moralize so much about out blight on society.

The issue of stress is not addressed in the article. People complain about lost productivity from smoke breaks and then claim that taking a break from work increases concentration and output. I know from experience that even when breaks are supposed to be mandatory due to union regulations, only smokers really take them and they are often the more productive workers in the office.

Maybe instead of scrutinizing every choice a person makes to see if they are healthy and moral and cost effective people should mind their own business. If people spent half as much time trying to find ways to improve society as they do scrutinizing individuals to make themselves feel holier than others our societies would actually improve.
1 / 5 (2) Apr 09, 2009
Well, I type around 100-120 wpm... so it only takes me about 10 mins during lunch to bang out something that size. I am also very well educated, so I don%u2019t have to look everything up, or check to see if I am repeating the collective%u2019s missives.

But the kicker is how they work the size angle, not the information angle.. That either its too small, or too large.. It%u2019s like debating with a chronic goldilocks. This response is too small, this response is too big, this response promotes the states position, so this one is just right. The point is that they cant argue against the debated position, so in a hissy fit they start trying to appear to win by other means. if they could see me, they would pick up on my looks. Anything, as long as they don%u2019t look bad or stupid, or be on the wrong side of the argument (and not wiling to switch).

By the way... If you do have some control over yourself.. You can choose to move along and not read my post. Which is more mental. A person who can make a point in an interesting subject, maybe too long, but a valid point.

Or a person who knows that they don%u2019t like long posts subjecting themselves to the long post in a masochistic way? then go about commenting as if they were Paris Hilton and anyone cared as to the meta missive of length. Sounds like King George telling Mozart there are too many notes (and no the analogy does not stretch all the way till they are kings and I am Mozart). Yes, for minds like theirs, there may be too many words for them to understand, too many concepts, too much pithy connection and no ability to refute the position.

How about not being a totalitarian control freak dictating to the world how it should be to make you happy? Nah... They claim I have no life because of the length of my post. But obviously being educated, I do have a life. The point is that they have so small a life, that the best they can do is look and judge pieces by size and then spend time telling the world.

Oh, how erudite you both were%u2026 you have improved the world with such wisdom. You have decided that image is everything content is nothing%u2026 by the way, I am old enough and smart enough to know that they are just parrots running interference. That is, they wouldn%u2019t like my post if it was professor of English neat any more than they like is sloppy. They wouldn%u2019t like it shorter either%u2026

The real problem and the funniest part:
They have no refutation for my point!!!

And there are only three reasons why!

The first is that they are not smart enough to understand the point, and so they are indignant, but not able enough too cogent a debatable position. But they are obsessed with being in the debate. So they have to say something, even if it announces that they are not that bright. (Well, maybe such erudition makes them appear bright to other contemporary morons).

The second reason is that they didn%u2019t get the right answer from the collective. Which is why collectives favor the dumb (intelligence is rare, so being a part of a collective, is relying on the mass of less intelligence). They have not heard one of their leaders refute my point, and so they can%u2019t sound right parroting the answer. When this happens, they have been taught to go after the speaker or the length of the missive, or their religion, or lack of religion%u2026 they can%u2019t think at all for themselves, and can%u2019t be smart without the canned response, so they get all testy and try to bait the real thinker into doing a lot of work. Like saying it%u2019s not linked to veracity, so they link to the sources. Then say it%u2019s too long, so they try to shorten it, but can%u2019t make the point, etc.

[Guess what, the cure for this is easy%u2026 you ignore them. if they can%u2019t put anything in of any use, then they are just static and noise. Why listen to noise, you tune it out. The reason I am saying this is to teach the other smart people how to deal with such. They offer the perfect example to the situation, and the venue has a lot of frustrated nice naïve people that can use the advice. Don%u2019t subject yourself to such, unless you find it interesting do not be masochistic, just page down. Their posts are easy to avoid, they are mostly empty and target a person, not the discussion]

But the third reason is the sweetest of all.

They can%u2019t refute or turn my argument given what the implications of doing so are. That is, if they accept my argument, then they have to accept that they are free, individual and the collective has no ownership or right to them.

And if they refute the argument, then they have to accept that they are slaves to the collective, have no rights to their own lives, owe others their lives arbitrarily for being born, and have no right to life liberty or the pursuit of happiness unless their owners would let them.

Either way, they are trapped in the realization that they are either free people who the argument are trying to enslave, or slaves who love their slavery so much that they try to defend it.

There is no valid argument to justify anything costing society%u2026

Because society doesn%u2019t exist%u2026 it%u2019s a convenient mental thing so we can talk.

It%u2019s the set of all individuals that function in a geographical area.

Its size changes instant to instant, its rules change instant to instant, the people that belong to the set change which set they belong to instant to instant.

Sets don%u2019t exist%u2026 only the individual entities that can be defined as a set do.

They do not even have these concepts down%u2026 they think a nation is something; they think that an ideology is better than facts. They think that one can check validity by length (and if so, why do they follow Marx who wrote tomes so large his followers can%u2019t read them!)

They can%u2019t think for themselves%u2026 and hate those who can.

That is, the can only PRETEND to be smart when the whole thing is dialogued for them. That is they can%u2019t work out a real position.

I care not to please everyone... nor do I think that my words are all that important. So it%u2019s not a self gratifying manifesto... (Manifestos are actually MUCH larger. but to a limited mentality, maybe it is).

What I did was put something interesting into the conversation... something that said your own life is your own, and you owe no one anything for it.

And in the second post I showed how if you accept the argument you get these implications%u2026 but they don%u2019t get that, because the ones they parrot didn%u2019t tell them the answers to give.

If you accept the argument that cigs or anything else costs society.

You accept that the set owns the members of that set

You haven%u2019t worked out if the person can leave that set?
Or can they immigrate into it?

Wouldn%u2019t immigration cause a larger loss of productivity to that society than a smoker who stayed and worked all their lives?

Ah well.

I tend to get tired watching such people sit and stare, get glassy eyed and drool like a cat that had too much catnip and is punch drunk stupid.

So I wasn%u2019t writing for their enjoyment%u2026 I was writing for the enjoyment of the more erudite, intelligent, and capable and content focused.

Oh.. And I went a bit slower%u2026 so now they will not be able to say preview it%u2026
But will have to find some other nonsense off subject to grouse about%u2026
After all they are masochistic, and obsessive in their misery.

[oh, and by the way, this website post system doesnt have a preview!!!]
not rated yet Apr 11, 2009
Finally! supporting evidence for what i have been saying for years...smokers are the only minority that it is socially and politically acceptable to abuse with unfair and unjustly high taxation using skewed and utterly one-sided data. I feel vindicated!
I am not a promoter of smoking,i am an addict.I have been,likely,since before I was born. It was the fifties..we knew far less...I blame no's just what it was, and is.
If the government was truly interested in ending this addiction it would enforce the laws banning sales to minors,ban all tobacco advertising,and do what is necessary to encourage the young to avoid this pitfall, but let those who must continue, do so without unjust and unfair burdens.But that wont happen...its a revenue stream the government does not want to lose..and will cite skewed data and fallacies to perpetuate it.
But the tobacco industry too must accept its fate.
Few industries are offered the luxury of so accurately calculating what their future market and revenues will be. Four to five decades to plan alternative endeavors for the future of their businesses. If only all business could enjoy that. NO excuse!
To the auther and researchers..I say BRAVO! the guts to state the truth...six stars!
1 / 5 (1) Apr 20, 2009
Torture Versus War

WHEN the Central Intelligence Agency obliterates a dozen suspected terrorists, along with assorted family members, with a missile from a drone, the news rarely stirs a strong reaction far beyond Pakistan.

Yet the waterboarding of three operatives from Al Qaeda %u2014 one of them the admitted murderer of 3,000 people as organizer of the 9/11 attacks %u2014 has stirred years of recriminations, calls for prosecution and national soul-searching.

What is it about the terrible intimacy of torture that so disturbs and captivates the public? Why has torture long been singled out for special condemnation in the law of war, when war brings death and suffering on a scale that dwarfs the torture chamber?

Those questions arose with new force last week, as President Obama settled a battle between the C.I.A. and the Justice Department by siding with the latter and releasing four excruciatingly detailed legal opinions from the department, written in 2002 and 2005, justifying brutal interrogations. But he also repeated his opposition to a lengthy inquiry into the program, saying that %u201Cnothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.%u201D The C.I.A. officers who were acting on the Justice Department%u2019s legal advice would not be prosecuted, he said.

In their meticulousness, and even their elaborate rules intended to prevent death or permanent injury, the memos became the object of fascination and dread. Who knew that along with waterboarding and wall-slamming, cold cells and sleep deprivation up to 180 hours, the approved invasions of the prisoner%u2019s space included the %u201Cfacial hold%u201D %u2014 essentially what grandma does to a visiting grandchild who misbehaves %u2014 with hands holding the sides of the head as questions are asked.

%u201CThe fingertips are kept well away from the individual%u2019s eyes,%u201D the memo helpfully adds.

In releasing the memos, Mr. Obama again denounced harsh interrogation as unworthy of the United States and said the country %u201Cmust reject the false choice between our security and our ideals.%u201D He and other critics have often stated their objections: torture or near-torture can produce false information; it handicaps the United States in a battle of ideas; it can be a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda.

At the same time, public opinion has shown less horror over the strikes carried out by Hellfire missiles fired from Predator drones in the weeks since those deadly missions have been embraced and even expanded to new territories under Mr. Obama. This is presumably because the president%u2019s implicit view of the relative moral status of these two ways of responding to terrorists is widely shared.

One former C.I.A. official, who in the current atmosphere insisted on not being named, and whose duties at times included briefing the Congressional intelligence committees, said he was bemused by reactions of lawmakers on those panels. Members would be thrilled and cheered by the Predator strike videos he would bring along %u2014 and then grill and berate him over the agency%u2019s interrogation methods.

The hands-on nature of torture lends it particular power, said Andrea Northwood, a psychologist who has treated hundreds of people at the Center for Victims of Torture in Minneapolis. Even when the victim is a figure like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the 9/11 plotter, torture carries a vicarious chill.

%u201CIt%u2019s a profoundly affecting tool in evoking primal terror,%u201D Dr. Northwood said. %u201CWe can easily put ourselves in that situation, and that terrifies us.%u201D

Darius Rejali, the author of %u201CTorture and Democracy,%u201D a massive 2007 history of the myriad ways humans have tormented other humans, said he had often been struck by the disproportionate emotional response to death and torture.

%u201CWhat%u2019s fascinating to people about torture is it gives one person absolute power over another, which is both alluring and corrupting,%u201D said Dr. Rejali, a professor of political science at Reed College. Torture, like slavery, corrupts both individuals and societies, he said.

But what about the absolute power of the C.I.A. %u201Cpilot,%u201D thousands of miles from his unmanned aerial vehicle, who pushes a button and unleashes distant death?

As a different former C.I.A. official said, %u201CImagine a Hellfire missile coming through your roof. You die in a burning pile of rubble. Isn%u2019t that torture?%u201D

Not quite, Dr. Rejali responds. %u201CThe people you%u2019re killing with a Predator,%u201D he said, %u201Care not detained and helpless.%u201D

Ever since word leaked that the C.I.A. subjected Mr. Mohammed and two other prisoners in 2002 and early 2003 to waterboarding, the near-drowning method with a pedigree stretching back to the Spanish Inquisition and beyond, that fact has resonated powerfully in American politics.

In 2007, long after the events, Michael B. Mukasey%u2019s nomination as attorney general almost faltered when he refused to call waterboarding torture. Mr. Obama%u2019s choice to head the Justice Department, Eric H. Holder Jr., swiftly and strongly declared what to many people was the obvious, as did Leon E. Panetta, the new C.I.A. director.

What the episodes showed is what Senator John McCain, perhaps this country%u2019s most famous torture victim, has often said about why the United States must not use it: %u201CIt%u2019s not about the terrorists,%u201D he says. %u201CIt%u2019s about us.%u201D

It may be that the revelations of the interrogation memos, ending the secrecy about what was done, will quiet the furor over torture. But it seems unlikely. So far every new disclosure about the intimate brutality carried out in the name of national security has only provoked more questions.

you dont know me, and anyone who would say that about a stranger they dont know, is more of an ass than someone that uses too many words to make a point.

where is your refutation of the facts or the point?

oh. there isnt any... with such a long post/s, i gave you absolutely no wiggle room.

you either are owned by the collective, and they can do with you what they wish, or you are the owner of yourself, and your actions are not owed to the collective.

telling me i have to preview, says what?

that upon looking at it i would see its size and say...

sorry, only small ideas for small minds, and then cut it down to the size the dhuges can handle.

teeny tiny child bites, not a decent answer.

i AM well educated... i went to bronx science, barnard baruch... and lots of other things.

but in case you didnt notice, that was said in response to those who didnt like my response.

that was not a precursor to an argument by authority.

i gave every point that you could argue.

i make people with feeble minds like yours feel bad

they cant participate, they came to a gun fight with a rubber band.. and operating anything more complex than a rubber band is beyong them, ergo such poor discussion habits.

the most interesting is how the idiots pull the tall poppy syndrom to the fore.

inside your head you are thinking: he is better and smarter than me, so with my wand of procrustees i cut you down at the knees so we are more equal!!!

procrustes in our midst.

in your world, anyone smarter than you and not yet elevated to god status by fame, should be trimmed down so that there are no poppies taller than you!!

so hughes, your desease has a name. its envy, jealously, and procrustean collectivism...

Tall Poppy Syndrome (TPS) is a pejorative term used in Australia, New Zealand and Canada to describe what is seen as a levelling social attitude. Someone is said to be a target of tall poppy syndrome when his or her assumption of a higher economic, social, or political position is criticised as being presumptuous, attention seeking, or without merit. Alternatively, it is seen as a societal phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are criticised or resented because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers.

so either comment on the point or shut up...

opening your mouth the way you did, to shut me up by other means, is NOT debate.

it also shows that your the one with profound social problems and a big chip on your shoulder over a deep rooted inferiority complex where you ahve to lower the other by other means to not feel diminutive in their presence.

such a sad mind in such a little person.

not rated yet Apr 21, 2009
artfldgr...what does that have to do with the research being disscussed?

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