You! Put out that cigarette, for the good of the nation!
I was having a rather pleasant evening until I read this Associated Press story:
Early deaths caused by smoking cost the nation about $92 billion a year in lost productivity between 1997 and 2001, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.(entire article here)
Smoking reduces life expectancy an average of about 14 years by way of lung cancer, heart disease other illnesses, according to the CDC.
In the study, "lost productivity" meant lost wages.
This is ridiculous. The people at the Centers for Disease Control seem to think that human life and productivity are some kind of collective resource. My life and my productivity do not belong to "the nation;" they belong to me.
The article goes on to quote CDC Director Julie Gerberding:
We've made good progress in reducing the number of people who smoke, but we have much more work to do.In other words, Dr. Gerberding doesn't give credit to former smokers for quitting smoking; she attributes it to herself and her fellow bureaucrats. According to Dr. Gerberding, smoking is not a matter of individual choice, it is something that the government needs to reduce.
Are Americans free citizens of a liberal republic, with the right to make our own decisions, and mistakes, so long as we do not infringe on the rights of others? Or are we inmates of an asylum, who need to be forcibly protected from ourselves? Fortunately, we still resemble the former more than the latter. However, our government seems more and more to view us as the latter.