The internet has, unsurprisingly, exploded with the news that the FDA is proposing to print Pokémon cards on cigarette packs. But while some people tease out the not-too-subtle class warfare aspect of the new warnings, others write anonymously to Andrew Sullivan. One of those latter has an excellent point:
(Bonus points for obvious Denis Leary sketch.)
The first reader begins thus:
I have no problem with warning labels (on tobacco or anything else). That, to me, seems like a useful role for government. Consumers should be informed about the potential dangers of any product they are considering and private industry cannot always be relied upon to deliver that (as evidenced by the tobacco companies themselves).
It would be entertaining to apply this line of reasoning to other dangerous things, like motorcycles and — oh, oh, I know — bacon. The meat-packing industry sure can’t be relied upon to inform me, as a consumer of bacon, that leaving a pan full of bacon grease unattended on a hot stove could lead to a grease fire that’ll burn down my kitchen. Looking at the package of bacon in my fridge, I see no warnings. Obvious need for government intervention! Seriously, folks: grease fires are fucking scary.
*ahem* Anyway, Reader Number One finishes with a warning (from the private sector, this time, unless said reader is an astroturfing mole from a secret Three Letter Agency dedicated to providing warnings about warnings) on warning overreach:
Scare tactics are probably an effective way to prevent children from smoking. They are also a very effective way to instill distrust in the government because, generally speaking, people don’t like being deceived.
That is, flat out, the best defence of government fearmongering I have ever seen. Government should start frightening children at an early age about the dangers of smoking, drinking, undercooked pork, raw egg, drugs, terrorists, zombies, illegal immigrants, and masturbation. We’ll have an overwhelming anarchocapitalist majority by the time the next generation hits puberty.