In the musky back rooms of Congress, insider lobbyists are pushing the Federal Government to impose its authority on a domain long considered a sacrosanct corner of state’s rights: the minimum smoking age. Currently, most states only permit people 18 and over to purchase cigarettes. Under pressure from health industry activist groups, some liberal cities have even raised this age to 21. Yet considering that we allow a young person to operate farm machinery at 15, drive a car at 16, vote and enlist in the military at 18, and also emancipate themselves from their parents at the same time, what sort of message does this send to today’s youth? Does this confusing muddle of laws really do honor to the greatness that is the United States of America? Are we actually disrespecting our young men and women in uniform with such invasive, pedantic restrictions at one of the most stressful moments in their lives?
Maybe the question we should be asking is, Should the Federal Government even be in the business of regulating arbitrary ages for common social habits at all?
In the Chicago Tribune recently, reporter Dawn Rhodes made the case for this Federally mandated “21 and up” smoking age. The article is packed with statements from scientific researchers at many prestigious leftwing universities, but no room is given to critics of big government overreach. She quotes officials from the CDC and local legislators, but not once is the elephant in the room mentioned: marijuana. Yes, marijuana has proven to be a deadly addictive drug that is undermining American sovereignty and exposing our children to a lifetime of socialistic dependence, but in this big think piece, it’s not even hinted at.
It is not surprising in the least that leftist media outlets are censoring any criticism of the marijuana epidemic. In fact, this may very well be why they’re so intent on attacking cigarette smoking at this crucial moment. They want to open up the smoking market to a new breed of reefer addicts. If America ever had an honest discussion about the pot problem, we would see that this drug, which lowers sexual and moral inhibitions, is so closely associated with the liberal agenda that it could be considered the fundamental spiritual inspiration for the modern Democrat Party.
The Free Market’s Moral Authority
Considering the vast number of underhanded forces at play here — from socialist university professors to jackbooted government technocrats — isn’t it time we remember what made this nation so great in the first place? Pretty much every great innovation of the last 100 years is the result of the free market. Our inventors, free from government interference and invasive laws, have had the liberty to improve the world with things like the automobile, the telephone, the computer, the internet, frozen foods, toothpaste, dental floss, dentures, anesthesia, X-rays… And the list goes on and on.
If we let individual corporate citizens compete for cigarette sales, consumers will have the freedom (yes, I know many Americans may have forgotten what that word truly means!), the FREEDOM to decide what sort of companies they wish to patronize. Maybe consumers will demand American-made products, maybe they will avoid those businesses that are immoral and anti-Christian. And companies that actively try to solicit children who are too young will be shunned into bankruptcy. That’s the beauty of the free market, we consumers can impose our personal moral values on a company and force them to adhere to our community standards, not those formulated by some far off technocrat ensconced in some gigantic Federal agency in that swamp known as Washington, D.C.
Why, as a doctor with a long career on the frontlines of our national health crisis, am I so angry about the minimum smoking age? Because it opens the door to a whole range of Big Government intrusions on our privacy. This is how socialism works, people! They begin with small mandates, telling you that you need to do this and that you can’t do that… Next thing you know, they’re determining what shoes you can wear and what television programs you can watch. They’re censoring your newspapers and limiting the slate of candidates in the next election to a chosen few. This is not how freedom should work in America! This is the first step to a communist dictatorship!