Readers write about the US government's role in the global tobacco industry, whether the Democrats will end partisanship in Washington, and Europe's reaction to the election of Barack Obama.
Government role in the global tobacco industry
Regarding the Nov. 18 Opinion piece, "America's 'height of hypocrisy' on tobacco": Author Peter Fromuth makes a case that tobacco is some form of special, evil product, far different from normal products, such as, say, cookies. He makes this assumption on the basis that tobacco is bad for one's health. He concludes that it is the US government's duty to lead the fight against the great and powerful tobacco companies.
What he leaves out is the fact that tobacco is not being forced on anyone. No one is being threatened, coerced, or lied to. Indeed, the damaging effects of cigarettes are well known throughout the world. People know they're dangerous, and yet still consider the risk worth it, and so voluntarily provide the tobacco companies with their money, in return for the value that tobacco brings them.
Governments have no right to decide what rational individuals can trade among each other, as long as coercion is not involved and it is not a national security issue.
If there are any Americans left who still believe that we, as a nation, always act only out of benevolence, let them read this commentary. It is not only our tobacco companies that are directly responsible for millions of deaths worldwide, but also our government and lawmakers through the legislation they pass. How dare we point the finger at other countries when it comes to hard drugs, while at the same time, we blatantly push on the world one of the most lethal drugs known to man.
Will Democrats reach across the aisle?