Libertarians Come To Defense of E-Cigarette Freedom

It’s no secret that principles are in short supply among politicians of all party affiliations and ideological stripes. You just need to look at the White House to see this phenomenon in action–President Barack Obama ran for the White House on a platform of ‘peace’ and ‘rolling back Bush era civil liberties abuses’. Once he got in office, however, he expanded the reach of the endless ‘war on terror’ and used it to justify further erosion of personal freedom. While ‘Obama: Peace’ bumper stickers faded on countless Prius cars owned by members of the progressive left he became synonymous with drone warfare worldwide. The concept extended to the major political parties–Republicans who defended Bush’s actions in the “War on Terror’ have been critical of Obama while Democrats who decried Dubya as a ‘war criminal’ and silently complicit as the current President does the same thing.

The fact that lust for power trumps principles in modern politics is nothing new and is one of the reasons that the ‘usual suspects’ who railed against cigarettes and ‘second hand smoke’ are now attacking e-cigarettes despite little evidence of harm and confounding logic. The playbook is very familiar–claim that you’re restricting freedoms for adults for the ‘good of the children’ and trite concepts like logic and evidence go out the window. E-cigarettes are the latest opportunity for meddling politicians to restrict freedom while feigning concern for ‘public health’.

There is some blowback among Libertarian thinkers, however. A recent article on the website of the Libertarian journal REASON bemoaned the fact that the FDA was preparing to “irrationally decides to treat e-cigarettes as a menace to public health.” The article went on to expose the true motives of the anti e-cigarette crowd–a desire to regulate and control which is completely overshadowing any interest in public health or personal freedom.

While the Libertarian position is right on the money they’re a lone voice in the ideological wilderness. The major political parties are quick to talk about keeping the economy free of burdensome regulation and limiting the size and scope of government on the right or keeping the government out of personal lives on the left but they have no problem doing just the opposite if it’ll score them some political points.