I was not happy with the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement for many reasons.
One of my main objections was that the entire premise behind the complaint against the tobacco industry was that they used advertising to control the minds of their customers. It seems extremely obvious that the dangers of using tobacco were well established long before my birth in 1964, yet it was claimed that tens of millions of Americans were too stupid or weak minded to pay attention. Consenting adults in this country could be trusted to choose political leaders in elections, but they were helpless to resist when confronted with a picture of the Marlboro Man.
One of the most moronic claims by the anti-tobacco crowd was that the cartoon advertising mascot Joe Camel was enslaving the youth of America. It was said that children recognized Joe more readily than they did Mickey Mouse, even though the cigarette ads only ran for 9 years and giant amusement parks featuring the anthropomorphic camel were never constructed. It looked to me to be a blatant attempt to demonize an industry in order to force them to pony up some cash.
The title of this article is “10 Things the Food Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know”, and it shows that some people figure the same methods used against Big Tobacco will work just fine when applied to the food industry.
Click on that last link and all the same tricks are on display. Food companies target little kids to advertise unhealthy food. They sponsor studies that obscure the fact that unhealthy food is bad for you. The industry puts pressure on legislators to keep them from passing laws limiting consumer access to fattening and sweet foods. They bankroll front groups which fight anti-obesity laws. And so on.
This appears to me to be exactly the same tactics used against tobacco companies. They are evil, unconcerned with the health of their customers, and all too willing to employ Jedis working on Madison Avenue to use their powers on the minds of vulnerable little children. (“Broccoli is not what you want to eat! Ice Cream would be much nummier!”)
The author of the article claims that obesity is a major health concern, and I have no problem with that. But I do object to the idea that people in this country are so stupid that they just can’t figure out that eating unhealthy foods will make you unhealthy.
How long will it take before state legislatures combine resources to blackmail the food industry into making a huge payment? I figure about ten years on the outside.
I see the campaign against the tobacco industry, and now the food industry, as an attack on the free market system. Free markets means free choice, which means that individuals have to be allowed to make bad personal choices if that is what they want to do.
I mean, isn’t that the very basis of American society?