[FoRK] The Shift...

Jim Whitehead ejw at soe.ucsc.edu
Thu May 26 17:10:32 PDT 2005


> BTW, Jim, belated congrats. :-)

Thanks!

> This is a fascinating question.  Were they knowingly 
> hypocrites?  I'm not sure. 

The following would suggest "yes, but..."

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7842/archives/slaves3.htm

"Jefferson fought against slavery all his life.  Even in the
Declaration of Independence, he had inserted in the original draft a
section condemning the slave-trade, but that was deleted by Congress."

So, he knew the practice was wrong, worked to try and defeat it, but in the
end did not take the painful steps necessary to eliminate his participation
in the system (with some paternalistic rationalization for not doing so).
However, he was successful in inserting a kind of memetic time bomb ("we
hold these truths to be self-evident ... all men are created equal") that
did eventually lead to freedom for the slaves (at great cost).

Perhaps the same can be thought of the smoking issue. Its not possible to
eliminate workplace risk in all industries, but perhaps it's possible to
eliminate one risk (smoking) in one (restaurants/bars), and create such a
well-known example that it starts raising questions about practices in the
others.

Finally, it's not clear to me that you've shown willing cynicism on the part
of anti-smoking advocates. It seems to me they are genuinely concerned about
the health implications of smoking. They can be accused of being too narrow,
focusing only on smoking to the exclusion of other workplace hazards, but so
can many other activists (say, a PETA member who isn't also as dedicated to
upholding human rights). This is a natural outcome of the focus and
specialization required to achieve anything in modern societies.

- Jim



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