From Cigarettes to Guns to Opioids

UPDATED 09/29/17

Here we go again, blaming the manufacturer instead of the user.

Cigarettes were known to be a health hazard long before the link between smoking and lung cancer was proved. But people continued to smoke, even after the unsurprising news about the link became official. People who wanted to smoke just fooled themselves into believing that cancer couldn’t happen to them. Or they just didn’t contemplate it. They could have quit smoking — millions of others did — despite their so-called nicotine addiction. Whose fault was it that they didn’t quit? Did Big Tobacco hire enforcers to shove cigarettes into the mouths of smokers?

Guns don’t kill people. People with guns — and knives, baseball bats, garrotes, rebar, fists, and many other things — kill people. It’s an old truism, but valid nonetheless, that if guns are confiscated only outlaws will have guns.

Now comes the opioid “crisis” or “epidemic”, as the media like to call it. Instead of (or perhaps in addition to) an addiction to nicotine, there is apparently a growing addiction to pain-killers. There’s no addiction without an addict: a person who can’t say “no” because he doesn’t want to say “no”.

But it’s easier to blame “soulless” corporations than it is to blame people who die of lung cancer, gunshot wounds, and pain-killers. Well, it’s easier for leftists, because it plays into their denial of personal responsibility. Nothing is your fault, you see (unless you’re a straight, white male of European descent), so just lay all your troubles on Big Daddy government and he will take care of you — for “free”.

UPDATE:

I should have included the subprime mortgage crisis, which contributed greatly to the financial crisis that led to the Great Recession. The mortgage crisis had many ingredients, including pressure from Congress and regulators to boost lending to low-income persons, mortgage securitization by “Wall Street” (approved by regulators), a housing price bubble, and loose money (the Fed at work, again). But at the bottom of it all was the eagerness of low-income borrowers to get in over their heads. It’s not politic to blame them, especially because they were disproportionately black. So the blame is apportioned elsewhere, with the left’s favorite target being “Wall Street”, of course. So much for personal responsibility.

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