Improving the quality of life by ignoring meddling naysayers

By The West Virginia Record | Mar 2, 2012

Life is fatal. Not one of us will get out alive. All things being equal, however, most of us prefer long lives to short ones and naturally associate longevity with healthy living.

Nevertheless, we frequently encounter contradictions to our preconceptions, such as the twenty-something, nonsmoking, teetotaler, vegetarian athletes who succumb to unanticipated illnesses -- and the nonagenarian cigar-chomping, gin-swilling, red-meat-eating layabouts who appear indestructible.

Moderation may be the key, but overindulgence seems to work just fine for some folks.

In any case, it's the dose that makes the poison, and some people clearly have a high tolerance for toxins.

Which raises the question: What is the point of warning labels that treat everyone the same?

If a nonsmoker can contract lung cancer and a lifelong puffer can escape unscathed, why force tobacco companies to put warning labels on packs of cigarettes? And what right does the government have to compel private enterprises to disseminate hortatory messages, anyway? Isn't that a violation of the First Amendment?

According to U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, it is. This week, Judge Leon ruled in favor of cigarette makers challenging federally-mandated, gruesomely graphic warning labels.

Wouldn't you know it? West Virginia Nanny-in-Chief Darrell McGraw was one of 22 state attorneys general who sought to maintain the labels.

What will Attorney General McGraw the doting do-gooder, protect us self-destructive folks from next, water?

H2O can be deadly, there's no doubt about that. Nearly 400,000 people die from drowning every year, worldwide. Will Darrell support warning labels on every bottle of Evian and Perrier exaggerating the hazards of excessive water intake? "Wear life preserver while drinking"? "Do not drink through nose"? "Do not insert self in bottle"?

Or can Darrell and all the busybodies out there – who are no more mature, educated, or wise than we are -- stop acting like they're responsible for our safety whether we like it or not? Can they possibly treat us like adults instead of children and learn to mind their own business?

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