I think it's a perfectly coherent view to say "decisions about which things to implicitly discourage should be made democratically by the people." You speak as if opening the door to "punitive packaging" logically requires (or will inevitably lead to) an overbearing nanny state, but democracy doesn't work like that. We have plenty of laws like this already, and they're pretty inconsistent. People want cigarette taxes and abortion-facility restrictions. They don't want obese people on their burger wrappers.
Democracy tends to get left out of these discussions, for some reason. This is sort of the kind of question that democracy exists to solve.
MSD, I'm not quite sure what you're saying here. Are you saying we need to be analyzing these cigarette laws in a broader context and not look at in in a vacuum? If so, I don't get why that somehow invalidates my points. Of course people don't want obese people on their burgers. And I'm saying people don't, and should not want, disturbing images on cigarette boxes. It's simply bad policy.
're: slippery slope arguments and fast food warnings.
1) a brightline can easily be drawn between cigarettes and other products if you wish to do so. You can exercise, eat fast food, and still be healthy. obesity is a combination of many factors with processed foods being just one. Same thing with guns. Buying a gun does not mean that someone's risk of getting shot automatically goes up. The link between cigarettes and public health is much more direct than either of those and there is no possible use of cigarettes that does not have drastic health consequences.
2) I am fine with graphic labeling of both guns and fast food (provided it is backed by scientific research). Don't think voters would go for it, but I don't think that violates anyone's liberties either.
3) it's interesting that you mention video games which already carry warnings. And the Wii actually interrupts game play to suggest taking a break periodically (not sure about other consoles). Are those regulations also violations of liberty? If not, what Is your brightline?
(1) Granted, there's differences, like I already stated previously. But still, why not label ALL dangerous products if we're seeking to achieve maximum public benefit and utility, under both your and Caleb's paradigm?
(2) That's a different debate for a different thread, but I'm glad to know what you stand for.
(3) See what I stated under my responses to Caleb, where I gave my brightline and responses to video games. The Wii's interruption is not a government thing but a voluntary action by Nintendo, last time I checked.
Well who decides what tangibly violates mean? And who decides when that is appropriate? Do all taxes tangibly violate property rights and freedom, I don't think so but you could argue that logically and convincingly that they do. That is where the courts come in they get to weigh the balance between public good and freedom. I think saying as long as it abides with zoning laws is also a clever dodge. Since zoning laws are just another form of the government telling you what to do just a more subtle one.
My brightline is that the government should not be forcing individuals or companies to portray their own products they're trying to market positively in a negative light. Australia's regulation is akin to forcing McDonald's to say "look, according to recent polling, our burgers are considered the worst!" (Continuing with the fast food analogies ;P) Taxes are irrelevant to this discussion, and the zoning laws response of mine is not a dodge, as that's what we have on the books now for different reasons other than the ones we're discussing.
Fast food is not addictive. Video games are restricted and do have warning labels(I think, though they may not be prominent) and age guidelines. Also a direct link between video games and violence is tougher to establish than one between tobacco and cancer. Water can kill people if you drink too much, yet nobody advocates for warning labels on water. At the same time, no one compares cigarettes to water so clearly there is a difference in scope between cigarettes and other products.
Your first statement is subjective.
Video games, if I remember correctly, have voluntary labeling and age GUIDELINES. Not mandatory images that make the game look very unappealing. But even if it's government, the ratings and labels are not intrusive and forcing the producers to say "LOOK AT HOW BAD OUR GAME IS FOR YOUR KIDS!" And that's exactly my point. There is still no unique reason why your support for cigarette companies being forced to put shocking images on their packaging should not be transferred to other potentially harmful products.
Big picture wise I have a few thoughts as well. The labels do decrease sells, but that's not the point, if cigarettes were harmless sells wouldn't decrease. The reason why the labels decrease sells is because of the danger of cigarettes. Most other products aren't nearly as dangerous or as addicting. And even if labels were placed on them sells wouldn't decrease near as much. I promise people would still buy big macs even if the wrappers had obese people on them. The reason why cigarette sells decrease are not the labels but the truth about cigarettes and the fact that that truth is being held out in the light for all to see. And yes most probably know about the danger of cigarettes, but there is a difference between knowing in the back of your head and knowing when you make a purchase. If you left this up to the cigarette companies you'd have no labels, you'd have ads on TV that talked about 4 out of 5 doctors approving smoking and ads that run during Spongebob, and ultimately you'd have an increase in smoking and in child smoking. Now, I'm not advocating for a nanny state or massive government. I'm arguing for fairness, I'm arguing that people should know or at least have a clear chance to know what they're putting in their bodies before they consume it. It's the same reason the FDA has to approve drugs before they can be sold it is to protect us. On most issues this means the government stays out of the way, because most things aren't harmful if they aren't taken to excess(then again anything taken to excess is harmful) but cigarettes even if smoked at a reasonable amount are harmful. So what I'm asking is what world do you want to live in. One where cigarette companies have freedom to do what they want and pursue their profit without restraint. Or do you want to live in a world where there are restrictions on things laws that let the truth shine laws that don't ban smoking, but laws that make sure you have full freedom of knowledge on cigarettes before you buy a pack.
I want to live in a world where we don't have an overbearing government, and where consumers are given the information they need to make proper, informed decisions. The best way to balance those two priorities IMO is the Status Quo, where we have warning labeling on cigarettes. That does not constitute a violation of liberty. Your two worlds scenario is quite simplistic and reduces my view to anarchy. This happens all to often when people misunderstand libertarian political philosophy
I'm not for total anarchy, but I'm all for minimal government and maximum freedom.
I do understand your position, I just don't agree. And I think that may be a little bit of an Argumentum ad populum just because everyone else believes it doesn't mean it is true. I do really appreciate the chance to have this discussion it helps me shape my beliefs and defend them!
Likewise, I appreciate this discussion very much.
I'm not saying "look at all these people who agree with me, so AGREE WITH ME!!!!1!!11!!1!" I'm simply pointing you back to what they said for rhetorical effect.
I feel like I also need to clarify something else: I am not necessarily in favor of laws like Australia's. From a policy standpoint, I haven't done enough research to draw a conclusion on their necessity, efficacy, or desirability. I am just responding to assertions that forcing tobacco companies to tell the truth is some unconscionable violation of freedom.
Refer to what I said earlier responding to Caleb. I, for one, have no problem with the warning labels we already have that Hammy brings up.
@Evan: I don't think that it is quite so much a black and white issue so just be careful that you aren't unjustly condemning people for holding a different viewpoint.
This is where "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice" comes in.
I get pretty zealous in defending my views sometimes, but I hope I didn't give you or anyone else the impression that I'm "condemning" others for their views. I'm open minded and willing to hear out and ponder other positions. After all, that's why we're here discussing this in the first place.
I'm not really taking a side yet, but take a look at this.
How does a picture of these results differ from them being described in words?
"A picture is worth a thousand words." Forcing companies to comply with a government edict that makes them post unappealing images on their products is bad government policy in my view.