Indonesian spices and tobacco make for an excellent smoking experience. Indeed, even those who look askance at regular cigarettes typically enjoy the unique aroma created by the product that incorporates those two elements: the clove cigarette. Crunchy types especially are known to travel about with a cloud of South-Pacific spice over their heads.
However, as of Sept. 22, at least in these United States, cloves have been banned at the behest of busybody progressives and legislators who, without a source of honest work, perpetually seek to manufacture problems — which they then omnisciently solve by coercive fiat.
The most avaricious of those busybodies, our venerable President, leapt at the opportunity to dismantle more of his people's liberties when he signed the legislation that serves as the legal foundation for this ban, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. And in so doing this past June, he caused a dramatic shift in U.S. policy by empowering the secular priests — excuse me, federal FDA regulators — to seek the very ban which came into effect on Sept. 22.
In their press release, the swine at the FDA wrote, "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today a ban on cigarettes with flavors characterizing fruit, candy, or clove. The ban, authorized by the new Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, is part of a national effort by the FDA to reduce smoking in America."
In a stinging bit of irony, menthol cigarettes remain untouched (for the time being). Word has it that the Congressional Black Caucus was largely responsible for this inconsistent exemption.
Besides allowing for the banning of a whole class of cigarettes, the legislation dramatically shifted the FDA's regulatory purview by allowing it to police tobacco for the first time. Since FDA stands for Food and Drug Administration, it is curious why this obese bureaucratic blob would now regulate a plant that has nothing to do with the agency's original mission.
Maybe the progressives can explain that anomaly to me. Conservatives, with their longstanding claim that bureaucracies only seek to expand in order to feel legitimate and important, must be wrong. Right?
But until that time, I shall simply note that cloves are only the most recent victim of an autocratic tendency in modern, "social-contract" governments to compel others to cease behaviors that some find annoying. Common is the claim that a schoolmarm concern for smokers' health is the real reason behind the ban; but those who recognize Puritanism across the ages are not convinced.
In the past — and presently, for the remnant faithful — churches and ministers, families and spouses, friends and neighbors would address these matters if they actually were worrisome. Now we have a government agency, with a team of Jacobin-esque experts and horny bureaucrats, all subsisting on the public dollar, to replace the traditional institutions of marriage, family and church.
But I suppose that is what Marxists, and their progressive cousins, want.
Yes, I am making the claim that the decline in the traditional European family is causally linked to the federal ban on clove cigarettes. Now, I cannot explain why some people simply hate liberty, and thus think they have the authority to coerce people to stop smoking clove cigarettes.
Yet I am very confident that, were "archaic" religious rearing and conservative familial attitudes more prevalent, those who hate liberty would have less success in foisting their pet peeves into public law. They would instead raise their families according to such preferences.
Which brings me to two fundamental points: those who love liberty should love the traditional family; and those who do not admire the conspirators that thieve after the liberty to smoke should not admire the current President. I would wager that this column alone will not convince cultural levelers to concede my first point, but they should at least concede the second.
Our President is the enemy of liberty, quite honestly, in most things. Yet he is especially the enemy of tobacco connoisseurs, and even those whose drags fall well below the threshold needed to be called a dreaded "smoker." I suppose that, as with the philosopher in Plato's Allegory of the Cave, that enlightened former smoker has returned to bring illumination, in the form of prohibition.
Whatever. Most fellow undergraduates were cheering when he made the donkey move of going all-in with outdated Keynesian theory this past February, so I really cannot expect that they will be moved by an appeal to their aromatic pleasures. As long as he means well, what could really go wrong?
Two last ironies, if I may. The ban has caused a slight rift in relations with Indonesia, the major producer of clove cigarettes. It looks like the President is not always the solver of all international disputes.
Also, lest we forget, American Indians gave us the horrible leaf. In an age when Columbus Day is deemed unacceptable as a holiday because of the explorer's actions in the New World, one would think that the preservation of Indian culture would be a priority.
Oh, well. Federal experts know best.
Sean Quigley '10 smoked his first tobacco with his high school chaplain. He can be reached at sean.b.quigley(at)gmail.com.