Re: virus: Tabacco mind virus

Eva-Lise Carlstrom (
Thu, 31 Jul 1997 17:01:07 -0700 (PDT)

I've mainly been ignoring the kill-the-tobacco-execs thread, finding it
distasteful, but I guess I need to say something.

Yes, advertising and selling cigarettes is an evil way to make a
living--manipulating people into damaging their health for the sake of
your own profit.

No, that doesn't mean that killing them is justified.

And the issue of directness of killing is a red herring.

If I shoot someone dead, that's direct; if I hire someone else to do it,
that's indirect. Same culpability, IMHO. Legal labels may vary, but in
my moral landscape they're equivalent.

But attempting to convince someone to do something that is against his or
her own best interests, including even suicide, is not the same thing as
doing it or getting someone to do it for you. Memetic influence, even
when used in the service of sleazy causes like cigarette advertising or
encouraging murder, is not deadly force.

It's not a question of degree of directness, it's a question of kind of
pressure. Like the difference between seduction and rape.

Eva "I'ts 'tObacco', dammit!" Carlstrom