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Jonah Goldberg (courtesy

“To urban liberals, guns are like cigarettes — products that when used as intended only hurt or kill people. The real reason the war on guns has been such an abysmal failure is that they aren’t alike after all. You can’t hunt or, more importantly, defend yourself or your family with a cigarette. That’s why, in the wake of San Bernardino, millions of Americans didn’t think ‘We’ve got to get rid of guns.’ They thought ‘Maybe I should get one.’ I know I did.” – Jonah Goldberg in Smoking guns, and tobacco [via]

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  1. This is a culture war we can win. The more the Democrats push disarmament, bans, and laws the more things go our way. I’ve had devote Democrats ask me how to get a CPL recently.

    • To me , the comparison is not so much in the individual items ( gun and cigarettes ) , but in how the Progressives are choosing to demonize guns like they did cigarettes The fact is , three , four , five cigarettes a day are not going to kill anyone , 20 – 40 a day will . 2 beers a day are fine , 20 – 30 a day aren’t . A Twinkie a day , um um good , a dozen , well you get my drift .
      Progressives convinced towns , cities , businesses and ordinary folk everywhere that second hand smoke was killing people and health agencies and Liberals jumped on the ban bandwagon until smokers all over were delegated to back rooms , alleys , and outside their offices , buildings , apartments and even homes , cowering in corners and shadows .
      Then there was the war on the manufactures and the cost hikes that eliminated the strong willed , not the poor .
      The more people they were able to push from smoker to non smoker the more of a fascists mentality they were able to develop among non smokers who have now become some of the strongest critics and proponents of cigarette bans . This is a natural tendency and one that many in the progressive community believes can be duplicated with guns . Nibble away at gun ownership , demonize ownership , send the owners into the shadows raise the cost and nibble away . Convince non owners of the peripheral damage of guns and tug on the fears of how it affects children .
      Nothing needs based on facts and everything can be based on emotion and poor science but the media will jump on every story and claim , and with convincing furor , they make their charge .
      These tactics are being challenged so far , far better than the cigarette wars , but we haven’t seen their full assaults yet .

  2. Doesn’t really matter if it’s a gun or if it’s a cigarette, does it? It’s my choice to either defend or kill myself, as long as I’m not denying anyone else rights.
    And don’t pull the second hand smoke argument. You can move away

    • Some people just want to lay the claim of the being the moral busy bodies of the world, going around solving a new problem every day and then patting themselves on the back with platitudes when they are done.

  3. Well…guns and cigarettes do both get warm and smoke.
    Not a tobacco fan, but it really is none of the gubbamint’s business.

    • If your using Government funded insurance medicaid/medicare to pay for your cigarette induced emphysema, maybe it is? I don’t smoke, I don’t care if you smoke, but I am glad I can go out to dinner and not have to worry about the smoking or non.

      • That is not a case for anti smoking laws it’s a case against government interference in healthcare. you should be able to do what you please with your body and the tax payer should not have to pay the consequences.

        • I agree with this. I was just making the case that maybe it would be the government’s business?

      • The “you can’t do that with my tax dollars argument” leaves a bad taste in my mouth, as it is often used to bully people (aclu suing cities over Christmas displays). This is my answer to such people: Your taxes aren’t being used for that. Your taxes are being used for whatever you support, mine are being used for what I support, now go mind your own business.

      • Well, with all due respect, a lot of people have been paying into Medicare against their will the last few decades. Maybe we shouldn’t have required them to do that so we could use that as an argument later about what they can and can’t put inside THEIR body.

        • Also with respect. How many people paying into medicare will need the system in their lifetime. I really think there should be an “opt out” clause on taxes. You opt out and you never pay taxes again.

          You remove your citizenship and move to a 10 acre square of public land provided for the opt out program. There you support yourself and remain unless you wish to immigrate to another country.

          You use no taxpayer funded resources this way. No public roads, schools, hospitals, etc.

          You live completely free of .gov oversight and the .gov has no responsibility for you.

          Sound fair?

        • JWM, It looks like you are using a lot of medicare that I am paying for. No it’s not fair – you’re welcome? A thanks would have been better.

        • Actually, anon, you’re barking up the wrong tree. I don’t use medicare. I avoid doctors like the plague.

          But when you get to my age you can refuse medicare and go it alone if you wish. Somehow, I doubt that’ll happen.

          A lot of people bark about unfair taxes. And yes, a lot of tax money is wasted. But I’ve met no one that doesn’t avail themselves of the benefits of the tax dollar. Public roads is just the most obvious example.

        • The vast majority of people who benefit unfairly from public projects , like roads are the poor and in many cases those who choose to be poor . The affluent and wealthy could afford to build and maintain their own roads if they were allowed to keep the wealth they create .
          If Americans decided today , to end the arts and entertainment industry tomorrow , i.e. the industry of vice , There would be enough cash in the system to eliminate a class know as ‘ the poor ‘.
          Never happen , but every time I see a movie where they blow up stuff , I cringe at the waste .

      • Ah, so smoking is not okay because it causes health problems and therefore insurance issues. Okay, now let’s talk about YOUR life and risk factors. You are now not allowed to ride a motorcycle. Sorry, too dangerous, way more than a car. You are now allowed only one glass of wine a day. Alcohol is a huge health and societal risk. Now let’s talk about your sexual habits…

        • The issue with smoking was how the industry lied so much about the health problems it caused. The tobacco industry itself knew that smoking causes cancer, yet lied to the public about it for years and hired scientists to create fake “research” and tried to ruin the reputations of other scientists.

      • After 40 years of demonization of smoking, eventually (effectively) outlawing it in many places, have you seen any figures on percentage decrease in occurrence of emphysema? Because I haven’t. We have “won” the war on tobacco? What did we win? How about the decrease in lung cancer? Have we seen that? Why isn’t it shouted to the rooftops? What I do know is that it is not the government’s business what I put in my body, an argument which apparently resonated enough to have all manner of “sidestream” or “second-hand” smoke BS dreamed up and supported by predetermined-result government “research”, leading to this “my money for their health care” load of crap, which will be used against firearms as well, if they can get away with it. The solution to that problem, if you actually believe it exists, is to discontinue taxpayer support for health care!
        Remember the “correlation vs causation” arguments? I smoked 2 packs a day for 40 years, if there was a “causation” involved, I would be dead. I have owned firearms for 55+ years and have not met a violent gun yet, there is no “causation”. There is no “gun violence”.

  4. Guns are neither designed nor intended to kill. Guns are designed to expel a projectile using combustion forces; no more, no less.

    Intent requires agency and a target, neither of which a gun can provide or acquire on its own.

    • This. Death of the author applies too. Even if the people who made a firearm told you it was for killing, they have no power to decide that.

    • That’s just sophistry, though. Technical deconstructing of meaning and parsing of language is too leftist-speak for me, there’s no reason to couch terms to conform or cower to their fake morality. Guns are acquired to hurt and kill the living.

      • Respectfully disagree. My firearms were acquired because I appreciate fine machinery, and enjoy operating it. Additional child size and low power firearms were acquired to teach my children the skill. Result: Hundreds of hours of quality time spent with family, thousands of rounds fired, and not a dead body in sight.


        • Most likely because the threat of the gun being used for it’s intended purpose has precluded anything worse.

    • I have no problem acknowledging that guns are designed to kill. It is just what you intend to kill with it that’s determines if it is a good kill or a bad kill, which would determine if I’m a law abiding citizen defending my or others lives, or a human predator that committed murder. And without such a well designed tool for dealing death, the good people are enslaved, or dead.

      It is just in our current society where the embracing of the warriror/ess aspect of our personalities is frowned upon by the more effete, by the intellectual, by the more helpless among us, and the rejection by many of all aspects of being a mature and responsible adult, that causes even those of us that do take responsibility for our defense and the defense of our fellow humans to quibble over the underlying purpose of a gun.

      And if in the process of using a firearm to defend against a human predator, they end up not dying, all the better. Because while the end result of using a gun might be death, i am only using the firearm until the threat is neutralized.


      • ^^^^Same. Nothing wrong with acknowledging that a gun is a weapon of war for killing other human beings. That is what self-defense may entail and self-defense entails engaging in a private war with someone, or a small group, that is threatening you.

  5. Furthermore, unlike cigarettes, you can use them as intended without hurting yourself and others. My firearms haven’t killed or maimed anyone. Most of the time, they were fired at paper.

  6. Sniff. Sniff. What’s that I smell? Common sense? Such an uncommon trait.

    As a reformed smoker(eye rolls from everyone now) I believe tobacco products are much deadlier than firearms. Why any thinking adult would subject themselves to the dangers of tobacco is beyond me.

    But as adults they have the choice to do with their bodies as they will. I also support the right of suicide. Seems related somehow.

  7. I tell my students “if you are smoking, enjoy your middle ages cause you’ll probably be dead by 40.” Just saying.

    As a history teacher, I fully explain the history and relevance of the 2nd. I usually get “Wow, we didn’t know that” and I teach 12th graders. I have to fix 11 yrs of liberal teaching before graduation.

    • I had a few teachers like you in the 90s. I think one of the best things you can do for kids is teach them critical thinking.

    • Jim, actually that’s not true at all. While it would be ridiculous to claim smoking is “good for you,” it’s not nearly as deadly as we’ve been brainwashed to believe. Many tobacco users live long and generally healthy lives.

    • What BS. My Mom died at 88 after smoking for 60+ years, from causes which had nothing to do with smoking. I am 69 and quit smoking after going through 2 packs a day for 40 years, and have zero smoking related issues, I quit because the manipulators in our government made it too expensive. The statement that all smokers will be dead by 40 is a flat out LIE, and I believe you already know that, you are lying deliberately. The same crap is coming again, this time seeking “victory” over our firearms.

      BTW, my older brother just HATED smoking, would not even stay in the same room if I was smoking. He died at 25 from an NVA bullet to the chest, in 1970. Smoking is an infinitesimal risk, there are many more important things to spend our worry on. Same thing goes for firearms.

      • That means nothing. It just means that the smoking didn’t affect your or your mother. It doesn’t mean that numerous other people aren’t affected by it. There are plenty of people suffering greatly from the affects of smoking that wouldn’t be if not for it. Smoking involves inhaling carcinogenic chemicals and tar that gets caught in your lungs.

        There are plenty of people who drink a ton as well yet who do not die of anything liver-related. My grandmother was sunburned terribly throughout her youth from playing outside and lived her whole life terrified of getting skin cancer, yet never did. Doesn’t mean that sunlight doesn’t cause skin cancer.

        I don’t know why anyone would claim that smokers will all die before 40 though, that makes no sense. In his book, Jonah Goldberg says that it was the tobacco industry itself that was responsible for lobbying for the high taxes to be put onto their industry so as to basically create a monopoly for themselves.

  8. For all those “butt out about my smoking” people here, what’s your opinion of parents who smoke in thei car with their kids? Do we butt out or get involved?

    Relevance to this site is does government get involved when someone has unsafe gun practices around children?

    • I don’t believe government should be involved in safe storage or whatever, but if your 2 year old gets shot and killed by your 4 year old because of unsafe storage or failure to parent your kid it should be manslaughter charges.

    • Using “the children” as an excuse for gov’t to nose into everyone’s business is a tried and true method of ever expanding laws and regulations to violate rights. First cigarettes, then guns, then dirtbikes, bicycles, roller skates, etc. You realize how this works, don’t you?

  9. Well, if Jonah Goldberg is serious about tooling up, he’d better move his ass out of Washington DC to the northern Virginia suburbs. Last time I checked, the DC Metro PD had only approved 44 CHP applications out of 200 plus. Even buying a pistol for home defense is a huge red-ass, involving fingerprinting & firearm registration. Of note, each gun is registered in DC to only 1 person, with loans/borrowing not allowed, even to immediate family. This makes it technically illegal for your wife to use your gun to shoot an intruder.
    Move to NOVA & your CHP is a done deal. Plus open carry w/o a permit, woo hoo!

  10. Guns are like cigarettes. Like cigarettes, guns are heavily taxed, some (a small portion) of that tax money is given to Planned Parenthood, to subsidize the killing of nearly 50% of the people who walk through their doors amounting to millions of people a year (in the US alone)[that might be exagerrating, but if they can keep their #’s secret, i can speculate {from the Latin SPECULUM ERGO SPECULATE /sarc}]. Strange how Planned Parenthood can’t get the job done making millions in PROFITS, selling baby parts. Hmm?

  11. Promote the Right to Die, yet forbid tobacco. Try to ban tools of murder, yet promote abortion. Claim to promote world peace, yet favor disarming weaker nations in the face of aggressive neighbors. They would have everyone living in urban squalor to ration our resource consumption, so that our living conditions would not ‘one day’ suffer due to shortage. Liberals truly are living contradictions; no wonder they’re always so pissed off.

    It’s also worth mentioning, that in the years since the big victories on tobacco, it’s come out that the research claims on second hand smoke were essentially fraudulent, and nicotine specifically is not nearly as harmful as claimed. Shock. Echoes of gun control studies & global warming, anyone?

  12. Liberals want to ban anything that they don’t like. Narcotic pain medications are a prime example. My 81 year old mother has never abused any substances, and she’s not going to become an addict now. Yet, when she had major surgery last week, you could tell the doctors and nurses were limiting her pain medication and giving her less than what she needed.

    Restricting doctors from prescribing opioid pain meds to law abiding patients who really need them only hurts those patients. Guess what happens if you outlaw those meds? You got it- then only outlaws will have them. And they will sell them to addicts at inflated prices.

  13. “To urban liberals, guns are like cigarettes — products that when used as intended only hurt or kill people.”

    I use “The Hang Gliding Argument” on this one. “Hey, hang gliding is the most dangerous “normal” sport / hobby, so how about we outlaw that?”

    This gets you either a blatant admission that “everything not compulsory is forbidden” and your conversation partner is happy to have it so, so long as they are the decider. (I’m tentatively OK with this position. You all should elect me supreme dictator over earth, space and time. It’ll be fine.)

    Or this gets you a two-fer. First they abandon the “if it hurts, we must stop it.” Then, they run to the ways guns are not like hang gliders.

    — “Guns call other people, not the people who use them.” OK, that’s a different argument.

    — “Guns are only to cause harm.” OK, well, first, no. And second, “harm” is the only effect of guns use in causing harm? Feeling of, or actual security? Reduction in harm when armed good guys stop violent bad guys? Other?

    — “There are better, less dangerous ways to stop bad things.” OK, prove it. Interestingly this was an effective trump vs. a very clever colleague, self-righteous pacifist, who was big on the side effects of using force to stop something bad. You always make things worse. My counter was, when little Johnny is setting the house on fire, or molesting Suzy, the consequences of just stopping it are down in the noise. Or am I wrong? Never got an answer to that one.

    Or go for the absolutist assessment: “only.” “Only” harm people? Never do any good, in terms of harm. Have no other, beneficial effects? Prove either of those. If they can’t – they can’t – we are in trade-off land which some of us call “reality”, and it’s a different discussion.

    As a sound bite, in an interview or quick conversation, grab the insane over-genealization, comment on that, and dismiss the discussion. “Well, plenty of guns don’t harm people, and quite a few do some good. On top of that plenty of people like target shooting, for example. Your premise is wrong, so your conclusion also.”

    • “Guns kill other people, not the people who use them.”

      Well, large percentage of the deaths whiners attribute to firearms are suicides, so that is clearly either a lie or spoken by a moron.

      • Exactly so. When you make the non-thinking anti’s develop the “logic” that led to their assertions, it falls down.

        The suicide distinction is particularly confounding: changes the numbers, casts them as disingenuous, raises question of individual agency and choice.

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