After posting about living in a community that thrives off agriculture, whether that agriculture be destructive or not, I feel the need to respond to what I call the “moral separation between farmer and consumer.”
Judging by the comments on my previous post, there are some who believe, in regards to tobacco, that the farmer has no moral responsibility to the people who abuse their product. In this train of thought, metal makers are not responsible for someone who kills another with a gun, nor is the grower of potatoes responsible for the obesity of American french fry eaters. But this assumption of those who produce steel and tobacco being on the same grounds falls short in a hefty way.
Steel and potatoes have several uses, and, when used in the right way, guns and french fries are not always detrimental. Rifles allow the bearer to hunt for food and to protect themselves (granted, non-violence is a completely different topic), just as fried foods are not completely harmful if eaten in modesty. However, Tobacco is a different case.
The entire production of tobacco thrives off the addiction of the ones who consume it. As much as the farmer wants to deny this, or is simply ignorant of this reality, the truth is that they are actively participating in producing a crop that they know will be chemically altered to make it addicting.
Now this is not to say that there are farmers out there who do not allow their tobacco to be filled with these harmful products. I am sure there are those rebellious few. But this remnant of the tobacco-growing community is far from the majority, and their attempts may even be futile in the larger framework of the system.
So to separate the moral implications of tobacco from the farmer is not a healthy practice, nor a responsible one. We can say that people should work on their willpower to overcome addiction, but this is but a symptom of the greater structure. We can attempt to cure the symptoms, while the virus itself continues to thrive.
What do you think. Feel free to comment. The conversation would be greatly appreciated.
- Having Faith in a Farming Community (barnburners.wordpress.com)
- Feds set the rules, tobacco companies argue in landmark class-action (vancouversun.com)
- Philip Morris International Awards College Scholarships to 41 Students (prweb.com)