A Society of Victims

When did we become a society of victims? When did we abdicate our free will? When did we stop taking responsibility for our choices and our actions?

Have you seen any ads from the anti-smoking activists lately? If you watch their ads, you might become irate if you believe in freedom of choice. The people speaking in the ads take no responsibility for the choices that they made. Instead, they blame the tobacco companies for seducing them. They blame the tobacco companies for advertising their product. They blame the tobacco companies for making them sick.

Wake up, people! No one can force you to do something that you don’t want to do. No one. You always have a choice.

Don’t talk to me about the addictive power of cigarettes. Don’t talk to me about tobacco companies putting additives into the cigarettes that make them more addictive. Don’t talk to me about someone else being responsible for your choices.

You chose to smoke. Whether you chose to smoke because all your friends were doing it, whether you chose to smoke because it looked cool on TV or in the movies or in the advertisements, whether you chose to smoke because you were being rebellious against your parents’ rules, it was your choice. The tobacco companies did not hold a gun to your head or your mother’s head or your father’s head and say, “Smoke this cigarette or you/your mom/your dad is going to die.” And even if they did, you would still have a choice to make.

People choose to smoke. If they continue to smoke after hearing or reading about the health risks posed by smoking, then they can only blame themselves for any consequences related to their smoking habit. But some people choose not to accept the consequences. Instead, they sue tobacco companies saying that it’s the tobacco company’s fault that they are sick.

When we as a society start buying into the notion that a company or a group of people can force us to do something against our will, we’ve lost all hope. Our ability to choose – our freedom of choice – is a great thing. Why would we want to give it up? But we do when we buy into ads like the anti-tobacco ads. According to them, we don’t have the power to choose.

When we give up our responsibility for the choices we make and the subsequent consequences, we are giving away our freedom of choice. We are abdicating our free will. We are choosing the role of victim. We are choosing powerlessness. We are saying that we are people who things are done to instead of people who do things.

Life is a series of choices. People need to accept the consequences of their choices. If they don’t like the consequences of a choice they made, they can make a different choice.

Choose wisely, as the knight in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade told Indiana Jones. Yes, choose wisely. But if you find that you’ve chosen poorly, take responsibility for the choice and make another one.

The thought processor churns on . . .

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