[thechat] pure evil: Tobacco giant buys rights to lung cancer drugs

spinhead evolt at spinhead.com
Mon Dec 3 15:01:26 CST 2001

While I think I understand your point, Ron, it goes back to a pretty basic
level for me - the end doesn't justify the means. I'm morally opposed to
military involvement, so I'm bemused/confused by pacifists who join the army
becuase the government will pay for their college (this is not hypothetical;
I know them.) I mean, hey, are you opposed until it benefits you? That's not
morals, that's situational ethics. I don't believe "it's wrong just 'cause
you get caught," and I don't believe that someone who continues to make
money killing people should be involved in finding the cure. I don't think
life is more important than integrity, so I don't think a cure discovered by
the tobacco industry suits my needs. Probably simplistic; maybe unrealistic,
but doesn't mankind as a whole revere selfless adherence to truly worthwhile
causes over self-preservation?

Apologies for ranting in response to your mostly tongue-in-cheek response.
I'm not doubting your moral capacity, Ron; we've chatted too much for me to
do that ;)


----- Original Message -----
From: "Luther, Ron" <Ron.Luther at compaq.com>
To: <thechat at lists.evolt.org>
Sent: Monday, December 03, 2001 12:16 PM
Subject: RE: [thechat] pure evil: Tobacco giant buys rights to lung cancer

> Awww Spin, it's the ultimate in vertical integration, my man!
> Maintain that market share -- literally!
> I dunno. I think it kind of appeals to me. (In a woefully misbegotten
> sort of way, of course!)  The article doesn't read like some sort of
> "we'll buy this and bury the results (like the oft-running hoax of some
> oil company buying up the rights to a 150 MPG carburetor so they can
> prevent it's manufacture)" -- it reads as a "DOH! - the longer we keep
> smokey joe alive - the more money we make - if we allocate 3% to
> research we'll recover 11% in prolonged revenue!".
> Which is better or more 'moral'?  An industry that spends 50 years
> sticking their head in the sand - denying and attacking any evidence
> that smoking causes lung cancer ... or an industry that might spend the
> next 50 years researching drugs and techniques to prevent lung cancer -
> EVEN IF the only reason they do so is to make more money off smokers?
> I may not have the answer to the question I just posed, but I'm pretty
> sure of two things; (1) this industry has some seriously deep pockets,
> and (2) research often leads to 'secondary' findings that often have
> very valuable applications.
> RonL.
> [... wondering if he should raise the old issue of the 'morality' of
> military funding for university level research (in any number of
> fields)]
> -----Original Message-----
> From: spinhead [mailto:evolt at spinhead.com]
> Subject: Re: [thechat] pure evil: Tobacco giant buys rights to lung
> cancer drugs
> This is infinitely more distressing than whether or not Microsoft is a
> monopoly. I'm really puzzled that anyone has moral capacities limited
> enough
> that they could do this.
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