sunnuntai 3. heinäkuuta 2016

Part 12: Conflicts of self-interest

Two days ago, I dropped a gofundme page ( on twitter, after a long time of thinking about doing it and two more weeks of not telling anybody about it. 
Asking for financial help, even when it became absolutely necessary, while doing something I'm perfectly willing to do for free felt weird. It still feels weird.

Advocacy is something that feels like you do because there's a passion and necessity, and getting paid for that is somehow antithetical to the whole idea. But that does get me thinking.. why is there so much assumed conflict of interest in this area?

Anti-tobacco crusaders and various other public health advocates that oppose nicotine use generally tend to be actually paid to do that. They generally work in healthcare or NGOs that drive health-related political agendas. 
And they often seem genuinely surprised people on the other side are not paid by anybody. So much that they might not even believe it, and resort to some form of financial incentive blame game.
Why doesn't the same standards apply to them?
Why do I have this idea in my head that getting something in return for hundreds of hours of work is somehow "wrong"? I'm honestly not entirely sure.

And if the financial angle fails, the final determination in their chain of logic seems to be "you're just addicted". And everybody "knows" you can't trust an addict.

But addiction can only be measured by asking the addict about their behaviour. No truly objective measure or test exists for the determination. There's no machine that can detect addiction, no kind of physical biomarkers that could be investigated.
So, if an addict cannot be trusted, can the tests be trusted?

Is "you're just addicted" even a meaningful argument anyway? Because even if they are, that certainly does not mean they are lying or wrong. It just means a very subjective set of criteria happens to match their behavioural patterns, without necessarily meaning problematic use.

Is addiction a conflict of interest, if it cannot even be meaningfully defined?

What I wonder is, how deep is the (for the lack of a better word) "brainwashing" of temperance movements, that even me as a fairly libertarian advocate have these notions coloring my perceptions of doing this work..

I'm quite certain that promotion of THR is helping reduce the burden of death and disease and I'd like to think I'm having some sort of impact, but still there's a feeling of embarrasment lurking at the back of my head when I'm asking for financial help.

Intellectually, it's quite strange and counter-intuitive. Really feels like being forced to play by the rules of zealots and having no say in what's actually rational. The kind of influential manipulation scheme the tobacco companies can only dream of.

Tobacco control really is an inherently dishonest field.

And as a more positive note, enormous thanks to everybody who has helped. Got a LOT of stress off my shoulders.

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