The Cato Institute is periodically in the news, for example, in June 1999. It issued a report giving the opinion of its authors that medical findings such as those the Surgeon General typically relies on, are often wrong in blaming tobacco for its causative role!!
The web writer has experience exposing pro-tobacco apologists. For example, pro-tobacco apologists used to allege that tobacco is a financial BENEFIT to society!! The writer refuted that claim in 1980 and thus led the way for taxpayers to get some of their money back that they paid out for treating sick smokers!
Let's see what the original Cato was up to! Let's do an exposé. Let's use standard, reasonably, easily accessible reference books, likely available at most libraries. Let's check out this Cato fellow.
The Cato Institute is named for Cato's Letters, allegedly libertarian pamphlets that supposedly helped lay the philosophical foundation for the American Revolution.
You remember Rome? B.C.E. Rome? In that period, many people had no rights. Rulership in the Senate was by so-called "noble" families. Women could not vote or hold office. Slavery was rampant, as per Roman law. Usury was rampant. Cato was a Roman Senator.
Let's give some credit though. We have heard of Roman actions in hygiene and cleanliness, for example, its excellent water transportation system via aqueducts, and the many public baths. But sadly, there were some holding foolish ideas.
There were promoters of
The History of Civilization book calls Cato's medical opinions of cabbage "gibberish." Perhaps we could call the Cato Institute the Cabbage Institute or the Gibberish Institute, for issuing a report with pro-tobacco gibberish!
Senator Cato was a tool of the special interests. If something would help the common man, Cato was against it. But when special interests are for slavery, Cato is for it. Cato wrote an advice book for the special interests who owned slaves. No, he didn't advise them that slavery, refusing to pay wages, abusing the slaves, branding them, throwing the old ones into fish ponds, and starving some to death, is wrong! and that they should free the slaves! Oh no!
"It is said as an evidence of slavery's hardening of the heart to human suffering, that the elder Cato sold his superannuated slaves for any price rather than maintain them." Quoted from Alvan Stewart, Legal Argument For the Deliverance of 4,000 Persons from Bondage (New York: Finch & Weed, 1845), p 10. See also Harriet Beecher Stowe, The Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin (Boston: John P. Jewett & Co, 1853), pp 107-108; and Rev. John G. Fee, Anti-Slavery Manual (New York: William Harned, 1851), p 93.
Here is another example of Cato's notions: He "advised estate owners to nourish their slaves on grain or bread, inferior wine from grape skins, and those olives that were not worth pressing for oil. Cato added that masters should retrieve from slaves their old tunics, to be made into patchworks." Quoted from What Life Was Like, When Rome Ruled the World: The Roman Empire, 100 BC-AD 200 (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1997), p 64. Nice guy?!!
Cato refused to wear underwear, that's too liberal and modern an invention, you see!! He "rejected the now-common custom of wearing a tunic under his toga, since the ancient Romans of old did without . . . ." (p 19). Education, learning, invention, he's against it!! Real conservatives don't wear underwear!! Just ask Cato!
Cato "led the conservative faction in the Senate called the optimates, who wanted to preserve old, unchanged . . . traditions, including the privileges of the nobility, from whose ranks most senators, consuls, and other leading figures were drawn. The rival senatorial faction, known as the populares . . . courted Rome's common citizens . . . Julius Caesar was prominent among the populares and sparred frequently with Cato in the Senate." (What Life Was Like, p 19).
Julius Caesar was a contemporary of the Catos. Unlike them, he did not reject learning; and he defended rights of the common man against the special interests Cato represented. Therefore the Cato's opposed him.
Cato was Brutus' uncle. (What Life Was Like, p 25). Who was Brutus? One of those special interest conspirators who killed Julius Caesar. Back then, the supporters of special interests, such as Cato, did not just lobby against the common man. They were for murdering them (leaders who courted the common man)!! You see, to the special interests, stopping their perverted behaviors is "dictatorship"!
Do you think your credit card interest rate, say 19%, is too high?! You think that the special interests have power now to get legislators to allow that high a rate! You think the Mafia charges high rates?! Hah, you should hear what the Catos' thought was ok: Brutus charging 48%!! (p 25). (Yes, to them, it's "dictatorship" to oppose high rates!)
The Confederates here in America thought it was "dictatorship" for Abraham Lincoln to free the slaves!! Luckily, Cato was dead by then, or he'd have been a Confederate! Maybe he reincarnated as John Wilkes Booth?! Got to get rid of those dictators, you know!!
Do you think the original Cato's liked to pose as proponents of high moral and family values?! Think again. For political reasons, Brutus divorced his wife, and married Cato's daughter Porcia!
After Julius Caesar won against a military opponent, Pompey, and was being accepted as the Roman leader, Cato
Divorce, suicide, political murder, slavery, usury, those are words you'll need to know to study the old Roman Catos.
Now you know some of the real truth about the Catos!! The Cato Institute thinks "Cato" is a name worth using as though it is something reputable! rather than descriptive of sicko perverts.
The Catos, that sounds like a great bunch to have the same name as!! Of course, the supposedly original Cato's Letters "was [according to Clinton Rossiter] the most popular, quotable, esteemed source of political ideas in the colonial period." Published anonymously by the Englishmen John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon in The London Journal from 1720 to 1723, the 144 letters provide a compelling theoretical basis for freedom of conscience and freedom of speech. Virtually half the private libraries in the American colonies contained bound volumes of Cato's Letters. Of course, slavery was allowed then, so the fact that some people of that era thought well of Cato's Letters, is no proof of their morality.
Of course, when you think about it, the Cato Institute, spouting pro-tobacco quackery, might be doing a Freudian slip, showing what they really think. Just remember the special interests for tobacco, and what tobacco is correlated with: mental slavery (addiction), murder, divorce, medical quackery, suicide, for example, according to doctors.
Oops, Cato would say, you can't believe doctors! They are just a bunch of pro-health dictators! The original Cato types would fit in well with the tobacco lobby special interest of today.
The original Cato types, their warped views and behaviors are obviously too bizarre to be acceptable if presented straight-out to us modern folks opposed to their type of "good behavior"! (Yeah, "good behavior" for criminally insane prison inmates, maybe!)
If we met the Catos' (preferably not in a dark alley!), we'd likely think of them as tantamount to the worst of the Mafia. As thugs, they'd likely be in prison for their criminal propensities and activities.
Conclusion, re any group who'd call themselves a Cato anything, watch out. Don't be trusting like Julius Caesar. Don't let them stab you in the back.
Remember that the Cato types posed as "conservative." Well, Michigan Governor John Engler (1991-2002) was "conservative." He and his staff, unlike the Cato Institute, were citing genuine facts about the tobacco hazard for years, and the effort to control it. Below are five examples, pertinent memoranda.
You are urged to join in the effort for adequate cigarette control. Even supportive politicans and officials need encouraging letters. If you live in Michigan, please join the letter writing campaign requesting enforcement of the Michigan cigarette control law, MCL § 750.27, MSA § 28.216, by writing to Governor Rick Snyder Granholm and to Attorney General William Schuette, requesting enforcement.
Elsewhere, to help achieve the goal of reducing cigarette harm and costs to society, please use the proposed sample letter to write asking that your jurisdiction (assuming that it does not already have such a law) pass a similar law (only safe cigarettes are allowed, no unsafe ones). Or better yet, ask for a law like 1897's Iowa cigarette manufacturing and sales ban. Write to your Governors, Attorneys General, legislators, MP's, Senators, and/or Representatives, asking for them to work for such a law.
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Copyright © 1999 Leroy J. Pletten
The Crime Prevention Group
Copyright © 1999 Leroy J. Pletten