Sunday, 4 April 2010

And Now, Passive Living

So successful have anti-tobacco been with their ploy of dreaming up a non-existent health threat and paying scientists to come up with flaky 'evidence' as 'proof' it exists, that it seems there is no sphere into which the same modus operandi can't be transplanted.

The Godber Blueprint, formulated in the 70s to pull a confidence trick which would go on to fool much of the world that they are in mortal danger from a minor risk, has shown the way for the righteous.

Instead of encouraging the public into making choices that are approved, the tobacco control template sought to use divide people into distinct camps in opposition to one another, thereby using a bullying mentality to drive through an agenda of eugenics.

Since even governments could be forced to bow to their selfish demands using such an approach, anti-smoking organisations have gleefully passed on their wisdom to others, documenting the precise steps necessary [pdf] to subjugate, and eventually extinguish, free will.

As a direct result, we have seen the emergence of passive drinking and, more recently, passive obesity, so why not passive living? If you don't live as you are instructed, that is. Yep, the template is being used yet again, this time to make everyone in the world a victim of everyone else.

The ban on smoking in public buildings draws another interesting line in the debate on the proper balance between "freedoms from" and "freedoms to". This is on the basis that one person's freedom to smoke in a public building denies another person's freedom to breathe smoke-free air. The greenhouse gas emissions currently contributing to climatic instability could be seen as an issue of "uber passive smoking", especially for those who like their climates to be friendly and convivial for human society.
What tobacco control have given to the world is an environment where everyone's personal choices are the business of everyone else. And their tactics, refined over decades, are being used on a daily basis to strip away every element of individual self-determination.

If you've ever heard anyone (I've heard plenty) stating that they are libertarian but quite like the smoking ban, they are short-sighted, shallow and dangerously irresponsible.

If the Tories, should they be elected, truly believe in personal responsibility and civil liberties, their first action post-election should be to amend smokefree legislation, or even repeal it, to send the righteous into a tailspin. To prove that they can't always get their own way, and to firmly emphasize that, in a civilised community, personal choice is valued over and above dictatorial dogma and ideology.

And to send a message that the era of divide and conquer strategies, used spitefully against the public, must come to an end.

Hey, one can but dream. It is Easter, after all.


Ali said...

Smokers are thick as well as walking disease spreaders Dick:

Funny that, I thought Einstein had smoked, but bet he wasn't half as bright as he made out huh?

Gendeau said...

Sorry Ali, that won't work.

All they need to say is that if he hadn't smoked he'd probably have sorted out world hunger and fusion power as well.

Like a lot of propaganda it's hard to disprove...

Manu said...

As I have said before, I really like your blog and almost always agree with your point of view. This post was shaping up to be no different. However, as a libertarian who does very much like the smoking ban I feel I must respond to your assertion that I am therefore "short-sighted, shallow and dangerously irresponsible".

Let's get a couple of things out of the way straight away. I do not support a blanket smoking ban - people should be free to do whatever they want in their own home and in their own property. As a logical consequence of this, if someone wants to set up a public house with the pre-specfied and completely up-front intention that it be for smokers, then so be it. Each to their own. I certainly do not believe that smoking should result in a custodial sentence.

However, it is obvious that smokers have a complete and utter blind spot to the effect their smoke has on others (and why would they?) Forget whether or not second-hand smoke can cause demonstrable medical harm; the smoke is any enclosed or packed (e.g. busy train platform) STINKS.

Having had the smoking ban in place in the UK for some time now, I had actually forgotten how disgusting that smell was until I went on business recently to Switzerland and went with a client to a bar to wind down after a day's meetings. Imagine the shock when I opened the door and walked into a wall of smoke. I was coughing the entire time I was there (and no, I was not trying to make a point about it; quite the opposite); my clothes and hair stank afterwards. The worst thing of the evening? Remembering that feeling of resentment towards the smokers in the room, who quite clearly couldn't have given a sh*t about anyone else - and would no doubt have told me to get lost had I naively asked them politely to stop.

So, smokers: smoke in your own home with my blessing. Smoke in your car. Smoke in the buildings that you own, or in a private smokers' club. Smoke in front of your own children if you are that way inclined. Just don't pretend to be true libertarians while loudly criticising the legislation that - for all of its current faults (and there are many) - prevents me from being forced against my will to inhale your smoke. I would not actively do anything in a social setting that I knew or suspected would offend or be detrimental to others - why can't smokers offer me the same courtesy?

I fully expect a good flaming on this; smoking will always be one of those subjects upon which people will agree to disagree. However, just as smokers feel their view has been ignored of late, my views as a non-smoker who wanted to go out in the evening with friends were ignored right up until the ban. Generally disparaging comments from either side will not help...

PS: Having re-read my post, I'm sure someone will say "well, no-one forced you to go into that bar..." Well yes, that's true. However, in practice, where would I have gone? Without a blanket ban in place, any proprietor unilaterally banning smoking would effectively be signing his own bankrupcy notice. All of the bars were the same. So, in essence, we have the situation we had pre-ban where smokers effectively impose their lifestyle choice on others - how libertarian is that?

Gendeau said...

"If you've ever heard anyone (I've heard plenty) stating that they are libertarian but quite like the smoking ban, they are short-sighted, shallow and dangerously irresponsible."

Maybe they don't like smoking and feel that its their right to reduce the impact of smoking on them? Sounds like libertarianism to me.

I absolutely agree with everything that you say, I believe in liberty too, it's just I don't love smoky old bars...I think that we should be on the same side, but it does seem hard to find any middleground on this issue.

I don't know how we even start turning society back to where disagreement is possible without being the enemy.

When talking to the sheeple it is so much easier to have smoking, drinking etc BAD and everybody who disagrees is evil. Grey areas of 'well he likes it and it doesn't impact you so leave him alone' requires a higher IQ

Ali said...

Manu said:

"Without a blanket ban in place, any proprietor unilaterally banning smoking would effectively be signing his own bankrupcy notice."

You can't have it both ways Manu, blanket bans cause blanket business closure as smokers and their non-smoking friends stay at home. Smoking venues are much more popular than non-smoking, so even if the choice were left to the individual proprietor, most venues would be smoking.

The only solution is for the provision of smoking and non-smoking rooms in the same venue, then it would be left up to the individual to choose which door to go through.

That would be a true libertarian choice. The individual decides, not Government.

"the smoke is any enclosed or packed (e.g. busy train platform) STINKS."

Are you saying that a few whisps of cigarette smoke is more stinky, annoying and choking than diesel fumes?

Good grief.

The witch from Essex said...

I am a libertarian but .....
I hate the smell of baby sick, dirty nappies, body odour, farts, cheap after shave and perfume, fake fresh air sprays, cleaning fluid, crap food and chips.
That is what the average pub smells like now.
So should we ban all these revolting things and prosecute the people that create them.
I don't like my 'hair or clothes' stinking of any of the above.
Some smells make me cough and feel sick, but I don't call for banning them.
It's a pity that the people that create the above have such a 'blind spot' to the effect that these smells have on others.
People should be free to create these smells in their own homes etc. or to set up businesses (Wetherspoons) that people who like the above smells can go to.
So, as a smoker who does not like the smoking ban I could be classed as shallow and dangerously irresponsible for having a dislike for the smells mentioned above.

Sam Duncan said...

What Ali said. There is no conceivable way you can be both a libertarian and support the smoking bans as they currently exist in the various jurisdictions of the UK. They are a textbook example of illiberalism. Manu, you seem to have forgotten that there were non-smoking bars before the ban.

In any case, it's true that nobody forces you to go into a bar. Where would you have gone? Somewhere else. Even if all bars contained provably, instantly, lethal levels of smoke, there is no force in action. You don't like it, you don't go to bars. You do not have an absolute right to do so. (If you think you do then, again, you're no libertarian.)

For the record, I am not a smoker, and have no intention of becoming one.

Gendeau said...

As the witch said

"So, as a smoker who does not like the smoking ban I could be classed as shallow and dangerously irresponsible for having a dislike for the smells mentioned above."

Yes, you could. Welcome to the world of people who can see an upside to the ban, whilst hating the stasi state we now have, where children are asked to report how much their parents drink and smoke.

Only problem (for your argument) is that it is much easier to find a pub not reeking of baby sick (etc etc) than it was to find a clean smelling one before the ban.

Maybe I'm lucky, but I don't ever remember getting home stinking of "baby sick, dirty nappies, body odour, farts, cheap after shave and perfume, fake fresh air sprays, cleaning fluid, crap food and chips." to the point of taking a shower and putting all my clothes in the washing machine.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Manu: I would have a proper attempt at replying to your post but, unfortunately, my BT line is down and writing like I am from my mobile is a pain in the arse.

All I'll say for now is that you don't support a blanket ban so you're not the problem ... not entirely anyway ;)

I think you missed part of the point I was making which I can explain when back online ... bout Wednesday they have told me! As you can imagine, I'm raising merry hell about that at the mo.

Gendeau said...

Just read the telegraph article and found it rather odd.

I distinctly remember stories that one of the chemicals delivered by smoking (don't remember which) had been found to increase brain efficiency (or some such).

I may be remembering 20-25 years back, so it's a little hard to remember clearly. But there was a reference to Sherlock Holmes talking about a "two pipe problem". It was agreed in the article that smoking at such a time might be beneficial.

Now one, or other, article is probably full of brown smelly stuff (aka propaganda) I supect I know which.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Gendeau: You seem to have missed the main point too, and being deliberately obtuse doesn't help matters.

This wasn't a post about the smoking ban, more it was an illustration of how overweening propaganda, used to blindside vacant politicians, is now increasingly being replicated in other areas.

Surely a libertarian would see that and realise that it is dangerous for other liberties if these obnoxious people are allowed, not only to get away with it, but also to extend the same methods to other areas.

Dick Puddlecote said...

That referred to your previous comment Gendeau, by the way - oh for a fucking monitor and keyboard fo4 speed! :(

Worst thing is that I'm going to have to watch Sunday night fucking telly now {sob}.

Gendeau said...

Sorry, I wasn't trying to be obtuse, I see it as wandering off topic (like about too again, I fear).

I ABSOLUTELY agree with you about propaganda.

There are a few issues that I'm likely to be on the wrong side of. The writing is on the wall.

Clearly, I wouldn't frame the debate around smokers' rights, but we should find a lot of ground in common over keeping the government's nose out of our lives, and their hands out of our pocket. I wish I believed that there'd be a bonfire of the quangoes and fake charities after the next election, but I don't.

While we may not agree over the desired outcome over smoking, I think that the current law is full of crap, let alone where they want us to head.

I too have had broadband issues; 18 hours to download the Oz G.P in my hotel! You have my sympathies.

Manu said...

Hi Dick - good luck getting your internet access back soon.

Look forward to reading your follow-up to my comment; I'm not one of the Righteous, so I can take it ;-) I get that the main point of your post was about the incidious propaganda used to 'denormalize' smokers in society - I completely agree. I just couldn't let your comment pass...

Junican said...

@ manu.

I hope that Manu is a genuine person. By that, I mean the he/she is not playing silly games. I have read his post several times, and I cannot find anything which suggests that he is playing silly games.
Assuming that he is not playing silly games, I assume that when he says STINK, he really means SMELL, otherwise described as FRAGRANCE. One man's STINK is a woman's FRAGRANCE, or vice versa.
We must not, when posting, use more words than are strickly necessary, otherwise our posts become inordinately long.
And so, we see that the SMELL of tobacco is irrelevent - unless ALL smells are to be regulated.
We must clearly understand that there is a HUGE difference between SMELL and HARM.
SMELL is irrelevant. HARM is relevent.
Once you recognise this fact, you can start to think about THE REALLY IMPORTANT THING. Is second-hand tobacco smoke harmful?
When you realise that that is the most important thing, you enter into a SCIENTIFIC scenario, which is not a STATISTICAL scenario. Is it a matter of FACT, ie. PHYSICAL fact, that second hand tobacco smoke is harmful? Not only that, even if it is harmful, is it SIGNIFICANTLY harmful?
The fact of the matter is that ALL the studies show that second hand tobacco smoke is HARMLESS, for all intents and purposes in normal circumstances. 'Normal circumstances' means any circumstances which do not require a subject to be sealed up in a 'room' with no access to ventilation and/or oxygen.

There, exactly, is the lie, and that is what we persons who enjoy tobacco are fighting against.

Anonymous said...

It does indeed seem that manu's libertarian mask has slipped somewhat.

lenko said...

I think that pickled eggs and onions should be the next thing to be banned -- especially those eaten by the bloke stood behind me in the pub the other night, who breathed them over my neck all bloody night. But you know what? I'm an unreasonable git who expects everyone else to conform to what I like.

Slightly (but only slightly) off-topic, for the typical life-cycle of a law banning a harmless substance, see my post here.

It's the culmination of long months of observation and research and took me -- oh -- hours to write.

Unknown said...

Sadly this is nothing new Dick. Al "Mr. Global Warming" Gore was saying that smoking contributed to Global Warming way back in 2006:

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore warned hundreds of U.N. diplomats and staff on Thursday evening about the perils of climate change, claiming: Cigarette smoking is a “significant contributor to global warming!”

Gore, who was introduced by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said the world faces a “full-scale climate emergency that threatens the future of civilization on earth.”

Unknown said...

Forget to get emails of new comments :(

Gendeau said...

I remember expressing incredulity to an American that Bush was elected, rather than Gore, I asked "how bad could the other guy [Gore] be?"

You could legitimately believe that we got off likely with Bush.

iDave vs Gorgon is a similarly unappetising choice

Standard-Issue State-Funded Troll said...

I hate it when I'm in a nice, thriving, smokefree pub, thinking about how nice it will be to not have to wash my clothes or hair for at least a week, when some obnoxious selfish sub-human idiot's opinions waft through the communal airspace and into my consciousness.

Sure, some so-called libertarians will say that pubs can have opinionated and non-opinionated rooms, but that ignores the FACT that people's voices travel from one room to another and can even travel through WALLS!

It has also been scientifically proven by Paul McKenna, Deepak Chopra, and Siddharta Gautama the Buddha that your thoughts and outlook on life have a direct effect on your physical well-being and material wealth. How dare these self-elected opinion-spouters think they have the right to pollute my headspace with negative thoughts that might make me ill! Or even worse, poor!

Yeah, they'll go on endlessly about nebulous abstractions like 'freedom of speech', but what about my freedom from their opinions? What they don't realise is just how much their opinions STINK!

(No offence Manu. Well, maybe a little.)

Manu said...

@Anonymous: "It does indeed seem that manu's libertarian mask has slipped somewhat." - says someone posting anonymously...? Yeah right...

@Junican - apologies, only just came across your comment here. I agree - the subjective nature of the 'smell' of tobacco smoke is secondary to the point I was trying to make, which was simply regarding the rights or wrongs of imposing one's own lifestyle choices (or their consequences) on others - and that neither smokers or non-smokers have the right to inflict these on the other (the total ban merely marking the boundary between two periods of time where one group had the upper hand). I admit to failing to see what your issue is with this tenet, or how expressing it means that I am betraying the libertarian ideal.

If you can bear to re-read my original comment, you will see that I in fact support the repeal of the current total ban, and the right for proprietors to make their own decisions re smoking on their property...

@Standard-Issue State-Funded Troll - none taken

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous: "It does indeed seem that manu's libertarian mask has slipped somewhat." - says someone posting anonymously...? Yeah right...

And your point is? I was simply making an observation and, unlike you, have not declared myself libertarian.

You let your mask slip when you wrote the word 'STINK', closely followed by 'disgusting'. I can only assume you regard smokers as smelly (you say your own hair and clothes stank). You tried to replace the mask, but for me (and others here) your true colours were revealed. Sorry, but don't pretend to be something your not. We're into the third year of this bullshit and it's getting worse. The sooner we get back to normality the better.

Anon Smoker