Monday 26 September 2011

Taxation, Taxation, Taxation ... To Save You From Your Personal Choice

While the rest of us were going about our business just earning a living, watching a film with the missus, or kicking back with some wine or a moody curry, last week a bunch of unelected health finger-waggers were having the mother of expense account parties - with cranberry smoothies thrown in, no doubt - and you paid for it.

I'm talking of the global gathering of health zealots in New York - who have contributed barely a productive dollar to their collective name - to discuss 'Non Communicable Diseases' (NCDs).

Unfamilar with the term? Well, let me explain. NCDs are what we used to call 'shit happens' (or mostly doesn't) when coupled with a life which isn't dictated by an almost religious adherence to purity and health. The New York delegates are committed to making absolutely sure that shit will never happen for other people, whether they wish to take the risk or not.

They plan to do this by ensuring you will never be allowed to take such risks. 'Preventable' means making you change your life, against your will, to fit in with how government say you should live. Going about their business by sticking their nose into yours, basically.

The ever-observant Belinda serves us up with a perfect example of this hideous, interfering mentality in her spot of an interview with high profile delegate, and anti-smoking pioneer, Dr Judith Mackay (left).

Do go have a listen, because in the first half of a 20 minute piece with a simpering stooge, she fully validates everything I have ever written here about the pernicious invasion of our liberties on the back of the tobacco control template.

She used to think the tobacco industry was "uniquely awful", but now wants to have a serious go at ...

"the alcohol industry, the fast food industry, the sugar, the salt industry [...] the arguments that they are using are very similar, the advertising they are using is very similar"
That's because, by her own admission, the techniques employed against those other industries are increasingly becoming very similar.

"With tobacco, we are now legislating so that you don't see packets of tobacco as you come out of the supermarket, in other words they are going to have to be sold below the counter, or they are going to have to be sold in plain packaging. So I think, you know, we need to shift all the other industries in the same direction."
Oh, the dismissal online article commenters receive when suggesting that crisps, coke and burgers might have to be hidden in the future now that the precedent has been set, eh? Yet here it is being advocated with brazen pride.

Judith doesn't have much faith in personal choice. In fact, she doesn't have much faith in anyone who isn't paid out of your taxes.

"You may argue that some of these things are the responsibility of the individual, whether they're thin or fat, or whether they do exercise or not, but I think what was discussed today - and this was, of course, a government meeting - this was essentially about what governments can do. Not so much what the individuals can do, but governments. [...] Governments have got to set the template for healthy behaviour, and this is not a nanny state, this is actually the responsibility of governments to make life conducive, to help people to make those healthy choices."
Nope, no nanny state there. Not a bit of it.

But the truly sinister aspect of this woman is her blithe dismissal of any policy except brutal fiscal bludgeoning of anyone whose life view is different to hers. Using the soundbite of "taxation, taxation, taxation" (yes, she really did say that), the roadmap she is promoting is pure and unequivocal.

"Today at the UN, there was a lot of talk about this, you know, should people be looking at taxing food that has a higher level of salt, or has a higher level of transfats, you know, can we put up the tax on unhealthy food [...] I think the understanding of some of these issues of legislation and taxation is moving very quickly."
Like a drink? A Big Mac? A Snickers? You're all smokers now. Or may as well be, because the New York contingent view every man jack of you as something to be controlled and forced to change. Either that, or you have to pay through the nose for the same products you have always chosen to enjoy. Though I'm sure the fact that a proportion of these extra taxes will find its way into the pockets of those who order global governments to enact such policies has nothing to do with their obsessive zeal. Oh no.

Think you can perhaps reason with these people? Yeah, right. Mackay (who Labour made an OBE, FFS!) has previously gone on record as stating that no-one should be allowed to opt-out, and educating kids doesn't work. Sorry, but you're all going to have to fall into line, or empty your wallet/purse at the state.

The tobacco industry famously once described Mackay as "one of the three most dangerous people in the world".

That's one hell of a crystal ball they have there.


Ian B said...

Excellent article as usual Dick. Just want to add regarding The Campaigners thing, I'm planning another more comprehensive article and it struck me that The Crusaders would probably be a better term, all things considered, anyway, a number of commenters are sort of saying, "it's not the lobbies, it's the EU (or the UN etc)".

My first article only covered a part of the story because I think it is a good and simple argument, or "meme", to be able to say to people who aren't as deep into this shit as we are, "it's like the Unions", because that's a clear (and truthful) analogy that they can understand without half an hour of verbiage about history, libertarianism, John Locke and The Rights Of Man and all that. It transmits the idea very quickly in a sentence. I got the idea after I casually deployed the analogy in a Telegraph comments section and a bit later so did somebody else. It may have been a coincidence, but I think they'd picked it up from me, and then I thought, well maybe this is a good meme. But it's not the whole story as I'm sure you're aware with articles like this.

Here we see The Campaigners/Crusaders working at the international/transnational level to set policy in transnationalist bodies like the EU, the UN and its agencies and so on. So when the EU declare a pan-European lowering of the drink/drive limit, it's because these bastards have been busily working away in committees and symposia and academic research and press releases and so on, so it's not just "the government have to ask permission" but in fact stronger than that, they are directly being told what to do by the Campaigners via the EU/UN. Specifically, the EU/UN are the vehicle for prohibitionist policies developed in Anglo national NGOs, exported to the transnationalist bodies, then reflected back at us.

So when people say, "it's the EU", that's only half the story. The interesting part is why the EU or UN are adopting these policies, and that is due to pressure from and control by Campaigner formations.

Sam Duncan said...

“Not so much what the individuals can do, but governments”

And of course, because they can, they must. Because that's the way everyone thinks, of course. That's why we can't be trusted to ignore advertising.

There is no safe level of government.

Ian B said...

Couple of other quick points,

Firstly, I like this gradually increasing deployment of the flat denialist "this is not..." argument when something precisely is what it supposedly not. "This is not the nanny state". It's like kicking somebody repeatedly in the head while declaiming "THIS IS NOT VIOLENCE, THIS IS NOT VIOLENCE!".

The other thing one can't help but notice is that even the ones who aren't actually Scottish seem to have a surprising prevalence of Scottish names (therefore recent ancestry), like Mackay. And Liam Donaldson.

There's a lot of Celtic Calvinism in this. Hell of a lot. It's probably not a coincidence that the Great Leap Forward of the therapeutic state took place under the Scottish Raj.

Anonymous said...

Ian B. Do not call them the Crusaders please.
The Campaigners is right. It sounds right, is right and its right.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous - 'Campaigners' makes them sound like little old ladies with blue-rinse hair and placards politely pleading with us to 'Save the Doggies'. A name is needed for them which more exactly describes their activities. They do have a religious zeal, so 'Crusaders' works better: but, if anything, they are even more self-righteous, more fanatical. Maybe the 'X Ayatollahs', where X can be 'Nicotine', 'Alcohol', Bodyweight', 'Salt', etc. And if it offends a bunch of Muslims, that's a bonus.

tomsmith said...

Ok but what can we do about it Dick? Only an idiot would fail to see that the template is going to be deployed beyond tobacco control.

Ian, I agree with you regarding the campaigners being the driving force behind this puritan madness. But without political means to further their aims what could they possibly do? Don't you think that going after the political institutions enabling this sickness might be the most productive option? Without politics nobody is able to force you to do anything you don't want to do after all.

Unknown said...

On Saturday I broke my self imposed 'stop drinking so much' ban that was in place for the last three weeks or so then I decided I need some comfort booze. I had a few cans under my belt before bedtime when Belinda twittered me about her recent post.

It was either the beer or this odious bitch Judith Mackay that made me run for the toilet to hurl at the porcelain. I only watched the first couple of minutes of her bile before nature called.

To top it all I had found out earlier that Saturday, when I was sober, that the EU had imposed another poisonous piece of legislation that the tobacco companies have no excuse to avoid making, from the 17th of November this year, the derisory to smokers name of RIP,(Reduced Ignition Propensity) or as it should be called, as Pat Nurse points out, LIP (Lower Ignition Propensity.)

From that date all 'tailor made' cigarettes will have chemical rings, or bands, to make them extinguish if you do not keep puffing on them, this is all in the name of fire safety.

Google 'fire safe' sigarettes and you will find that New York started this and the world is beginning to adopt such shite.

I am on the side of Leg Iron and getting more militant by the day and will show no quarter where these bastards are concerned.

Ian B said...

Campaigners or Crusaders or something else, I'm open to suggestions. But ayatollahs, nazis, taliban, etc are fun perjoratives but instantly lose you the argument due to extremity, especially as the Crupaigners carefully cultivate an image of being well-meaning moderates basing their views on "the science". (This is a major innovation of Late Progressivism which distinguishes it from Early Progressivism which had a much more salvationist/eveangelical image). Crusaders is quite good because the Earlies often did overtly describe their campaigns as "crusades" and that helps us establish an important memetic linkage between the Deborah Arnotts and the Carrie Nations. But it could also be counterproductive because of the Muslim thing, so I am uncertain.

Tomsmith, we need to attack at lots of different places. The long term goal of libertarianism is to remove the political mechanisms that allow all this, but currently most of the population are persuaded that those mechanisms need to be there because The Campsaders have used moral panic techniques to persuade them that there is Something That Must Be Done, and the State is the natural organ with which to do it.

Part of the problem tactically with vanilla libertarianism, IMHO, is that it is somewhat so fixated on being "anti-state" that it tends to personify the State as having a will, whereas I think it is better to see the State as a mechanism whose will is dictated by social formations who wrest control of it, be they Unions or Campaigners or business lobbies or whoever. I think what Dick and Chris Snowdon and others are doing in turning fire on the Campaigners themselves is vitally important and the right strategy at this time. That doesn't mean ignoring traditional libertarian approaches. It's synergistic.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Ian B: "The Campsaders have used moral panic techniques to persuade them that there is Something That Must Be Done, and the State is the natural organ with which to do it."

... even though whenever they do get involved, it always - but always - is counter-productive. That's why the CC piece was so well crafted. It brilliantly nailed how these bastards have reframed the agenda and turned individuals who would naturally fight for their own freedoms, into nasty finger-pointing robots who fear for their own existence in the face of quite ludicrous nonsense at times.

They can be called whatever one chooses. I've used LI's 'righteous' before, but campaigners is as good a term. In fact, anything that will open eyes to the disgraceful derogation of people's lives that is being not only proposed, but being accelerated while the public will is so defenceless.

Having said that, language is a massive tool for such people. How else have the Lib Dems convinced anyone at all that they are actually liberal for example. Or how has 'progressive' become popular when it seeks to send us back centuries?

The Union link is a valid comparison. 'Thick as thieves' is another. Because it really is people's lives being robbed here.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Tomsmith: "Without politics nobody is able to force you to do anything you don't want to do after all."

That should be the case, but as Mackay's approach proves, they want to price your choice out of you. We know full well this will bring the black market into play, but these morons refuse to accept it as a problem. ASH talk of how they have all the solutions for that, except they haven't. All they want is for their policies to be enacted and sod the consequences. They then commission shit studies to 'prove' that everything is hunky-dory and politicians - time-limited (and dozy) as they are - believe it.

They'll cling forever to failed policies too, just look at the war on drugs.

The only thing that might - and it is a big might - change things is if the public can be shown how much they are lied to every day. Difficult enough when the paid interests are holding the microphone, even more so when the state broadcaster is packed full of hive minds intent on a similarly inept false utopia.

tomsmith said...

Ian, maybe you are right. Traditional anti state libertarianism does tend to turn people off because it seems so impractical to them. It does have an aura of studentishness and a reputation for pointless theory.

Focusing on exactly how and why these puritan fuckers are messing with our lives might be something the average person can relate to more effectively.

ftumch said...

Great post, great comments. I read Ian's post over at cats and, as usual, found myself in agreement. But.... this notion that the State somehow reflects Us, the sheeple, baffled me some ( I may be incorrect, but it was the impression Ian gave in his original post)

"I think it is better to see the State as a mechanism whose will is dictated by social formations who wrest control of it, be they Unions or Campaigners or business lobbies or whoever."

That's more like it.

As I see it, Libertarianism is essentially apolitical. Free market economics is apolitical too. And so are most people. Most people are, essentially Libertarian: ie, they leave politics to the politicians. Most people just want to get on with their lives, make a living, enjoy that living, and leave the politicking to the campaigners and committed; it does after all, take up a lot of time and energy. The bigger problem here is that we now associate the Government with a body that Must Do Things, rather than a body that Must Do Things, But ONLY WHEN ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. By which, I mean: on the rare occasion I stand outside a pub smoking with other people, they will always declare how much they hate the ban, admit that smoking is terrible and bad and dirty, but hey, what can you do? And then you talk of other issues, immigration, bankers, etc, and what do you get? "The Government should do something about it!" (If that looks contradictory... these people want someone else to deal with these problems, not deal with it themselves; they are still apolitical.)

Some months back I was chatting to an American MRA chap online. Nice guy, a Texan, very traditional, very Christian. Feminism, says he, is the Root of All Evil. I sympathise, but point out that the Free World faces... The Three-Pronged Trident of Evil (TM). OK, I know, but I was pissed at the time - also, I had in mind the images fom the propaganda pics of the WWII period - bear with me. Anyway:

We have the feminazis (and their friends in the Identity Politics Brigade), the econazis, and the healthnazis. These three share three similar characteristics, the first being they are largely (or at least, often) funded by taxpayers, second they play on peoples emotional responses (let's ignore the fact that most men have had it worse for the entirety of human history, let's ignore that there is more green stuff around us than grey concrete, let's ignore the fact that people, on average, live longer than ever before), and third... well... every one of these ideologues demand Behaviour Change. And Behaviour Change is their raison d'etre, because... they are Good.

"There's a lot of Celtic Calvinism in this". Is there no Lutheranism? Forgive me, I may be wrong, but am sure Marx was a Lutheran.

So many other factors... think on this: in cultural memes, who's the bad guy? Almost always the Corporate Executive. NEVER the CND/Greenpeace?Feminist...

We need a revolution. Now.

The problem is, without massive levels of poverty and starvation you won't get any kind of revolution or change. With the coming EU collapse, the worst thing that will happen is the proletariat rising behind Laurie Penny and her ilk: "Power to the People!" (squeeky voice)

The only alternative is Ian B in T-shirt, Beret, and with natty moustache. I'd follow that motherfucker.

Malenfant said...

The Big Yin wrote: "From that date all 'tailor made' cigarettes will have chemical rings, or bands, to make them extinguish if you do not keep puffing on them, this is all in the name of fire safety."

That's interesting. I was just commenting, a couple of days ago, that my smokes were going out to the local corner shop. Apparently I wasn't the first to mention it.

HTF did this happen without it getting a least some media attention?

Unknown said...

Malenfant that's what I've been wondering since I found out about the directive on Saturday, I blogged about it. You are not the only one to notice, Subrosa noticed too.

I can only think that they purposly kept it quiet in the vain hope we smokers would not notice.

Dr Evil said...

The queer thing is (can I still say/write that? oh yes) their ancestors buggered off to the Americas to get away from authoritarian bastards like her and those that were taxing them to an early grave. Now we get this nonsense. They love to interfere and order us about, because a) the can and b) they know what's best for us. I really do hate people like her.

Malenfant said...

Big Yin, there's a difference in taste, too, I noticed. At first I thought it was those bits of 'wood' that you sometimes get that taste awful and leave an aftertaste.

If this is the future I'm going back to the rollies. Might get a natty ciggie case as well as some cheap imported snout and get ahead of the curve. Fuck 'em!

I'm fucking sick of all this bollocks!.

Unknown said...

I know where you are coming from Malenfant. I smoke rollups but the wife smokes tailor made.

This all started in New York in 2004 and a lot of Americans have complained of feeing sick after smoking them.

The change has to be made by the 17th of next month so that on that date only 'doctored' cigs will be sold so as they sell the old 'undoctored' stock they will be replaced by the chemical ones.

They do say however that this is voluntary but the local trading standards office will be able to remove stock that is not doctored so it's a lose lose situation and the tobacco companies are having their arm twisted to comply.

It fucking stinks, it really does.

Ian Thorpe said...

I only have to look at the picture of that emotionally constipated face to see Ms McKay is seething with resentment at the fact that some of us know how to enjoy life.

Joe said...

There is actually a 3rd option, lets force the hand of these people in the keep going direction, BAN cigs, BAN salt, BAN sugar, BAN fats, BAN alcohol, but instead of letting them do it with a drip drip drip approach force them to speed it up, the logic behind this being, these things are BAD, therefore the state taking tax from them means everyone that works for the state is living off of immoral earnings, and yes I know that's usually only used for pimps, but the analogy does stand, therefore, call bullshit and they're basically screwed because they would then have a situation where they ban everything, and then can't afford to run their schemes and scams.

Force the edifice to come down

wv: banit I kid you not screenshot available on request

Anonymous said...

@TBY and Malenfont...

My cigs also go out now, halfway down and they've never done that before.
As a test, I cut one down the middle and tipped the baccy into a rolling machine and used a normal Rizla paper....
AND IT STILL WENT OUT!!!......halfway down!!!

I wonder IF they have done something to the tobacco itself and not just the paper.
The taste itself is different, it's "sweeter" until you relight it and then it tastes foul !!! - so I stub it out - half a cig wasted.

But what REALLY gets me is, it looks as if they have doctored the cigarettes and SAID NOTHING, nor is there anything on the packet.

On American packs it has "FSC" above the barcode, but there is nothing on the British packs.

Oh well, time to switch to a pipe I think!!!

Dead Dog Bounce said...

Worstall tried to push the term "Bansturbator" for these people.

They are genuinely career liberty-deleters, and god knows there are few enough liberties remaining.

Is there a central place with a list of these people, along with modus operandi and contact details? Might be fun to turn up outside their homes at 8am on a sunday (a la AIG) and chant "fascist witch" for an hour.

Ian B said...

The queer thing is (can I still say/write that? oh yes) their ancestors buggered off to the Americas to get away from authoritarian bastards like her and those that were taxing them to an early grave.

This is actually a bit of a myth. The puritans- the "pilgrim fathers" and the like- didn't go to America to be liberals. They wanted to set up their own little theocracies in the New World, having failed with the monstrous Cromwell regime in England.

There is a whiggish history that tells of them fleeing persecution. It is closer to the truth to say that the "persecution" was equivalent to denazification and decommunisation in Germany and the former Soviet Bloc; Charles II had barred them from Parliament, the Universities and the Clergy in the hope of keeping them out of power. (The Fifth Monarchy Men staged a post-Republic coup in London, and that was the useful pretext).

The little theocracies that budded all over New England were intensely "bansturbatory" and evolved, via several religious revivals, particularly the Second Great Awakening, into the Yankee bloc of authoritarian statists whose ideology now oppresses us. It was here in England that this manifestation of extremist protestant zeal first developed (as I said, and manifested as Cromwell's regime) but it has been in America where it has reached its most developed form.

But anyway, the whole "poor harmless pious folk escaping persecution" thing, that's just history-written-by-the-victors stuff.

Dick Puddlecote said...

DDB: I've used the word myself on many an occasion. ;)