Angry Old Men

I tend to think of revolutionaries as angry young men. Fidel Castro comes to mind. Che Guevara also. Young people, with their whole lives in front of them, are more likely to revolt against conditions that they find intolerable than old people.

I was no revolutionary in my youth. If I was in revolt against anything, it was against boring sameness. The sixties were a revolt in style. We just wanted something a bit different. We weren’t revolutionaries like Castro and Guevara. At least, I wasn’t. Nor were most of the people I knew. There wasn’t much to revolt against anyway. It wasn’t as if Britain in the 1960s was a peasant society under the yoke of robber barons.

So it’s a little odd, late in life, to have found myself becoming something of a revolutionary. It’s living life the wrong way round. At my age, I should be gardening and feeding pigeons and nodding off to sleep in front of the TV.

But instead, I find myself hating everything that happens, and getting more and more alienated, and dreaming of stringing up politicians and pundits from lamp posts. I’ve become an angry old man. And I’m far from being the only one.

But I think I may just be an old reactionary, reacting against a revolution that is in progress, rather than engaging in one. I’m not so much a revolutionary as a counter-revolutionary.

The revolution of which I speak is a quiet revolution. The smoking ban is part of it, and the principal reason why I hate it. But the emergence of a totalitarian EU superstate is another major part of it. And so is doctrinaire Green global warming dogma. And petty bureaucracy at every turn. There’s been no coup, no marches or demonstrations, no cheering crowds greeting revolutionary new leaders. The modern revolutionaries have taken over without any fuss or fighting.

For the strange thing is that our modern revolutionaries aren’t angry young men either. They are mostly much the same age as I am. They are in some cases people I knew. They are people who have climbed the greasy pole to the top of the political class, or the top of the medical profession, or the mass media, or the universities, and who are using their positions, late in life, to affect a revolution that they have probably dreamt about since their teens. They want to create a single, smoke-free, windmill-powered, European superstate. It’s what they’ve dreamed of all their lives, and worked assiduously to achieve. It’s utterly impractical, but it’s their dream, and it’s what they’ve patiently worked for.

In fact, we don’t seem to have any angry young men these days. Last I heard, student politics was completely dead. The rioters in Britain’s cities last year wanted TV sets, not political change. The only people who are revolutionaries these days are people who were revolutionaries 40 years ago, and who have secretly remained revolutionaries ever since. Manual Barroso, the Maoist President of the European Commission, comes to mind.

So what will happen once these elderly revolutionaries have set in place their monolithic, undemocratic, totalitarian European superstate, with windmills and smoking bans stretching from the Baltic to the Mediterranean?

Well, most probably, the non-revolutionary generation coming up behind them will dismantle the whole thing, and return everything to the way that it was before. And they’ll dismantle it all because it just doesn’t work. The EU doesn’t work. Smoking bans don’t work. And windmills don’t work either.

So the reward our elderly revolutionaries will most likely reap will be to see their whole life’s work torn up in front of their eyes, smoking bans, windmills, EU, and all, as they watch helplessly from their nursing home beds.

All I can say is: I can’t wait for it to happen. So that I can go back to doing some gardening, and feeding the pigeons, and falling asleep in front of the telly.

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21 Responses to Angry Old Men

  1. Tom says:

    Castro and Guevara were also known to order to have done or to do personally – a lot of cold blooded killing – aka murdering – of those unfortunate enough to represent a political way of thinking contrary to their own personal agendas for self-advancement.

  2. Reinhold says:

    Che Guevara also. Young people, with their whole lives in front of them

    Well, exactly 45 years ago today, Che Guevara was executed.

  3. jaxthefirst says:

    I think that the elderly, control-freaky “rebels” that you describe are basically a bunch of old has-beens, who simply can’t accept the fact that their glory days are behind them. They’re a bunch of bitter and twisted old men and women who, in their heart of hearts, wish for all they are worth that they could still be how they used to be – young and thrusting and energetic enough to relive their former glory days. But they’re not. They’re old and miserable and they can’t be bothered. And because they can’t accept the fact that they’re old and past it, they don’t want anyone else to enjoy the same feelings of optimism and freedom and rebellious spirit that they once had, because it reminds them of how they used to be and – more pertinently – how they now aren’t.

    So, rather than just sitting back and accepting the fact that they are essentially spent forces without much energy to make the kind of significant and important changes to society that need to be made, they’ve set about instead making damned sure that if they can’t do it, then no-one else – not even young people – can either. They’ve burdened youngsters with pressures and stresses that they shouldn’t have to be bothered with at this age, dumbed down their overall education so that they just don’t have an understanding of how today’s society has been shaped by yesterday’s and how it will shape tomorrow’s, and carped on endlessly with criticisms and insults directed towards them just for, well, being young people, really – so much so that young people now feel positively guilty for every little bit of youthful exuberance that they dare to show, unless it’s in a controlled, approved-of fashion.

    In fact, there’s a remarkable similarity between these old ex-rebels and ex-smokers, who adopt the same attitudes, for precisely the same reasons, towards smokers. It’s perhaps not surprising, either, that many of these ex-rebels are actually also ex-smokers. The only difference is that there’s nothing they can do about getting old and past it, but they could reverse the feelings of bitterness and resentment at being ex-smokers through the simple act of taking up smoking again. Maybe the world would be a better and livelier place if they did. It would certainly be a more interesting one!

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    Actually its all a complex plan from the days after WW2 when the UN was set up! It goes back even befor that to Wilsons failed League of nations. One has to remember President Wilson was a staunch PROGRESSIVE the same as we have pushing this new world order such as the EU! Hitler may well have been forcing that plan ahead of its time with WW2 as we see much of hitlers own agenda being utilized and enforced on the world we are now in.

  5. smokervoter says:

    I’m more of an angry revolutionary at my advanced age than I was when I was a young man rebelling against the cops, who represented the bad guys who killed four students at Ohio State and turned their water cannons on black people and clubbed protesters in Chicago. Back then I was up against real thugs with guns and billyclubs.

    The only official battle time I got under my belt was at the Palm Springs Pop Festival, the upper class winter golfing playground and home to Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope of all places. It was the real deal though. It lasted 4 long hours back and forth and I must have thrown a hundred desert rocks at the F-ing Pigs. I’ll admit, it felt damn good. I remember watching one of my missiles leave my hand and bounce right off the head of one of them. It was a supreme rush.

    The revolution I find myself in now invigorates me far more than those old days. And the strange thing is that the enemy is nothing more than a horrible bunch of righteous do-gooders on a mission to outlaw the things that once were not only mundane, but were items that I spent most of my money on. Cigarettes, takeout hamburgers, beer and filling up the gas tank in my car. Yet these bastards irritate me tenfold over the 60s policeman and I want to utterly annihilate them.

    Forget war and peace and racial equality and social justice, it’s the assault on everyday little things that gets my blood boiling.

    I’d love to watch a rock bounce off of one of their obstinate, vainglorious heads, I really would.

  6. waltc says:

    Not so much a revolution as The March of the Zealots;
    http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/zealots.htm
    What continues to amaze me is that there ARE no young “revolutionaries” here, throwing rocks (I’d even settle for metaphorical rocks) at the creepy authoritarians. The young seem bovine. Some of them may quietly ignore the proscriptions, but, you’re right, they don’t fight them or the guys who promote them. Maybe it does take our generation– no strangers to strife and familiar with freedom– to get the thing going.

    • Barry Homan says:

      And why do the young seem bovine? That needs to be answered. Where’s the rebellious spirit and energy, is it being channelled elsewhere? Is it…the meds they’re being given?

      Would like to hear views.

    • smokervoter says:

      That’s a terrific link Walt, thanks so much. After reading through the Numbers Watch article I bookmarked it only to be told by Firefox that I already had bookmarked it. That’s twice this has happened recently the other being Churchmouse’s thoroughly engrossing website.

      How did I miss this Brignell guy! It is so refreshing to realize that not all scientists and academics think alike or march to the monotonic beat of the ‘sky is falling’ order.

      Following links leading off in 360 different degrees of the compass I’ve found myself embroiled in a standoff between Brignell and Bob Carroll of Skeptic Dictionary fame (another fellow I’d never heard of) over secondhand smoking harm.

      I’ll grudgingly say this for Mr. Carroll, his explanation of Relative Risk actually sunk in to my thick skull and I finally think I get it. But I’m disappointed with his statement that “I no longer have much faith in what John Brignell writes.” It seems he’s locked the door and thrown away the key.

      When I find the time (there are no fewer than 40 links in this article) I intend read through Carroll’s article. In the meantime Walt, I’d like your gut feeling opinion about Brignell vs Carroll, that is if you’ve digested it.

      Bob Carroll vs John Brignell on Secondhand Smoke

      Anyone else in here read through this? I’m all ears.

      FD: All Shaws have been changed to Carrolls

      • Tony says:

        John Brignell emphasises the ‘absolute lung cancer risk’ of 8% over a lifetime for a lifelong smoker.
        To which Bob Shaw replies:
        “As I note above, I no longer have much faith in what John Brignell writes. It now seems obvious why a responsible reporter would invoke the 24 times greater risk: it more accurately represents the risk than does Don Oakley’s legerdemain with numbers.”
        Bob is right about reporters who want to scare people. But what people really want to know is the absolute risk and so that is what responsible reporters should invoke. In other words John Brignell is correct and Bob Shaw is wrong.

        • smokervoter says:

          Thanks Tony. I have no idea where I came up with the name Bob Shaw. It is Bob Carroll. Whenever I read long drawn out articles with 40 links referencing 40 different names who, in turn, reference 40 different names and/or studies, it does get confusing.

          And yes, I agree it is the absolute risk that is pertinent to me.

      • churchmouse says:

        Thanks for the mention — delighted to have you as a reader! :)

  7. I feel it is the slow rerurn to the days of Mary Shit….WHITEhouse, and “Funny half hour” being classed as “pornography”, and such things, that really piss me off about the whole way the situation these days appears to be going. A return to the 50s, and an unravelling of everything that was “won” in the 60s and 70s. *

    This lot we now have “in power” will not be happy until we are back with B/W “Queen” T.Vs, with push button controls, stop broadcasting at 21:30, and Sundays filled with Harry bloody Seacome and the “Flaxton boys”.

    A feeling ensues that the men of 1939 must have had, when they were once again called up, to repeat the same old battles from 1914 -18.

    * See Julia M’s post today/yesterday, regarding “complaints” about so called “saucy post cards”, or a few days ago, about photographs being on desplay in a local shop, or off duty coppers complaining that a picture of some tart with a swan was “pronographic”.

  8. northern oik says:

    Hi frank
    This is a bit off topic,but thought it might be an important article..unfortunately it is in swedish –
    http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=406&artikel=5298475
    Its got something to do with nicotine being good for the brain
    Nikotin har en mätbart positiv effekt på både minne och inlärningsförmåga. = Nicotine has a measurably positive effect on both memory and learning capacity.
    Any swedes able to translate for us?

    • nisakiman says:

      No Swedes, I’m afraid, but Google Translate doesn’t do a bad job:

      That nicotine has effects on memory and learning are known. By understanding these effects would be able to develop new treatments for diseases that affect memory. Researchers at Uppsala University have investigated a particular type of cell in the brain that appear to control the signals in the brain.
      “Just these cells also respond to nicotine.”

      Nicotine has a measurably positive effect on both memory and learning ability. If you can copy and enhance this effect without the harmful effects of tobacco, so might new drugs such as Alzheimer’s disease may be possible. Now a group of researchers claim they have found that neurons in the brain that is affected by nicotine.

      - We have found a nerve cell that ka help us sort the impressions to the brain, and how does the brain it, we have tried to find out by examining neural circuits that regulate memory and learning, and we have found a type of cell that does just this job to determine what impact that will become memories, says Klas Kullander, professor of genetic developmental biology at Uppsala University.

      These nerve cells in the brain have been known from before, but it is only now that scientists understand their function.

      Klas Kula Weekender call them gate guard cells, they control the signals from which will be strengthened or weakened, and these kinds of cells have Kullander and his colleagues managed to modify to regarera to light. In addition, they sent light signals through thin wires into the brain of a mouse. By highlighting specific neurons, they could affect the ability of cells to sort information. The researchers now show is that it is precisely these cells also respond to nicotine.

      But sending light signals into people’s brains to improve learning or retaining memory is not a realistic model. Klas Kullander would not recommend nicotine, not least because it is addictive.

      Now that they have found the function of these cells so it has also a potential target for drugs in the future.

      - To pharmacologically stimulate nerve cell is quite tricky, but now that we have at least the neuron we try to stimulate the American so you can find that kind of substances that can help to stimulate nerve cell and only stimulate memory and learning.

      And if one were to succeed in this so you could use it in medicines for diseases like Alzheimer’s.

      • northern oik says:

        thanks for that – but it lacks a certain – subtletly? literal translations lose some of the meaning – why is this only in that easy to access language of the world- swedish??

  9. Woodsy42 says:

    In the 60s I believed we were rebelling from a grey post-war mediocraty for freedom and opportunity. We seemed to have some success but in the past two decades so much basic freedom has been snatched from society. I. like you, am increasingly rebellious. My aims and ideas now are not that much different (although intellectual freedom and lifestyle freedom has somewhat overtaken the desire to increase opportunities for sex, drugs and rock & roll)

  10. harleyrider1978 says:

    Bulgarian Govt Says No to Lifting Full Smoking Ban
    http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=143968

    Could use a few friendly faces in the comments guys!

  11. waltc says:

    Smokervoter:
    I copied your link on Brignell v (whoever) and will get to it later in this f’ed up week. In general, and sight unseen, I likely side w/ Brignell whose website has always been pretty reliable in debunking the junk. I vaguely recall that the absolute odds of getting lung cancer are actually quite low and, when looked at in some arcane mathematical way (calling Gary K) are only marginally different between smokers and nonsmokers. I’ve also come across the 8% (and occasionally 10%) estimate elsewhere in a number of places and vaguely recall that I first saw in relation to the clinical results from those CAT scan studies of the late 90s-early 00′s that were done by places like the Mayo Clinic.

    Northern oik–
    Lots of studies showing smokng sharpens the brain. Frank did a translation of a paper that included a lot of different studies showing this, some of which were conducted by the US govt. Ask him nicely and I bet he’ll post the link. For decades, it’s been shown that smoking helps delay the onset of– and even progression of existing– alzheimers and if it weren’t such a f’ed up week, I’d post you some of many links or citations to that effect. Hang around. Next week may be better.

  12. beobrigitte says:

    But instead, I find myself hating everything that happens, and getting more and more alienated, and dreaming of stringing up politicians and pundits from lamp posts. I’ve become an angry old man. And I’m far from being the only one.

    There are plenty of ANGRY old women about, too, who are getting more and more alienated and are dreaming of stringing up politicians and pundits from lamp posts…………….

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