The Unknown Soldier

One good thing about hot wars – wars fought with bombs and bullets – is that they generally don’t last very long, because one side or the other usually gets killed off in large numbers. Which shouldn’t be too surprising, since weapons technologies are are just technologies that help get the fighting over and done with quicker.

Unfortunately, the current global War on Smokers – which kicked off in Britain on 1 July 2007, and on different dates elsewhere (much like WW1 and WW2) – isn’t a hot war. And that means that it’s likely to last much longer than they did. In Britain the war has been running for coming up on six years, and looks set to easily last another six years. In some places in California, it’s been going on for eighteen years. Today I wondered if it might last for fifty years, or even a century.

And it’s a war that has its roots back in those wars. Because the Nazi eugenicists weren’t completely defeated back then: only the German Nazis were comprehensively defeated, while the American and British Nazis survived unscathed. And they have gradually recovered their strength in the intervening decades. The War on Smokers is an eugenic programme of social cleansing that rivals any Hitlerian project, and it aims to create an ideal “smoke-free” and disease-free world (disease-free, because antismokers believe that all diseases are either caused by smoking or are ‘smoking-related’).

The war isn’t being fought with machine guns and artillery, but instead with laws and rules and regulations and taxes that are intended to marginalise and exclude and ‘denormalise’ smokers in countless millions across the entire world. The new Nazis have seized all the high ground – the medical profession, the media, the governments – and they have enlisted the aid of captains of industry, and have been bombarding smokers with taxes and laws and propaganda ever since.

The smokers were supposed to come out with their hands up, and surrender before this new blitzkrieg onslaught. But they never did. In fact the response of smokers has been to dig in, stay home, carry on smoking, and stop spending. So it’s an economic war that’s being fought. On the one side the economic weapons are levies and laws and lies, while on the other side the economic weapon is the economic ‘demand shock’ as smokers quit, not smoking, but going to pubs, cafes, restaurants, and more or less everywhere else as well. There’s a strong case to be made that the current global recession is being driven as much by the Global War on Smokers as anything else.

And much like in the last war, the New Nazis have made very rapid headway at the outset, largely by catching unwary smokers by surprise. In Britain they managed to get smoking banned almost everywhere except in smokers’ own homes and in most outdoor areas. But since then, much like in WW2, progress has slowed. Antismokers have since then managed to get tobacco displays banned in shops, and look set to get tobacco sold in ‘plain’ packages (i.e. covered with obscene antismoking images). But these new gains lack the depth of earlier victories.

In Britain, the result is stalemate. The antismoking Nazis aren’t winning. But neither are the smokers winning either. The result is a stand-off in which the smokers stay home, and carry on smoking, while the entire British economy (along with all the other smoker-banning economies) slides into recession – a recession that can never possibly end, however many stimuli are applied to the economy, while 25% of the population continues to be excluded from the economy.

And so the war looks set to drag on into the indefinite future. But can it do that?

British antismoking Nazis could, of course, secure even more draconian antismoking measures from their compliant puppets in Parliament. They might, for example, get smoking banned everywhere outdoors. But if they did that, then even those smokers (like myself), who still go to pubs in summer to sit outside in their gardens, will stop doing even that. The smoker spending freeze will deepen, and the economy will slump even deeper into recession.

And yet if the antismokers fail to make progress in their War on Smokers, hard questions will start being asked about the merit of continuing to fund it, particularly in a time of recession and dwindling tax revenues. The less likely it appears that the promised smoke-free sunlit uplands – up whose verdant slopes athletic workers would sprint to work at the crack of dawn each day – will ever be reached, the more likely that the whole nonsensical project will be abandoned. Because all that smokers need to do is wait, hunkered down in their foxholes with tax-free, smuggled tobacco

The onus is on antismokers to come up with some bold and innovative campaign to revitalise their flagging offensive. But the antismoking war machine doesn’t innovate. It has a tried and tested armoury, and it seldom departs from the antismoking rulebook. One example of this has been their response to the appearance of e-cigs: they want them banned too. Antismokers may be highly organised and well paid, but they suffer from all the defects of large bureaucratic organisations: their thinking and planning has become rigid and dogmatic. Disorganised smokers suffer from no such restrictions, and are able to innovate freely. Furthermore, Britain’s smokers don’t need to be told by the General Secretary of the National Union of Smokers (if there was one) to stay home and stop spending – because that’s what they’re doing anyway.

There are no ranks or numbers in the smokers’ army. There are no generals or captains, nor any command chain, nor even any commands. Quite often there aren’t any names either. We are all unknown soldiers in the smokers’ legion, and all we share is the date on which our war started. It’s up to each of us to resist in our own small way, using our own initiative and our own imagination.

And the longer we hold out, the more likely we are to win. If it had been a hot war, we would have won years ago, after most of the antismokers had been shot dead (there were never that many of them, after all). Instead it’s going to be a long, slow war. So we’re going to have to wait, and shoot them all afterwards.

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12 Responses to The Unknown Soldier

  1. raymond barfoot says:

    dear frank, i am going to be breif and to the point: i just wish the anti-smokers would just go away and leave us smokers alone. failing that then they can just shut up and die and feed the worms. thay are unreasonable fanatics so i am now a zealot with regard to my personal freedoms. thay have take much of that from myself and many others.for that alone i would rather draw and quarter every anti-smoker i meet.no painkillers just slow painful torture as thay have done to us.and i will by the eternal live to see that i promise you.harley rider and legiron are just some of my favorite people whom have said what i wish i had thought of to say.gary30k and you and junican and pat nurse all have said at one time or another what i wish i could have said. yes this war will take longer but it will pass sooner or later all things pass.but i will not forgive or forget the anti-smokers. to them i declare:expect us someday maybe sooner than you think. regards raymond b.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Hey we always win in the end! Just like all the times before…………

      Heres a time line starting in 1900,dont be surprised to see the same thing playing out today nearly 100 years later.

      1901: REGULATION: Strong anti-cigarette activity in 43 of the 45 states. “Only Wyoming and Louisiana had paid no attention to the cigarette controversy, while the other forty-three states either already had anti-cigarette laws on the books or were considering new or tougher anti-cigarette laws, or were the scenes of heavy anti- cigarette activity” (Dillow, 1981:10).

      1904: New York: A judge sends a woman is sent to jail for 30 days for smoking in front of her children.

      1904: New York City. A woman is arrested for smoking a cigarette in an automobile. “You can’t do that on Fifth Avenue,” the arresting officer says.

      1907: Business owners are refusing to hire smokers. On August 8, the New York Times writes: “Business … is doing what all the anti-cigarette specialists could not do.”

      1917: SMOKEFREE: Tobacco control laws have fallen, including smoking bans in numerous cities, and the states of Arkansas, Iowa, Idaho and Tennessee.

      1937: hitler institutes laws against smoking.

      WE WILL WIN AND I NEVER GIVE UP!

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        When you look at it,the bans last time really only lasted from 5 -10 years in most places others much longer! But it pretty well died out within 15-17 years of criminal laws being past.

  2. harleyrider1978 says:

    Frank the General of the smoker army is ”HUMAN NATURE” its a trait that cant be fought or rationalized. Its a streak of stubornist,defiance,a fuck them attitude………….Its a dont tell me what to do attitude and its always been there. It gets tested in times like this to the extreme and it comes forth as a defence mechanism and as a fight back mechanism. Also the feeling of threat from the ban causes many to smoke more and more. High prices feed the need and DESIRE to buy on the blackmarket a way to screw the nazis and fight the government at the same time. Of course most do it because the high prices simply made it have to be that way. As recession turns to Depression in the world so will smoking rates soar!

    World Atlas: More People Smoking Cigarettes than Ever

    There are more people smoking now than ever before, despite health warnings and the rising price of cigarettes. In 1980, 4,453 billion cigarettes went up in smoke, which increased to 6,319 billion in 2010. By 2020, you can expect to find nearly seven billion cigarette ends littering the world.

    Top of the charts in terms of nicotine addiction are Asia and Australia, which is where 57 percent of cigarettes are smoked today.

    These alarming statistics are among many of the intriguing facts laid bare in the ninth edition of Dan Smith’s The State of the World Atlas.

    Elsewhere, the book reports that 19 percent of Americans say they could not feed their families in 2011, despite living in one of the world’s richest countries. Meanwhile, 20 percent of India’s population remains undernourished, despite its Gross National Income rising by 450 percent since 1990.

    An even more shocking revelation is that 2.5 billion people live on less than £1.25 a day, which represents one in three of the global population.

    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/421066/20130106/population-statistics-state-world-atlas-dan-smith.htm

  3. garyk30 says:

    ‘the National Union of Smokers (if there was one)’

    It ia an informal group and has a nominal Surgeon General in Dr. LegIron Phd.

    Informal meetings are held in smoky/drinkys and places such as this.

    Altho scattered, there is a lot of info to use as ammo in the resistance.

    We are the modern French and Polish Resistance.

  4. Ed says:

    “The War on Smokers is an eugenic programme of social cleansing that rivals any Hitlerian project,”

    10/10 for hyperbole there.

    Ultimately they’ll fail anyway; they’ve tried to ban narcotics, and alcohol at various times, and it always fails. If people enjoy a fag then they’ll just do it regardless of laws and regulations in place.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Frank has it right,its not just smoking its an entire war on everything just like before!
      You have it right also…………

      Antismoking is not new. It has a long, sordid history. The three antismoking crusades of the last century have been eugenics-driven. In eugenics, health is erroneously reduced to an entirely biological phenomenon and where a self-installed elite attempt to engineer/breed a “better” human herd. In addition to a genetic aspect, eugenics views tobacco and alcohol as racial poisons needing to be eradicated (negative eugenics). Antismoking was rife in early-1900s USA. Smoking and tobacco sales were banned in quite a number of American states.

      http://www.americanheritage.com/artic….

      Dillow (1981) notes that the bulk of antismoking claims were fraudulent and inflammatory. Dillow fails to note that the antismoking crusade of the early-1900s USA was eugenics-driven: Eugenics was mainstream in the USA at this time. At the turn of the last century, eugenics was mainstream in the USA, the UK, some European countries, and a number of Scandinavian countries. The USA appears to be the most prominent. The mega-wealthy in the USA (e.g., Rockefeller, Carnegie, Ford, Kellogg) were supporters and funders of eugenics (and antismoking, anti-alcohol) – and still are. Rockefeller and Ford were also prominent supporters of Nazi eugenics. (Rockefeller also created the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Foundation, and the American Lung Association in this eugenics framework). Rockefeller and Ford had trade agreements with the Nazis through the 1930s

  5. Rose says:

    Excellent post by Carl V Phillips

    ANTZ and the mirror-image delusion

    “The clearest example of the mirror image delusion is that the ANTZ do not hesitate to corrupt scientific inquiry, lie about scientific results, and otherwise produce stinking pools of junk- and pseudo-science, and so they assume that their opponents have the same lack of concern about good science and ethics.”

    http://antithrlies.com/2013/02/17/antz-and-the-mirror-image-delusion/

  6. cherie79 says:

    I have not bought cigarettes in the UK since the ban and I never will unless it is lifted, doubt if it will be in my lifetime though given my age. It is amazing how many non smoking friends go abroad regularly and keep me going. I know I am still paying taxes in other countries but at least not here. I really do wonder how much as this is costing the Government and when they will see the light. I could afford to buy here but clearly they don’t need my money. The junk science for smoking and global warming means that when I see the words ‘academic’ or ‘expert’ says I immediately discount it.

  7. smokervoter says:

    Glantz and his fellow university aluminum foil brigade are forever looking under the bed for tobacco industry instigators, not unlike the McCarthyites of the 50s did with the Ruskies. They’re also stuck in the past. They cite an obscure 1992 pressure group, the name of which no one could identify at the time let alone now 20 years later, as Tea Party predecessors duping smokers into ignoring the health risks of smoking. That’s not what went down at all. The organizing impetus came at the cash register in the form of ever increasing prices, driven by excise taxes, which tweaked the inborn anger reflex of the human psyche. Why that is so hard to grasp by tobacco controllers is beyond comprehension.

    The tobacco industry flubbed their attempt at organizing smokers miserably, which was maddening. Had they been more effective we might not find ourselves in the current predicament. Not only did they not shove back hard enough against the enemy they utilized a tepid, almost turn the other cheek strategy.

    Who remembers Philip Morris Magazine?

    I got a good laugh at this recollection of a supposed conspiratorial Tea Party ancestors’ publication from over at smokershistory.

    The first part is a 1989 copy of Philip Morris Magazine, which cheerfully provides recipes for spinach salad and an article about a bicycle marathon while touting ‘smokers rights’.

    I would submit that it was the spinach salad and bicycle crowd who instigated the War on Smokers.

    I don’t remember Philip Morris magazine at all but I do remember fuming as cigarettes went from 62 cents a pack to 87 cents a pack after passage of Prop 99 in California.

    And I’m still somewhat bemused at the Tea Party’s failure to openly recruit more smokers.

  8. Walt says:

    GaryK–
    Having gone thru the lung stuff with a family member (who made it to 92, btw) and perhaps genetically in line for it myself, here’s 2 non-steroidal tips. First, do a google on Quercetin (it’s a bioflavanoid) for which there’s solid research about its working against airway inflammation and obstruction. Next, look into this http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/03/health/03brod.html?em , keeping in mind that this columnist isn’t faddish and doesn’t go off deep ends. If it interests you, I can give you more info about it.

    About BT blowing it.
    C. 1989-90, at the start of the war (the equivalent of the invasion of Czechoslovakia, I guess) Reynolds Tobacco got it around (I forget how) that they were having a smokers rights meeting here in NYC. The first small bans had just come in in here (a law about separate smoking sections in restaurants and a few other small total bans), and even at that, the meeting, in a huge auditorium, must have had well upwards of 1500 enraged smokers– all of them aware that SHS was the thing that had to be smothered in its cradle. But Reynolds, having amassed us, only wanted to use us– organize us, in fact– to fight some piddling proposed tax hike. No matter how many in the assemblage protested that they were pursuing a gnat and ignoring a warhead, they smugly persisted. The result was that their second meeting attracted only a dozen people.

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