A Smoker’s Manifesto

A few days ago I listed about 10 cultural movements that have arisen over the last 70 years. They had a great many predecessors, and they will have a great many successors. And one of those successors, given the current global War on Smoking (and upon Smokers), may confidently be predicted to be a global Smokers’ Movement. And so it is entirely appropriate (and necessary) for there to be a smokers’ manifesto that sets out their cause. And it was precisely such a manifesto that the Russian author Dmitri Kossyrev recently set out to write, and which I now publish here, very slightly edited, as a draft manifesto for every smoker. It is not intended as a definitive statement, but more as a preliminary discussion document, with which people may agree or disagree, and to which people may suggest additions or subtractions or other revisions. Some may even wish to write their own complete rival versions.

A Smoker’s Manifesto

We smoke. We’ll go on smoking. There are more than 1 billion of us, and our ranks grow and will go on growing.

The time has come to bury the ugly corpse of the global anti-smoking madness. The time has come for us to state clearly what we want to do to make the world normal again, and how we’ll achieve it.

We’ll do it simply by the complete and total denormalisation of the anti-smoking campaign in its present form – which boils down to blatant lies and burning hatred.

We want a stop to ugly lies and brainwashing on global scale. We demand an independent investigation of the medical scam that “passive smoking kills people”. We call for reining in the murky and unaccountable World Health Organization. We demand respect for everyone who chooses to smoke, since we harm no one.

Our weapons are dignity instead of humiliation, knowledge in place of imposed ignorance and unity against the global evil of hatred and intolerance.

The road to victory starts with one short word: Enough. We won’t ever accept smoking bans. We’ll roll them back.

It always starts with words. Say these words to everyone as often as you can, and the tide will change.

No more lies

Tobacco smoke does not harm non-smoking people nearby. There is no such thing as passive smoking.

That was a known and proven fact before the Tobacco Control (TC) started its campaign, it has been proven again and again by several dozen subsequent studies. That’s Tobacco Control’s worst secret – that they started their campaign in full knowledge that they were going to lie to everybody.

They have squandered billions on grants that direct “researchers” to prove the harm of passive smoking. All they got was the profound derision of honest medical scientists and the label of “junk science” firmly attached to their fakery.

There won’t be a long investigation into the subject. The reports on absence of harm from passive smoking are well known. Devastating criticism of “junk science” by renowned researchers are well known too.

It will be a long battle, though, to appoint independent investigators of that scam, since TC have managed, using grants, to subjugate and harass almost anyone who explores tobacco and health.

There are reputations and livelihoods to lose. Health authorities, unaccountable WHO officials, and crooked researchers will be telling you that “the debate is over, period”. That’s how we and everybody else will know that the debate has only begun.

The battle for reviewing the medical justification of smoking bans may seem to be hard. But that battle may be won simply by starting it. Because they, Tobacco Control, are afraid. They knew that one day it would happen, and they’ll do anything to prevent the investigation. That resistance will be their undoing.

It’s only money

Today it’s not possible to conceal the obvious any more – that the anti-smoking movement has been heavily funded by global pharmaceutical, medical and insurance companies, with their obvious material gain from people quitting smoking (new drugs, doctor’s consultations, know-how) and with their future role in substituting tobacco (and tea, coffee, sugar, wine, etc.) with drugs.

It’s only money, and that money was wasted. Smoking may diminish in some countries, but it grows globally and will go on growing. Sales of smoke cessation products may still be high. But every passing day works against TC, since the effort to maintain daily the anti-tobacco hate campaign is too huge, and the danger of global exposure of lies grows daily. The time has come to accept realities and stop funding the ugly scam.

We smokers respect other people’s business intentions only as long as they do not tread on our right to choose our own way of life. We tell you: get out of the crooked game in a gentle and dignified way.

Everyone will have to answer for aggressive ignorance

Maybe 99% of those who mindlessly participate in harassing smokers have no idea they are part of a scam. Those may be politicians fearing the backlash of voters. Or media people not bothering to double-check facts. Or ordinary citizens only too willing to believe the lie that smokers are harming them.

To such people we say: think hard about how you’ll feel when the whole house of phony cards starts crumbling down.

That house has only one way to go now, and that way is down. We live in an age of WikiLeaks and all kind of other leaks. We live in an age of explosive political change.

When starting their phony campaign, TC might have been under an impression that the mainstream media was king. Today that media has lost control of the message that was being fed to the people. More and more people are taking their cue from the alternative media. 10 years ago you might have believed that whatever you are told in mainstream media was true. Today the reverse is happening. Today you have to check carefully the proof of each and any statements you see.

And one day, soon, everyone will have to answer for aggressive ignorance, if only to their own conscience.

No compromise with lies and hatred

The global anti-smoking movement has chosen inhuman methods and ideology that have to be exposed. They tell lies. They express hatred.

If you hate smoke, then you also hate smokers. The war on smoking, and the war on smokers, is systematic, organised, institutionalised hatred intended to eradicate smoking, and to eradicate smokers.

There is no basic difference between the most aggressive activists of TC and the Islamic terrorists. They’re natural allies. Both of them want to destroy Western civilisation. Both of them find it possible and even glorious to harass or break millions of people today for the sake of changing irrevocably the lifestyles of some imaginary future generations.

We find totally unacceptable TC’s method of driving people crazy with fear of a wisp of smoke. We abhor the method of setting smokers against non-smokers based on the phony concept of harm of passive smoking. We find reprehensible TC’s stake in the illiteracy and aggressiveness of its activists, their avoidance of honest discussion with facts and figures in hand.

That ideology has to be condemned. We must ensure that it never raises its ugly head again in human history.

We need a thorough study of the sad story of a private lobbyist campaign evolving into a huge and inhuman international scam. We have to learn lessons from the abject failure of states and societies that have been sabotaged by lobbyists and aggressive fanatics.

Vaping

We smoke, and we respect people who chose not to smoke or to switch to vaping. We accept the obvious fact that today vaping is the most reliable and safe way to stop smoking, if stopping is what people want.

The vapers’ movement has split the anti-smoking movement, dealing the latter a serious blow. Now a lot of medical experts, complicit in mass brainwashing about the “harm of passive smoking”, are tasting their own poison from the fangs of their former colleagues, hearing and reading obvious lies about the “harm of vaping”. Vapers’ defenders strike back, exposing the lies of TC with full inside knowledge of the machinery of these lies. TC is not happy about the situation. It feels naked, having to virtually admit that the real goals of their campaign was not public health, but only the need to drive smokers into the tender hands of medics with their magic and expensive pills.

We say to vapers: we have a common enemy in the lying and hating zealots. So let us stick together against them.

You can do a lot

We do not call for creation of expensive international bureaucracies to fight TC. Let the anti-smokers get themselves mired in that swamp.

We do not rely on big or small tobacco companies to help or fund us. They failed to defend themselves properly, when they were attacked. So how can they defend us?

Our daily behavior is our strongest weapon. We smoke. We are not ashamed about that. We won’t let anyone call us second-class citizens, because that we are not.

We can talk to each other and exchange facts about blatant TC lies. We can exchange videos and put them on YouTube, telling our stories. We should speak out at every possible opportunity. We should expose hatred, ignorance and lies.

Real movements spring from the grassroots. Every community knows better than outsiders whether to create smokers’ clubs or parties or teams. After that let politicians and parties run after us, not vice versa.

We have to revise the very essence of the standard restrictive anti-smoking legislation exported worldwide. The restrictions, or absence of such, have to be a product of concord in societies and communities with all their differences. This concord has to be reached by mutual understanding and respect. To start with, we have to cleanse the legislation of the very idea that the non-smoking citizens have more rights than their smoking brothers and sisters.

But there should be never be any concord with one of the worst liars and haters in human history. They will be exiled to the outdoors.

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Ethical Chaos

Yesterday brought the death of the blogger Anna Raccoon. It was not unexpected. She’d been suffering from cancer for some time.

I mentioned her here a few days ago after Dick Puddlecote had reported she was being forbidden even from vaping in the hospice in which she was now confined. Apparently she just went ahead and did it anyway. And now she has completely escaped these nasty, bullying, controlling people forever.

It’s one reason why I’ve become disenchanted with the NHS. Because it’s state-funded rather than private, it means that NHS patients aren’t customers, and they can’t take their custom elsewhere when they’re mistreated, so abuses like the maltreatment of smokers (and now vapers) pass unchecked. What’s to stop them next banning flowers, chocolates, books written by men with names beginning with the letter O, and anything else they don’t like? Answer: nothing.

Two things that I noticed Anna Raccoon got involved with, were firstly the online appeal for £10,000 to free pub landlord Nick Hogan after he permitted smoking in his pub. They raised the money inside about a week or two.

The other thing she got involved with was the strange case of Jimmy Savile, a celebrity DJ, who within months of his death was being denounced as a serial paedophile, and his reputation left in tatters. At the height of the witch hunt, Savile was accused of preying on young girls in an orphanage in the 1960s. But Anna Raccoon had been one of those young girls, and she declared that he had never been there, because she would have known if he had. Despite that intervention, Savile’s reputation now lies in ruins, along with a number of other DJs, who also got caught up in the ugly widening witch hunt.

I hope somebody will write her obituary. She seems to have lived a remarkable life.

The other thing yesterday was a comment from Joe L:

OT: A Missouri state senator, Maria Chappelle-Nadal called for the assassination of President Trump on her Facebook page today. She posted, “I hope Trump is assassinated!”

Even after being called on to resign by a number of her fellow Democrats, she has refused, issuing this statement (emphasis mine):

“There is no way in hell that I’m resigning,” she said. “There are legislators who have cheated on their wives, they have smoked in the Legislature, in the state Capitol. If they have not been asked to resign for those acts, which I do believe that cheating on your wife or your spouse is immoral, I am not resigning for a mistake that I made and that I’m owning up to.”

That’s right, she admits that calling for the assassination of the POTUS was immoral … and then compares it to cheating on one’s wife or smoking in the state Capitol building.

How do these people judge whether something is immoral or not? I increasingly think that they have no morality at all. Or that – as I was suggesting a couple of days ago – their Political Correctness was the consensus opinion that had emerged from a coalition of separate subcultures. It was the average of what everyone – or everyone who counted – thought. And perhaps not even the mathematical average, but the weighted average with greater weight given to the loudest voices.

This might go some way towards explaining why things like transgender bathrooms and gay marriage (way off the radar a few years ago) suddenly emerge as new dogmas of Political Correctness, rapidly adopted by weathervane politicians like Barack Obama and David Cameron.

It might also explain why they rather oddly declare things to be either “acceptable” or “unacceptable” rather than “right” or “wrong”. For the Politically Correct position on any matter is something that is negotiated between the competing factions in the coalitions of subcultural movements, and it is what is found acceptable to all of them, or to most of them – much in the same way that a group of friends will negotiate among themselves whether to eat at an Italian restaurant or a Chinese restaurant or an Indian restaurant, with the final decision being what is acceptable to all of them.

Perhaps it also points to how Political Correctness will die: it will become increasingly chaotic and contradictory, precisely because there is no logic to it, no underlying moral rationality. For what everybody thinks one day is quite likely to be what nobody thinks the next day.

Idle Theory proposes a simple moral rationality: what is good is what increases people’s idle or free time, and what is evil is what decreases it. Or what is good is what makes life easier for people, and what is evil is what makes it harder. The value of anything is measured by the idle time that it produces, or that it consumes. Useful labour-saving tools – e.g. knives, roads, mathematical equations – produce idle time. Luxuries and amusements – e.g. chess games, movies, love affairs – consume it. One of the merits of Idle Theory is that idle time can be measured (with clocks) in ways that abstractions like “utility” or “satisfaction” or “happiness” cannot. And it seems to me that we currently are in as dire need of an ethical rationality as we once were in need of a physical rationality to explain the seemingly-chaotic world around us. In the meantime we must be subjected to the ethical chaos exemplified by the likes of Maria Chappelle-Nadal. For her confusion is also ours.

Also a hat tip to RdM for yesterday drawing my attention to The Socialist Phenomenon by Igor Shafarevich, written in 1980, and with a foreword by Alexander Sozhenitsyn. Shafarevich was a mathematician, and he had undertaken a survey of socialist thinking down the ages, from Plato through Thomas More to Karl Marx, and he had concluded [200]:

It seems to us quite legitimate to conclude that socialism does exist as a unified historical phenomenon. Its basic principles:

Abolition of private property.
Abolition of the family.
Abolition of religion.
Equality, abolition of hierarchies in society.

I spent much of yesterday reading it, and I’ll probably continue reading it today. I couldn’t help thinking that what is going on today is another attempted socialist revolution in which private property is being abolished (pubs are private properties, but banning smoking in them effectively brings them into state ownership), the family is being abolished (children being state-educated, or taken into state care, and homosexuality encouraged), religion is being abolished (Christianity in particular, and being replaced by Islam). What’s novel about the latest revolution is that it’s being conducted top down by the political elites, rather than bottom up as in prior revolutions like the French or Russian revolutions. Everything – including nation states – is being torn up, under the seeming supposition that it can all be re-assembled together in whatever manner the new socialist revolutionaries want. This is wishful thinking. They will simply end up destroying everything. And, if Maria Chappelle-Nadal exemplifies the quality of their thinking, they have no clear ideas anyway of what they might want to do. And it’s most likely not going to be Donald Trump who’s going to wind up being assassinated: it’s going to be her.

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Feedback

One cultural movement that I yesterday neglected to include in my list of about ten cultural movements that have arisen over the past 70 years was the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

All these cultural movements arose in response to, or as a reaction to, something that had happened in the past. In an obvious sense the reaction to an event will always be subsequent to it. But the odd feature of many of these social movements is that they arise long after their triggering events. In fact many of these reactions seem to become amplified with the passage of time.

One example of this has been the various women’s movements of the past century. It’s probably true to say that pretty much all women have been oppressed in one degree or other for the entirety of human history. So why is it that it has only been after women have become emancipated in the Western world over the past century that various women’s movements – e.g. Suffragettes – have emerged, and become progressively angrier and noisier with the passage of time. Why has it all come bubbling up now?

The same question might be asked of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Why is it that, 100 years after the emancipation of slaves in the USA, that a new movement pursuing the rights of black people should emerge? And why is it, another 60 years on, that an even angrier and noisier movement has now emerged in the form of Black Lives Matter?

Another example might be found in a social movement that I didn’t include in my list yesterday: Socialism. Here’s another social movement that seems to have only gathered strength long after the triggering event had taken place. And the triggering event for this would seem to have been the industrial revolution that began in the 1700s and that brought factories filled with low-paid workers, many of them children, toiling for long hours in dangerous conditions. When people like Karl Marx were writing about them, the industrial revolution had been under way for over a century, and the condition of the workers was already being alleviated by legislation. Yet for the next century and more socialism, in one form or other, was one of the most powerful (perhaps even the most powerful) social movements in the world.

And what about the environmental movement that is currently one of the most powerful social movements in the world? This movement might also be said to have its origins in response to the the industrial revolution, but this time not so much to the social conditions of its workers, but instead to the smoke and waste and pollution that all those factories generated. Nobody seemed to have been much bothered about it at the time, and it has only been when the factory chimney smoke has been cleaned up, and steam engines replaced with diesel engines (and then electric engines) that more and more people can’t bear the sight of any smoke whatsoever, not only from factory chimneys and steam engines, but also from household fires and now even cigarettes and pipes (and even e-cigarettes). Once again, the reaction to something – in this case, smoke – has been gathering momentum some one hundred or two hundred years after the causal event. And it only seems to get stronger with the passage of time.

Socialism and environmentalism are social movements that began during the industrial revolution, and have been gathering momentum ever since. And in the case of environmentalism it seems to require less and less smoke to trigger panic. And the smoke has furthermore become something almost entirely abstract and invisible: carbon dioxide.

Perhaps this happens because events of one sort or other live on in human memory, and become amplified and exaggerated. The blues music of the American south was taken and amplified on the other side of the Atlantic ocean, and fed back to its source. And this music gradually got louder and loud: it became deafeningly loud. The pop music subculture I mentioned yesterday was itself an electronic feedback loop – the same process that many of its musicians used in their own music.

And maybe all these other social movements are also feedback loops, gradually amplifying themselves. The triggering events that set them humming may have been quite small, but in memory they were gradually amplified. The sinking of the Titanic in 1912 was a shocking event at the time, but a century later, amplified and revisited in countless films and documentaries, it has become far more shocking. So also the assassination of John F Kennedy in 1963: if anything it only gets more and more shocking every year, driven by an identical feedback process. My grandfather, who was briefly a soldier in WW1, used to have a couple of largely, lavishly illustrated books on The Great War which portrayed it pretty much as a jolly game in which lots of battles were fought and ships sunk. But one hundred years later, once again after countless books and documentaries and films, WW1 now looks far worse than it did a century ago. The past seems to become more nightmarishly awful the more distant it is removed.

Last weekend in the USA, mobs began tearing down statues of Robert E Lee, over a century and a half after that general had fought in the American Civil War. Why should anyone want to tear down something as innocuous as a statue, 150+ years after the events it commemorates? Isn’t it that those events – the Civil War and the abolition of slavery – now wax larger in collective memory than they ever did at that time, no doubt once again as a result of countless books, documentaries, and movies? Charles Krauthammer (some sort of conservative, I believe) speaking earlier this week (my added emphases):

“…there was something unique about the history of slavery and racism in this country, that we had to cure this original sin. It was not cured by the Civil War as Lincoln had hoped, because it was followed by 100 years of state-sponsored oppression. It began to be cured with Civil Rights, equality of rights, and this generation the last 50 or so years has done a splendid job in redeeming itself.”

What was unique about slavery and racism in the USA? Was it any different from slavery in any other era in human history, for example slavery in ancient Greece and Rome? Why was it an original sin that required the current generation of Americans to redeem itself? There’s nothing original to America about slavery. And how can the current generation of Americans possibly redeem themselves of a crime of which they are not personally guilty. At what point in the past does something have to be before it becomes forgotten past history? 100 years? 200 years? 500 years?

Unfortunately, people like Charles Krauthammer are really simply adding more noise to a feedback loop, amplifying it with terms like “unique”, “original sin”, “state-sponsored oppression”, and “redemption”. What’s needed are voices that play down the past, rather than play it up.

He speaks 5:00 minutes into the video below:

 

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Political Societies as Coalitions Of Subcultures

Political societies are coalitions of diverse subcultures or movements. And so I’ve been trying to remember all the cultural movements that I’ve seen arise over the past 70 years, and which were overlaid on top of the pre-existing culture, which was itself a coalition of different subcultures.

The antismoking/healthist cultural movement was perhaps the oldest, because it began to gather momentum in the 1950s, although it had roots in Nazi Germany, and far earlier. As a movement it was almost non-existent in the 1950s, but became steadily more powerful with almost every single subsequent decade. And since it is the principal concern of this blog, I’ll say little more about it, enough having been said already.

The next cultural movement also emerged in the late 1950s, and was the pop music culture. This culture rather exploded onto the world with the likes of Elvis Presley and a constellation of other musicians playing electric music. It was at its height in the 1960s, but has arguably been in slow decline ever since.

The third cultural movement, which emerged in the 1960s, was the drug culture, that began with marijuana, but rapidly expanded to include any number of other drugs, both legal and illegal. It seems to be still expanding, with new drugs added every decade, if not every year.

The fourth cultural movement was the US antiwar movement, which arose in response to the Vietnam war into which many young Americans were being conscripted. The 1960s drug culture may have been a consequence of US soldiers coming into contact with drugs like marijuana and opium in Vietnam. The antiwar movement now seems to be almost non-existent.

A fifth cultural movement in the late 1960s, perhaps also a consequence of US soldiers in Vietnam coming into contact with other cultures and religions, was the rise of what might roughly be called Eastern mysticism, whose various cults usually featured some Indian guru.

A sixth cultural movement was the women’s movement that began to gain traction in the early 1970s. This was almost contemporaneous with the seventh, LGBT movement, which started up around the same time, and now seems to be adding new sexual minority categories (e.g. transgender) every decade or so.

The eighth cultural movement was the environmental movement, which metamorphosed into the Green movement, and mutated further into global warming/climate change alarmism. This has become a very powerful movement, perhaps because it’s been the only one that’s science-based, and has entire industries based upon it.

The ninth cultural movement, which actually started life in the 1950s, but only became significant in UK culture in the 1970s, was the European movement, firstly with the European Economic Community, and then the European Union. This has perhaps been the most powerful cultural movement of all.

A tenth cultural movement might be Cultural Marxism, although this one tends to ride parasitically on the backs of other cultural movements (e.g. environmentalsim and the EU) and co-opt them for its own purposes. Marxism seems to have an endless ability to re-invent itself.

Perhaps Islamism might be termed another cultural movement, although it’s an import from the Middle East.

When these various subcultural movements emerged, they began to form loose coalitions. Political Correctness is perhaps simply a coalition of values, reflecting an underlying coalition of subcultures. It has no internal logic: it’s simply a consensus opinion. And in forming coalitions, the various cultural movements gradually ceased to be separate subcultures, and merged into a single pop, environmental, antismoking, LGBT, left wing, European superculture. In the UK, the adoption by the Conservative party’s David Cameron of the entirety of the environmental agenda in 2005 marked the triumph of environmentalist movement. The later acceptance of gay marriage by David Cameron marked the ratification and triumph of LGBT subculture. And the UK smoking ban of 2007 of course marked the triumph of the antismoking movement.

But when this loose coalition of subcultural movements gained cultural ascendancy, it also became fascistic. Fascism may simply be something that emerges when some subculture gains ascendancy. Up until the point when they became ascendant, the subcultures were usually simply trying to defend themselves. But once they gained the cultural ascendancy, they started imposing their values on everybody else, usually by force of law. So, for example, in 2009 the EU parliament voted for a European smoking ban, complete with show trials for prominent dissidents. It was a way of saying, “We’re in charge now! Do as we tell you to do!”

It was at this point that the entire coalition, gradually pieced together over many decades, began to disintegrate. It’s rather hard to see how a political union can survive when it makes large numbers of its own people into second class citizens, arrogantly imposing its values upon them in all kinds of ways.

In the USA, the Democratic political movement – Clinton, Obama, etc – has been exactly the sort of “rainbow” coalition of separate movements just described. But wherever it has gained ascendancy in the USA, it has regularly behaved tyrannically. And whenever it has done so, it has begun alienating former supporters. And these have been slowly drifting away, and voting for somebody else. In the UK that’s been evidenced in the shock Brexit vote, as Britons rejected the EU. And in the USA it’s been expressed by the shock election of Donald Trump, as Americans rejected Hillary Clinton.

The loose coalition of cultural movements had gained the ascendancy, only to lose it a few short years later, when people began to recognise – and reject – the fascistic characteristics it had increasingly begun to openly display.

The collective hissy fit of the largely leftwing US mainstream media at the presidency of Donald Trump grows from a refusal to recognise that they have lost their ascendancy. They thought that history was going in one direction, and that they were riding its wave. But the wave has now broken, and is retreating back down the beach. And the danger is that, having scored a great many victories, the left is about to lose everything it has won.

Not all the cultural movements I’ve listed have been fascistic in nature. Music is not inherently fascistic. Nor are drugs. Nor is sex. Nor is quietistic Eastern mysticism. Environmentalism – the wish to preserve the natural environment – might not be inherently fascistic, but modern environmentalism with its tyrannical windmills has somehow managed to become fascistic. But Islam and Cultural Marxism and the EU superstate were arguably always inherently fascistic and bullying in character. And antismoking healthism also. And when ordinary people recognise it, they reject it. They revolt against it.  And if all the cultural movements I’ve listed have grown out of a revolt against one thing or other, the next set of social movements will also grow out of similar revolts.

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Lung Cancer Rising, but not from Smoking

Rose has been turning up a lot of interesting stuff in recent days. From the Times:

Pollution blamed for lung cancer in people who have never smoked
August 12 2017

“Lung cancer rates among non-smokers have doubled over the past decade amid concerns that high levels of air pollution lie behind the rise, a study shows.
The number of lung cancer deaths among people who have never smoked will overtake deaths from smoking- related cancer within a decade if the trend continues, according to the UK’s largest cancer surgery centre.

Researchers worry that this shift would make the condition, which is the deadliest form of cancer, even harder to diagnose and treat in time. There are 46,400 new cases and 36,000 associated deaths in Britain each year, and only one in 20 patients survives for more than ten years.”

From China:

Lung cancer rising, but not from smoking
August 11, 2017

“Chinese health authorities are trying to figure out the reason for the rapid rise in a form of lung cancer that develops deep in the lung and is not associated with smoking.

China has seen a sharp increase in the disease over the past 10 to 15 years, hitting groups traditionally not susceptible such as women and nonsmokers, said Xue Qi, deputy director of thoracic surgery at the Cancer Hospital Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, also the country’s National Cancer Institute.”

From California, in 2010:

Many Lung Cancer Patients Stopped Smoking Years Before Diagnosis
2010

“July 14, 2010 (Los Angeles, California) — Much of what people think they know about smoking and lung cancer might be wrong, according to findings presented here at the 11th International Lung Cancer Conference.

For example, many if not most patients with a history of smoking quit decades before. In a retrospective study of 626 people with lung cancer treated at a tertiary-care facility in Southern California, 482 (77%) had a history of smoking. Of those, only 71 patients (14.7%) were still smoking at the time of their diagnosis. Of the remaining 411 patients, 245 (60%) had not smoked for a mean of 18 years, 8 of whom had quit 51 to 60 years earlier. The other 166 (40%) had stopped smoking within 10 years of their diagnosis.

“Sixty percent of our cohort developed lung cancer despite doing the right thing by stopping smoking over 1 decade ago,” according to the researchers.

These findings contradict the popular perception that most people with lung cancer are ongoing smokers who did not kick the habit until cancer symptoms appeared, the researchers note”

I’m not in the least bit surprised. I’ve been of the view for some time that nobody really knows what causes cancer, and so it doesn’t surprise me that “health authorities are trying to figure out the reason for the rapid rise,” and “much of what people think they know about smoking and lung cancer might be wrong.” The only heartening thing is that at least some people are starting to admit that they don’t know what’s causing it.

But if smoking isn’t to blame, is it likely that air pollution is any more to blame? I’m reminded of the movie In The Heat Of The Night, which I happened to watch again last night, in which the town sheriff, played by Rod Stieger, investigating a murder, keeps jumping to conclusions and announcing that he’s found the culprit, starting with a black homicide detective, played by Sidney Poitier, who’s passing through town. It’s essentially the same story as the investigation of the causes of cancer over the past 100 years, in which the case is always being closed. Somebody has to be found to pin the rap on, and found as quickly as possible.

Personally I rather like my own “succession” theory of cancer, which relies entirely on an ageing process in which gaps appear between cells as they die, much like clearings appear between trees in an ageing forest when trees die or fall down, and in these spaces fast-growing cells can multiply very rapidly, much like undergrowth in a thinning forest, spreading from clearing to clearing. There’s nothing in particular to blame for it: it just happens when things age. It explains why cancer is strongly associated with old age. And if we have a cancer epidemic these days, it’s because a lot more people are living a lot longer than they used to do. And it’s as good an idea as any other, if nobody knows what causes it.

Another one from Rose:

Diesel Exhaust Exposure in Miners Linked to Lung Cancer
2012

“For never smokers and light-to-moderate smokers, the risk of lung cancer death increased with more diesel exhaust exposure. Non-smokers with the highest level of diesel exposure were seven times more likely to die from lung cancer than non-smokers in the lowest exposure category.

In contrast, among miners who were heavy smokers, the risk of lung cancer death decreased with increasing levels of exposure.”

“The researchers offered possible explanations for the tapering off of risk at high levels of diesel exhaust exposure. Heavy smokers might be more likely to clear diesel exhaust particulate matter from their lungs than non-smokers, a phenomenon that has been reported previously among coal miners who smoke.”

Slightly off topic from a week back:

Health officials: Plus size models as bad as promoting smoking

Health officials in Australia have expressed concerned over “drastically overweight” models being “glorified” on the runway.

The Australian Medical Association NSW President, Brad Frankham, told the Daily Telegraph he believes it sends a dangerous message that’s as damaging as promoting models who are severely underweight.

What business is it of doctors to tell people what they should look at?

I couldn’t help hoping that there’d be a fad for overweight models (after all, there was a fad for underweight ones like Twiggy back in the 1960s) – purely to spite the health zealots.

Better still would be overweight models, gleefully smoking cigarettes and munching cheeseburgers as they lumbered up and down the catwalk. The health zealots would be apoplectic.

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Same As It Ever Was Again

In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the animals revolt and drive out its owner, farmer Jones. But after that the pigs who take over running the farm gradually become increasingly like the human owners of surrounding farms. They start walking on their hind legs, and wearing clothes, and carrying whips. In the end the other animals on the farm are unable to tell the pigs from the men. And they end up back where they started before the revolution.

The book, published in August 1945, was about the Soviet Union. But it could equally have been about the post-war Britain that had just elected the Labour government of Clement Attlee and its Welfare State, which was Britain’s bloodless version of the Soviet Union. Many industries were nationalised, the National Health Service was inaugurated, education was reformed.

Seventy years later, much has changed. Margaret Thatcher de-nationalised many of the nationalised industries. But the state-run NHS continues, and so do the state schools. But Clement Attlee would have no place in the modern Labour party, because he was an avid pipe-smoker, and in 2006 the Labour government voted overwhelmingly to ban smoking in indoor public places. Many of them would like to ban smoking outdoors as well. Most likely nobody at all in the modern Labour party smokes any tobacco any more, except in secret.

Yesterday Dick Puddlecote was reporting how blogger Anna Raccoon, now dying of cancer, was being forbidden even from vaping in the hospice in which she is now confined. Such a thing would have been unthinkable in Clement Attlee’s NHS, in which most of the patients smoked, and most of the doctors as well. But the Labour party has changed, and so have the schools, and so has the NHS. These days the pigs stand on their hind legs, and wear clothes, and carry whips. And they are indistinguishable from any of their authoritarian human predecessors.

Yesterday I was writing about all the petty tyrants that abound these days. I cited the celebrity chef Jamie Oliver who’d set out to ban fast food from schools. And the doctors who, not content with banning smoking everywhere, now seem to want to ban alcohol and sugar and salt and fat as well. And the global warming alarmists who want to ban carbon dioxide, and probably carbon as well. And the EU which has gradually mutated from being a family of nations into centralised controlling superstate.

“It’s not a free country any more,” a complete stranger said to me on 1 July 2017, in the watery sunlight of the car park outside the River, where its smokers had just been exiled minutes beforehand. Never a truer word was spoken. And it has become even less free in the past 10 years since the smoking ban. But the Britain of 1945 was a free country, and it became even more free over the next three or four decades. But then it started becoming less free again. More or less everywhere in the world, people seem to becoming less and less free. Usually in small ways, through new pieces of legislation, almost insensibly, slice by slice.

Political Correctness is another creeping form of tyranny. It sets out to control what people can say, and even what they can think. It changes the meanings of words, so that a word like “liberal” now means almost the exact opposite of what it used to mean, in the USA at least.

Back in the 1960s there were lots of liberation movements. Women’s Liberation, for example. Animal Liberation. Gay Liberation. But now we have control movements. Tobacco Control. Climate Control.  If freedom ever gets a mention, it’s in the form of its negation, as in “smoke-free” or “fat-free”. Nobody mentions freedom – real freedom – any more. There’s not a single hint of freedom in either of two well known contemporary slogans: Black Lives Matter and Make America Great Again. What does it mean to make something “matter”? What does it mean to make something “great”?

If George Orwell, another avid smoker, were still around, he would have recognised all of it immediately. For nothing has really changed.

All these various revolutions – and the election of the Attlee government in 1945 was a revolution of a sort (it would be called a velvet revolution today) – seem to start out hopefully, even deliriously optimistically, and then gradually turn into dystopian nightmares, and then finally return to more or less exactly where they started, nothing having really changed at all. One tyranny is replaced with… another tyranny.

And perhaps that was always inevitable. Idle Theory is about freedom. Idle time is free time in which people can do what they want. In Idle Theory freedom comes in concrete quantities, measured by clocks. But we are never completely free. Not all our time is free time. The rest of the time we spending working. And we’re usually working for some tyrannical boss, or for some tyrannical general, or some tyrannical dictator, or some tyrannical king. The rest of the time we’re under top down control by somebody or other. But perhaps that’s less a reflection on the character of these various petty tyrants, and more one that is a reflection of the condition of all living things: that they must work to survive. The underlying tyranny relaxes a little sometimes, and we become more free, and intensifies in other times, and we become less free. The mistake that we continually make is to suppose that if we can just overthrow the current king or tyrant or dictator or pope or tsar, we will become absolutely free. But we never do. We always just end up back where we started.

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Petty Tyrants Are Everywhere

Jamie Oliver came to mind today.

Jamie Oliver is a celebrity chef. We seem to have lots of celebrity chefs in the UK. Some of them are really French chefs, or at least chefs who were trained in France, which is where all chefs come from. After all, “chef” is a French word. If they were English, they’d be called “cooks”. Or maybe that should be “kooks”.

Anyway, the celebrity chefs usually cook French food. But there are variants of them that cook English food, which is usually fairly simple food, cooked in simple ways. According to Wikipedia

 he [Oliver] is most known for his typically English cuisine.

“Cuisine” is another French word. But I suppose that if you’re a “chef”, you’ll cook “cuisine” rather than “food”, won’t you. And you’ll be a “restaurateur”. If he was an English cook, he’d cook English nosh or grub. And he’d have owned a restaurant called Top Nosh or something.

Anyway, Jamie Oliver first got famous in about 1999, with his own TV show. But within a few years he’d begun to move on to higher things:

In 2005, Oliver initiated a campaign originally called Feed Me Better to move British schoolchildren towards eating healthy foods and cutting out junk food; this campaign was eventually backed by the British government.

A subtle change had taken place. Jamie Oliver had started out serving food to people who wanted to buy it, and had now moved on to telling people what they should eat – with the backing of the British government.

Isn’t that the story of our time? The servant becomes the master. And he becomes a little tyrant as well.

In September 2006, Rawmarsh Community School, South Yorkshire, made headlines after a handful of parents revolted against Oliver’s nutritious lunch plan by delivering junk food from local shops to the pupils through the school fence.

By 2008, he was trying to ban “unhealthy” food in schools.

Oliver began a formal campaign to ban unhealthy food in British schools and to get children eating nutritious food instead. Oliver’s efforts to bring radical change to the school meals system, chronicled in the series Jamie’s School Dinners, challenged the junk-food culture by showing schools they could serve healthy, cost-efficient meals that kids enjoyed eating. His efforts brought the subject of school dinners to the political forefront and changed the types of food served in schools.

Oliver’s Ministry of Food campaign began in 2008 with the Channel 4 series of the same name and the opening of the first Ministry of Food Centre in Rotherham.

The same thing has been happening elsewhere. Doctors in the medical profession used to simply treat sick people: now they’re telling them what to eat and drink and smoke. They also have turned into petty tyrants. When in 2004 the BMA’s Sir Charles George called publicly for a UK smoking ban, he became a petty tyrant.

Climate scientists used to be people who read barometers and tried to predict the weather. Now they’re haranguing people about their carbon dioxide emissions, and banning carbon dioxide. They’re another bunch of little tyrants.

The EU used to be a little family of nations. Now it’s full of bossy people telling small countries how to run their own affairs. They’ve become little tyrants.

Someone like Michael Bloomberg seems once to have simply been a successful businessman, but when he became mayor of New York, he used his position to ban smoking, and then soda, and maybe a few other things as well.

Perhaps it’s something that happens when people are promoted to positions of authority? They become arrogant, and start ordering people around. They start telling people what they should believe, what they should think. They become insufferable. But they actually don’t know any better than anyone else.

Hillary Clinton is another insufferably arrogant politician. She expected to be elected as President of the United States. It was supposed to be a coronation. It was her turn to be President. She’s been sulking ever since she lost, and blaming everybody but herself.

In fact, almost all the senior Democratic US politicians seem to display the same insufferable arrogance. Al Gore is another one. And he happens to be another failed presidential candidate, just like Hillary Clinton. But now he lectures everyone about global warming. And refuses to debate the opposition.

Petty tyrants are everywhere.

Maybe Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin were both nice, gentle, considerate people – until they became dictators, and started telling everybody what to do, and making their opinions into laws? Or maybe they were both always pushy, bossy, arrogant people who shoved their way to the top, trampling over hundreds of people in the process?

Perhaps if I had ever been promoted into a position of authority, I would have behaved in the exact same way? I suppose that I’m the proprietor of this blog, and I’m the proprietor of the Smoky Drinky Bar, and I express my opinions in both places. But I don’t shout down other people. Or I hope I don’t.  I don’t tell people what they should think. I just tell them what I think. They don’t have to agree with me. What they think is up to them. And they may know a lot better than I do.

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