The Disintegration of the Enlightenment

Stephen Hicks, some of whose YouTube videos I’ve been watching recently, dates  Enlightenment modernism from about 1600 to 1800, and locates its origins in England. And he dates post-modernism from Immanuel Kant, 1724 – 1804, when Kant declared that pure reason could say nothing about reality. After Kant, in Hicks’ opinion, the Enlightenment project hit the rocks.

The Enlightenment thinkers studied the natural world. And it seems equally true to say that Enlightenment artists did exactly the same. For example John Constable, 1776 – 1837, Wivenhoe Park:

Here’s an artist who is looking very clear-sightedly at the natural world around him, and reproducing it with almost photographic accuracy. This is not an allegorical painting, featuring mythological figures or saints or soldiers. There are humans present in the picture, but they are more or less completely lost in a natural world of sky and clouds and trees and grass and water.

Paul Cezanne, 1839 – 1906, a French landscape artist, was born more or less at the time Constable died:Cezanne would seem not to be simply reproducing the natural world before him, but to be analysing it, and breaking it down into geometric components. What Cezanne sees is a landscape that is constructed of bricks, which are all holding together to form something solid and tangible.

Later still there arrives Vincent van Gogh, 1853 – 1890:

Wheatfield with Cypresses depicts a scene in which tremendous forces have been set loose, and everything is in motion. It’s almost a motion picture.

It also happens to be a picture that hung on the wall of my early childhood home, and which deeply fascinated me. What, I wondered, was the object in the middle of the wheatfield? At age 3 or 4 I determined that it was an airborne green warthog that was bounding from right to left across the top of the wheat.

Next Henri Matisse, 1869 – 1954:

This Landscape at Collioure is barely recognisable as a landscape at all. It’s been reduced into a few strokes of a brush. It’s almost an abstract painting.

Over a period of a century or two, the natural world has dissolved before the brushes of these various landscape artists. What started out as something objective becomes increasingly subjective. We know very little about the landscape at Collioure, but a lot about how Matisse looked at it, and how quickly he painted it (10 minutes?).

These artists were working in parallel with any number of other intellectual and scientific developments. Much the same thing was happening in other disciplines. Physics had become increasingly theoretical rather than empirical. Mathematics had become probabilistic. What had been a solid construct became something that was always evolving and changing, and perhaps even becoming chaotic. They lived in a world that was falling apart. They lived in a world where all the old certainties had dissolved away.

Is it very surprising if this world disintegrated into global war in WW1 and WW2? Once Charles Darwin had portrayed all nature as a world at war, weren’t men more or less bound to replicate that Darwinian war of nature, that struggle for existence, in their own lives. War was natural. And it never stopped. What could be more natural than firing bullets and rockets at each other for years on end in Picardy? We’ve been living in Darwin’s nightmare.

And Charles Darwin was much more of an imaginative author than a scientist. The Origin of Species is a master-work of English literature. It tells you nothing about the natural world of plants and animals, and everything about how its author thought about them.

The same applies to Sigmund Freud and Karl Jung and all the psychologists. Their landscapes are purely imaginary. Their books are entirely about stuff that they imagined, conjured out of nowhere. Ego, Super-ego, and Id don’t exist.

And in the late 20th century, Tobacco Control has conjured up a purely imaginary tobacco health threat, and a completely fictional tobacco epidemic. It’s not actually happening, but everyone imagines that it’s happening, and that’s all that matters. And Tobacco Control’s War on Smoking even manages to reproduce Darwin’s war of nature: we’re all fighting exterminatory wars against each other once again. And the justifications for this war are fashionably probabilistic and statistical and iffy.

What the world actually is has given way to what we imagine the world to be. We don’t watch factual documentaries: we watch fictional movies. And Donald Trump has become a fictional cartoon figure. As has Hillary Clinton and Vladimir Putin and more or less anyone else you care to mention.

And we no longer have objective news. We have multiple flavours of fake news.

So it goes, as Kurt Vonnegut once wrote.

So it goes.

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I Stopped Watching TV Over 10 Years Ago.

I got asked a few days ago whether I still don’t need a TV licence:

We need you to confirm whether you need a TV Licence.

If you tell us you still don’t need one, you won’t need to do so again for almost two years.

As we mentioned when we last contacted you, we have to check every so often that a licence isn’t needed at your address.

People move home and circumstances can change, so we do need to get in touch with you occasionally. But it only takes a few minutes to let us know.

Only a few minutes, eh? It’s a few minutes too many.

With what other shop or service provider do I have to tell them that, no, I don’t want to buy their product? Do I need to periodically pop into local shops to tell them that, no, I still don’t want to buy a power sander? Or, no, I still don’t want to buy a lawnmower. Or, no, I still don’t want to buy a fishing rod. Or a Range Rover. Or a goldfish.

Why is it that only the TV licence people “need” to know whether I need a TV licence?

Look, I can tell them right now that I will never need a TV licence.

I stopped watching TV over 10 years ago.

Can’t you get that into your thick skulls?

But they seem to think that everyone needs to watch TV. It seems inconceivable to them that anyone wouldn’t want to watch TV. Or if they say they don’t want to, they can’t really mean it, and it’s a good idea to come back every couple of years and ask them if they’ve returned to their senses.

I stopped watching TV when I realised it was being used to try to manipulate my opinion. To be honest, it wasn’t just the BBC that was trying to manipulate me. So was ITV and Channel 4. And so were all the newspapers.

They were suddenly all full of Global Warming 10 years or so ago. It was something we had to do something about. But I couldn’t see what the fuss was about. I hadn’t noticed any global warming. I was wearing just as many clothes as I used to wear. And I had just as many blankets on my bed.

And then, overnight, Global Warming turned into Climate Change. And the entire mainstream media started talking about that instead.

And at the same time that they were all screaming about Global Warming and Climate Change, they were saying nothing at all about the smoking ban which I thought was the biggest change that I’d seen in my entire life. On 1 July 2007, the BBC reported the smoking ban that came into force that day as the 5th or 6th item in the news.  It reported it as a non-event. And it had one or two people saying that they welcomed it, or didn’t much mind it.

But I minded. And over 10 years later, I still mind.

So they were talking a lot about something that didn’t interest me. And they were not talking about something that very much did interest me. What was the point to watching TV or reading newspapers, if they weren’t discussing what mattered to me? Or were discussing things that didn’t matter to me? So I stopped watching. It’s not worth paying £155/year to watch it.

I think the days of the mainstream media are numbered. I think the internet is becoming the place where news gets distributed, and matters discussed. I think that, with our mobile phones, we’re all becoming reporters and cameramen. We’re all becoming reporters and cameramen and pundits and opinion-shapers. And my blog is my personal newspaper, in which I say what I think. And I read a few other people’s personal newspapers.

Even Donald Trump has got his own personal newpaper. He uses Twitter. It allows him to express his own opinion to millions of people without going through the mainstream media.

He met up with Vladimir Putin a couple of days back. And apparently, according to reports about it on CNN, he may as well have sold out America’s latest jet fighter designs to Russia.

I didn’t watch CNN. But I saw some video showing Trump meeting Putin and shaking hands with him. He was wearing one of his red ties. They’re the ones he wears to tell the world he means business. And the main thing I noticed in the clip was that he gave Putin a big wink. A big collusive wink. It was probably just before he passed Putin the jet fighter designs, and Putin said, “We’ve already got these designs. Haven’t you got something better? Like a submarine design or a golf course design or something?”

Anyway, it was the big wink that I noticed. I’m surprised that hardly anyone else has mentioned it. CNN don’t seem to have mentioned it. Although I don’t know if they did or not, because I don’t watch them. I only heard from somewhere else that people like James Comey and John Brennan have been accusing Trump of collusion and treason. Because it seems that Comey and Brennan use Twitter almost as much as everyone else. Because everybody uses Twitter these days.

I get my news from all sorts of places. I get it from comments on my blog. Or other people’s blogs. I get it from hundreds of ever-changing sources.

One place I don’t get it from is the BBC. I never watch the BBC. And recently I’ve noticed that the BBC wants me to register to read their online news. I don’t want to register to read their news, when I can get it free elsewhere. If they want me to register to read their website, it’s most likely that they want to entrap me into watching something on video. And then demand £155 from me.

So these days I actively avoid the BBC. Isn’t it rather wonderful, that I live in the UK, and I block my ears to everything the UK’s state broadcaster says?

Perhaps I should write to the BBC and ask them whether they’ve been reading my blog. Perhaps I should tell them that I need to know whether they’ve been reading my blog. And it’ll only take them a few minutes to let me know. And if they admit that they do very occasionally read my blog, I could hit them with a demand for a £155 licence fee. Why not? It would be tit for tat.

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A New Voice: Stephen Hicks

One of the current features of life (for me at least) is the emergence of new voices, usually via the internet. Jordan Peterson was/is one such figure. And yesterday I spent a while listening to someone who seems to be a friend of his: the philosopher Stephen Hicks. He was talking about post-modernism at considerable length, and somehow or other managed to hold my attention:

He said that the post-modernists believed that the “modern” Enlightenment project had failed, and we needed a new one. He quoted an English philosopher, John Gray, who’d written in 1996:

We live today amid the dim ruins of the Enlightenment project, which was the ruling project of the modern period.

I’m currently slowly constructing a heat flow simulation model of the Earth, or of a geological column within the Earth. And that’s very much an Enlightenment-type project. It’s a continuation of the Enlightenment project of science and mathematics and reason. For as far as I am concerned, the Enlightenment project is still well under way. Over my own lifetime, I’ve seen astronauts launched into space, computers and mobile phones becoming ubiquitous, and the internet hooking the world together. I don’t see any “ruins”.

Stephen Hicks didn’t explain why the post-modernists thought that the Enlightenment project had failed, but John Gray seemed quite clear:

They were looking for “an independent rational justification of morality.” And in that respect the Enlightenment project has indeed not been successful.

But that doesn’t mean that it will never succeed, or can never succeed. Idle Theory has been my own shot at the problem. With Idle Theory I’ve been extending physics into economics and ethics. Idle Theory is a Utilitarianism in which Utility or Happiness has been replaced by Idleness.

In Idle Theory human Progress is seen as increasing idleness. We don’t have to work so hard as we used to do, to simply stay alive

All those computers and mobile phones and satellites I just mentioned are making life easier for us. And that’s what the steam engines and diesel engines and trains and boats and planes that preceded them were doing too.

The cosmos of Idle Theory is one that extends from from zero idleness at the bottom to perfect unit idleness at the top. Or, to use the terminology of a former age, from Hell all the way up to Heaven.

And we are currently seeing social idleness rising sharply all around the world. But if idleness can rise, it can also fall. Wars entail falls in idleness. And the onset of a new global ice age in a few thousand years time (global cooling seems much more likely to me than global warming) would also see a considerable fall in human idleness.

I never abandoned the Enlightenment project. And in my little cartoon above, the idle man is depicted as lounging on an easy chair with a beer and a cigarette, while the busy man toils with a shovel.

It may well be that the antismokers in Tobacco Control are people who have become disillusioned with the Enlightenment project, and who have subsequently got lost in a post-modern wilderness. Stephen Hicks pointed out the fact that most of the post-modernists belong to the left or far left. And it’s very much the left and the far left who seem to populate the ranks of the antismokers. Might it not all be connected? They want to keep us all busy. And they want to control us.

Stephen Hicks remarked that he had been an architectural and engineering student when he became interested in philosophy. He’d wanted to make things, build things. I understood immediately where he was coming from, because I come from the exact same place.

And he seems to have studied the philosophers very deeply. Far more than I have. I find most of them incomprehensible. But he seems to have a way of putting their ideas into terms that I can understand. And so I hope to be hearing much more from him.

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The Antismokers

I used to wonder why Dr W, in whose home I once lived, had such a profound hatred of smoking.

I never found out. I used to think that it was some childhood trauma. But it could equally have been a wartime experience. Does it matter? Would it have helped to find out? Probably not.

We all like some things, and loathe others. There are lots of pieces of music that I like, but there are also lots that I loathe. And perhaps my most loathed piece of music is Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. But, oddly enough, it’s also a lot of people’s most liked pieces of music. It was a big hit back in its day. It got played to death on TV and radio. And that’s probably why I got to loathe it. It wasn’t that it was a lousy piece of music: it was just that it got played far too often for my liking. And I think that was why my parents didn’t like pop music: it simply got played too often for their liking. It was always playing on the radio everywhere, all the time.

And maybe that’s why Dr W hated smoking. It was that he lived in a time when everyone smoked, all the time, everywhere. There was no escape from it, just like there was no escape for my parents from pop music. And he got to loathe it like I got to loathe Bohemian Rhapsody. And it was maybe the same for Richard Doll and Bradford Hill. And also John Banzhaf, of whom Walt and Rose reminded us yesterday in a trio of comments. Maybe Banzhaf’s dad had a cigarette permanently in his mouth, and so did his mum, and so did all his uncles and aunts, and all his teachers at school. And the result was that, from a very early age, Banzhaf was at war with tobacco. And he spent his life fighting against it. And he also spent his life winning his personal war on tobacco. He was very successful: he was the founder of ASH.

But I think he was too successful. I think the antismokers have been far too successful. For they’ve created a world in which there’s no smoking allowed anywhere. And that world is really just as nasty and intrusive as the one they were trying to combat. It just happened to be the inverse of it. For a world in which Nobody Smokes is one which which is as inversely intolerable as one in which Everybody Smokes. And so the Banzhafs of the world have been creating counter-Banzhafs (which is how Walt described Audrey Silk’s CLASH, whose name is an echo of John Banzhaf’s ASH).

I should know. I am myself another counter-Banzhaf. There are quite a lot of us, these days. And we were always bound to appear. Because for every army there is always a counter-army. There is always resistance to everything. And the stronger any army becomes, the stronger the resistance that is mounted against it. The more that Tobacco Control succeeds in getting smoking banned everywhere, the more intense the resistance to it will everywhere become.

The war between smokers and antismokers has been going on for a very long time. In Western society it’s been running for 500 years. And that’s probably not when it really got started.

A century ago, the smokers looked like they were winning. Everybody smoked. And that’s when the antismoking resistance got under way, naturally. And so for the past 100 years, the antismokers have been fighting back hard. And they’ve been winning. Hence all the smoking bans.

But this is an endless war, which is going to carry on being fought for another 500 years. And the smokers will start winning again.

And they’ll start winning because they’ve been hit far too hard. The antismokers have provided smokers with enough ammunition for them to fight for at least another 500 years. For their treatment of smokers has provided smokers with all the justifications they’ll ever need for the foreseeable future to fight the antismokers. Look what they’ve done to us! They’ve exiled us to the outdoors (and now they even pursue us there). They’ve expelled us from society. We never did that to them. We never told them that they must smoke, like they’re telling us that we mustn’t.

Or look at the dead in the Smokers’ Graveyard. These are our martyrs. They’re people who died because they smoked, falling off balconies, or out of windows, or freezing outside their homes.

Or look at Michael McFadden’s Wall Of Hate. Read the insults and the hatred and contempt expressed against smokers.

Or read the insults and lies now printed on tobacco products.

This is a religious war. It’s really no different than the war that’s being fought between Sunni and Shia Muslims, or Catholics and Protestants, or Jews and Gentiles. And they all have their own martyrs. Religions feed from the blood of their martyrs. And the antismokers have been providing smokers with lots of their own martyrs.

The current global pogrom against smokers (for pogrom is what it is) is going to be remembered for centuries, as yet another example of “man’s inhumanity to man”. People will wonder how they could be so cruel. There will be books written about it. It will have its own name, just like the Shoah or Holocaust. There’ll be museums in which there will be No Smoking signs and “Plain Packaging” as exhibits from an atrocity committed against not just 6 million smokers, but against 600 million of them (and most likely many more).

It’s why I’m an optimist about the war on smoking. The antismokers think they’ve won, but I think they’ve lost. I don’t care, like Iro Cyr does, how many smokers or vapers have “drunk the kool-aid” about tobacco. They’re just casualties of the war on smoking, and have been rendered hors de combat. They’re just the dead bodies that litter the battlefield, and they no longer count. Only those of us who are still standing count.

And we’re getting stronger. We got stronger last week when Emily and Brigitte came to stay with me. And we got stronger when three of us went to see Nisakiman. And we got stronger when I met up with Rose at Gloucester service station.

Soon that’s going to be happening everywhere: smokers meeting up with other smokers, just because they’re smokers, and we all have the same shared experience of exclusion and demonisation.

In these long wars the tides change slowly and imperceptibly. It all happens far too slowly for the people who want quick victories. It takes a long, long, long time. In my ice age computer simulation model it takes a few hundred years for snow to build up to a depth of several kilometres, and then another 100,000 years or more for it to melt. But it does melt.

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Exerting Small Influences

Smokingscot disagrees with me:

“But to fight back, you have to get nasty. And most people don’t want to be nasty. Most smokers are very nice, friendly, kind, thoughtful people. And so they won’t fight back.”

I really can’t let that one pass Frank. First off I don’t think it’s possible for us to “fight back”; we’re the consumer of a product and our beef is with the smoking ban.

It’s not possible for us to fight back, because we’re just consumers?

I suppose that in many ways we are just consumers. Or – same thing – customers.

We are perhaps no different from customers at a restaurant. We’ve been going there for years, and every time we go we order our same favourite dish – beef and vodka escalopes. And then one day we arrive and find that the restaurant has changed hands, and it no longer serves our favourite dish. Instead it now only offers a variety of crêpes and quiches. Even the old wooden chairs and tables have gone, and been replaced by metal ones. And the new proprietor only speaks French. What can one do?

There’s at least one thing you can do: you can stop going to that restaurant. Just because it’s all completely changed, it doesn’t mean you have to carry on going there and eating whatever’s on the new menu. With luck the old proprietor has simply moved to a newer, larger restaurant, with the same menu as the original restaurant, and maybe the same tables.

Or, if you’re rich enough, you can buy the old restaurant, and the old chairs and tables, and hire the old chef and waitresses, and thereby recreate the old restaurant.

Our circumstance precludes this last possibility, because it’s not just that the restaurant has changed hands, but the laws governing restaurants have been changed: beef and vodka escalopes have been banned. And so have wooden chairs and tables. They’ve all been “de-normalised” by people who are trying to change norms. They’re people who think that they can change society simply by legislating the old society out of existence, and legislating a new one into existence.

But you can protest against the new society simply by refusing to engage with it: you can stop going to the “beef-free” and “vodka-free” restaurants.

But you can do more than that. You can write letters of protest to your local newspaper, or to your local councillor. You can put up wall posters and stickers that say Bring Back The Old Restaurants. Or you can write books about how good the old restaurants used to be. Or you can form a Society For The Restoration Of The Old Restaurants With Proper Wooden Tables. Or found a political party with that aim. And if you’re angry enough, you can deface the new restaurants, or even burn them down.

There are in fact an infinite number of things you can do in order to fight back. And in whatever way you fight back, you exert influence to some greater or lesser extent.

We are all able to exert influence. We exert influence whenever we open our mouths and speak. Or whenever we write a letter or an essay or a book. Or whenever we paint a picture, or sing a song, or write an equation. We even exert influence by not doing things: not buying new products, not frequenting new restaurants, not wearing new clothes.

We seem to be living in a time when some people have decided that we must all live in a different way than that to which we are accustomed. They think they know better than we do what’s good for us. I don’t know where they all came from. But somehow or other they seem to control all our governments, and all our broadcast media, and all our professions, and all our courts. They’re trying to control what we think, and what we say, in the most minute detail. And they act on a global scale. They have instigated a global revolution, in which every country in the world, every culture, every belief system, is to be swept away.

But we can resist. We can refuse to do as they demand. And we can exert influence on them, and on each other.

Over the past few months, by writing to my MP in protest against prison smoking bans, I’ve been exerting a tiny influence on the British government.  And the government has noticed me. They may not have changed their minds about prison smoking bans, but they have at least noticed me. For all these tiny influences add up, just like the tiny forces of gravity or flows of heat in my computer simulation models all add up to cause planets to follow elliptical orbits and ice sheets to melt.

It’s only a tiny little drop in the ocean, but the oceans consist entirely of millions upon millions of such tiny little droplets of water.

It was 17.4 million tiny droplets of paper that caused the earth-shaking Brexit vote.  And in the USA in November 2016, 62,984,828 Americans voted for Donald Trump, with the result that he’s now their President. It may be that Theresa May isn’t going to implement Brexit (she’s showing very little sign of doing anything about it), and maybe Donald Trump will lose the next election, or be impeached, but all those tiny votes have added up to produce two shock results. I’m sure that there will be many more such shocks.

For all of human history is the exertion of tiny influences in one direction or other. Even if we’re soldiers in armies, holding rifles, we are still only exerting tiny influences. The swords and arrows and bullets never go very far. And all our battles are really just loud shouting matches.

We are much, much more powerful than we think we are. If we want to, we can move mountains. And we regularly do move mountains, when we act in concert.

Nope Frank I won’t fight a tsunami, it’s too big, too powerful and it’s way beyond the ability of even the tobacco companies to take them on head on.

It’s not them who’s the tsunami: it’s us. Tobacco Control consists of a few thousand people scattered around the world, while there are hundreds of millions of us. We are far, far more powerful than they are. We hardly need to even lift a finger to sweep them all away.

And we are going to sweep them all away.

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Fighting an Army of Bullies

In a thoughtful response to me yesterday, Dmitry wrote:

“We should make life hell for them just like they made life hell for us. Many of them should be sent to prison. Some of them should even be executed.”. You know, Frank, there’ll be a lot of people who’ll be running around and saying: we didn’t know we were bastards, we thought we were saving mankind.
I think you have to know how to win and how to consummate victories. Look at the ugly way it was done to Germany after the WW1. By now I think the moral subjugation of Germans (in the West) after WW2 was no better. Somebody was a bad winner and created new problems.
While in the Easr of Germany… my father fought in the war, and later became a professional military. And he was visiting East Germany often, had friends there in the army, some of whom were at the Eastern front. He was always telling me: each has his own share of guilt, and in any case it’d be ridiculous to make Germans repent on daily basis for the past sins, generation after generation.
So, maybe, we should destroy the TC ideology, not the personalities? Let the bastards roam free and think about what they did?

There’s a lot in that comment.

Well, yes, we should try to avoid creating new problems. If Tobacco Control is to be demonised in the way that it currently demonises tobacco companies and smokers, we will simply end up with the mirror image of the present situation, and will have made no progress at all.

So perhaps we should destroy the Tobacco Control ideology, and not the individual actors inside Tobacco Control.

But how do you destroy an ideology? I’m not sure it ever can be done. They always seem to bounce back. Communism, socialism, fascism, Islam, Christianity: they all appear moribund at one time or other, but they always become resurgent shortly afterwards.

And that’s perhaps because ideas are immortal, and if they ever lose currency they’ll sooner or later regain it. Only people are mortal, and only they can die. So Marx and Mussolini and Christ and Mohammed are dead, but their ideas live on. And Christ always rises from the dead.

And the ideology of Tobacco Control is really just a dislike of smoking. It’s just the way some people are. Tobacco Control is a vast elaboration of a simple dislike of smoking into a global crusade against smoking, tobacco, smokers, and tobacco companies (and anything that looks like smoking, such as e-cigarettes). I don’t like celery. I never will like it. But I haven’t yet launched a global war on celery and celery-growers and celery-eaters.

There is no “ideology” of Tobacco Control. There’s nothing there. It’s a mild aversion that has been stoked up into an insane, out-of-control, global witch hunt.

But the actors inside Tobacco Control are real people. Deborah Arnott is a real person. So is Stanton Glantz. And Sir Charles George. And Sir Richard Peto. They’re all people who don’t like smoking. And they have combined together to eradicate the practice. There’s a whole army of them. And it’s a professional army. They are all paid professional soldiers. According to Guido Fawkes, Deborah Arnott earns £160,000 a year as director of ASH.

Perhaps Deborah Arnott thinks she’s saving mankind. In fact, I’m sure that’s exactly what she thinks she’s doing. That’s what they all think they’re doing. It’s where they get their sanctimonious moral certainty. “Sanctimonious” means self-righteousholier-than-thouchurchypious, pietistic, moralizing, unctuoussmugsuperiorpriggishmealy-mouthedhypocritical, and insincere. Isn’t that exactly what she is?

She thinks she’s doing the right thing. But doesn’t everybody think they’re doing the right thing, all day, every day? When Jack the Ripper murdered Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly, did he think he was doing something wrong? Of course not. He was just ridding the world of a few prostitutes. He was performing a public service.

Same with Dr Harold Shipman. He was ridding the world of a few burdensome old people. He was performing a public service. He probably thought he should have been awarded a medal.

But other people did not agree with these people’s assessment of themselves. Most people think that Harold Shipman and Jack the Ripper were serial killers. And I think that Deborah Arnott is a very nasty, bullying busybody.

Harold Shipman and Jack the Ripper were lone figures. But Tobacco Control is a whole army of bullies. Deborah Arnott is a bully. Stanton Glantz is a bully. Sir Charles George is a bully. Sir Richard Peto is a bully. Smoking bans are intended to bully smokers into stopping smoking. They have no other purpose. And the “health warnings” on tobacco products are bullying messages instructing smokers to Quit Smoking Now.

And the bullies in Public Health, urged on by their success against smokers, have now extended their predations to alcohol, sugar, salt, fat, meat, soda, and carbon dioxide.

Bullies prosper when nobody fights back. And Deborah Arnott is prospering to the tune of £160,000 a year. She has every incentive to carry on bullying smokers more and more and more. And, unsurprisingly, that’s exactly what she does. And while she does it, she cloaks herself in a garment of smug, hypocritical, self-righteous do-goodery.

The bullies in Tobacco Control are winning because nobody is fighting back. They’re on a roll. They think they’re invincible.

But as soon as people start fighting back, the bullies in Tobacco Control will start losing. But to fight back, you have to get nasty. And most people don’t want to be nasty. Most smokers are very nice, friendly, kind, thoughtful people. And so they won’t fight back.

Dmitry wrote of his father who had become friends with some of his former enemies. But that was after the war. When the war is over, you can (and should) become friends again. But I very much doubt that Dmitry’s father was quite so friendly towards Nazis during the war. I’m sure that he fought them with all his might.

After the war is over we can begin to think about forgiving and forgetting the people in Tobacco Control, letting bygones be bygones. But the war is not over yet. In fact, the war has hardly even begun, because smokers haven’t started fighting back.

Tobacco Control must be destroyed. It must be completely destroyed. And I have said many times that it will be destroyed. But what happens after the war is a matter for those people who live in that future time. And that time is not now. Now is the time time to fight the bullies in Tobacco Control, and to fight them in every possible inventive and imaginative way, with all our might.

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Three Ideas

After about a week of having no ideas about anything, I’m suddenly full of lots of new ideas.

The first idea is a computing idea, about menus. The WordPress screen I’m using right now has got a menu down both the left hand and right hand side. And there’s a Windows menu at top and bottom. These menus are all 2-dimensional. My idea this morning was for a spherical 3D menu. You’d have a little menu planet up at the top left corner of the screen that you could zoom in on, and spin around. It would look like the Moon, with lots of craters, each of which would be a sub-menu.

In fact, maybe the craters could be little menu planets which you could also zoom in on and spin around. All the files on your hard disk could be arranged on the surface of a menu planet. And you’d also be able to get inside menu planets, and find more menu planets inside them.

A globe could be a menu planet. You’d spin the globe and zoom in if you want to look at Equador. And zoom in further if you want to find out about towns in Equador, or plants or animals in Equador, or the history of Equador.

You really only need one menu at a time. At the moment I only really need to have a small WordPress menu. I don’t need the Windows menus, and I don’t need most of the WordPress menus either. If I had Planet WordPress, it could live somewhere on the screen, and I could land on it and use the local sub-menus. And only when I take off from it would all the other menus (like the Windows menu) come into view. The screen wouldn’t be full of lots of redundant menus all the time, like it is now.

This geometric idea needs more thought.

A second idea was about cancer, and a development of an existing idea of mine about it, which is that cancers maybe only start when there are enough voids inside tissues for cancer cells to reproduce and spread. Today’s slight variant idea is that cell densities – number of cells per unit volume – vary from tissue to tissue.  Bones seem to have high cell densities, and lungs have low cell densities. If tissues have low enough cell densities, cancer cells can reproduce and spread through tissues, forming tumours. First-generation cancer cells (yellow) reproduce slowly, second-generation cells (orange) reproduce faster, third-generation (red) reproduce even faster, and fourth-generation (purple) even faster still. The tumours grow until they meet some impassable obstruction, and remain “benign” tumours. If they encounter no such obstruction they reproduce more and more rapidly, and so become “malignant”. Cancers growing in this way reproduce faster and faster, because it’s usually the fastest reproducing cells that will always be found at the surface of the tumour. Hela cancer cells have a doubling time of 24.67 hours.

From Wikipedia:

Smallcell carcinoma (also known as “smallcell lung cancer“, or “oat-cell carcinoma“) is a type of highly malignant cancer that most commonly arises within the lung, although it can occasionally arise in other body sites, such as the cervix, prostate, and gastrointestinal tract.

It may be that this kind of cancer is highly malignant because the cancer cells are small, and easily able to move through many kinds of tissue between normal cells. Lungs, cervix, and gastrointestinal tract are good sites for cancers because there are lots of voids in them. Skin cancers also have a huge void (the outer air) in which to reproduce.

In this approach, most cancers occur in old age because, as people age, their cells tend to die off faster than they reproduce. and so cell densities in old people are probably lower than in young people. In this approach, one treatment to prevent cancer growth would be to simply increase tissue densities, maybe by injecting inert materials (fine sand?) into tissues to form barriers to cancer growth. People would still develop cancer, but most cancers would be benign tumours, not rapidly metastasizing malignant tumours. You wouldn’t try to kill off the cancers with radiotherapy or chemotherapy, but corral them.

This geometric idea also needs more thought.

The third idea was about Tobacco Control, and something Dick Puddlecote wrote:

It is surely about time politicians woke up and realised the destruction these self-centred bastards are doing to society. (my added emphasis)

“Bastards” are what these people really are. The people who work in Tobacco Control are all complete and utter bastards. They’re complete and utter bastards who are pretending to “help” people. Everything they do is always nasty and spiteful and vindictive. Smoking bans are nasty and spiteful and vindictive. Anti-smoking warning messages are nasty and spiteful and vindictive.

And we have to get rid of these bastards. Tobacco Control must be destroyed. It must be completely and utterly destroyed. And if it’s necessary to destroy the medical profession (BMA, RCP, WHO) in order to get rid of thee Tobacco Controllers who now infest it, then so be it.

We’re in a war here. And we should have no more sympathy for the Tobacco Controllers than they’ve ever had for us (i.e. none). We should have no hesitation in vilifying and demonising and excluding them. We should pursue them to the ends of the Earth. We should make life hell for them just like they made life hell for us. Many of them should be sent to prison. Some of them should even be executed.

I know it’s not nice. I know it’s not pretty. Wars never are. But unfortunately we periodically have to fight these wars. And the first thing that’s needed in any war is an army. The Smoky Drinky Bar is one kind of recruiting office for that army. We should be talking only to each other, never to them. We should listen only to each other, never to them. After all, they never listen to us.

This is not a geometric idea, but it needs more thought.

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