The war on smokers is part of an essentially eugenic programme of social improvement. The theory of eugenics was conceived by Francis Galton,  half-cousin of Charles Darwin.

After reading Darwin’s Origin of Species, Galton built upon Darwin’s ideas whereby the mechanisms of natural selection were potentially thwarted by human civilization. He reasoned that, since many human societies sought to protect the underprivileged and weak, those societies were at odds with the natural selection responsible for extinction of the weakest; and only by changing these social policies could society be saved from a “reversion towards mediocrity”, a phrase he first coined in statistics and which later changed to the now common “regression towards the mean”.

Now that natural selection was deemed to be no longer working, it needed to be replaced by artificial selection. The ‘weakest’ members of society needed to be prevented from breeding, or if necessary actively exterminated. Only in this way could the quality of the racial stock be maintained, and favoured traits fostered.

Today it is widely regarded as a brutal movement which inflicted massive human rights violations on millions of people. The “interventions” advocated and practiced by eugenicists involved prominently the identification and classification of individuals and their families, including the poor, mentally ill, blind, deaf, developmentally disabled, promiscuous women, homosexuals and entire racial groups — such as the Roma and Jews — as “degenerate” or “unfit”; the segregation or institutionalisation of such individuals and groups, their sterilization, euthanasia, and in the extreme case of Nazi Germany, their mass extermination.

Even if it fell into disrepute for a while after the Second World War, it’s clear that eugenics has been enjoying something of a revival in recent decades, even if it is no longer known as ‘eugenics’. The new “degenerate” or “unfit” are smokers, drinkers, and fat people. They are deemed not to have “desirable traits”. It is felt that if human society can be rid of these traits, there will be a great improvement in “fitness” and “public health”.

There are several problems with this sort of thinking. The first is that it is not clear which traits are “desirable” and which are not. For example, while being very fat may not be helpful when attempting to run away from a pursuing predator, it might be a highly desirable trait during a period of famine, when fat people might reasonably be expected to outlive thin people.

Equally, domesticated plants and animals, which have been deliberately bred by careful selection to produce a greater mass of food, might be regarded as equally “degenerate” or “unfit”, because many of them would be unable to survive in the natural world – where natural selection operates – without human assistance. Are we therefore to let natural selection once again take its toll upon them?

And can natural selection be said to “favour” any one type or trait above any other, in the way that a human cultivator might do? The process of natural selection is one which throws up a random variety of different types and traits, and then puts them to the test. The same variant squirrel may prosper in one environment, and be extinguished in another. The process of natural selection does not really “favour” anything at all. There is no way of telling, in advance of the test, which will survive, and which will not. It is instead humans who try to foresee which will survive, very often based on superficial appearances. It is simply not possible for eugenicists to step into nature’s shoes, and take over the task of natural selection. If they attempt to do so, all they will be expressing will be their own preferences, as they actively favour one type or trait over another, in ways that nature does not.

Furthermore, since “human societies seek to protect the underprivileged and weak”, and in fact this might be said to be the principal hallmark of human civilisation – caring for the sick, the young, and the old – the eugenic programme might very well be said to subvert all prior human morality.

And once any particular human type or trait comes to be “favoured”, whether it be a slim or athletic build, or non-smoking or non-drinking, or anything else, it automatically follows that those who lack these traits must be dis-favoured. The glorification of “health” and “fitness” must always go hand in hand with the vilification and exclusion of the “unhealthy” and the “unfit”.

The eugenic programme is inherently socially divisive. It inherently and invariably works to set people against one another, favoured against disfavoured. It would be equally divisive if, instead of smokers and drinkers being disfavoured, non-smokers and non-drinkers were disfavoured and excluded. There can be no possibility of any social harmony once eugenic programmes of “improvement” are undertaken.

Quite why eugenics should have enjoyed a semi-overt revival isn’t clear. Perhaps in part it is because over the past 50 years great progress has been made in understanding genetics, and this has allowed eugenic ideas to persist. The answer is probably that it never really ever went away. Its particularly horrifying Nazi manifestation was blamed on Hitler and the Nazis, when they were perhaps simply its most assiduous practitioners. Hitler became the convenient scapegoat onto which all its evils were laid. The Second World War may have seen the demise of the Hitler state, but it did not see the demise of eugenics and eugenic thinking. It continued to prosper. And in time, it gradually regained its strength and confidence, and has renewed its predations, creating new social divisions where none existed before.

It ought now to be a matter of the greatest urgency to complete what was left incomplete in 1945, and extirpate all eugenic thinking and its associated eugenic programmes from the face of the earth. Eugenics and eugenic thinking ought itself be subjected to the same kind of exterminatory disfavour that it has inflicted upon so many human lives. The eugenic programme should be applied to eugenics itself. A start might be made by simply closing down all “public health” programmes which advocate discriminatory political measures against any social group, be they smokers, drinkers, fat people, or anyone else. A further step might be made by expelling from their professions all doctors and researchers who show any sign of being tainted with eugenic ideas.

This anti-eugenic programme will be as much an intellectual task as it will be a political task. It will not be easy. And it will take a long time.


About Frank Davis

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25 Responses to Anti-Eugenics

  1. Christopher J says:

    So you seek to wipe out a way of thinking just because of their opinions? So you’re saying eugenic thinking is wrong because they favour certain traits above other but then again correct me if I’m wrong but wiping out eugenicism because you do not favour the trait of eugenic thinking is thus making you become of a eugenic way of thinking. You will eventually become the person who you sought to eradicate and as it is a self destructive way of thinking it needs nobody to remove it from existence as it will eventually erase itself.

    • harleyrider says:

      To deny the wolf is to deny the pack. To protect us all the pack must be destroyed individually and wholly!

      Such was the anti-tobaccos crusade against Dr. Enstrom and anyone else who denied the mythological SHS science of Junk. The same is done against scientists/deniers of global warming…..The Eugenicists must be destroyed in their war on us!

      Lest we end up in another World War!

  2. Frank Davis says:

    I have no problem in applying eugenic thinking to eugenics. It would be to give them a taste of their own medicine. Furthermore, I do not think we can wait for it to gradually “erase itself”. We don’t do that with mafia gangs. Neither did we do that with Nazi Germany. Why should we do it with eugenics?

  3. Lysistrata says:

    Mmmmm. Thinking.
    I always had this idea that if things went really wrong – like REALLY wrong – then it would be the misfits and the awkward ones (like us) that would actually survive. Like, we smokers – having already been denormalised – would be the first ones to take to the hills.

  4. smokervoter says:

    Wow. The Israeli smoking ban caught me a little off guard, I didn’t expect that. It just so happens I recently posted an article over at a LiveJournal group called Pro_Smokers that centers on Israeli/Palestinian smoking, Hillary Clinton and what I consider part of the real-time genesis of the anti-smoking movement.

    Just a little setup. The article is in reference to a graphic that one of the members posted featuring Churchill and Roosevelt smoking and a guy in uniform asking them to go outside to smoke. You can’t see the picture I’m referring to unless you’re a member of Pro_Smokers. My post is public.

    I post over at this little forum every now and then just to keep it alive. Although I think it has 300 or so members, not many of them step up to the plate and post very much.

    It was shortly after I created my Livejournal account and joined this group that I stumbled upon Leg-iron and then you. Which in turn led to Pat Nurse, Dick Puddlecoat, Counting Cats, Captain Ranty, Freedom2Choose, Angry Exile and on and on…

    What can I say. I’m an Anglophile. Have been ever since 1964 when a certain mop-headed quartet cheered us up and changed America right after we were all in shock from the Kennedy assassination. And then came an even better band – The Yardbirds.

    If anyone’s interested in reading it here’s the link. Click on the comments too. On comment three I talk about how in 1993 the Israeli press corps thought we were a bunch of silly Puritans with our newly-initiated smoking rules.

    It’s called Smoking at the White House

  5. Walt says:

    3 disparate thoughts here:

    As I read this blog I thought immediately of the many unchallenged studies showing smokers have phenomenally lower rates of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. So weeding out smoking as an unhealthy and “undesirable” trait could have interesting consequences: a society of pink-lunged people who’ve forgotten their own names. Who, in turn, I suppose, would have to be disposed of. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

    On the subject of dividing society on eugenic grounds, for anyone who’s never seen this brilliant experiment as filmed for Public Television, here’s a link to either video or script.

    Frontline: A Class Divided

    Third: when the first Israeli bans came on–and I believe only on– El Al flights, I actually wrote to Rabin, himself a smoker (there’s a classic photo of him and, I think, Jordan’s Hussein, being sent by Hillary to smoke outdoors or in some little anteroom) and pointed out the dangerous analogy of that ban. To my surprise, I got a letter back from some aide to the effect that Rabin had been interested in my letter and would himself get back to me. A week or so later, he was assassinated.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I greatly admired Rabin. I thought it was tragedy for Israel that he was assassinated. For at that point Israel seemed to lurch in an ugly direction.

      • harleyrider says:

        Frank Israel is a puppet of washington and its existence depends on washington no matter who the driver in washington is. Today its obama and his health radical eugenicists such as CDC DR FRIEDEMAN. HHS KATEHRINE SEBELIUS , SG REGINA BENJAMIN etc…….stimulus funds used to purchase smoking bans acrosss america and you can well bet those same forign aid dollars had hillary clintons anti-tobacco finger prints all over them!

        Did I make a supreficial case as to why Israel now pushes a smoking ban!

    • smokervoter says:

      Walt, it sounds like you might be able to help me get my facts straight on the incident. I had to rely on my hazy recollection (egads) to write that. I did manage to find maybe three search results and then had to reverse-engineer everything using some artistic license along the way.

      I don’t want to get tinfoily here but everything I found was written with a Clintonian exculpatory slant, which is counter to the reality of the situation. This was four years before the MSA shakedown.

      Luther Terry and C. Everett Koop were early instigators to be sure, but for my money the Clintons (with philosophical allies Glantz, Waxman, Banzhaf, Repace et al) are the real culprits behind this dastardly lifestyle war on the people.

      • Walt says:

        Yes, I agree. The first big breakthrough was Hillary banning smoking in the White House and Bill banning it in federal buildings. Then, the story goes, when Bill got in political trouble aka Monica, his chief advisor at the time, Dick Morris, advised him to go for an easy and potentially popular crusade: fight tobacco. He had fanatic Kessler on board at the FDA, and further appointed a committee in 1997– forget its real name but it was known as the Kessler Koop Commission, stacked with infamous anti-smokers, to come up with draconian measure to end ‘smoking as we know it.’ And did they ever. A totalitarian document of unbelievable breadth. This link below may (or not() get you there.

        Going back as far as–1993, Waxman had proposed a bill (The Smoke Free Environment Act of 1993) that would have banned smoking in every building in America that was entered by 10 or more people people in a week. I believe Frank Lautenberg introduced a companion bill in the senate, and continued to introduce it in succeeding years. It was also Sen Dick Dubin who literally blackmailed Amtrak into a train bans at about the same time (’93-94), threatening to cut federal funding if they balked. Then, too, as I recall, when McCain was asked to design a bill (which never went anywhere and was replaced by the MSA), part of it included a ban on smoking w/i 25 feet of any building in America. I recall at the time the National Review sniped that this would solve all our health problems since fat people could get their needed exercise by chasing illicit smokers down the block

  6. harleyrider says:

    I have met C everett KOOP, in NRMC jax hospital back in 1983-84. We had tio sit thru 2 of his anti-tobacco and health concious seminars over 2 days. The man is a zealot no doubt with a Billy Sunday preaching style in his eugenics beliefs. The problem we have is the medical schools teaching anti-tobacco dogma over the last 30 plus years. To my opinion Koop should never have been given a medical diploma. Much less the office of SG. Within a week of KOOPS seminar my skipper had those diseased lungs put up in our hallway display case at APTU aviation physiology training unit in cecil field. It didnt help any that our skipper was also a tightly wound religous throw back. Without naming his name! This was long before the great pig lung fiasco that came down. To this day I dont know if those lung tissues on display were the real thing or not……But Im of the mind they were fake as KOOP was the one who handed out those display models to everyone to put out under orders!

  7. harleyrider says:

    One other thing, all of us at the unit smoked except 3.We smoked everywhere,even when we had maid of the day duty at the emergency room at the dispensary. It seems that if you were in the MSO medical service officer corp and wanted to make captain you better had held the same anti-tobacco stance as the SG! These edicts drift down from the congress who has the authority to advance/promote the officer corp! Mainly we can say WAXMAN,HENRY et……loser!

  8. Walt says:


    see my reply to you above, under your post.

    • smokervoter says:

      Walt, thanks so much for that link. I didn’t remember that one. Just think about it, Koop & Kessler joining forces. It’s sort of like Lennon & McCartney, no make that Nation & Volstead, no better yet Hitler & Mussolini.

      I’d forgotten about that formula where the more sales Big Tobacco chocked up the more they we’re fined. Basically it said step up to the chopping block and bare your neck. I don’t think the Soviets ever devised such an anti-capitalist idea, even at their peak.

      How about the Rabin/Abbas and Hillary White House patio incident? Got any hot links on that one? How small minded can anyone get? The whole enchilada of public health mania has destroyed this country.

  9. ftumch says:

    A marlboro light moment:

    Hussein: here, Yitzak, let me light that for you.

    Rabin: Shit, cheers man. Why’s your hand shaking?

    Hussein: It’s nothing! It’s low blood sugar, I’m just hungry…. I could kill a kebab!

    Rabin: Oi vey, don’t shit with me. You’re shit scared because we may get caught smoking by that kvetch Clinton.

    Hussein: Which Clinton?

    Rabin: Yeah, the Witch Clinton! No wonder Bill spends so much time at work with all those attractive young interns….

    Hussein: Damn right. I heard that pretty brunette likes a cigar or two….

    [Enough already!]

  10. smokervoter says:

    That is one fantastic picture Frank. There’s so much going on there if you look at it. Arab and Jew having a smoke together and relaxing. Hussein offering Rabin a light. I’d love to see that go viral across the net.

  11. Junican says:

    Hey up? When did American politics become a primary concern of ours!

    Seriously, though, as regards the Israeli ban, it would not surprise me if a condition of American aid was not a smoking ban. Billions of dollars of aid depndent upon a little teeny law. And does the EU practice the same method? Odd how the Spanish Gov suddenly became smokerphobes just when they might need EU financial support. Conditions? Treaties? ” Framework Convention……….?” One wonders to what extent American alcohol prohibition was brought down as a result of international non-compliance. Perhaps they are not making the same mistake this time round. Ensure that the whole world complies as well. I wonder what Bhutan was promised?

  12. john says:

    I’m sure you’re all for paying all of your own health bills, or getting on a health plan for smokers only, right?

    With healthy options such as snus, there is really no excuse for crippling your body on toxic smoke other than ‘me! me! me! me! but— me!’

    Equality is does not exist, but crowdism does.

  13. Junican says:

    @ John.

    What a strange post!

    Being in my seventies (and a solid smoker and drinker), I am far, far too old to be bothered about your health scares. I do not expect to live for ever, but I am sure that you expect to.

    Here’s one for you.

    Very dirty atomic bombs were exploded in the atmosphere before the international agreement to stop it. Do you know why they stopped exploding these bombs in the atmosphere? Because scientists (proper ones – not the quacks who produce anti-smoking stats) discovered that particles of plutonium and irradiated dust were blowing around in the atmosphere and that just one particle which lodged in your lungs WOULD give you lung cancer – no ifs or buts. So always wear footwear – especially on beaches and always wear a mask. Michael Jackson had the right idea.

    Erm…….something wrong with that last bit…………

  14. timbone says:

    Here is a brilliant irony. Alan Turing succeeded in breaking what became known as the enigma code in World War II. This guy single handedly helped a great deal in the final victory over Nazi Germany. One of Hitler’s unspeakable crimes was to exterminate homosexuals. In 1952, Alan Turing was tried in a court of law for being homosexual, and offered imprisonment or chemical castration. He chose chemical castration, and committed suicide two years later.

  15. SL Hemingway author of The Malaga Chronicles says:

    The theme of my new novel The Malaga Chronicles is about the struggle. There many who are trying to silence the message. Please read the book and spread the word.

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