First, a couple of news items caught my eye. The first from Chris Snowdon (my emphases added):
Meanwhile, Californians have done what Californians always do and taken the lunacy a step further. The University of California, San Francisco has not only banned smoking across its entire grounds and student digs, but also banned students and staff from carrying any form of tobacco. Taking the paternalism to absurd lengths, it has also banned people from using and carrying e-cigarettes—a battery-powered, tobacco-free nicotine delivery system with no known health risks.
And via Dick Puddlecote (my emphases added):
In New York, a bill is pending in the legislature’s transportation committee that would ban the use of mobile phones, iPods or other electronic devices while crossing streets — runners and other exercisers included. Legislation pending in Oregon would restrict bicyclists from using mobile phones and music players, and a Virginia bill would keep such riders from using a “hand-held communication device.”
These appear to me to be entirely new manifestations of insanity that push the envelope of social control yet further.
Even a cigarette (or anything that looks like a cigarette) in your own pocket is impermissible. Where does it end? Soon it will be impermissible to have all sorts of other things in your pockets – such as bars of chocolate or anything else these mad people don’t approve of.
As for the ipod ban for runners and cyclists, this marks the moment when the banners have turned on their own kind – i.e. “healthy” people like joggers and cyclists, rather than us “unhealthy” smokers and drinkers and tubbies. And if even listening to music has become a health and safety threat, then I really can’t see what’s to stop car stereos being banned, or even in-car conversations being banned too.
Aside from that, I’m getting the strong impression that many of my readers are a lot less tolerant of trolls than I am.
I suppose that I’m simply naturally inclined to have an open debate about all matters of importance. Over the two or three years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve allowed comments that are critical of smokers, and critical of me. So I’d prefer to leave the blog open to comments by anybody.
But, on the other hand, in the matter of smoking I’ve more or less arrived at the conclusion that there’s nothing left to debate. There never has been any sort of real debate anyway. Antismokers aren’t interested in what smokers think, and take great pains to ensure that they never get heard (or seen). Antismokers only talk to other antismokers, and ignore smokers. And increasingly smokers only talk to other smokers. And once dialogue has ended, there exists a de facto state of war, in which each is trying to silence the other. I want, for example, antismoking hate groups like ASH to simply be closed down. And in this matter I am not interested in the opinions of antismokers such as Deborah Arnott. In war, after all, one does not fraternise with the enemy.
So I’m in two minds. On the one hand I am strongly in favour of the most open and wide-ranging debate about absolutely everything and anything. But on the other hand I seem to have to recognise that, in some matters at least, debate is no longer possible (and perhaps never was possible).
The options open to me appear to be:
- Leave the blog as it is, open to everyone, deleting only the most intolerable comments.
- Require commenters to log in (as I was doing over Christmas, with several complaints).
- Require commenters to have their first comments held for moderation, and subsequent ones posted immediately.
- Hold all comments for moderation.
Since it’s primarily my readers and commenters that I’m thinking about here, I’ve added a poll. Perhaps some of you may wish to express your opinions.