Climate and Tobacco Wars

H/T Bishop Hill for this Climate Wars essay by Pointman:

The problem the alarmists had, was that there was never anything substantial to hit back at. They had the equivalents of the big guns and the massive air support but there never was a skeptic HQ to be pounded, no big central organisation, no massed ranks of skeptic soldiers or even any third-party backing the resistance. Every one of the skeptics was a lone volunteer guerilla fighter, who needed absolutely no logistical support of any kind to continue the fight indefinitely. The alarmists never understood this, preferring to think that there simply had to be some massive hidden organisation orchestrating the resistance. While they wasted time and effort attacking targets that only existed in their head, each of the guerillas chewed on them mercilessly in their own particular way.

The closest thing they had to a target were the skeptic blogs but these were invulnerable, because they weren’t owned or funded by anyone and were run by unpaid volunteers. The best they could do was vilify the bloggers and send occasional waves of trolls to disrupt the debates, which gradually but inexorably tore the heart out of the pseudo-science, which underpinned global warming.

As ever, it translates almost word for word to the Tobacco Wars. The difference maybe is that Pointman seems to think that the climate sceptics have “won”, while I doubt that anyone in the Tobacco Wars would say that we’ve won too. In fact I think Pointman is a bit too optimistic about the success of the climate sceptics. For as far as I can see, the climate orthodoxy is rolling on regardless, as if there weren’t any sceptics at all.

In the Tobacco Wars, in 2005 the general staff at Tobacco Control (H/T Rose) weren’t inclined to declare victory:

After achieving breathtaking successes in securing state and local restrictions on smoking in public places and restricting youth access to tobacco products, the tobacco movement faces difficult decisions on its future strategic directions. The thesis of this article is that the tobacco control movement is at a point of needing to secure its recent successes and avoiding any public retrenchment. …

there is an inevitable tendency to say “we’ve won”…

The paper argues the case for, among other things, consolidating successes, maintaining a volunteer grass-root base, and pushing for voluntary non-smoking policies.

Seven years on, I’m not sure what’s left of the grass-root antismoking base. Tobacco Control appears now to be a fully professional army, mostly funded by smokers’ taxes. And since when is anything voluntary with Tobacco Control these days? The sledgehammer of the law is their first and last resort. And instead of consolidating on their successes, they’ve gone pushing for further bans. On tobacco displays and packaging, on outdoor and in-car and even home smoking. They’ve even begun to diversify into anti-alcohol and anti-fast-food campaigns.

To me, it all looks like over-reach. Success has gone to their heads. They think they can’t lose. They’re like some ‘liberating’ army that doesn’t know when to stop, but just keeps steamrollering onward, and committing terrible atrocities in the process.

Yet they still think they’re the Good Guys, when for growing numbers of people they’ve become the Bad Guys, as they bludgeon entire populations into conformity, careless of people’s personal choices. Resistance is mounting to the monster that Tobacco Control has become, now that its fanaticism is becoming ever more apparent.

One thing’s for sure. They’ve lost the moral high ground. It fell out of the window with Elena Brennan, and was evicted along with (the late) 97-year-old Jane O’Grady. Even some doctors can see their wanton, wicked, cruelty.

About Frank Davis

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14 Responses to Climate and Tobacco Wars

  1. cherie79 says:

    Why doesn’t someone in the medical profession point out the obvious, to any logical person, the fact that second hand smoking, which has been the main argument of the anti-smoking fanatics is proven nonsense. All of us who grew up in the 50s/60s and before were surrounded by smoke, in the home, theatres, cinemas etc., to say nothing of the pollution from coal fires, steel works etc.and yet are still the longest lived generation ever. Surely we should all be dead or gravely ill with smoking related diseases? If that doesn’t prove that they are wrong then nothing will, they just don’t want to listen to anything that disproves their ‘analysis’ . Of my cohorts almost all of whom smoked only three have died, two in accidents and one from lung cancer, and his family had all sorts of cancer through generations. How do we even start to get this through to otherwise rational preople. My never smoking friends strongly object to the disruption of their social life too, they didn’t mind it in the least.

    • nisakiman says:

      Cherie, this is a question I ask often, most recently on this post on The Pub Curmudgeon’s Blog a few days ago.

      The commenter I was addressing came back with a put-down ridiculing my observations, but of course no actual answer to the question I asked.

      In fact, in all the countless times I’ve asked this question on various blogs, forums and newspaper comments,, the response has varied, but not one person has ever actually addressed the points I made.

      Ridicule, ad hominems and abuse are the normal response; but never any attempt to answer the question.

      • cherie79 says:

        Well what can you do with people who refuse to believe the evidence of their own eyes, I just don’t know, but as the old saying goes, ” There are none so blind as those who will not see”

  2. smokervoter says:

    In general I don’t read comments on smoking articles anymore. I’ve seen every argument and counter-argument known to man. It’s depressing sometimes to realize how low mankind can sink and how successful mass hysteria campaigns can be. When I say to myself it can’t happen here, I’m projecting my own ethos out into a universe of homo sapiens with a long history of it indeed happening here.

    I don’t know how I ended up at this one nor why I decided to go ahead and read some comments but I did. There is a rather cathartic comment from someone named Jim at almost the very end. I wish that somehow it would go viral and be widely read by drooling antismokers. Maybe some of the overboard craziness of this whole smoke-free zeitgeist would be expelled in the process.

    It’s a long one so I’ll grab just the first couple of sentences from the two paragraphs and hopefully entice some interest in the rest.

    “I used to be an antismoker. I was brainwashed to fear and hate smoking and smokers. Everything about smokers bothered me….”

    Paragraph 2:
    “Then one day I was sitting in the park over lunch. I had the most incredible “light bulb” moment. It dawned on me so clearly that I had become a bigot, a rabid bigot. I was driven by stupid fear and hate…”

    It’s amazing. It’s on a blog I’d never seen nor would likely to have gone to given my political leanings. It is called LeftFootForward and the article is titled “Happy smoking ban day! – don’t believe big tobacco’s spin”

    Glantz and Arnott and all the rest need to read this and reassess their burnt out souls.

    PS: Junican weighs in with great conviction and aplomb there as well. It had me pumping my fist in the air.

    An extreme antismoker’s catharsis

  3. smokervoter says:

    Geez Louise. Tested that link and it says Showing 0 Comments. I must have read a cached page. Without Jim’s comment it is nothing but an exceedingly bad article by Amanda Sanborn.

    Here it is in all it’s glory.

    I used to be an antismoker. I was brainwashed to fear and hate smoking and smokers. Everything about smokers bothered me. I was happy when they got kicked out of workplaces. Then I hated that they got to go outside to have smoke breaks. Even though they were doing their work, I started spreading rumors that they were wasting the boss’s time. I would constantly rib the smokers that they stunk, that they were stupid addicts, they were harming people like me, and that they were a drain on society. I would tell them that their smoke was contaminating my hair and my clothes and that I had to keep taking showers to get their stink off me. But those idiots kept smoking. Then those cigarette butts started to bother me. I didn’t notice them before, but now I was seeing them everywhere. And they kept getting bigger and bigger. I would tell the smokers that they were trashing the world. I even tried to get smoking banned in my apartment complex. I was consumed with this hatred. I had even joined a few nonsmokers groups that were trying to get smokers kicked out of more places.

    Then one day I was sitting in the park over lunch. I had the most incredible “light bulb” moment. It dawned on me so clearly that I had become a bigot, a rabid bigot. I was driven by stupid fear and hate. I had turned people that smoke who are people just like me into something terrible that had to be put down. I had made them enemies. I had done this. And there were plenty of people that wanted me to feel this way. That’s the way society was going, they would tell me. It’s progressive, they would say. I had been convinced that mistreating and bullying smokers was “normal”. Not any more. I gave all of that trash up. I feel way, way calmer. I’m like a new man. I get along with people better, especially smokers. I think smokers are a forgiving lot. I’m still surprised that one of them hadn’t hit me plumb in the nose for all my constant harassment. But that’s over now. I feel like a normal, good human being again, able to relate to people as people first and foremost.

  4. waltc says:

    Here’s a truly wacky sidebar, but… Some friends were over here tonite and we got to talking about ’60’s stuff (as in 1960’s) and someone brought up the I Ching– about as 60’s as it gets– and I pulled out the dusty book from the shelf and we asked it questions and started to play. Though the answer I got was remote from my question (tho the principle of I Ching is that nothing is remote and you asked the wrong question but got the right answer), the gist of what I got seems uncannily applicable to our subject of choice,

    After it sets the premise that, (and I quote) “the way of inferior people is in the ascent” and “mutual mistrust prevails in public life,” and that, further, ” the superior man withdraws since he cannot assent to the meanness of the others,” it later goes on to conclude that ” the Inferior people who have risen to power illegitimately do not feel equal to the responsibility they have taken upon themselves. In their hearts they begin to be ashamed, although at first they do not show it outwardly. This marks a decided turn for the better.” It adds that the time will soon be ripe for changing the situation and that those who wish to change it are favored by time and fate.

    So there. Confucius say…

  5. Cabbie fined for smoking in taxi
    Published on Sunday 4 March 2012 10:10

    A TAXI driver who broke the workplace smoking ban by having a cigarette in his cab, then throwing the butt out of the window, has been fined.

    Alfonso Desideri, aged 42, was given the chance of paying a fixed penalty for both offences, but denied he had been smoking and failed to pay up.

    He later changed his plea to guilty and was fined £73 for each offence and ordered to pay costs of £150.

    Desideri, of Langdale Close, Linacre Woods, Chesterfield, was caught when a council officer saw him smoking in the Hackney carriage he was driving and then throwing the cigarette out of the window in Whittington Hill, Chesterfield, last September.

  6. As long as one person maintains the idea of freedom,it cannot be lost…………….Orwell 1984

  7. Cigarettes and Compulsion
    Graphic cigarette warnings aren’t effective or constitutional.
    From the comments:

    It’s the equivalent of requiring new cars to be adorned with giant photos of bloody crash scenes or Big Mac containers to depict an obese corpse.

    How about pictures of scalded genitalia on coffee cups?

    Or a nasty case of the drip on condom wrappers.

  8. Jennifer says:

    Case in point: smoking is bad for you. It is that easy. Not sure why people still harm their bodies by smoking…war on tobacco? Is this the same as The War on Drugs?

  9. Pingback: Library of Libraries

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