Social and political activists are no longer a bunch of like-minded citizens who have temporarily banded together to get their message out. They are now permanent. They have bricks and mortar office buildings, high octane lawyers and tons of money to throw around. They don`t necessarily buy politicians; they don`t have to. They can produce opinion polls, social and scientific research papers, press releases and enough media time to browbeat the politicos into line. Meanwhile, all Jane has at her disposal is a nasty email or telephone call. Furthermore, many activist groups are nonprofit and not only pay little or no actual tax but are also in line to receive government funding (which, by the way, is Jane’s money.) …
Second up is a piece about Mike Rayner, Director of the British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group at the University of Oxford, and also an ordained priest in the Church of England, who says:
“In all of this I see a sacred dimension. You may not believe that I have heard God aright but I think God is calling me to work towards the introduction of soft-drink taxes in this country and I am looking forward to the day when General Synod debates the ethical issues surrounding this type of tax rather than some of the other issues that august body seems obsessed by.”
You can sort of see where this kind of righteousness comes from. After all, if you think that God is calling you to do something, that does lend the cause a certain moral force. I wonder if Deborah Arnott could say the same? Perhaps they’re all like that?
So why doesn’t God have a word in my ear, eh? He never does though. Not ever. But which fits in perfectly with my idea of a Deus Otiosus, a do-nothing God, which I wheeled out a while back.
Next is a piece about how tobacco smoke kills you but cannabis smoke supposedly doesn’t harm you at all.
The study has been ongoing for the past twenty years, following the smoking habits of over 5000 people. Researchers found that, contrary to popular belief, smoking cannabis, does not interfere with lung function or capacity. This holds true for ongoing regular -even including daily- and long term consumption. Curiously, as a general rule, cannabis smokers had better lung function than nonsmokers, which researchers attribute to the smoking action itself, rather than the cannabis. Pot smokers inhale deeply and hold those breaths to make the most of their supply, expanding the lung’s capacity.
Actually, it’s always been the firm conviction of pot smokers that not only is it harmless, but it actually cures more or less everything, cancer included. I think that this is because, back in the 60s, when tobacco was being fingered as the culprit for lung cancer, cannabis wasn’t being. So that made cannabis look good by comparison. This relative good in time became an absolute good.
But the chemistry of pot smoke is going to be pretty much identical to tobacco smoke, except that the nicotine is replaced by THC. There’s going to be the same amounts of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, carbon, and all the other constituents of tobacco smoke (including the supposedly carcinogenic ones like benzapyrene). And if you smoke great big spliffs and inhale deeply, you’re going to fill your lungs with even more of these awful toxins.
And also, in my experience, pot smoke is quite a lot hotter than most tobacco smoke. I can smoke cigarettes with ease, but my lungs can’t handle pot smoke any more. In fact, they never really could.
But I like the idea of deep inhaling as ‘lung exercise’. In a few weeks time, there’s going to be a whole bunch of athletes running and jumping all over London. Is it too late to have a smoking event? One where people have an hour to smoke as many cigarettes as possible. Or where they hold their breath as long as possible.
Next there’s a piece about Professor Philippe Even, trashing the spurious science behind tobacco bans. And then Professor Robert Molimard doing the same. And then Professor John B Davies at Strathclyde university:
It is a moral issue- not a scientific question: You have to make a decision. If the State uses the disease concept, because it can cause people to jump on it and thereby change their behavior – then you decide: Do you think it is a good way to do it or not?
It’s very easy to say: Well, see it works. But I say: Stop right now. How far must we go with it? …
As for me: Now I begin to see the gas chambers …
And finally there’s a piece about Professor Romano Grieshaber, which cites my blog.
So there’s plenty there, and it’s on a blog which is for the most part about biblical interpretation (although there was a very interesting set of posts a few months back about how Karl Marx was a satanist – I can’t say I was convinced, but I was interested enough to read them).
And that means that it’ll be read by people with very different interests and concerns than are likely to be found on my blog. And that’s a very good thing.
So thank you, Churchmouse, and dominus vobiscum.
The smoking ban and the war on smokers has also had me thinking a bit differently about Christianity. The early Christians had a feast called the agape, which is Greek for love of some noble sort. They ate and drank, and it could all get a bit riotous at times. A bit like pubs. And so the authorities cracked down on them, and started persecuting Christians a bit like they persecute pub-goers today. Although, in fairness, smokers have yet to be thrown to the lions.
And I was thinking how such persecution binds people together. It’s not what the authorities intend, but it’s what always happens. Whenever I see a smoker anywhere now, I see a kindred spirit, where I never used to before. And the result is that, in small ways (e.g. outside pubs) and in large ways (Forces, etc) smokers are coming together. And maybe this is exactly what happened with the early Christians? The ferocious Roman persecution (based on Roman junk science) fused the hitherto obscure and innocuous Christian sect into a coherent social unit. And one so powerful that, within a couple of hundred years, it had made a captive of the Roman state – something that not even Hannibal could manage with an army that rampaged through the Italian peninsula. Rome was defeated by a bunch of people who liked nothing more than a few beers and a bite to eat and a bit of a sing-song.