The Moral Simpletons

A comment from smokervoter yesterday quoted a question that was asked of Republican candidates during the campaign. A couple of words jumped out at me. I’ve highlighted them:

Q: Healthcare consumes up to 17% of our GNP. It appears that lifestyles that are based in moral principles would reduce healthcare expenditures. Would you support a private healthcare approach that rewards behavior that promotes moral lifestyles– that is, avoiding alcohol and tobacco consumption, as well as obesity reduction, exercise and nutrition that promotes health?

I suppose that what struck me most about this passage was the near-equation of “moral lifestyles” with “reduced healthcare expenditures.” And also the equation of “moral lifestyles” with avoidance of alcohol and tobacco.

Drinking beer and smoking cigarettes is wrong, and good people who avoid such things live longer than bad people who don’t.

I couldn’t help but think, as I read this, that I inhabit a different moral universe than people who think stuff like this.

For me, what’s right and what’s wrong about some course of conduct depends entirely on the consequences that flow from it. If some act benefits people in some way, it’s a good and right thing to do. And if some act harms people in some way, it’s the wrong thing to do. In almost everything we do, there are costs and benefits, and the moral problem is one of assessing whether the costs outweigh the benefits, or vice versa.

But for these people, acts of one kind or other come ready-sorted and pre-classified as either a priori “right” or “wrong.” There’s no need for any agonising over consequences, and whether the benefits outweigh the costs. All you have to know is whether the activity in question comes from the “wrong” box or the “right” box.

And drinking and smoking come from the “wrong” box. They are always and everywhere unconditionally wrong. And a “moral” or “good” or “right” lifestyle is one in which people do all the “right” things, and avoid doing any of the “wrong” things. The moral individual is someone who, as it were, carries about his person a long list of “right” things (perhaps written in green ink) and “wrong” things (perhaps written in red ink), which he consults whenever he has to make a decision of any kind. If someone offers him a cigarette, he looks through his list of right things and wrong things, and finds it written in red, and declines the offer. Same if he is offered alcohol. Or bacon. Or chocolate. But not muesli. Nor lentils.

Theirs is a very simple moral universe. They are moral simpletons. There are lists of right things and wrong things, and to assess the moral worth of some activity, all you need do is run your finger down the list to find whether it’s right or wrong. It requires zero thought. There are no moral dilemmas. It’s all black and white (or red and green).

And if you’ve become really good at it, you can even get to memorise what’s right and what’s wrong.

They’re a bit like people who have memorised their “times tables” ( e.g. “six twelves are seventy two”) all the way up to the twelve times table, but have no means of determining what eight thirteens are or sixty-three twenty-sevens – because they don’t really know how to multiply numbers together. They don’t know why six twelves are seventy-two: they just know that they are.

And to me this isn’t any sort of morality at all. Because people who think in this way are likely to do really terrible things, if what they’re being asked to do doesn’t happen to be listed in their lists of right and wrong things. They are incapable of analysing new moral questions, and remain entirely reliant on previously determined solutions to an existing set of moral problems. Because, even though they may know what’s right and wrong, they don’t know why it’s right or wrong.

So, for example, Nazi death camp guards were probably, in their own minds at least, “good” people, because they did all the “right” things and refused to do all the “wrong” things. It was just that the entirely new and unheard of activity of driving people into gas chambers wasn’t on their list of “wrong” things to do. So they cheerfully went ahead and did it. And when they were consequently sent to prison or condemned to death, they were probably angry that nobody had told them that what they’d done was wrong. “How was I supposed to know?” some of them might have asked. “Now you tell me!”

The same moral blindness afflicts antismokers. For them, smoking is unconditionally wrong. A “moral lifestyle”, we have just learned, is one which avoids tobacco and alcohol. And so smoking bans are unconditionally good things too. And the consequences of such bans are not examined or explored. Antismokers are not interested in knowing that smoking bans shatter communities, bankrupt pubs, depress the economy, etc, etc. Because such considerations about consequences don’t belong in their simplistic black-and-white moral universe.

The simple-mindedness of this morality also explains the nauseating righteousness of the antismokers. In their view, they know what’s right and wrong, because they’ve carefully memorised it, just like their times tables.

Someone like me could never match them for righteousness, because for me moral issues are never black and white. For me, something might be right one day, and wrong the next (impossible for antismokers). And it always requires careful consideration, weighing pros and cons. And there’s never any certainty.

And when I consider drinking or smoking, they strike me as very largely inconsequential activities. They only become dangerous in excess.  In moderation, they are positively beneficial. And this true of everything else in life as well.

And, as far as I am concerned, anyone who doesn’t weigh up pros and cons of some course of action, but immediately forms a firm and final opinion, isn’t a moral individual. They are, however righteous and firm they might be in their views, essentially amoral. And perhaps even immoral.

The collision between antismokers and smokers is in many ways a collision of rival moralities. It’s a collision between people with long lists of things that are “right” (and should be encouraged and rewarded) and things that are “wrong” (and should be discouraged and banned), and people who weigh things up from first principles according the benefit or harm that appears to consequent upon them. The former process results in instant decisions, and the latter takes a long time to arrive at uncertain conclusions. And so in the clash of the two moralities, the moral simpletons arrive at certainty immediately, while the weighers and measurers are still pondering over the pros and cons – and so the simplists tend to win in the beginning. But they always lose in the end, when the bigger, more considered picture emerges.

About Frank Davis

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47 Responses to The Moral Simpletons

  1. smokervoter says:

    That’s interesting. If you’ll notice I put PAUL: Yes in bold but I also considered boldfacing some other specific words from the question as well. I couldn’t decide which rubbed me the wrong way more a.)”lifestyles that are based in moral principles” or b.)”rewards behavior that promotes moral lifestyles– that is, avoiding alcohol and tobacco consumption, as well as obesity reduction, exercise and nutrition that promotes health?

    The fact that a libertarian-minded person could absorb such an obviously authoritarian statement and not stop the questioner and say “Wai-wai-wait a minute there bud, you seem to be suggesting that state-approved lifestyles and moral principles somehow go hand in hand, and are therefore my health insurers legitimate business. No way Jose.”

    And anything that smacks of B.F. Skinner has no place in a truly free country. I fully expected to see a No beside Ron Paul’s name. It surprised me.

    Oddly enough the nutrition and exercise part at the end really irked me. So a gym membership or a proof-of-purchase for a pair of Nike jogging shoes officially makes me a good moral guy? And a grocery bill showing I’ve bought carrots and broccoli (non GM and fair-trade, of course) is a badge of patriotic cooperation I suppose.

    This whole business of using healthcare cost reduction as a bludgeon for imposing the will of the Righteous Government Health Ministry on us all is really getting old. Just go ahead an charge me a little extra each month and supply me with an actuarial accounting with it. I’ll cut back somewhere else to compensate. Perhaps I’ll stuff my own cigarettes rather than buying tailormades to make up the difference.

  2. Walt says:

    Beautifully observed as usual, Frank. And smokervoter too. My mind went in 3 directions.

    In Nazi Germany, I recently read, 1939 (the year that Hitler invaded Poland) was domestically “The Year Of the Duty To Be Healthy.”

    A few years ago, the NY Times approvingly quoted an Upper West Side psychologist (yet) who said that when she brought home a cupcake for herself, she hid the bag in a newspaper so her children wouldn’t see it so she wouldn’t be caught setting a bad example.

    Huckabee’s stand on that question doesn’t surprise me. He became evangelical about Health when he lost an actual 100+ pounds (much of which he seems now to have gained back) and his fervor spilled over to other definitions of the moral life. I hope these revelatory links are still good.

    http://www.nwanews.com/adg/News/153912/

    http://www.pbcommercial.com/articles/2006/06/13/ap-state-ar/d8i7j4s00.txt

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Huckabees a fat anti-smoking styles Billy Sunday that happened to live in the govenors doublewide mansion in arkansa while serving as the state smokehater!

  3. SadButMadLad says:

    I suppose that’s how religions gather their numbers – make a list of good stuff (even if its bad) and tell their followers that they are immoral if they don’t follow the list to the letter. I suspect that the New Puritans are pretty much a new religion – all their actions derive from a belief rather than anything factual.

    • Robert the Biker says:

      This is one of those clever things which sounds OK in a sort of absolute way; being a good guy is good, being a bad guy is bad type of thing. But, like all these things, you start out at a point few would disagree with (free speech is good) and then ratcheting it up to the position you really want (it’s ok for me to put the recipe for nerve gas on the internet).
      The position these people really want is something like ” I am so obviously superior to you in my thought processes that I will tell you what to do, say and think – and put that cupcake back!” These are the people who would ban me from riding a motorcycle because it’s against their principles, read, it frightens them; or in the case of the feminazis, it is so obviously fun for men that we must stop it to bring up their level of misery to an acceptable level (Herself rides her own bike, I’d love to see one of these harridans complain to her about it). Stuff them all and resist at every point.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Good to see a fellow biker around!

        • Robert the Biker says:

          Likewise, 1996 FXDL.

        • Frank Davis says:

          I once had a BSA Starfire! I used to ride around London on it, many years ago.

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          1989 FLHTC ULTRA………..no leaks……………….Some dud makes these nifty 3/8 inch base jug screw in inserts with a copper tube braized to them. Flip the jug up and tap with a pipe thread and screw in the fitting with some locktite……….no mo leaks!

        • smokervoter says:

          I’m a lifelong biker, too, but I’m primarily an off-road biker, a desert racer if you will. I’ve owned and riden three or four street bikes though. My two favorites were both BSA’s. First was a BSA 650 Spitfire Loved that bike, almost rode across the US Easy Rider Style in 1970 until I burned it up one day – low on oil.

          Then 12 years much later I owned a BSA 441 Victor. We called them Thumpers. Single cylinder, all torque. Loved that bike as well, wish I’d never sold it.

          I learned at a very young age that BSA stood for Birmingham Small Arms Company – a little bit of trivia that I thought was so cool to know at the time.

          Where I was born and raised and live now was an absolute dirt bikers paradise. There’s an area outside of town called the Badlands where I spent most of my blessed youth riding in. Most of the trails I rode on as a kid are now closed off with NO TRESPASSING signs. A few eco-Yuppies have built homes out there too and they hate motorcycles – they represent environmental damage and macho fun to them.

          It makes me sad for the kids of today to think that none of them could have that experience even if they wanted to. Instead they spend all of their time staring blankly into an i-phone (mini-telescreen).

        • margo says:

          I had a scooter, till someone nicked it!

        • SteveL says:

          Hi all, another life long rider here.Current stable- 38 bsa g14, 69 suzuki t250, 73 kwaka z900, 96 suzuki rf900r, and a few more dirt bikes.Also I shave with a cut-throat razor,brew my own,cook on a combustion stove,do not have a credit card or mobile phone. Also I am a postie so I get to ride 5 hours a day delivering mail on a Honda ct110.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Smokervoter I too started out on dirtbikes racing in many enduros back in the late 70s and early 80s………….Ive had penton 125s penton 250 harescrambler, ossa, can am 175 and quite a few other professional bikes. I never got into MX racing it just never did anything for me!

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          I once road in with Chuck Sun back in 83 at the Lynville enduro race……It had rained for 3 days and nites and the race was a mudhole……….But I get up to this swollen creek thats like 150 feet across and about 2 feet deep and Chuck Sun Stops by me looks at me then pops a wheely and rides it across to the finish line,then drops her down and takes 3rd place……I just went now thats a PRO! The 2 feet was deeper than my carb intake was Id have just sucked water in!

  4. Marie says:

    I came across a phrase that I think wonderfully describes the moral simpletons you are discussing.
    “Often wrong, but never uncertain.”
    I think that says it very well.

  5. SteveL says:

    I remember reading a study on the Amish who live a basic lifestyle and do not drink or smoke.Guess what! Their average lifespan was no longer than other Americans.

  6. Joe Jackson says:

    I think the key to this is personal initiative and responsibility vs. deference to authority. If I do not accept ready-made lists of what is right and wrong, that means I have to figure things out for myself. This is harder, and messier, and puts the responsibility on me, not some outside authority. And this is deeply frightening to a lot of people. They don’t see how they could possibly figure out how to be good or bad, or healthy and unhealthy, all by themselves, so they defer to experts and authorities. And these days, the authorities people want very much to believe in are not so much religious ones any more, but heroic doctors and scientists – priests in white coats.

    I think this is the biggest problem we have in trying to convince people that the antismokers are not ‘the good guys’. I have done quite a few interviews where I’ve said things like, secondhand smoke doesn’t hurt anyone, and the reaction is incredibly angry and offended. Who do you think you are? Why should anyone believe YOU? How dare you contradict the Surgeon General, the WHO, etc? I get hate mail: ‘hope you die of cancer’, etc. Because I am, in effect, blaspheming, insulting their God. They really don’t want to face the possibility that the authorities they want most to believe in (because what’s more important than health, especially when you can’t find anything else to believe in) are incompetent, corrupt, or dishonest. So they react by either ignoring you completely, getting very annoyed, or accusing you of being in league with the Devil (Big Tobacco). You can call such people sheep or drones or whatever, but to some extent I don’t blame them. I too would rather not think that such authorities are lying to me. I just happen to have a naturally more skeptical mind. I’m more interested in trying to find out the truth than in being reassured by someone who hasn’t earned my respect. But I don’t think I’m the norm.

    I’m not sure what’s to be done about this but somehow, the antismoking movement needs to get detached from the medical mainstream, and to be seen as being something more like the Prohibitionists of the early 20th century, or more like the anti-fur people or something, a bunch of zealots, rather than antismokers and the medical mainstream being synonymous. Possibly the Antis will simply go too far (they already have, of course, but not everyone knows it) and we will start to see more and more doctors disassociating themselves from them.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Joe hows there latest one sound ” Smoking affects the third generation”

      In yesterdays headlines!

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          Its quite amazing to make this headline especially after we know for a fact Nicotine is in Potatoes,tomatoes,tea etc. Then we as a culture have been smoking for nearly 600 years.

          600 years of direct smoking by so many mothers thru the eons clearly places this study in the junk bin of history……as surely all of us would have died out by now if it were true!

          This one takes the cake for Tobacco controls Junk science of the decade award as if third-hand and second hand smoke claims werent Insane enuf by themselves the nutters have clearly surpassed even their own insane minds.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I think the key to this is personal initiative and responsibility vs. deference to authority.

      Yes. They never dream up their long lists of right and wrong things themselves. They get them from somebody else.

      They really don’t want to face the possibility that the authorities they want most to believe in (because what’s more important than health, especially when you can’t find anything else to believe in) are incompetent, corrupt, or dishonest.

      Yet it’s blind belief in such authorities which must inevitably corrupt those authorities. Because once somebody in a position of authority somewhere (anywhere) finds that people automatically believe everything they say, they cease to have any incentive to make sure they’re say the right/true/honest thing, because nobody is looking critically at what they’re saying. They can say anything they like, and it will become the received and accepted wisdom. And they do.

      the antismoking movement needs to get detached from the medical mainstream

      The medical mainstream is remarkably silent. They’ve allowed a number of zealots to usurp the leadership of their profession, and to thereby bring it into disrepute.

      I don’t think these zealots need to be detached from them. I think they need to be kicked out of the medical profession completely.

    • jaxthefirst says:

      I think it’ll take a while yet, but ultimately I think that the anti-smoking movement will inevitably begin to split into different factions as funding cuts and growing public disinterest (for which read “plain boredom”) in all things anti-smoking begin to bite. In a way, this is already happening – in the sense that on the one hand we’ve got people saying that smokers now can affect generations way beyond their own immediate offspring (as Harley points through his link); but on the other hand we recently had the story that says that if you give up smoking after the age of 30, the health benefits are negligible.

      So, in effect, you’ve got the zealot-extremists declaring that the “sins of the fathers shall be borne by their children and their children’s children” (all very Biblical and all that), but on the other hand we’ve got tentative signs of other members of the anti-smoking club as good as saying that it isn’t particularly worth bothering to give up smoking after the age of 30, because the benefits in terms of greater longevity are virtually non-existent. This latter, of course, flies somewhat in the face of the hitherto-united message pumped out by all and sundry within the Tobacco Control Industry that everyone will benefit from giving up smoking right now, regardless of their age, how long they’ve been smoking, or whether they smoke 60 fags a day or one cigar a year.

      The difference may seem insignificant, because, of course, both viewpoints still remain staunchly anti-smoking, but it isn’t, because, when you analyse them closely, the two stories actually contradict each other – or at the very least they veer off into two very different directions – and this is actually a radical departure from anti-smoking’s previously united front which has served them so very well for so many years.

      My suspicion is that we’ll see more and more of this as time goes on. To me, these two stories, each with their differing slants, are encouraging signs of a movement which is in disarray and which is beginning to fragment as different groups within it begin to fight over the best way to ensure that it is “their brand” of anti-smoking which survives, both in terms of government funding and in terms of public support, and it is any “other brand” of anti-smoking which becomes cut off and no longer viewed as the “accepted wisdom.” I’m with Harley on this one, in that I think that anti-smoking is in deep, deep trouble and that, for all their brave-sounding rhetoric, the increasingly hysterical claims being made about smoking by its more hellfire-and-brimstone-type adherents are signs that there are many people within Tobacco Control who are very, very worried about the “where to next?” question.

      Which, in many ways, simply echoes the fortunes (and fates) of so many of the major religions down through time. Many on here, like Joe J, above, have in the past likened Healthism to a kind of new religion, and anti-smoking as its “radical” wing. So it’s perhaps fitting that this new religion should, ultimately, go precisely the same way as all the old, more traditional, “real” religions have, and for exactly the same reasons.

  7. margo says:

    Your last sentence, Frank: But they always lose in the end, when the bigger, more considered picture emerges.
    Possibly over-optimistic? I was born 70 years ago and I’m still waiting.

    • Frank Davis says:

      It’s my impression that these zealots have only become a problem in the last 10 or 20 years. It wasn’t like this back in the 1960s.

      • margo says:

        The puritans have always been around, telling us this and that was the work of the devil, would stunt our growth and was bad for our health. The difference now is that they’ve been given a free hand by governments, and what they say has been made into the basis of a ban.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Frank perhaps a blog entry on the moralists abuse of epidemiology thru the last 150 years or so………It appears Twain points that the same thing happening now was happening then basically a carbon copy of the same tactics………… Itd be interesting to take a peek at the use of statistics to abuse us all and promote their prohibitional agenda.

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    Frank I love the title to todays post!

    It rings back to this:

    Mark Twain said it right over a hundred years ago:

    “The Moral Statistician.”
    Originally published in Sketches, Old and New, 1893

    “I don’t want any of your statistics; I took your whole batch and lit my pipe with it.

    I hate your kind of people. You are always ciphering out how much a man’s health is injured, and how much his intellect is impaired, and how many pitiful dollars and cents he wastes in the course of ninety-two years’ indulgence in the fatal practice of smoking; and in the equally fatal practice of drinking coffee; and in playing billiards occasionally; and in taking a glass of wine at dinner, etc. etc. And you are always figuring out how many women have been burned to death because of the dangerous fashion of wearing expansive hoops, etc. etc. You never see more than one side of the question.

    You are blind to the fact that most old men in America smoke and drink coffee, although, according to your theory, they ought to have died young; and that hearty old Englishmen drink wine and survive it, and portly old Dutchmen both drink and smoke freely, and yet grow older and fatter all the time. And you never try to find out how much solid comfort, relaxation, and enjoyment a man derives from smoking in the course of a lifetime (which is worth ten times the money he would save by letting it alone), nor the appalling aggregate of happiness lost in a lifetime by your kind of people from not smoking. Of course you can save money by denying yourself all those little vicious enjoyments for fifty years; but then what can you do with it? What use can you put it to? Money can’t save your infinitesimal soul. All the use that money can be put to is to purchase comfort and enjoyment in this life; therefore, as you are an enemy to comfort and enjoyment where is the use of accumulating cash?

    It won’t do for you to say that you can use it to better purpose in furnishing a good table, and in charities, and in supporting tract societies, because you know yourself that you people who have no petty vices are never known to give away a cent, and that you stint yourselves so in the matter of food that you are always feeble and hungry. And you never dare to laugh in the daytime for fear some poor wretch, seeing you in a good humor, will try to borrow a dollar of you; and in church you are always down on your knees, with your ears buried in the cushion, when the contribution-box comes around; and you never give the revenue officers a full statement of your income.

    Now you know all these things yourself, don’t you? Very well, then, what is the use of your stringing out your miserable lives to a lean and withered old age? What is the use of your saving money that is so utterly worthless to you? In a word, why don’t you go off somewhere and die, and not be always trying to seduce people into becoming as ornery and unlovable as you are yourselves, by your villainous “moral statistics”?”

    Also, Benjamin Franklin said,
    “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

  9. prog says:

    It’s interesting that they equate morality with economics. And particularly so given that the US economy depends a lot on people having the means to lead so called immoral lifestyles. People living in less fortunate circumstances elsewhere in the world might define this as decadence. It’s also interesting that the governing elites of the most decadent societies are all too often those who seek to restrict personal freedoms, not only of their own citizens but also of those in poorer countries. Smoking bans are clear evidence of this. The obvious ultimate outcome is that everyone becomes poorer, the elite excepted of course (who would, to all intents and purposes, assume the role of dictators). Who, then, could we turn to redress the imbalance? History has demonstrated that this is when citizens themselves take action. And not always via the ballot box. Are we not already witnessing the start of this in some countries as a rejection to the wanna-be EU dictatorship?

  10. My recollection of first becoming aware that there was an alternative, and simplistic morality, to which I did not subscribe, was when they used to run cream cake adverts with the slogan “naughty but nice”. Cream cakes did not feature in the ethics my father, theologian and clergyman, taught to me. The cakes were not an extension of existing morals, but a replacement.

    • Frank Davis says:

      “naughty but nice”

      Interestingly, Salman Rushdie, author of the Satanic Verses, claimed to be the author of those very words back when he was working in an advertising agency. Rushdie’s background was, I believe, Islamic. And of course he’s famous as a critic of Islam carrying a fatwah. And Islam (at least in its militant Taliban form) often strikes me as a bit simplistic. But I don’t think this is true of all Islam, by any means.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        >>>>SINNER<<<<<<

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Faith United: Disparate Faith Groups Come Together Against Big Tobacco

        In 2005, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and leaders from many different religious denominations launched a national campaign — Faith United Against Tobacco — to mobilize the faith community across the country to support proven solutions to reduce smoking.

        Faith groups involved in Faith United include, among others, United Methodist, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, National Council of Churches, Seventh Day Adventists, American Muslim Foundation, Southern Baptist Convention, Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, Church Women United, Church of the Brethren and Islamic Society of North America.

        We were involved in Prohibition and against pornography and gambling as predatory enterprises. Fighting tobacco use also fits well with Christian and other faith groups’ teaching in general that the body is a holy temple.

        http://www.rwjf.org/publichealth/product.jsp?id=40788

  11. harleyrider1978 says:

    Opinion: Here comes the landslide
    By Dick Morris – 10/30/12 06:33 PM ET
    http://thehill.com/opinion/columnists/dick-morris/264935-here-comes-the-landslide

  12. Walt says:

    @Joe Jackson: That’s exactly the premise behind Goebbels’ theory of The Big Lie and why it would work. Not just by its repetition (tho that was a key part) but that people need to believe The Authorities tell the truth, because if not there’d be nothing in the world they could take for granted and then go on with their daily lives. It would leave them alone in an existential universe where they’d daily have to re-invent the moral wheel.

    • jaxthefirst says:

      The only trouble is, “the authorities” themselves have shot themselves in the foot, though, haven’t they – not by lying with anti-smoking propaganda, which most of the gullible public swallowed, largely because it suited the majority in their newly-non-smoking lives to believe it – but by lying over so many other things. I honestly don’t know a single solitary person now who doesn’t see each and every one of them as complete and utter liars who make promises they don’t keep, make excuses for taking appallingly bad decisions and who wouldn’t know the meaning of the words “principles,” “integrity” or “honour” if they had them explained in simple words of one syllable. This may be unfair on those few members of “the authorities” who actually might still have a shred of humanity and honesty left in them, but unfortunately they are so heavily outnumbered by the more sleazy, self-serving lot that they all get tarred (in the public’s eyes) with the same brush these days.

      But hey ho, every cloud has a silver lining. It could well be that the public’s diminishing interest in all things anti-smoking these days (I don’t even know a non-smoker who doesn’t roll their eyes with boredom when the latest anti-smoking bit of hype comes out) is due not just to the fact that the reality of the smoking ban has proved to be somewhat less rosy than was promised pre-ban, but also in no small measure because of all the lies and “spin” and manipulation and verbal wrangling about other things which those “in authority” have inflicted upon us all.

  13. johnnyrvf says:

    @smokervoter, I have in my workshop the New York sculptor John Adam Greifen’s B441 Victor Special for sale, nice runner but I prefer my A65, it is in France though….Rode a Harley in Texas in 2010, fine bike but not my style,as to having to accept the bull from the do goody brigade, when they are perfect, then I might be prepared to listen.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Johnny you will find harleyriders are a very unique breed………..freedom first and never ever give in to these bastards. But then again thats what most of us are that are independent to a flaw. We dont heed moral codes,it really makes things easy……………..perhaps morality is the problem,freedom becomes very easy to live with then once idiotic moral codes of living are shunned aside. Moral codes of living are basically programming the bots to heed all regulations and laws regardless of your own beliefs. In this day and age its up to us as free people to shn the shackles of unjust laws like smoking bans and smoke where we want when we want……… However, commonsence dictates we dont smoke around PETROL!

      • Robert the Biker says:

        This is about the best explanation I have heard; I don’t think I’ve ever come across one of these dolts who was a biker, or would even dare go on the back. They seem to get their pleasure (such as it is) from making life thin for other people, but they know on a visceral level that that guy who just blew past them on the full blown chopper, or the little commuter bike, is forever beyond their reach.

  14. harleyrider1978 says:

    We have a duty to disobey unjust laws and regulations no matter how popular they maybe or how unpopular they are. To be free we must act free and lead a path back to commonsence again.

  15. johnnyrvf says:

    @ harleyrider1978. I have been addicted to motorcycles since I was a young teenager and always have been into competition machines, which is why apart from Harley’s XR 750 & 1000 race bikes and Buells they really are not my thing, It’s the acceleration and even more the corners that do it for me, cruisin’ is not my idea of biking although that does not mean I like being uncomfortable on a bike over long distances. As to an insight to the minds of people who wish to force their ‘morality’ onto others I once read an article in a journal which had interviewed scientists who were trying to come up with safer road systems, to them they could not begin to envisage that riding a bike, scooter or whatever 2 wheeler to work could be anything other than absolutely tedious, as an occaisional M/C courier in London in the 70ies and 80ies I loved riding through traffic even in the pouring rain, non withstanding the danger and discomfort and I believe this complete lack of empathy to be an important part of the mental make up of these types of do gooders, they cannot envisage anyone else’s sense of enjoyment or pleasure and therefore cannot understand the contempt they are held in.

  16. [1] John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merill, 1957 [1861]), 61. Quoted in Hadley Arkes, First Things (Princeton University Press, 1986), 25. [2] Gregory Koukl is speaking [3] Relativists sometimes will attempt to universalize a personal moral principle by commending consistency. For example, if people determine that an act is wrong for them in one situation, it is wrong the next time they face that situation. But this depends on the virtue of consistency, which itself depends on an absolute: One ought to be consistent. [4] Some people believe Albert Einstein proved that everything is relative. This, however, is false. Einstein’s theories of relativity deal with a number of things, including the problems of absolute simultaneity and the idea of absolute motion. Both theories of relativity (general and special) depend, in part, on something nonrelative. They are based on a fixed constant, the speed of light. Neither the theory has any ramifications for the question of morality. [5] See Tom L. Beauchamp, Philosophical Ethics: An Introduction to Moral Philosophy (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1991), 16-19. [6] David Hume, ‘Universal Principle of the Closed Frame.’ The Enquiry Concerning Morals. [7] Faye Wattleton holds a master’s degree in maternal and infant care from Columbia University. [8] The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE). Passed in the Senate on 12 May 1994. [9] Kelly Monroe, ed., Finding God at Harvard (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 18. This is a sample chapter from the book Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air by Greg Koukl and Francis J. Beckwith available in the UK from STL through Wesley Owen bookshops .

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