Out Of Control

I’m not a very controlling person. Or at least I hope I’m not. I’ve never spent much time (or any time at all) lecturing people on how they should live, or getting them to do things they didn’t want to do.  I prefer to let things happen, take their own course, rather than try to take control.

So when I began, in the course of developing Idle Theory some years ago, to ask what the purpose of law might be, I did not see law as being centrally concerned with controlling or restricting people, but instead enabling them and liberating them. As I saw it, the purpose of law was, as far as possible, to free people to do more or less whatever they wanted to do.

As I saw it, a society in which people were free to murder each other, rob one another, lie to one another, defame one another, would be one in which there would be very little genuine freedom to do anything at all. And so placing restrictions on such acts, and introducing penalties for them, struck me as an essential prerequisite for freedom and the exercise of free personal choice. A small diminution of one freedom (not being allowed to murder people) resulted in a large increase in other freedoms for everyone in general.

Exactly the same applies with the rules of the road. It is a restriction upon the freedom of drivers to make them keep to one side of the road. But the net effect of this small decrease in freedom is that all drivers can drive at high speeds along roads without fear that they will be impeded by, or collide with, oncoming traffic. This expedites traffic flows, and minimizes the time spent travelling, freeing people to do other things they want to do. In this manner a small decrease in one particular freedom results in a net increase in everyone’s freedom (as measured in idle time in which they can do what they want). The cost of the law (in its diminution of idle time) is greatly offset by its value (the resulting gain in idle time).

As I saw it, good laws increased people’s freedom in much the same way that the rules of the road increased their freedom. And bad laws decreased people’s freedom. And the whole process of lawmaking was essentially one of trying out a new law, and seeing whether it ‘worked’ – i.e. benefited most people -, and amending it or discarding it if it did not. In this respect a new law was essentially no different from a new tool – such as a new kind of can opener – which either did the job efficiently, or proved ineffective.

That, roughly, was the approach I took to law: the purpose of law was to free people.

But, as best I can discern, for many people the law has no such purpose, and it exists solely as a means of controlling people, and restricting their freedom. Such people do not want to free people, but to restrict them. They use the law to take away freedom.

Smoking bans are a prime example of such restrictive laws. In order to gain a tiny degree of freedom (from a premature death from secondhand smoke), a very large amount of freedom (the freedom to sit with friends and drink beer and smoke cigarettes) is foregone. A very great deal is given up in order to gain hardly anything. It’s like betting £100 in order to win a single penny. Worse still, it’s far from clear that you will even win the single penny.

The effect of such laws upon the societies in which they enacted is almost wholly destructive of freedom. One might add that the imposition of light bulbs that hardly work is also destructive of freedom. As also are windmills that hardly produce any electricity. All of these are examples of the use of law to throttle freedom rather than enhance freedom.

These people seem to hate freedom. They seem to want to control absolutely everything. It is as if, for them, for people to be free is for them to be out of control. Free = Out Of Control. And they have a profound terror of things being out of control. I was reminded today of something that I’ve read a number of times:

“I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.”

The passengers were screaming in terror because, once the driver had died at the wheel, the car was no longer under control, and was hurtling towards other traffic, or off a cliff.

It’s a perfectly legitimate terror. I’d have felt the same if I’d been in that car. And I might even have tried to regain control of it.

But these days, a great many people seem to live their entire lives as if they were in that car, and trying to take control of it. They’re terrified of almost everything that’s happening around them. They’re scared that human populations are growing too rapidly, or that we’re pumping too much CO2 into the atmosphere, or smoking too much. It’s all out of control. And they demand that, in these multiple dire emergencies, it’s absolutely imperative that we Take Control, and steer the car to safety, employing if necessary the most draconian laws to take away people’s freedom to smoke cigarettes, or emit CO2, or have children.

And yet the odd thing is that, throughout the entirety of human history, we humans have hardly ever been in control of anything at all.

Consider. We all live on a little spherical rock that is spinning, completely out of control, around a star, which is also completely out of control, and may just swell up or explode any time. And as we go hurtling out of control around that star, we are surrounded by all sorts of other lumps of rock which are also hurtling, completely out of control, around the star, and could collide with us at almost any time, and there’s next to nothing we can do about it.

Add to that the fact that the little rock on which we live is mostly covered by a sea which surges to and fro under the influence of the sun and moon, and by an atmosphere which also surges to and fro, and where both of these huge forces are completely out of control. 

And then there are all the earthquakes and volcanoes that are also completely out of control, and which we can do absolutely nothing to prevent.

I could add much more, but basically it all adds up to the fact that we are living in a universe which is completely out of our control, and which we can never ever hope to control in any meaningful way.

In such circumstances, any small control we might manage to exert – through smoking bans, or CO2 emission restriction – is always going to be minuscule by comparison with everything we can’t control – which is more or less everything.

Furthermore, should anyone actually manage to seize the wheel of the car, what is there to say that they won’t simply make matters worse, if they don’t know how to drive?

The attempt to take control is doomed from the outset. It is never possible to take control, perhaps not even of a speeding car in which one happens to be a front seat passenger. Control is an illusion. Nobody is ever in control of anything. It all just happens anyway.

In such circumstances, the correct attitude must be one of hope and faith. Hope that tomorrow the sun doesn’t explode as a supernova, that a volcano doesn’t erupt in your back yard, or that an asteroid doesn’t come crashing down from the sky. For if they do, there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. And so there’s no point worrying about it. Or about anything else.

What promotes these modern fears is perhaps a new conviction that we humans are almost omnipotent, and we can take control of everything if we set our minds to it. We’ve come to see ourselves as Masters of the Universe, when in fact we remain almost as completely powerless as we ever were in the face of the colossal forces of nature, which range freely around us, totally out of control. And what’s more, nature always has been out of control. And it always will be. We are always riding in something that is completely out of our control.

The sooner we recognise this, the better. And we should learn to ride the waves like surfers, because we can never hope to tame such waves.

About Frank Davis

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32 Responses to Out Of Control

  1. waltc says:

    The NY Times publishes a defense of Nanny Ratched and the Know-All State. In which we are told with an apparently straight face that the “freedom of parents to raise healthy children” is imperiled by the very existence of 32 oz sodas and the sight of people drinking them and even by the concept of their “freedom” to do so. Anyone here wanting to comment in print (and the more blasts they get the better), try letters@nytimes.com Here’s the article:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/24/business/soda-restrictions-and-a-clash-of-two-freedoms.html?pagewanted=print

    It may be that by going too far, the nurse-nannies are starting to earn some backlash but I’m afraid that when the line is eventually drawn (not sure when it’ll be, and Obamacare is giving the n-n’s both a legal and financial platform) we’ll still remain on the wrong end of it. Too many years of propaganda and junk science have convinced too many people that we’re loathsome.

    Someone asked last thread if anyone knows any champion fighter and I’d nominate Audrey Silk at Clash, who’s had the balls to sue both the city and the state and gets a fair amount of media attention. I’m on her team, worked on some of the briefs, and many of us have testified to the deaf ears at “hearings.” No one cares that the “science” is junk; we’ve tried that but we remain up against junk bibles like Surgeon General’s Reports and reports from the California EPA. So so far, smokers are up against a juggernaut. Even when we fight we’re like that kid in front of the tank in Tianamen (sp?) Square.

    I see no political party allies in the US. We can’t count on our Republicans any more than you over there could count on Cameron. The only possible chink would be a concerted and labeled-as-such smokers’ boycott and that didn’t and isn’t likely to happen even too little and too late. I’d be more than open to any practical suggestions.

    • smokervoter says:

      I’ll second the nomination of Audrey Silk. And I’ll agree that there is a growing tendency of some RINO Republicans to join in on the piling on of smokers (15 yard penalty in American football). It looks to me about 15-25% of the party is going that way. If it continues it may be time for the formation of the MYOB party.

      Bloomberg is serving as a catalyst. He’s getting a lot of people angry with government overreach.

      But from a practical and machiavellian perspective I’m going to take the liberty of repeating my comment from yesterday here. I came late to the party and I doubt many read what I had to say as a result. It was in reaction to Beobrigitte’s observation: SMOKERS ARE VOTERS.

      “SMOKERS ARE VOTERS.

      Amen, Amen, Amen Beobrigitte. It’s really just as simple as that. When you’re getting pounded by the status quo you peruse the various parties and go with the one that treats you the best and sticks up for you. If that isn’t available, you start your own spoiler party and let the others fight for your votes.

      It’s not rocket science, currently only UKIP under Farage fits the bill. In the US historically it’s been the Republicans. It certainly isn’t the Democrats. I seriously doubt you’d find Stanton Glantz or his ilk at a Tea Party rally.

      What we need to do is to start leaving party affiliation hints in the comments on smoking articles with large readerships so the word starts spreading amongst smokers. It’ll also strike fear into the hearts of our political enemies. So far it seems to be a Forbidden Idea.”

        • smokervoter says:

          That’s terrible news. If that’s the case, let it be known in comments that British smokers can and will drop their support for UKIP like a hot potato if they abandon them. I couldn’t help but notice that not one of the myriad articles on the political implications of the Eastleigh by-election made any reference to the probable effect of angry smokers on the results.

          But you can bet your bottom dollar that a guy as shrewd as Nigel Farage is keenly aware of the potential (3.5 to 4.5 million votes) polling power that exists with smokers. If he’s damn fool enough to ignore them, he deserves to lose. I’m just beginning to read up on Janice Atkinson, but I’d say off-hand that she needs to go.

          Question: is Murdoch your typical billionaire healthist/antismoker?

        • JJ says:

          I agree smokervoter with your comments. Anyway I was so incensed I emailed their office

          Here is their reply

          Dear ***** ******
          This is not UKIP policy, rest assured.

          Benjamin Wrench

          The Office of Nigel Farage MEP, Brussels
          http://www.ukipmeps.org http://www.ukip.org

          Correct me if I’m wrong but hasn’t the Guardian pulled this stunt just recently on plain packaging? This is unethical behaviour from what is supposed to be a quality broadsheet.

          Cardiac arrest averted…at least for now.

        • beobrigitte says:

          I think I will find my local UKIP MP and send him an email.

          Surely UKIP rewards people who took quite a few risks by jumping to the availability of further and higher education opportunity in order to have the chance to live state independent.
          Initially it seemed morally wrong to leave this country without at least re-paying my “study debts”; I had great help with child care, too. So I decided to become a tax payer to the BRITISH government.
          Ever since I have worked hard in continuous employment, paying my taxes as everyone else. Surely UKIP is not going to turn around and tell me that I will have to leave once I have decided to become a pensioner? I am lucky that I am physically well and can continue employment for years past the “golden 60”.

          As I said, rather than jumping to conclusions by reading a Guardian article, I trust the information I will receive from the “horse’s mouth”. If I’d panic on account of a Guardian article I’d prove the point that propaganda works.

        • beobrigitte says:

          Smokervoter, Nigel Farage did attend the protest at Stony Stratfort-on-Trent when a councillor Bartlett wanted to impose a smoking ban outside.

          Stuart Moore, the Acting Chair of UKIP in Milton Keynes, who led the campaign against the ban, said: “The defeat is resounding, everybody voted against it, it should be done and dusted, forgotten, because this council have a lot of other things of pressing priority that they have to do for the local community.”

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-16607263

          What happened to this councillor Bartlett? I haven’t got the foggiest! But then, referring to Frank’s blog yesterday, no-one knows what happened to the bullies encountered once someone stood up to them.

        • Frank Davis says:

          He was kicked out of the council at the next election. Dick Puddlecote had the story last Sep/Oct.

        • Rose says:

          I saw that story on the Guardian but didn’t post it because while reading it I began to smell a rat.
          Where is the official statement from UKIP? As in “a spokesman for UKIP said”.
          The story has also also appeared on the Liberal Conspiracy blog.

          Anyone can have an idea and write a report, but that doesn’t make it official policy.

        • Rose says:

          “Many of the 150 local authorities in England running welfare schemes have confirmed that they will issue the vouchers in the form of payment cards, which will be blocked or monitored to prevent the holder using them for alcohol, cigarettes or gambling.”
          http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/mar/26/payment-cards-emergency-assistance-food-stamps

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Our greatest ally is the tanking economy and an end to the EURO! That by itself will destroy our enemies to no end especially and including the WHO,IMF,WORLD BANK and the EU at Brussels. A euro collapse will destroy many banks in the U.S. as those banks have bought up over 250 trillion dollars of EU bonds and debt to keep the dictatorship and world control agenda going. We all know its these world eletists that are the ones pushing not just the smoking bans but everything that is decimating freedom around the globe. Yes its also the California Nazis where the movement is really run from.
      Theyve basically said the EURO is dead this morning when they announced they will steal even more depositors money in all the EU countries to try and save the EURO!
      Its their last stand and lets help them out by making runs on the banks and emptying out every dollar or pound or EURO we have!

      • smokervoter says:

        Yes its also the California Nazis where the movement is really run from.

        That’s a fact. Along with Harvard/Ivy League territory, NYC, Florida and Illinois – all high population centers.

        I know it’s a longshot and somewhat of a political pipe dream, but it would help to isolate and separate the 14-county California Bay Area voting area off into a different state, call it Puritania. It would cut off a big chunk of their funding, although wealthy Silicon Valley millionaires might attempt to fill the void.

        [The map that is pictured says it all.]

        The Democratic party could no longer count on 55 big electoral college votes from California. This in turn might alert the Repub party chiefs to the viability of aggressively seeking out the 27 million likely votes of the smoking electorate rather than pursuing the worthless strategy of winning over the 13 million strong Big Government-loving Latino constituency.

  2. smokervoter says:

    The time to attack the RINO’s is at the primary election stage (nomination), which requires an extra get-off-your-duff effort on our part. Due to the traditionally lower turnout at primaries, we can leverage our power all the more.

    Spread that around the comments as well.

  3. Rose says:

    OTish

    New bounty on smokers helps GPs balance their books

    It is coming up to year end for GP practices and that of course means that they will all be diligently filling in reams of paperwork for the DH in order to secure maximum funding via the QOF. In the doctor’s business journal medeconomics Dr Gavin Jamie gives some top tips on how practices can maximise their points score.

    According to Jamie:

    It is that time of year when practices are polishing their data and preparing for the annual inspection on 31 March of their QOF achievement.

    For many it is a matter of pride, and not simply financial necessity, to get the most points that they can. Here are my top tips.

    The DH is now effectively offering GPs a bounty on every smoker they can identify and attempt to “reform”, so it is perhaps not surprising that third on his list of top tips for achieving the warm glow of satisfaction that only comes from a good dose of centralist bureaucracy is upping the practice’s smoking score.

    TIP 3 Smoking

    This has become more complicated with the need to offer smoking cessation advice or prescribe therapy to all smokers over age 15.

    Due to the way that this is calculated, improved coding of people who have stopped smoking will enhance the advice indicator.

    It really is worth making every contact count – even where patient just calls into reception or speaks to the practice by telephone.

    If you are the sort of person who takes pride in this kind of exercise or if your practice just needs the money Dr Jamie recommends that you hassle people about their lifestyles at every possible opportunity. I haven’t been anywhere near my practice because I am coming to hate the place. I wonder how many others feel the same and how long it will take for politicians to work out that this approach is counterproductive?

    Surely even Dave can see that a system that encourages GPs to repeatedly annoy their patients is not a good thing. No doubt his DH advisors will claim to have “peer reviewed” evidence to the contrary and we can assume that it is the same advisors who tell him that minimum alcohol pricing will target alcoholics and that smoking bans have had dramatic immediate health effects. Surely at some point he will work out that these people are rather economical with the truth? Won’t he?

    by Chris Oakley
    http://www.liberal-vision.org/2013/03/26/new-bounty-on-smokers-helps-gps-balance-their-books/

    Previously

    NHS suspects fraud in £61m stop smoking programme – 2006

    “Counter-fraud specialists are investigating claims that pharmacists are stealing money from the NHS by fiddling figures on the number of people they have helped to give up smoking.

    The Guardian has learned of inquiries in five primary care trusts in London into allegations that chemists have fraudulently claimed thousands of pounds, claiming cash rewards of up to £85 for each patient they help to stop smoking for at least four weeks.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2006/dec/28/smoking.health

    Government targets fostered £90,000 NHS fraud – 2008

    “A man defrauded nearly £90,000 from the NHS by working as a stop smoking adviser and signing up non-smoking strangers to exaggerate his success rates.”

    “Stop Smoking Counsellor Singer received £89,505 from the NHS for signing people up to programmes to kick the habit. But many of the ‘registrants’ details were taken from other surveys or were friends who either did not smoke at all or had no intention of giving up.

    Jailing Singer for 18-months, judge John Hillen said the antismoking scheme was “amateurish” and “cavalier” and blamed the Government’s target-driven culture.

    “To pay lay people, albeit briefly trained, as stop smoking counsellors for recruiting and spending a few sessions with smokers is an astonishing way to spend public money,” said the judge.”

    “But he was eventually caught out when NHS bosses contacted his clients to find out the secret of his success and realised most of the people had never heard of him.”
    http: //www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2592187/Government-targets-fostered-90000-NHS-fraud.html

    Opting out of NHS Spine – 2010

    “Patients who do not opt out will have their records uploaded but the records of those who do will be kept solely at their doctor’s surgery, where far fewer people will be able to access them.

    It seems an obvious choice to those who care about their privacy and worry about the eventual linking up of all government records which might give access to various agencies unconcerned with patient health.”
    http: //www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/henryporter/2010/mar/02/nhs-spine-database-opting-out

    It took considerable time and great persistence to get hold of that opt out form.

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    Cyprus bail-out: savers will be raided to save euro in future crises, says eurozone chief
    Savings accounts in Spain, Italy and other European countries will be raided if needed to preserve Europe’s single currency by propping up failing banks, a senior eurozone official has announced.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9952979/Cyprus-bail-out-savers-will-be-raided-to-save-euro-in-future-crises-says-eurozone-chief.html

    • beobrigitte says:

      Some German commenters in previous articles of various newspapers did say that Cyprus was the practice run for what is to come for all…….

      Everyone, everywhere (!) is getting nervous.

  5. Rose says:

    Large Scale Bullying

    “Several additional assumptions drive both the Nuffield report’s recommendations and, subsequently, Western governments’ public health thinking.

    These assumptions are:

    Most of the health care burden is driven by disease that results from lifestyle decisions.”
    http://www.ipa.org.au/publications/1790/from-the-nanny-state-to-the-bully-state

    Heart disease present in ancient mummies

    “commonly held belief that atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries — the disease that causes heart attacks and strokes — is a modern plague brought on by smoking, obesity and sedentary lifestyles”

    “He said it is commonly thought that if modern humans could emulate pre-industrial or even pre-agricultural lifestyles, that atherosclerosis would be avoided”

    “The question is, what can we possibly do to slow down the underlying basic process of atherosclerosis and aging in our blood vessels,” he said. “That, right now, is a blank wall.”

    http: //www.theoaklandpress.com/articles/2013/03/12/news/nation_and_world/doc513ec31c1217f393340605.txt

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21739193

    Snap!

    So it would seem that at least some of the modern lifestyle campaigns are based on a false premise.
    Heaven help us all.
    I sometimes think that the collective IQ has dropped several points since smoking became unfashionable, the same diseases can be found in the historical records but under different names, like consumption – TB or schirrus of the lung – lung cancer, if anyone bothered to look.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Rose I think you nailed it! All the supposed tobacco related diseases are actually naturally occurring diseases of age irregardless of lifestyle choises!

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        This pretty well destroys the Myth of second hand smoke:

        http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/28/16741714-lungs-from-pack-a-day-smokers-safe-for-transplant-study-finds?lite

        Lungs from pack-a-day smokers safe for transplant, study finds.

        By JoNel Aleccia, Staff Writer, NBC News.

        Using lung transplants from heavy smokers may sound like a cruel joke, but a new study finds that organs taken from people who puffed a pack a day for more than 20 years are likely safe.

        What’s more, the analysis of lung transplant data from the U.S. between 2005 and 2011 confirms what transplant experts say they already know: For some patients on a crowded organ waiting list, lungs from smokers are better than none.

        “I think people are grateful just to have a shot at getting lungs,” said Dr. Sharven Taghavi, a cardiovascular surgical resident at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, who led the new study………………………

        Ive done the math here and this is how it works out with second ahnd smoke and people inhaling it!

        The 16 cities study conducted by the U.S. DEPT OF ENERGY and later by Oakridge National laboratories discovered:

        Cigarette smoke, bartenders annual exposure to smoke rises, at most, to the equivalent of 6 cigarettes/year.

        146,000 CIGARETTES SMOKED IN 20 YEARS AT 1 PACK A DAY.

        A bartender would have to work in second hand smoke for 2433 years to get an equivalent dose.

        Then the average non-smoker in a ventilated restaurant for an hour would have to go back and forth each day for 119,000 years to get an equivalent 20 years of smoking a pack a day! Pretty well impossible ehh!

    • Rose says:

      Oh dear
      So that’s what this is all about

      WHO targets non-communicable ‘lifestyle’ diseases

      “Lifestyle-related” diseases are now the leading cause of death worldwide, killing 36 million people a year.

      Much of the toll is in low and middle-income countries and this is where efforts must be focused, says WHO.
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-14970547

      Those non-communicable diseases

      “Notice the way communicable diseases have virtually disappeared (the graph uses data from the USA). Notice also that the total mortality rate has halved since 1900. You almost have to applaud the way the public health industry has managed to turn a giant leap forward in disease prevention into a new “epidemic” that requires urgent government action.

      In 2010, 34.5 million people around the world died from these diseases, which were 65% of all deaths that year.

      Good. Let’s try to get it up to 100%.

      That is expected to rise to 50 million deaths a year by 2030 as the NCD epidemic spreads”.
      http://velvetgloveironfist.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/those-non-communicable-diseases.html

      “He said it is commonly thought that if modern humans could emulate pre-industrial or even pre-agricultural lifestyles, that atherosclerosis would be avoided”

      I wonder if in years to come those few who remain, living on a diet of emmer wheat, water and the very occasional snared rabbit, will remember how the World Health Organisation once tried to turn back time and defeat Death itself.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Rose, “Oetzi” hardly can have lived what we call “modern life style”……
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%96tzi
      DNA analysis also showed him at high risk of atherosclerosis, lactose intolerance, and the presence of the DNA sequence of Borrelia burgdorferi, making him the earliest known human with Lyme disease.[36]

      HOW has this “high risk of atherosclerosis” been determined? He either HAD it, or he didn’t. We can safely say OETZI HAD atherosclerosis.

      Lifestyle, ey?

      • Rose says:

        BLAMING THE VICTIM: NEW PROMINENCE
        FOR AN OLD IDEOLOGY

        “The cost of sloth, gluttony, alcoholic intemperance, reckless driving, sexual frenzy, and smoking have now become a national, not an individual, responsibility, all justified as individual freedom,” asserts Dr. John Knowles, the influential president of the Rockefeller Foundation. But one man’s or woman’s freedom in health is now another man’s shackle in taxes and insurance premiums.” Knowles sternly warns that “the cost of individual irresponsibility in health has become prohibitive”

        Rockefeller Medicine Men
        Medicine and Capitalism in America

        E. Richard Brown 1979
        http://www.soilandhealth.org/03sov/0303critic/030312brown/brown5.htm

  6. harleyrider1978 says:

    Smoking bans just the beginning: When will they come for you?
    http://articles.philly.com/2013-03-25/news/38013356_1_health-provider-blood-sugar-cvs

  7. nisakiman says:

    Putin is really piling it on in Russia.

    Smoking on suburban trains, and long-distance trains, including in the connecting sections, as well as on other public transport, will be punished by a fine of 1,200 – 1,500 rubles ($39-$48.80). (my bold)

    http://rapsinews.com/legislation_news/20130326/266828775.html

    He’s going to make himself deeply unpopular with an awful lot of people. “Long distance trains” in Russia can mean six day journeys, and there’s no smoking in the stations either.

    What is it with these people?

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    Small cafes must be smoke free, says appeal court

    Tuesday 26 March 2013

    The appeal court in The Hague ruled on Tuesday that smoking must be banned in all cafes, with no exception for small cafes run by the owner.

    The smoking ban was introduced in 2008 and included all cafes, but in 2011 an exception was introduced for cafes with under 70 square metres of space and no personnel.

    Clean Air Nederland has been campaigning against the exception ever since and is delighted with the ruling.

    However, CAN chairman Patrick Zonderop told news site nu.nl he now wants to see proper enforcement of the ban. He also said cafes which flout the law should be closed temporarily, rather than being fined.

    It is not yet known when the court ruling will be introduced.
    – See more at: http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2013/03/small_cafes_must_be_smoke_free.php#sthash.WO1gjLKQ.dpuf

  9. nisakiman says:

    Looks like the Lebanese are following in the footsteps of the Greeks where smoking bans are concerned. “It’s the economy, stupid…”

    “We faced a lot of problems – we lost about 60 per cent of our turnover,” says the owner of a sheesha café in the Hamra district…”

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/e3c7d20e-954a-11e2-a151-00144feabdc0.html

    Of course, the antis are up in arms about it:

    Rima Nakkash, a public health expert at the American University of Beirut and an advocate of the ban, strongly rebuts the case for what she calls its “watering down into a form which serves the tobacco industry and its allies”.

    She is also dismissive of the economic argument, arguing that improved public health brings economic benefits and that hospitality sector losses reflect the worsening political situation in Lebanon. (my bold)

    They never get it, do they? It’s never the fault of the smoking ban. Bans are always ‘beneficial’.

  10. nisakiman says:

    Thanks Frank. :)

    Just came across this news item:

    Social isolation ‘increases death risk in older people’

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21929197

    A study of 6,500 UK men and women aged over 52 found that being isolated from family and friends was linked with a 26% higher death risk over seven years.

    I wonder how that compares with the the risks they allegedly faced in the pubs, clubs and bingo halls from SHS while they were socialising and having a good time with their friends?

    Of course, it would never occur to the morons in TCI to associate this report with the havoc they’ve wrought on the hospitality industry in UK.

    I just get so angry sometimes…

    • beobrigitte says:

      I just get so angry sometimes…

      Sometimes? I am angry most of the time when hearing TC going on about “living longer”, watching old people being herded into sterile “healthy” environments that gives a sh*t. SMOKING???? Too dangerous an activity…………
      Bingo with ashtrays on the table?
      What did an anti-smoker years ago say to that????
      “IF YOU CAN DAG YOURSELF TO THE PUB YOU CAN DRAG YOURSELF OUTSIDE TO SMOKE”
      Obviously these old people DID SURVIVE the many years of “smoking everywhere”.

      It really is time to send Tobacco Control to the place all the other bullies have gone!!!

  11. nisakiman says:

    How refreshing! I came across this article earlier by a young post-grad (?) in the US celebrating the positive aspects of smoking:

    Once cigarettes were banned, the bars emptied out. Whether you were a fan of smoking or not, the realization I quickly became aware of was that the majority of fun people who filled the bar smoked.

    http://www.returnofkings.com/7790/life-was-better-with-cigarettes

    And also, surprisingly, the vast majority of the comments are in agreement with him.

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