I’ve been musing over something that came up in an online smoky-drinky earlier this evening, when someone remarked of the social division and exclusion consequent upon smoking bans that it was one of the “unintended consequences” of them.
And I replied that I thought such division and exclusion was fully intended. There was nothing unintentional about it at all. And in evidence I cited the Deborah Arnott quote which I keep in the right margin of this blog. She wrote, 6 months before the UK smoking ban came into force:
“Smokers will be exiled to the outdoors.”
And that meant that she knew in advance what the outcome of the smoking ban was going to be. Smokers were going to be exiled to the outdoors. And she was quite right. That’s exactly what happened. It certainly wasn’t something I was able to foresee at the time.
But since she knew what was going to happen, and did nothing to stop it happening, it means that she was quite happy for smokers to be exiled to the outdoors. And it also meant that she, and her colleagues in Tobacco Control, fully and knowingly intended this to happen.
How did she know? From the experiences gained by Tobacco Control during smoking bans introduced earlier, when smokers were exiled to the outdoors.
So there can be no possibility whatsoever that the exile of smokers outdoors was an unintended consequence, and unfortunate accident. It wasn’t. It was completely and entirely intentional.
We might also look at the particular words she chose to use. She used the word “exile”. In Webster’s dictionary, “exile” is defined as “the state or a period of forced absence from one’s country or home.” Exile was often used in antiquity as a form of punishment which removed people from society, very often permanently, without actually killing them. She could have used any number of other words, but she chose a word with a very precise meaning.
And also she used the word “outdoors”, which means outside of any kind of shelter. Smokers were going to be exiled to the cold and wet and windy outdoors. And this is the hostile environment from which people everywhere shelter in warm, dry houses, because prolonged exposure to these external elements poses a considerable threat to human health and life. But Deborah Arnott (and Tobacco Control) were nevertheless content to deliberately and knowingly exile smokers to the cold and the wet and the wind.
If nothing else, this goes to show that Tobacco Control has no interest whatsoever in the well-being of smokers. Because nobody would use one trivial health risk (the non-threat posed by secondhand smoke) as a pretext for imposing a far more serious health risk (of death by exposure to cold). And indeed, one might even reasonably suppose that, by deliberately exposing smokers to a far greater health risk, Tobacco Control was either utterly indifferent to their health, or actively wished to undermine it.
But also, once smokers had been successfully exiled to the outdoors, it necessarily followed that they were separated from their non-smoking or ex-smoking friends who continued to enjoy the warmth and comfort and hospitality indoors. And so the exile of smokers was bound to divide the insiders from the outsiders. No other consequence was possible. And so this subsequent social division was also fully intended (and most likely something else that Tobacco Control had learned from their experience with earlier smoking bans). Once again, there was nothing unintentional about it at all.
In fact, we may suppose that almost all of the consequences that have flowed from smoking bans have been fully intended by Tobacco Control. None of them were accidental. And that includes the inevitable and entirely foreseeable economic damage to pubs and bars and restaurants once a large fraction of their customers were exiled to the outdoors. Tobacco Control had no doubt learned from earlier smoking bans that this was another consequence. And it would appear, once again, that it was a consequence that they fully accepted.
And all these consequences would appear to be consistent with Tobacco Control’s goal of denormalising and demonising and excluding smokers. They have embarked on an eugenic programme – a form of social cleansing – in which the undesirable smoking elements of society are to be systematically separated out, and excluded or purged from society.
And indeed it would appear that smokers are not the only “undesirable elements” in the controllers’ sights. Drinkers and fat people are also equally undesirable. And this may explain the indifference of Tobacco Control to the closure of numerous pubs and cafes and restaurants – because they were all full of undesirable social elements who, if they weren’t smoking, would be drinking and eating. They were all to be expelled.
And in pursuing these eugenic social goals, Tobacco Control employs a veritable arsenal of lies. Their assertion that secondhand tobacco smoke poses a health threat is a lie, but it is a lie that serves to get smokers exiled. So also is their claim, intended to re-assure worried bartenders and restaurateurs, that the exiled smokers will be replaced by non-smokers flocking to their newly smoke-free premises. This never happens, but by the time the bars and restaurants have woken up to this, it’s too late to do anything about it. Tobacco Control has a lie ready for every eventuality. They play up the health threat from secondhand smoke, but play down the far more real health threat of exposure to the elements outdoors. They play up the non-existent health benefits of smoking bans, and play down the social and economic impacts of them.
I don’t mean to suggest here that antismoking zealots know exactly what they’re doing in every respect. I simply mean that they knew all along that smokers would be exiled to the outdoors, that communities would be divided, and pubs bankrupted. And they knew this because they’d seen it happen before. And they probably took the view that you can’t make omelettes without breaking eggs, as Lenin once remarked.
But Tobacco Control is still learning, and still has a lot to learn. They have taken their relatively small experience of smoking bans in a few localities – e.g. San Francisco -, and used this as the template for rolling out bans almost everywhere in the world. They believe that what worked in San Francisco would work everywhere else. There are, needless to say, a good many reasons to suppose that they may be mistaken about this.
In short, they don’t know everything. In fact, they know very little at all. And they have embarked upon a global eugenic programme which is based on some laughably simplistic assumptions about what such programmes can achieve. For they clearly believe that they can create some sort of utopian, ideal society simply by removing non-ideal elements from existing society – purging it of smokers, drinkers, fat people, and whoever else fails to measure up to their ideals. One might say that such simplistic eugenic programmes are doomed to inevitable failure, if only for the very simple reason that they will inevitably make the would-be controllers truly colossal numbers of sworn enemies of them and their programmes and their eugenic ideology.
But the point I wish to emphasise is that Tobacco Control are fully aware of the damage they are currently doing, and they are continually looking to keep that damage concealed, very often using outright lies to play down social and economic costs, or play up largely non-existent health benefits. Exile, exclusion, and division were not unintended consequences. They were consequences that were both foreseeable and foreseen. And they were welcomed because they served the purpose of denormalising smoking and excluding smokers.
In Tobacco Control we are not dealing with kindly, well-meaning health care workers, trying to improve everyone’s health, but making unintended errors. We are dealing with a carefully-planned, idealistic, eugenic social programme that anyone with the slightest trace of civility or humanity should find utterly abhorrent, and should fight tooth and nail until it is destroyed like its Nazi predecessor, only destroyed far more completely.