H/T A.C. for an article in The Freeman:
Students are equipping dorm rooms with rolling machines. Kids carry pouches and filters. They are only occasional smokers but they are serious about the art and technique of rolling.
It strikes me as very strange, like a reversal of time. It’s one thing to do this as a hobby—people brew their own beer and even make their own cars—but as a necessity? Sadly, this is not just a fashion trend. It is a direct result of government policy that has effectively reversed the course of history.
I’ve been rolling my own for ages. I just prefer roll-ups. But they do also happen to be a lot cheaper than ready-rolled cigarettes.
But the author is right. It is a sort of reversal in the course of history.
An older man once told me that back in the 1930s, “ready roll” cigarettes brought a huge upgrade to his life—sort of like indoor heating, telephones in every home, and the electric icebox. Thanks to ready rolls, there was no more fussing with papers and spilling contents. How peculiar, then, that roll-your-own (RYO) has made such a roaring comeback today.
The ‘upgrade’ was that cigarettes relieved people of the chore of rolling their own cigarettes, or refilling a pipe. They also delivered a product with a consistent quality and flavour.
The ‘upgrade’ that came with oil or gas central heating was that they relieved people of the chore of periodically feeding fires with lumps of wood or coal carried in from some outhouse, and their thermostatic controls meant they kept people more consistently comfortable, and every room could be heated.
The ‘upgrade’ that telephones brought was that they made it much easier to talk to other people, relieving people of the chore of going to meet them in person. Mobile phones made it even easier: you didn’t even have to get out of your armchair to speak to somebody.
The ‘upgrade’ that came with iceboxes was that you could store many kinds of food for much longer before eating it. And you could store new kinds of foods – like ice cream.
And if something isn’t an upgrade, it’s a downgrade. And when things get downgraded, they make life harder.
It’s a forced result, something that would not have happened but for intervention. Was this what it was like to live in Cuba in the 1970s or Russia in the 1950s, places and times where cars and heaters had to be hacked just to keep from slipping further back in time? Is this all we are destined to do, hold desperately onto memories of a good life we once knew and hack our way toward survival?
Maybe it seems like a small sign, but there are just so many signs. It’s hard to get even legal medications and so more people are relying on sketchy websites. Appliances like washing machines and dishwashers that once worked now have to be hacked up just to function. You can’t buy a decent gas can anymore. Proposed taxes on sugar, salt, and fat collectively seem like a move to outlaw birthday cakes. Are we going to have to get those from the darknet? And the tobacco example is not insignificant, either.
He’s right. Everything is being downgraded. Wind and solar and tidal power means intermittent downgraded power supplies. What Leg-iron calls ‘dimbulbs’ are downgraded lightbulbs. In the UK, there are plans to remotely cut people’s power consumption by turning things off if they’re using too much power. That’s another downgrade.
Our food is being downgraded too, as we’re being pressured – even required by law – to stop eating meat, fat, sugar, salt. And I can easily imagine birthday cakes being outlawed.
Transport is being downgraded as well, as we’re being told that we have to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and are ‘nudged’ towards using public transport or electric cars or bicycles. Particularly bicycles, because they make people do some exercise.
Instead of life being made easier for everyone, life is being made harder for everyone. It’s reverse economic growth. We’re being made poorer.
And manufactured products are being downgraded too:
He told me that taxes weren’t the only reason RYO was becoming more popular. Smokers believe RYO tobacco is healthier, he told me, since it doesn’t include the FDA-mandated chemical flame retardant—meant to keep tobacco from burning sofas and beds—that pre-rolled cigarettes do.
This began about four years ago. Reduced fire propensity cigs are now mandated in 43 states. The added substance is EVA, a carpet glue. Many people report that it tastes awful. Others say that this stuff is more dangerous to ingest than the tobacco. The government doesn’t care. Cigarette makers go along.
I was stunned. We have heard about the dangers of smoking for a century. But what about the dangers of being looted and poisoned by bureaucrats? It seems like there ought to be warnings about this, too.
Economic recession/depression is also reverse economic growth. And, oddly enough, we happen to be in one right now. People are getting poorer.
In Europe, it’s the strangulating one-size-fits-all euro that is choking European economies, along with multiplying, suffocating rules and regulations.
I sometimes wonder whether our political masters have decided that we don’t need economic growth any more. Because there are lots of things they could do to stimulate the economy. Like deregulate. Reducing the strangulating burden of regulations on businesses would provide a big boost by reducing their costs. So would lifting smoking bans to increase demand.
But it seems that they just want to add more and more rules and regulations. They think they know what’s good for us better than we do. And they don’t want to know what we think anyway. Because you don’t want to know what people think if you’re sure you know better than them anyway.
Where does it end?
I think that public discontent is just going to mount. Because people don’t like being made poorer. And politicians and bureaucrats of every kind are going to increasingly be hated. Fringe political parties are going to get bigger, and mainstream political parties will lose support. This is already happening. The healthist-socialist-green-bully state is steadily losing credibility and support and trust. People will start hating anything that’s ‘healthy’, or ‘green’, or ‘sustainable’, as the state becomes the enemy of the people.
So we’ll see mounting civil disobedience. And riots. And strikes. And go-slows. And stiffening resistance.
I’ve already moved a fair way down this track myself. I already loathe everything that’s ‘healthy’. And I won’t vote for any mainstream political party. And I don’t watch or read or listen to their mainstream media propaganda. And I won’t do anything they encourage me to do. And I encourage people to resist.
But I think that, as a smoker, I’ve just got there a bit earlier than most people, because they’ll be catching up soon. They’ll be resisting too.
But going back to those college kids who are rolling their own, the fact that they’re doing that means that they’re already resisting. They’re clearly not only disbelieving antismoking propaganda, but are taking active steps to do the exact opposite of what’s demanded of them. They’re refusing to be controlled. And that’s good news.
Maybe some of them might like to take a look at my illustrated cigarette hand-rolling guide? It’s one of my more popular posts these days.