Loss of Trust

I was writing about the death of cultural institutions last night. And today I came across something that UK Chief Rabbi Sacks had said of the breakdown of institutions:

“And then you ask why they have broken down and you arrive at one word: trust. Trust means having faith in somebody else to keep their faith with you, so there’s something about religious faith that undergirds trust as a whole in society and when trust breaks down you see institutions break down.”

I don’t see that religious faith has got anything to do with it. I think loss of trust happens when people break their trust, and show themselves to be untrustworthy. Trust is earned, and it’s easy to lose. If I steal your wallet, you’re going to stop trusting me. Or at least you ought to stop trusting me. Is Rabbi Sacks saying that we should just blindly trust people regardless of what they do?

I’ve lost a lot of trust in a whole raft of organisations and institutions of one sort or other over the past few years. Ten years ago I’d have readily believed that the WHO and Tobacco Control were trustworthy organisations, with smokers’ interests at heart. Now I think that they hate smokers and want to exterminate them, and that more or less everything they say is a lie. I have no trust in them whatsoever.

The same goes for the IPCC and climate science. Ten years ago I would have trusted them. But now I know they’ve been doing things like “hide the decline”, trust has gone.

Some 10 years ago, the Labour party manifesto declared that they’d ban smoking in pubs that sold food. But when they were returned to government, they banned smoking in all pubs, and lots of other places as well. I’ll never believe any of their manifesto pledges again. I don’t trust them any more.

Back on 15 February this year, when a fireball exploded over Chelyabinsk a few hours before asteroid 2012-DA14 passed within about 30,000 km of the Earth, NASA immediately said – same day – that the events weren’t linked, and it was fluke they’d arrived at more or less the same time. And I thought, “How can you be so sure, when right now you have no data on the Chelyabinsk event? You can’t be sure. I don’t trust you.” And I’ve spent the last few months trying to show how the Chelyabinsk meteor could have been in a rock train accompanying DA14. At the moment, my best guess is that this companion rock passed close to the Earth a year beforehand, in February 2012, and was pulled into the orbital path which brought it down on Chelyabinsk a year later.

I’m just not very trusting these days. It’s not a distrust of individual people. It’s a distrust of authoritative organisations and institutions. Like ASH, and the IPCC, and the Labour party, and NASA. And I don’t trust the EU, or pharma companies, or the Royal Society. Yet in the past I would have trusted them all implicitly.

And, in fact, most people trust them all. They trust authorities to do good science, and to tell them the truth. But increasingly I don’t. I find myself increasingly thinking that when somebody becomes an expert in something, they will use their authority to pull the wool over people’s eyes.

But Rabbi Sacks seems to be saying that if you lose trust in them, institutions will break down.

But what’s wrong with that? I want ASH and Tobacco Control to be closed down. I’d like to see the WHO break down. And the UN. And the EU. I think they’re all self-serving outfits that do much more harm than good. I can live without them. They’re not the cultural institutions I was writing about last night, which are part of my identity. They’re a pack of predatory wolves.

If anything, I think that most people are far too trusting, and that they’re trusting in exactly the way that Rabbi Sacks seems to want them to be. And the result is that ASH and all the rest remain in business, because people trust them. So nothing gets fixed. There’s nothing good in itself about trust, particularly if you trust people who aren’t trustworthy. When people become too trustful, swindlers and charlatans multiply.

Whenever anyone says, “Trust me,” I usually stop trusting them. Yet Rabbi Sacks seems to be saying “Trust people. Trust the EU. Trust the UN. Trust ASH.”

But I don’t trust them. And I guess I don’t trust Rabbi Sacks either. He sounds like exactly the sort of pontificating expert or authority that I instinctively distrust these days.


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21 Responses to Loss of Trust

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    Ive had Internet connection problems for 2 days………………egadds! New 4g set up

  2. waltc says:

    well, I read the whole piece and the rabbi seems to be a “communitarian,” believing that the individual exists and should function,– and if necessary sacrifice personal happiness– For The Greater Good. America was founded on the opposite principle. (RIP.) That a bunch of happy individuals were what made for a happy society and a happy society was a Good one, And that means, among other things, a society where you’re free to be a happy Catholic or a happy atheist.

    The only sense in which he might have a point– though likely not the point he was trying to make– is in the Dostoyevsky sense of “if God is dead then anything’s possible.” If most people are too benighted to come up with a reasonable moral code on their own, if they need to blindly follow, in fear and trembling, what they read in a Testament or a Baghavad Gita, then without that dogmatic religious instruction, any crime–any form of evil, dishonesty, or inhumanity– is, in fact, possible. It’s the dishonesty of the amoral institutions and those who run them that makes people, quite justifiably, lose trust.

    Something I wanted to comment on a few threads back and didn’t– about our societies being purposely divided in a top down way. We all feel it most strongly in the smokers v the anti’s sense of the thing, but the divisions, at least here in the US, are getting sharper and more rancorous along political and economic lines too. And you can even add to that, sexual and racial.. I have not in my lifetime seen this country this balkanized and shattered. It’s hard to build a Good society whose future people feel a stake in when society is fractured and the everyday trust between men and women, blacks and whites, Rs and Ds etc is frayed.

    • waltc says:

      I also just had a post script thought that the end of trust between and among people, the division into mutually suspicious groups, combined with a forced PC “togetherness” is not just the ultimate recipe for an explosion but also likely marks the end of the metropolis. The idea of the metropolis, and why it was so successful economically and otherwise, was that it brought together different and occasionally clashing cultures which shared their better aspects, whether art, food, or ethics, and combined them into a relatively smooth, working whole. Differences functioned as a net benefit . Not that it stopped people from privately hating another group’s guts, but cooperation and tolerance were seen to pay off.

      10, 15 years ago, I didn’t give a rat’s a if the people I knew smoked or held some political views I deplored (and vice verse) but now, when such group hostility abounds, I only want to be with smoking Libertarians. My metropolis is gone.

      • Frank Davis says:

        I only want to be with smoking Libertarians.

        I only want to be with smokers. The libertarian bit is optional. But in a sense, maybe all smokers are libertarians at heart.

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          Its a funny thing. When something comes along like the smoking ban which crosses all political lines as everyone from all these walks of life can be smokers,it brings them together as a force. Then add in attacks on the obese,then on the drinkers,then on etc etc.
          Before long we have an army of folks banded to a common purpose against their attacker the nannies and the government. These groups may not like a smoker, they may not like the obese, they may not like drinkers. But each was attacked and each directs there wrath at their attacker. We don’t have to like each other and we don’t have to support each other much less sit together. But we all fight and hate the same attacker…………Then after its all over we get back to just accepting each other and mix again in all walks of life without some idiot screaming there should be a law against that!

  3. harleyrider1978 says:

    Public acceptability of government intervention to change health-related behaviours: a systematic review and narrative synthesis

    by: Stephanie Diepeveen, Tom Ling, Marc Suhrcke, Martin Roland, Theresa Marteau


    BACKGROUND:Governments can intervene to change health-related behaviours using various measures but are sensitive to public attitudes towards such interventions. This review describes public attitudes towards a range of policy interventions aimed at changing tobacco and alcohol use, diet, and physical activity, and the extent to which these attitudes vary with characteristics of (a) the targeted behaviour (b) the intervention and (c) the respondents.METHODS:We searched electronic databases and conducted a narrative synthesis of empirical studies that reported public attitudes in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand towards interventions relating to tobacco, alcohol, diet and physical activity. Two hundred studies met the inclusion criteria.RESULTS:Over half the studies (105/200, 53%) were conducted in North America, with the most common interventions relating to tobacco control (110/200, 55%), followed by alcohol (42/200, 21%), diet-related interventions (18/200, 9%), interventions targeting both diet and physical activity (18/200, 9%), and physical activity alone (3/200, 2%). Most studies used survey-based methods (160/200, 80%), and only ten used experimental designs.Acceptability varied as a function of: (a) the targeted behaviour, with more support observed for smoking-related interventions; (b) the type of intervention, with less intrusive interventions, those already implemented, and those targeting children and young people attracting most support; and (c) the characteristics of respondents, with support being highest in those not engaging in the targeted behaviour, and with women and older respondents being more likely to endorse more restrictive measures.CONCLUSIONS:Public acceptability of government interventions to change behaviour is greatest for the least intrusive interventions, which are often the least effective, and for interventions targeting the behaviour of others, rather than the respondent him or herself. Experimental studies are needed to assess how the presentation of the problem and the benefits of intervention might increase acceptability for those interventions which are more effective but currently less acceptable.


    • harleyrider1978 says:

      It would appear folks don’t like heavy handed government…………..I think it goes much deeper than that. The Nannies fucked with everyone and made enemies of us all!

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    Where do we file VOODOO MAGIC

    Smoking in pregnancy triples baby`s risk of meningitis
    27 August, 2013

    ISLAMABAD: Smoking during pregnancy can triple the baby`s chance of developing meningitis, researchers warn.

    Children exposed to smoke from a parent`s cigarettes at home are also twice as likely to have the deadly illness.

    Researchers believe that passive smoking gradually weakens children`s immune system making them more susceptible to the illness, the `Daily Mail` reported.

    Researchers from the University of Nottingham analysed 18 studies which looked at the link between passive smoking and meningitis.

    Meningitis is caused by an infection of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord and if not treated quickly it can cause brain and nerve damage.

    Symptoms include severe headache, a rash, vomiting, high temperature and a dislike of bright lights.

    They found that children exposed to second hand smoke in the home were more than twice as likely to get the illness.

    The under-fives were even more vulnerable – they were found to be two and a half times more at risk.

    And children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy were three times more likely to get meningitis, the study published in journal BMC Public Health found.

    “We estimate that an extra 630 cases of childhood invasive meningococcal disease every year are directly attributable to second-hand smoke in the UK alone,” lead researcher Dr Rachael Murray said.

    “While we cannot be sure exactly how tobacco smoke is affecting these children, the findings from this study highlight consistent evidence of the further harms of smoking around children and during pregnancy, and thus parents and family members should be encouraged to not smoke in the home or around children,” Murray said.

    In recent years a number of studies have shown massive smoking increases a child`s risk of meningitis but this is one of the first to show the link between a mother smoking during pregnancy.

    The findings of this latest study imply this process begins while the baby is still in the womb.

    Experts think that smoke contains bacteria which gradually weaken children`s immune systems.


  5. harleyrider1978 says:

    Medicinal Smoke Reduces Airborne Bacteria – 2007

    “This study represents a comprehensive analysis and scientific validation of our ancient knowledge about the effect of ethnopharmacological aspects of natural products’ smoke for therapy and health care on airborne bacterial composition and dynamics, using the Biolog® microplate panelsand Microlog® database.

    In this study, we have designed an air sampler for microbiological air sampling during the treatment of the room with medicinal smoke. In addition, elimination of the aerial pathogenic bacteria due to the smoke is reported too.

    We have observed that 1 h treatment of medicinal smoke emination by burning wood and a mixture of odoriferous and medicinal herbs (havan sámagri = material used in oblation to fire all over India) on aerial bacterial population caused over 94% reduction of bacterial counts by 60 min and the ability of the smoke to purify or disinfect the air and to make the environment cleaner was maintained up to 24 h in the closed room.

    Absence of pathogenic bacteria Corynebacterium urealyticum, Curtobacterium flaccumfaciens, Enterobacter aerogenes (Klebsiella mobilis), Kocuria rosea, Pseudomonassyringae pv. persicae, Staphylococcus lentus, and Xanthomonas campestris pv. tardicrescens inthe open room even after 30 days is indicative of the bactericidal potential of the medicinal smoke treatment.

    We have demonstrated that using medicinal smoke it is possible to completely eliminate diverse plant and human pathogenic bacteria of the air within confined space.
    Work has implications to use the smoke generated by burning wood and a mixture of odoriferousand medicinal herbs, within confined spaces such as animal barns and seed/grain warehouses to disinfect the air and to make the environment cleaner.
    Work indicates that certain known medicinal constituents from the havan sámagri can thus be added to the burning farm material while disposing unwanted agriculture organic material, in order to reduce plant pathogenicorganisms.

    In particular, it highlights the fact that we must think well beyond the physical aspects of smoke on plants in natural habitats and impacts heavily on our understanding of fire as adriving force in evolution.
    We have demonstrated that using medicinal smoke it is possible to contain diverse pathogenic bacteria of the air we breathe.

    The work also highlights the fact about medicinal smoke and that a lot of natural products have potential for use as medicine in the smoke form as a form of drug delivery and as a promising source of new active natural ingredients for containing indoor airborne infections within confined spaces used for storage of agriculture comodities.

    The dynamic chemical and biological interactions occurring in the atmosphere are much more complex than has been previously realized. The findings warrant a need for further evaluation of various ingredients present in the complex mixture of odoriferous and medicinal herbs, individually and in various combinations to identify the active principlesinvolved in the bactericidal property of the medicinal smoke, applied in the above discussed fashion.”
    Formerly http: //www.agri-history.org/pdf/Medicinal%20smoke.pdf


    Medicinal smokes

    “All through time, humans have used smoke of medicinal plants to cure illness.
    To the best of our knowledge, the ethnopharmacological aspects of natural products’ smoke for therapy and health care have not been studied.
    Mono- and multi-ingredient herbal and non-herbal remedies administered as smoke from 50 countries across the 5 continents are reviewed.

    Most of the 265 plant species of mono-ingredient remedies studied belong to Asteraceae (10.6%), followed by Solanaceae (10.2%), Fabaceae (9.8%) and Apiaceae (5.3%). The most frequent medical indications for medicinal smoke are pulmonary (23.5%), neurological (21.8%) and dermatological (8.1%).

    Other uses of smoke are not exactly medical but beneficial to health, and include smoke as a preservative or a repellent and the social use of smoke.

    The three main methods for administering smoke are inhalation, which accounts for 71.5% of the indications; smoke directed at a specific organ or body part, which accounts for 24.5%; ambient smoke (passive smoking), which makes up the remaining 4.0%. Whereas inhalation is typically used in the treatment of pulmonary and neurological disorders and directed smoke in localized situations, such as dermatological and genito-urinary disorders, ambient smoke is not directed at the body at all but used as an air purifier.

    The advantages of smoke-based remedies are rapid delivery to the brain, more efficient absorption by the body and lower costs of production. This review highlights the fact that not enough is known about medicinal smoke and that a lot of natural products have potential for use as medicine in the smoke form.

    Furthermore, this review argues in favor of medicinal smoke extended use in modern medicine as a form of drug delivery and as a promising source of new active natural ingredients”

  6. cherie79 says:

    Is there anything smoking doesn’t cause? in their ‘expert’ opinion of course!

  7. harleyrider1978 says:

    Smoking ban at state hospital breached a patient’s human rights, says judge
    A patient at Scotland’s high security state hospital has won a court ruling that a blanket ban on smoking breached his human rights.


  8. beobrigitte says:

    “And then you ask why they have broken down and you arrive at one word: trust. Trust means having faith in somebody else to keep their faith with you, so there’s something about religious faith that undergirds trust as a whole in society and when trust breaks down you see institutions break down.”

    I beg to differ, Rabbi Sacks mixes up 2 totally different things – TRUST and FAITH – , throws both into one pot and reaches a rather odd conclusion.

    I think loss of trust happens when people break their trust, and show themselves to be untrustworthy. Trust is earned, and it’s easy to lose.

    The untrustworthy do not care about earning someone’s trust. They also lack long term thinking. They want NOW.

    By nature I don’t trust anything or anybody easily. But I am human and make mistakes; in the end I lose the untrustworthy and carry on as usual.

    Faith, on the other hand, is something more unconditional and more often than not it appears somewhat irrational. I do have faith in only one or two things.

    I’m just not very trusting these days. It’s not a distrust of individual people.

    As already said, I don’t trust easily. At first it was only people I distrusted. (I was right 99.9% of the time)

    It’s a distrust of authoritative organisations and institutions. Like ASH, and the IPCC, and the Labour party, and NASA. And I don’t trust the EU, or pharma companies, or the Royal Society. Yet in the past I would have trusted them all implicitly.

    Yes, in the past I did trust them. I had always some kind of question that I just didn’t want to ask just in case it put this trust into question. I ended up asking these questions (in the case of “climate science” I am still reading – having more questions than ever!) once I was on the receiving end of the “goodness” of the above mentioned organizations.

    But Rabbi Sacks seems to be saying that if you lose trust in them, institutions will break down.

    But what’s wrong with that? I want ASH and Tobacco Control to be closed down. I’d like to see the WHO break down. And the UN. And the EU. I think they’re all self-serving outfits that do much more harm than good.

    So do I !!! It can’t happen soon enough!!!!
    Imagine a pub/restaurant where there are ashtrays on the table, yet no-one is being bothered as the – in research and development ACTIVELY BY TOBACCO CONTROL stifled – ventilation/air cleaning industry can finally do it’s job.

    I have FAITH in the above industry; I know it creates wonders where tobacco control is not involved.

  9. smokingscot says:

    “And, in fact, most people trust them all”.

    Seems an odd statement to make, despite the word “most”, given what your ISIS survey turned up and what many of your commentators have said, myself included.

    My take is it was a glacial thing, but it’s accelerating – and I’m well pleased.

    Here’s an example of one blogger who’s scales have slipped a little.


    • beobrigitte says:

      a supporter of CRUK?

      Sorry, I discourage people around me from donating to them!!! (In one shop I actually managed people to go and help a couple who homes ill-treated animals by donating towards food.

      One does what one can.

      CRUK does NOTHING for cancer treatment; it is as barbaric as it was 20 years ago. CRUK sold it’s soul to the anti-smoker devil.

  10. beobrigitte says:

    Talking about loss of trust………..

    has been in the back of my mind ever since (sorry, can’t remember right know who) this link was put up.

    An important characteristic of THS is its ability to undergo chemical transformations during aging periods, as demonstrated in a recent study showing that sorbed nicotine reacts with the indoor pollutant nitrous acid (HONO) to form tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) such as 4-(methylnitrosamino)-4-(3-pyridyl)butanal (NNA) and 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK).

    That is one hell of a big molecule.

    Exposure of human HepG2 cells to either acute or chronic THS for 24h resulted in significant increases in DNA strand breaks in the alkaline Comet assay. Cell cultures exposed to NNA alone showed significantly higher levels of DNA damage in the same assay.

    I have a question (or 2 or more): HOW did NNK enter the cells and manage to get into the NUCLEUS in order to “cause” DNA damage?
    (Chromium III cannot do this, it is too big. Chromium IV, an unstable intermediate of the reduction of Chromium VI to Chromium III, can).

    Next question: Was this cell culture subjected to the usual e.g. fluctuating hormonal influence a living organism encounters?

    Next question: What were the cell culture conditions?

    The findings of this study demonstrate for the first time that exposure to THS is genotoxic in human cell lines.

    The findings of this study demonstrate what bullshit tobacco control employs.


  11. smokervoter says:

    My trust in my government has sunk to such low levels that I’m not sure at all that the Assad regime (who I despise almost as much as the jihadist al Qaeda rebels) used chemical weapons. The optimal chess move would have been for the rebels to utilize them and then blame the other side.

    Also I found this quote from the BBC site today: “Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said three hospitals it supported in the Damascus area had treated about 3,600 patients with “neurotoxic symptoms”, of whom 355 had died.”

    Now, since our intrepid indoor environmental scientist/stud muffin from Berkeley, Hugo Destaillats, has recently suggested that thirdhand tobacco smoke is a genotoxic, would it be possible that piles of discarded clothing from smokers left in strategic locations could be considered a chemical weapon attack?

    Or how about an entire brigade of smoking soldiers puffing away simultaneously. Would secondhand smoke be considered an even stronger neurotoxin attack, thereby warranting a stronger response from western powers?

    And would dropping actual “live” packages of cigarettes down on the streets for the taking not constitute the ultimate chemical attack – by thusly, god forbid, encouraging firsthand smoking amongst the civilian population?

    Yep, I found this by StartPaging “neurotoxin +tobacco”

    Tobacco-Induced Neurotoxicity of Adolescent Cognitive Development (TINACD): A Proposed Model for the Development of Impulsivity in Nicotine Dependence.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Outrageous: how an ObamaCare slush fund pays for nanny-state lobbying

      by Walter Olson on June 4, 2013

      Did you know that the Affordable Care Act creates an enormous, multi-billion-dollar slush fund — in the out years, it will raise $2 billion a year in perpetuity — for the federal government to spend on more or less anything that might “improve health and help restrain the rate of growth” of health-care costs? That the spending can bypass the Congressional appropriations process, and is rife with expenditures for the purposes of lobbying government itself, which is supposed to be an unlawful use of federal funds?

      Somehow it didn’t sink in until I read this excellent investigation in Forbes by Stuart Taylor, Jr., the distinguished commentator and journalist now associated with the Brookings Institution. Because almost any cause arguably advances health, the administrators end up with close to unlimited discretion as to how to spend the money, which results in the usual array of goofy-sounding grant activities ranging “from ‘pickleball’ (a racquet sport) in Carteret County, N.C. to Zumba (a dance fitness program), kayaking and kickboxing in Waco, TX.”

      It’s tailor-made for log-rolling and rewarding local friends, but the dangers go beyond that. In particular, as outraged Republicans from Fred Upton (R-Mich.) in the House to Susan Collins (R-Me.) in the Senate have been documenting, large sums from the program have been devoted to the purpose of lobbying for the passage of legislation at the local and state level — notwithstanding specific statutory language making that an unlawful way of spending money raised from federal taxpayers.

      To quote Taylor:

      * In Washington state, the Prevention Alliance, a coalition of health-focused groups, reported in notes of a June 22, 2012 meeting that the funding for its initial work came from a $3.3 million Obamacare grant to the state Department of Health. It listed a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), “tobacco taxes,” and increasing “types of outdoor venues where tobacco use is prohibited” as among “the areas of greatest interest and potential for progress.”

      * The Sierra Health Foundation, in Sacramento, which received a $500,000 grant. in March 2013, described its plans to “seek local zoning changes to disallow fast food establishments within 1,000 feet of a school and to limit the number of fast food outlets,” along with restrictions on fast food advertising. A $3 million grant to New York City was used to “educate leaders and decision makers about, and promote the effective implementation of. . . a tax to substantially increase the price of beverages containing caloric sweetener.”

      * A Cook County, Ill. report says that part of a $16 million grant “educated policymakers on link between SSBs [sugar-sweetened beverages] and obesity, economic impact of an SSB tax, and importance of investing revenue into prevention.” More than $12 million in similar grants went to groups in King County, Wash. to push for changes in “zoning policies to locate fast-food retailers farther from . . . schools.” And Jefferson County, Ala., spent part of a $7 million federal grant promoting the passage of a tobacco excise tax by the state legislature.

      These aren’t isolated flukes: they look very much like the normal and planned operation of the program. A $7 million grant to activists in the St. Louis area went in part toward lobbying for the repeal of a state law barring municipal tobacco taxes. The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported on how it used a $1.5 million federal grant: “210 policy makers were contacted . . . 31 ordinances were passed . . . there were 26 community presentations made to local governments .. . and 16 additional ordinances were passed this quarter, for a cumulative total of 47.”

      This is outrageous. Congress has enacted and reiterated the ban on lobbying with federal funds because of the obvious unfairness of requiring taxpaying citizens to support political efforts of which they disapprove. Now a combination of the most politicized sector of public health activism (which likes to dictate how people live) and a cross-section of the local political class (which likes to find new ways of raising taxes) is getting massive federal subsidies to pursue such lobbying, often on a scale that can bulldoze disorganized local opposition. If you were wondering why some bad new ideas for local legislation (e.g., zoning to keep fast-food restaurants out of big-city neighborhoods) seem to be everywhere despite a tepid level of voter enthusiasm, now you know. You’re paying for them to be everywhere.

      I joined host Ray Dunaway on Hartford’s WTIC this morning to talk about the issue.


  12. jaxthefirst says:

    I’m not sure that very many people do trust anyone “in authority” or who is cited as “an expert” these days. Or at least, they only seem to “trust” such people when they are saying something they like. So, the moment that some “expert” proclaims that moderate drinking is good for you, everyone nods their heads in agreement and quotes them whenever some other “expert” says that “there is no safe level of alcohol.” Which I think just shows how shallow the majority of the public are.

    One of the most cunning moves that the anti-smoking brigade made was to only start coming out with outrageous quotations like “the science is settled” or “all scientists agree” or “everyone knows” once they’d frightened, bullied or harassed the majority of the public into giving up smoking, thus ensuring that they would gullibly believe these statements, not because they were true, but because they were the kind of statements that they wanted to hear. After all, no ex-smoker in the world wants to hear that giving up smoking is bad for you – even if, as is now gradually coming to light, it turns out that it might very well be. After all, very few of them can even bring themselves to accept the association between not smoking and obesity, even though the evidence of their own eyes (and bathroom scales) should make the connection screamingly obvious. Even with all the health scares about obesity they can’t bring themselves to accept that all they’ve achieved through all that struggling to give up something so pleasurable is a different set of health problems from the ones they believed they were avoiding by giving up smoking!

    Ultimately, I guess, people will believe whatever suits them, and disregard anything which doesn’t – which goes a long way towards explaining why the current Big Parties keep on getting elected, only to crap all over the electorate time and time and time again. Quite simply, it’s because they “talk a good game,” and the public are too dim to stop and think that maybe – just maybe – this time, they might be telling just a few teensy-weensy little white – err – lies …

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