I’ve continued to think today about how Tobacco Control has managed to capture the moral high ground. In the comments, Tony pointed out that they were allied with doctors, who are held in high esteem by everybody. And of course they also associate themselves with ‘health’ and ‘safety’ and ‘well-being’. They are veritable little angels, aren’t they?
But today I began to think that more important than this was the demonisation firstly of tobacco, and then of the tobacco industry, and now even of people who smoke tobacco. The tobacco industry, which they like to call ‘the industry’ is an important counterfoil for them. Because the more evil the tobacco industry is portrayed, the better Tobacco Control looks. The more depraved the one appears, the more benign the other. And Tobacco Control is always careful to portray their struggle as that of a David against Big Tobacco’s goliath.
So that when anyone speaks out against them, they automatically get labelled as ‘shills’ or ‘stooges’ or ‘front groups’ for Big Tobacco. And in that manner they become demonised too.
And this is perhaps what terrifies politicians (and more or less everyone else). Because Big Tobacco has been so thoroughly demonised that nobody wants to be associated with them. And any politician who might stand up and say that smoking ban should be relaxed or repealed would find himself being demonised in his turn. Senior doctors would protest, ASH would scream. The media would denounce them.
And politicians have a lot to lose, particularly if they are established, senior politicians. The last thing they want is to find themselves described as shills for Big Tobacco. It would be like having Satan as personal friend.
In fact, more or less everyone is frightened of Tobacco Control, and the extension of the demonisation process into alcohol and food. Soon Big Alcohol and Big Sugar are going to be joining Big Tobacco as the very incarnation of evil.
They all try to placate the monster. They all retreat before it. They try to make peace with it. They have too much to lose.
But there are some people who have nothing to fear from Tobacco Control. Smokers like me have nothing more we can lose. We have already been demonised. And we have already been expelled from society. What more can we possibly lose? And in my case, at age of nearly 66, I’m gradually approaching the day when I will die. And for all I know, I might die next week.
I’m nobody. And I have nothing to lose.
They can demonise me all they like. And they have already begun to do so. Which I find rather gratifying, because it means that I must be hurting them a bit.
I can speak out because I have nothing to lose, not even my own life. I’m not a politician with an electorate to worry about, or a company CEO trying to maximize profits for shareholders, nor even a celebrity with a reputation to keep, or even a married man with a family to raise.
And it’s us nobodies who pose the greatest threat to Tobacco Control. Particularly if we’re nobodies who write blogs every day, telling our own personal truth. Or nobodies who tweet or post comments or write letters. Or nobodies who resist in their own chosen way, whatever it might be. Or even nobodies who just carry on smoking.
Everybody else – everybody who’s somebody – has got something to lose, and they’re all too frightened to step out of line, lest they get demonised or ostracized or ridiculed. The somebodies are all paralysed with fear. So it’s going to have to be us nobodies that help them out, by showing them how.
And, on reflection, I suspect that the world’s somebodies may well detest Tobacco Control as much as I do. It could well be that the David Camerons and Nick Cleggs and all the rest of these Quislings are absolutely dying to get rid of these Nazis, but dare not attempt it, and so fraternise with them.
But the more people who are demonised by Tobacco Control and its other healthist affiliates, the more people there will be with nothing to lose. It’s one reason why I think it was a strategic error by Tobacco Control to demonise not just tobacco (a plant), and tobacco companies (an industry), but also the world’s 1.5 billion smokers, all of whom are now outcasts and nobodies, and have nothing to lose.
And Tobacco Control are in a very exposed situation, given that more or less all their claims are outright lies that are only sustained by a captive media and a captive political class and a captive medical profession. They have been running a gigantic confidence trick. And time is running out for them.
I was watching a documentary about the emperor Caligula – described as the personification of evil -today. It described how, after making an initial good impression in Rome, he made more and more enemies after insulting and degrading and murdering many Romans. But the Roman senate and the noble families were all too scared to do anything about it. They had too much to lose by opposing him. And so it was a few nobodies that finally stabbed him to death in the cryptoporticus beneath the Palatine hill. One of them was the chief of the praetorian guard, who had himself been regularly insulted and humiliated by Caligula. They were people who had nothing to lose.
Tobacco Control is the modern personification of evil. It insults and degrades millions of ordinary people. It shatters communities. It bankrupts pubs and cafes. And it robs and cheats and lies. It’s a modern Caligula. And it will be defeated by nobodies who have nothing left to lose.