From Chris Snowdon:
Pupils are set to be turned away from tills and the addictive drinks removed completely from general display, with sales assistants fetching individual cans from back rooms for adult customers.
The ‘addictive’ drinks in this case are caffeine-rich energy drinks. But they might equally well have been Coca Cola or lemonade or ginger beer.
I’m beginning to think that if anyone likes anything enough to buy it regularly, they qualify as ‘addicts’. And that ‘addiction’ is really just a way of expressing disapproval for something some people don’t like.
So Beatles or Rolling Stones fans could be disapprovingly described as Beatles or Rolling Stones addicts.
I suppose that it’s only natural, when you find people enjoying doing something you don’t like doing, to conclude that they are some way deranged. Or that they don’t really like it, but only pretend to like it, because everybody else is pretending to like it too.
It’s the same with football fans. They could be called football addicts. What a bizarre thing for anyone to enjoy watching, a bunch of over-grown schoolboys kicking a ball around! Why should anyone like that? They can’t possibly like it. They must only buy tickets and watch football matches because everybody else is doing it, and they don’t want to be left out. They can’t really want to do that, can they? It’s only because of evil football pushers like FIFA that they’ve become addicted to this pointless game.
[the] claim that people do the opposite of what they really, truly want to do has been the calling card of prohibitionists through the ages.
Like chocolate, or bacon, or pizza? If you do, you’re an addict. Same with Shakespeare and Leonardo do Vinci. And smoking cigarettes and drinking beer and watching movies. They’re all addictions.
Maybe it’s that prohibitionists are people who never really like anything much. They don’t like beer or cigarettes. And they don’t like chocolate or bacon or pizza. And they don’t like poetry or art. And they don’t like swimming or sun-bathing. You name it, they don’t much like it. And they can’t understand why anyone else should like what they don’t like. They see it as a form of madness. And then they try to stop people enjoying what they shouldn’t/mustn’t/can’t really enjoy. For theirs is perhaps a terminal boredom with absolutely everything: nothing excites them at all. They are completely disenchanted.
And they’re the same people who detest what they call ‘consumerism’ and ‘consumer society’. For consumers, as they see them, are people who compulsively buy things they don’t really need or want. The ‘consumer’ is addicted to shopping. And he or she is only manipulated into buying useless things by skilful advertising pushers. And the anti-consumerists would really like to close down consumer society, and stop people buying anything at all.
And if the anti-consumerist prohibitionists hate beer and cigarettes above all, it’s because, of all the useless things that people buy, beer and cigarettes are the most useless of all.
After all, what do the beer and cigarette addicts do? They just sit drinking their beer and smoking their cigarettes, and it’s a complete waste of their time, and of everybody else’s time as well. Why should it be tolerated? It’s the most pointless activity in which anyone could ever engage. It’s almost as pointless as football. Or cricket. Or the Beatles. Or Shakespeare. Or all those damn paintings stuck up on the walls inside the National Gallery.
For them, everything is addiction. Liking anything at all is addiction. It starts with beer and cigarettes, and it moves on to soft drinks and sugar and chocolate and meat and salt. And then it extends to holidays and tourism and cars and roads and jet planes. And armchairs and televisions and cushions and curtains and shoes and socks and trousers and Christmas cards. And it’s all addictive behaviour which must be stopped.
And the green world to which they aspire is one from which all the addictive non-stick saucepans and fedora hats and over-stuffed sofas and half-timbered houses and one-way roads have been eradicated, and the world has been returned to the original green purity and simplicity from which it was corrupted when people first got addicted to clothes and shoes and houses and roads and music and poetry and video games.
And all that’s left are the animals that are addicted to eating plants and breathing air, and all the plants are addicted to sunlight and water and carbon dioxide. Which they’ll all have to be weaned off, now that they want to ban carbon dioxide too.
They are not just anti-smoking: they are anti-life. And not just anti-human life, but anti all the forms of life that have ever lived.