More Stuff I Read Today

Via Dave Hitt on Facebook, Christopher Hitchens on smoking bans:

There used to be areas, like the West Village in New York or North Beach in San Francisco, that are now dull and boring and have to be policed. And I think that’s a terrible loss. I write better when I have a cigarette and a drink. I’m more fun to be with—other people seem less boring. The life of bohemia, of the small cafe and the little bar that never quite closes, is essential to cultural production. It may seem like a small thing. It doesn’t add very much to the GNP. But if you take it away, you may not know what you’ve lost until it’s too late.

But suppose all this was really a good idea—people might live longer. Suppose all that was really true. There would still be the question of enforcement, that awkward little bit that comes between your conception of utopia and your arrival there. The enforcement bit. You could appoint regulators and inspectors to enforce the law. It would take quite a lot of them, but you could do it. There are such people. I know about them because they’ve come after me.

My editor, Graydon Carter, the splendid editor of Vanity Fair, and I were having a cigarette in his office. And someone on our staff—it’s not very nice to think about it—was kind enough to drop a dime on us. And round the guys came. “You’re busted!” These people are paid by the city, which evidently has no better use for its police.

I think that’s bad enough. But then Graydon went on holiday, and I went back to Washington. And his office was empty. But they came round again and they issued him another ticket because he had on his desk an object that could have been used as an ashtray. In his absence. With no one smoking. But there are officials who have time enough to come round and do that.

The worst part is that the staff has to become the enforcers. The waitresses have to become the enforcers. The maitre d’ has to become the enforcer. He has to act as the mayor’s representative. Because it’s he who is going to be fined, not you. If you break the law in his bar, he is going to have to pay.

So everyone is made into a snitch. Everyone is made into an enforcer. And everyone is working for the government. And all of this in the name of our health.

And in respect of the killing of Eric Garner:

harsanyi

And 6 myths that people believed about alcohol during Prohibition:

1. ALCOHOL TURNS BLOOD INTO WATER

2. MERELY SMELLING ALCOHOL COULD DEFORM UNBORN CHILDREN

3. SOME BOOTLEG WINES WERE MADE WITH COCKROACHES

4. MOST BEER DRINKERS DIE OF DROPSY

5. ALCOHOL CAN GIVE YOU A 25-POUND LIVER

6. DRUNKARDS’ BRAINS CAN BE USED AS TORCHES

I got invited to the Institute of Ideas. I’m glad I didn’t go. What Christopher Snowdon says in the first section made perfect sense. But the woman who spoke after him said she thought it was a good thing to have a nanny state making decisions for people about stuff like smoking, because it allowed them to concentrate on more important questions. And the guy who spoke after her said that a lot of people simply make the wrong choices, and so the state had to step in. I stopped listening after that.

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24 Responses to More Stuff I Read Today

  1. cherie79 says:

    I loved Christopher Hitchins and he died as he lived true to himself to the end. How he could have a brother like Peter is a mystery. We get more like the old East Germany every day.

    • I’m sure Peter thought the same! Christopher was correct in this instance, of course, but even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

      When it comes to freedom, Peter is far more attuned than his brother was. I have just written about the dangers of humanists at Leg-iron’s:

      …This is why the Marxist-Leninists in charge must also destroy the national, if nominal, religion, as Judeo-Christian ethics were the foundation of our morals, laws and institutions. That’s no good when you want people’s behaviour to degenerate and you want to create confusion to produce a socialist dystopia, so you must replace God with other things; crusades like healthism and environmentalism and ‘equality’ and other cults specially created for the “enlightened” ones – the “free-thinkers”* – to their spirituality

      *Some evolutionists say that there is no such thing as freewill, as our brains are just obeying the laws of physics and chemistry, yet Dawkins’ lot brag about being “free-thinkers”. Having tried to debate with them for a few years, I can promise you that the majority of them have bought into this cult of free-thinking atheism hook, line and sinker. Their hubris and assuredness make militant humanists so dangerous (and why the State rubbishes religion at every opportunity) because they truly *believe* that their religion is correct (and evolution has been described as a fully-fledged alternative to Christianity by leading atheist, Michael Ruse) and everyone must abide by it.

      Historically, Christians and others have been beaten into submission by this way of thinking, but if we evolved from non-living chemicals and our brains are just computers made of meat then why should they be rational and why should one group’s computers be considered more trustworthy than all the other groups’? That’s “Animal Farm”, isn’t it?

      • Edgar says:

        ” if … our brains are just computers made of meat then why should they be rational and why should one group’s computers be considered more trustworthy than all the other groups’?” Our brains are ‘rational’ because our brains have defined ‘rational’ to be the way our brains work. Unfortunately, some of the machines have defects and they do not understand the rationality that others do. A typical defect is the ability to believe in impossible phenomena and to justify this with mystical bullshit.

        • You always say things like this, Edgar, but you never seem to understand. If our brains all work by the same means then you have no justification for defining rationality or for saying that your beliefs are right and mine are wrong.

  2. Tony says:

    Somewhat off topic but rather fun:

  3. Smoking Lamp says:

    I certainly miss Christopher Hitchens, and like him I miss smoking in bars in Greenwich Village and North Beach. I also miss smoking in bars in Washington, DC, Chicago and just about everywhere else. I also miss the smoking cabin on the Staten Island Ferry and smoking cars on trains and smoking areas inside airport security (airport bars were a special treat).

    In warm climates like Los Angels and Phoenix it wasn’t so bad when they banned indoor smoking since there always was a smoking patio. In fact the smoking patios were always busy (filled with both smokers and non-smokers) while the indoor seating areas were and still are usually deserted. Sadly, smoking patios are now becoming a thing of the past too.

    I especially miss the ash trays on the tables at Starbucks. Now, you have to take your coffee around the corner and down the street (while the tables are often empty in the blowing wind). You can’t even smoke in many hotel rooms, so you go outside next to the trash dumpster in the cold or rain. Just a few years ago you could smoke at the hotel bar. Complaints to Starbucks, Marriott, Ritz Carlton, Hilton and other corporate entities go unheard.

    In yesterday’s thread I recall seeing the comment “resistance is futile.” I hope that was sarcasm, but for the short term it may be accurate. But only for the short term. At some point the Tobacco Control conspiracy will unravel. Likely because the lifestyle monitors will extend their grips into too many areas and frustration will rise. This could be the case with the anti-vaping hysteria. Or perhaps enough people will see it was all just a grab for control by a few and the evil henchmen in the forefront were just opportunists enhancing their own power.

    • smokingscot says:

      “Likely because the lifestyle monitors will extend their grips into too many areas and frustration will rise.”

      Agree with your overall sentiment. From what I’ve read about in California – and see here in Europe (UK in particular) – is they invariably enter into politics. That raises the stakes enormously and needs a spokesperson. Mr. Glantz was all over television, radio and youtube. That enabled MSM to scrutinise Mr. G and found he was little more than a Snake Oil Salesman.

      The difficulty with people like him and Mr. Chapman is they’re really not very nice people and will never have the argument nor charisma to appeal to a broad audience.

      Trouble is they can’t be touched. They’re ensconced in Universities and their ultimate source of funding is opaque (read Big Pharma).

      I’ve always felt it’s the very best thing that can happen – full blown exposure.. and with their always needing funding, this is likely to be a necessity. Raise their profile, connect the dots and suddenly ordinary people see it’s their money that’s going into this large black hole that’s called “tobacco control”.

      In the UK they tend toward Lords and Peers, Dames and Ladies they nurture in the House of Lords. Increasingly we see individuals from the “medical” hierarchy being elevated to the HoL – and to a man or woman, they toe the anti-smoking line, which means more of our money going to “smoking cessation”.

      There’s a guy called Lord Darzi who wants smoking banned in public parks in London. Check out the Honourable Ara Warkes Darzi, Baron Darzi of Denham and you’ll see his background is such that he hasn’t a clue about the social mores of the UK having spent the first 17 years of his life in his native Iraq.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ara_Darzi,_Baron_Darzi_of_Denham

      But he’s very much a part of the “establishment” and – as such – we have to endure his patronising waffle. Expect to see lots more from Darzi. After all there were many strings pulled to get him this Peerage.

      Couple of days back we chatted about the proposed “levy” on tobacco companies. Arnott wants to raise £380 million a year to help stop children from starting to smoke. Sounds plausible, until you suss that Britain only produces about 800,000 children every year – and less than 15% of them might be tempted as children to start.

      What Arnott really wants is to top up the coffers of her main sponsors, with CRUK, Lung and Heart foundation being top of the pile. They’re in deep financial trouble, in part because they’ve been outed as “fake charities” (as indeed is ASH). Donations are way down and this initiative is so transparent it deserves far greater scrutiny.

      Behind this there will be some front guy from the HoL. For sure. Bought and paid for by Tobacco Control.

      As I said, all we can do is join up the dots and bring it public attention. Certainly with respect to Fake Charities and individuals like Stephen Williams, I’m satisfied it works, though in the case of Williams, I’ll have to wait until May to have that confirmed.

  4. Lepercolonist says:

    “So everyone is made into a snitch. Everyone is made into an enforcer. And everyone is working for the government. And all of this in the name of our health.”

    This reminds me of the smoking ban snitches at my place of employment. Soon after the ban, smokers had to go outside. Some of these smoke ‘breaks’ were unauthorized. These schadenfreude snitches would report our ‘illegal’ behavior to upper management. I swear they derived malicious enjoyment from the suffering of smokers. Most snitches remained anonymous.

    • It seems to me that people across the board are losing their sense of empathy and of perspective; of right and wrong; the willingness or ability to forgive and to live and let live.

      I have been needing help lately and even those people you think are there to help: doctors, charities and the Citizen’s Advice Bureau have all been stumbling blocks. An old friend whose daughter was seriously betrayed by the local doctors reckons that there is some sort of NHS/Masonic conspiracy going on.

      It sounds far-fetched, but when I think that I threatened the doctors with legal action and the charity which initially helped me and has the NHS logo (among others) on their literature offered me tons of help then suddenly it all stopped and they lied saying that I hadn’t adhered properly to their rules. “Check your emails,” I was told. I did and they prove I was lied to.

      These doctors are also very regular church-goers. One even preaches (he should make CDs and sell them as cures for insomnia). Many so-called Christians are also Freemasons. It is said that you can’t be a Church of Scotland elder without being a Mason.

      So that’s two people I know round here who have been sacked by the NHS and cannot get another job with them anywhere else. They were both once highly paid professionals. For years one hasn’t worked at all and the other has gone to college to learn hairdressing. Once your name has been blacklisted, you’re finished. It looks that way even when you dare argue with their hopeless ‘doctors’.

      Ironically, there was a huge fuss earlier in the year when the local Health Board appointed an Indian anaesthetist who had been found to have committed a string of sexual assaults at previous hospitals. That’s all right then, as long as he didn’t rub up his NHS chummies the wrong way. In the end he didn’t take up his post.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Ass Kissing assholes come in many forms but its always for a reason,to satisfy their lust of watching others suffer at their hand…………….

      No different than a kid that would torture small animals for the fun of it.

      It is in my eyes the same as all anti-smokers………they enjoy it!

      When in the Navy we had snitches BLANKET PARTIES were arranged so the snitch could never identify the aggrieved.

  5. beobrigitte says:

    I write better when I have a cigarette and a drink. I’m more fun to be with—other people seem less boring.
    I don’t know about writing but I have to agree with the next sentence; I am more relaxed and other people do seem less boring. Now I have to leave my drink inside a pub and find myself being kicked out if I wish to smoke. So I have stopped going out.

    But suppose all this was really a good idea—people might live longer.
    Can someone tell me WHAT FOR? We are living longer NOW (despite many years of smoking “everywhere”) and HOW MANY of these very old people do have a full, DIGNIFIED, LIFE?

    So everyone is made into a snitch. Everyone is made into an enforcer. And everyone is working for the government. And all of this in the name of our health.
    That is what the prohibitionists want. Friends turning in friends; children turning in their parents.
    If this is health I don’t want it.

    With respect to the killing of Eric Garner:
    Other than inconveniencing poor people, sin taxes offer us nothing. Well, maybe a little tax revenue. A bit of social engineering. And sometimes a death.
    He was supposed to have sold lose cigarettes on the streets. But… but… on visiting the US last year I was very often offered $1 for a cigarette when I was seen smoking!!! As it happens, I never took the money, I gave the cigarettes away.
    Had I sold any of them, would the anti-smoking police have jumped me, too?
    Clearly there is a HUGE market for cigarettes in New York!!!

    I got invited to the Institute of Ideas. I’m glad I didn’t go.
    Institute of ideas?

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      It seems Rameses lived to 90 back 4000-5000 years ago………..
      Then we have the fact that our found fathers lived to fairly ripe old ages and they smoked too!

      As for general population lifespans going longer its simple,better diagnostic testing for problems and treatments.

      Besides curing diseases that in the 1800s were killing so many like cholera and typhoid!

      Lifestyles wars isn’t about disease its a contrivance to take over all of us,ie control and nothing more!

    • beobrigitte says:

      Then we have the fact that our found fathers lived to fairly ripe old ages and they smoked too!
      The baby-boomers are living longer. NOW.

      The war on lifestyle kills all.

  6. harleyrider1978 says:

    It took 13 years for prohibition to end but it took the Nazi Progressives back then from 1860 until 1919 to get a law against it. The same applied to tobacco too.

    We have the internet today and with it we can within micro-seconds fight back………..

    Did our fore bearers have that at there disposal.

    It means we can turn the tide fight by fight………..How many times have you seen someone using what some of us have written in a comments run,Ive seen it lots and lots.

    When you see that you don’t even have to attack it yourself.
    Then we see its an international cartel via the UN the WHO and a bundle of Billionaires dumping cash to keep the game alive. Bloomberg has absolutely no qualms about paying bribes even openly to get his BS bans pushed thru.

    Just because you see China,Brazil and a few others get bans in place remember this they were very very dragging heels doing it………..Even in Russia.

    Most of the smaller countries and even in the larger ones they passed the law simply to satisfy the FCTC mandates and for no other reason than to keep a good faith door open to IMF and WORLD BANK money…………

    Now add in that everybody across the spectrum has become a victim of public health in one form or another……….Hense why UKIP and others like them have won massive elections. But theres more reasons economics being another. Whens the last time you saw a real government created econ report that was real!

    They’ve lied about everything and I mean everything forever and even more so in the last 7-8 years because they had more to hide!

    Weve won the shs war that’s apparent even the die hards wont defend it long………….

    Daily we have reports from media being put out against the bans and the junk science.

    Im not optimistic at all,Im a realist and I know for a fact these political agendas have a lifespan and then they die. The more nails I can drive in it across the coffin the quicker it gets buried……………

    Now each and everyday get on your puter find some storys and go kick that ass of theirs.

    That’s how to win……….never give up and never ever give in!

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      In a fight use everything within site to fight em with……………..

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Remember too they have cash but they have a credibility problem these days that just cant be repaired……………….Actually most of them are cash strapped………..

        • Smoking Lamp says:

          I agree they have credibility problems, but they are still gaining momentum. The bans in Brazil and China may have been resisted but in Brazil and Bejing, at least for now, they are being implemented anyway. Outdoor and university bans are gaining traction in the US and there are even bans on hiring smokers being suggested. Beyond that the Tobacco Control lobby has deeper penetration into media. Push back is still small. It is good to get some comments on the news stories, but it would be much better to get leading stories and some tangible roll backs of existing bans. Of course this is hard since the FCTC bans dissent and meets in secret. That is perhaps the first angle to pursue, followed by getting the public to know the actual facts on SHS.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        FCTC GAG ORDERS TO KEEP THE PEOPLE QUIET and have no debate the same as banning commenters…………

        fctc gag order guidelines

        11. The broad array of strategies and tactics used
        by the tobacco industry to interfere with
        the setting and implementing of tobacco control mea
        sures, such as those that Parties to the
        Convention are required to implement, is documented
        by a vast body of evidence. The
        measures recommended in these guidelines aim at pro
        tecting against interference not only by
        the tobacco industry but also, as appropriate, by o
        rganizations and individuals that work to
        further the interests of the tobacco industry.
        12. While the measures recommended in these guideli
        nes should be applied by Parties as
        broadly as necessary, in order best to achieve the
        objectives of Article 5.3 of the Convention,
        Parties are strongly urged to implement measures be
        yond those recommended in these
        guidelines when adapting them to their specific cir
        cumstances.

  7. Yes the Institute of Ideas debate Chris spoke at was irritating, but there were others which you’d have positively enjoyed. I wrote about the day here. You should consider going next time and join a few of us for a beer after.

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