Herd Instinct

Perhaps a herd instinct periodically takes over.

My mother was a bit like his: Peter Hitchens remembers his mother:

Haunted all her life by rationing, she would habitually break a chocolate bar into its smallest pieces. She had also been bombed from the air in Liverpool, and had developed a fatalism to cope with the nightly danger of being blown to pieces, shocking to me then and since.

I am now beset by these ingrained memories of shortage and danger because I seem surrounded by people who think that war might be fun. This seems to happen when wartime generations are pushed aside by their children, who need to learn the truth all over again.

It seemed fairly clear to me from her experiences that war had in fact been a miserable affair of fear, hunger, threadbare darned clothes, broken windows and insolent officials. And that was a victory, more or less, though my father (who fought in it) was never sure of that.

Now I seem surrounded by people who actively want a war with Russia, a war we all might lose. They seem to believe that we are living in a real life Lord Of The Rings, in which Moscow is Mordor and Vladimir Putin is Sauron. Some humorous artists in Moscow, who have noticed this, have actually tried to set up a giant Eye of Sauron on a Moscow tower.

We think we are the heroes, setting out with brave hearts to confront the Dark Lord, and free the saintly Ukrainians from his wicked grasp.

This is all the most utter garbage.

Indeed it is. And what kind of stupid people want war with Russia? Perhaps the same people that Brendan O’Neill sees clamouring for censorship? (And smoking bans, of course.)

So it isn’t only tinpot tyrants that demand censorship and big corporations that comply — Oxford students also clamour, complete with ‘instruments’, for censorship, and Oxford colleges comply. Self-censorship is now such an established Western institution that one of the highest seats of learning in the West practices it.

There are loads of other examples of pressured self-censorship this year, many of them lobbied for by the very same folk now saying ‘WTF’ to Sony. During the Edinburgh Fringe, a theatre dumped an Israeli-funded play in response to a letter-writing campaign by luvvies and daily protests by Israel-bashers. Down Under, the hilariously misnamed Festival of Dangerous Ideas ditched an Islamist speaker who was judged to be just that bit too dangerous by the right-on inhabitants of Twitter.The Economist officially withdrew a controversial book review in response to a ‘Twitter riot’ (that is how one of The Economists’s critics actually referred to the censorious uprising). Colleges in America disinvited controversial speakers in response to students kicking up a fuss, and outrageously Brandeis University cancelled an honorary degree for Ayaan Hirsi Ali after a gaggle of students and tweeters branded her ‘anti-Muslim’. And on it goes.

Where were Obama, David Cameron, George Clooney, the Guardian and the other newly self-styled handwringers over apologetic self-censorship when all of this was happening? They were either keeping schtum, or they were actually in the fray, in the mob, demanding the silencing of offensive material. Which means their slating of Sony rings very hollow, for Sony has only done what it has become absolutely the fashion to do: gag oneself, shut oneself up, censor one’s words and thoughts on the grounds that someone somewhere might be offended.

Self-censorship is the worst form of censorship, for it encourages people to internalise illiberalism. It plants a secret censor in every boardroom and newsroom and gallery and even in people’s minds — an invisible tut-tutter constantly warning us ‘don’t say that’ and ‘don’t show that’ because, in the words of Index on Censorship, there’s ‘the possibility of a hostile response’. It nurtures risk-aversion, even moral cowardice, and it discourages people from taking great leaps of the mind or pushing culture in a new and provocative direction. It stultifies the soul. It hampers the human spirit itself. And worst of all, it inflames the intolerant: the more people self-censor, the more the censorious will demand it, whether it’s Oxford students, Guardian feminists, or foreign tyrants. If Guardians of Peace really is North Korea, then that shows that the West has become so allergic to liberty that even that tyrannical hermit state is taking lessons from us, borrowing from our book of using online intimidation to make offensive speakers apologise and retract.

In 2015, we need more courage, more cojones. We need to stick by what we say and produce, and cultivate a climate in which people feel they can be daring again without having to second-guess ‘the possibility of a hostile response’ or cave in to the offended. We need to rediscover the celebration of courage that was the foundation stone of the Enlightenment. As Kant said: ‘Have the courage to use your own reason… walk firmly.’


About Frank Davis

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29 Responses to Herd Instinct

  1. Tony says:

    As Kant said: ‘Have the courage to use your own reason… walk firmly.’

    The full quote appears to be (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Immanuel_Kant):

    “Enlightenment is man’s leaving his self-caused immaturity. Immaturity is the incapacity to use one’s intelligence without the guidance of another. Such immaturity is self-caused if it is not caused by lack of intelligence, but by lack of determination and courage to use one’s intelligence without being guided by another. Sapere Aude! Have the courage to use your own intelligence! is therefore the motto of the enlightenment. “

    I like the following one too:

    “It is so easy to be immature. If I have a book to serve as my understanding, a pastor to serve as my conscience, a physician to determine my diet for me, and so on, I need not exert myself at all. I need not think, if only I can pay: others will readily undertake the irksome work for me. “

  2. harleyrider1978 says:

    others will readily undertake the irksome work for me. “

    Which is the path to Serfdom they want you to take

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Senator Rand Paul ✔ @SenRandPaul
      Back to grievances. Along with ridiculous wastes of $ we’ve already aired, the gov’t makes some dumb regulations. #AiringOfGrievances

      Senator Rand Paul ✔ @SenRandPaul
      And don’t even try to sell raw milk without a license. #AiringOfGrievances

      14 million hours will be spent every year to make sure you know how many calories are in vending machine food #AiringOfGrievances

      Senator Rand Paul ✔ @SenRandPaul
      By the way that vending machine regulation is from #Obamacare #AiringOfGrievances. But I would still like to blame Nanny Bloomberg

      1:49 PM – 23 Dec 2014

  3. Lepercolonist says:

    When I attended University in the 1960’s the more radical the speaker, the larger the attendance. We were curious to different and unpopular ideas. What’s wrong with this generation ? We did not welcome Vietnam but the Pentagon told us it was necessary. My father, who was a World War 2 veteran, implored that I do not fight in Vietnam. I received a college exemption that may have saved my life.

    I am less patriotic than I have ever been due to these smoking bans. My freedom is vanishing. I noticed that returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are complaining about the lack of good jobs. These veterans applied to a new casino and horse track in my hometown. This Penn National Casino has a total property smoking ban. Also, they are not hiring smokers. Including military veterans. A fine thank you for your sacrifice. The politicians don’t care. Upwards of 40% of these combat veterans are smokers.

    • Frank Davis says:

      My freedom is vanishing.

      My freedom vanished on 1 July 2007. Here in Britain it vanished overnight with the flip of a light switch. And it’s been dark here ever since.

      For me freedom means, at very least, the freedom to sit in a pub and drink a beer and smoke a cigarette, and once that freedom had gone, all freedom had gone.

      On that day, standing outside my local pub, a complete stranger came up to me and said, “It’s not a free country any more.” And he was exactly right.

      At least in America there isn’t the same single light switch that can be flipped. The Founding Fathers seem to have set up enough checks and balances to ensure that Prohibition could be (and actually was) repealed. And smoking bans are a form of neo-Prohibitionism, advancing piecemeal, state by state, city by city across America. Your freedom may be vanishing, but it has not yet completely vanished.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Upwards of 40% of these combat veterans are smokers.

      Theres no specific number put out but in 1990 in my outfit Id say 80% were smokers and when we were homeward bound from deployment the whole damn plane was a smokers paradise and bottles of booze being past around everywhere. That’s was on those stretch 8 aircraft back then.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Something else too,we ran 3 miles 2 times a week and one of tose was with full battle packs. The Skipper/Captain navy would scream to the XO DUTY PACK and Lighter…….

        That was the signal for the tough guys to light up and smoke during the run!

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          Todays Navy Panzi ass Pink panty Brigades and lesbian centers of love! No wonder they want smart weapons,they couldn’t win a war with out them these days.

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    Bankers Brought Rating Agencies ‘To Their Knees’ On Tobacco Bonds

    Wall Street pressed S&P, Moody’s and Fitch to assign more favorable credit ratings to their deals and bragged that the raters complied. Now many of the bonds are headed for default.

    by Cezary Podkul
    ProPublica, Dec. 23, 2014, 1:53 p.m.


  5. harleyrider1978 says:

    (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));
    Post by John Davidson.

  6. Rose says:

    Just to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

    My “computer room” turns back into a spare bedroom in the next couple of hours. : )

  7. harleyrider1978 says:


    Americans emptied their savings accounts to pay for zerocare premiums then add in penalties paid by companies.

    Exposing The Deception: How The US Economy “Grew” By $140 Billion In Q3…

    In other words, US GDP, using pre-revision data, would have been less than 2.5%. But that woul dhardly lead to the euphoric blow-off top rally we have seen today which sent the DJIA for the first time ever above 18,000, which in turn is so critical to boost consumer confidence so Americans will, in real life, do what the BEA hopes they have already done at least on paper, and that is reduce their savings by a whopping 20% at the end of September, or by some $140 billion, to $593 billion in order to spend, spend, spend.

    And the other irony: as the BEA also reported, what did Americans allegedly spend the bulk of their savings on?


    • harleyrider1978 says:

      So in short, today the market is euphoric and hitting all time highs because Americans dug into their savings and spent billions on the “Affordable” Care Act.

      And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the short answer why the US is “growing” when the rest of the world is mired in a triple (or quadruple if one is Japan) recession.

      Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

  8. beobrigitte says:

    Peter Hitchens remembers his mother:

    Haunted all her life by rationing, she would habitually break a chocolate bar into its smallest pieces. She had also been bombed from the air in Liverpool, and had developed a fatalism to cope with the nightly danger of being blown to pieces, shocking to me then and since.

    I do recognise in part my own mum, even though she was a youngster during the war (born in 1923).
    She sure kept to the habit of rationing almost everything and horded food stuff. Our cellar was full of fruit and veg in glasses and there was this huge wooden box full with potatoes.
    The only thing she spent money on was wood and coal. I do remember her telling me that one of the neighbours during the war had snitched on my granddad after an unfortunate episode involving red cabbage being stuck to their ceiling…. My granddad had to part with his wood stash and the Winter was bitter. So my mother vowed never ever to be freezing cold at home again. Our house most certainly was warm every Winter!!!
    Another thing I remember is that when there was a thunderstorm during the night, we kids were woken up, dressed and then we all sat in the cellar with a burning candle. My mother was petrified of noises in the night.

    Now I seem surrounded by people who actively want a war with Russia, a war we all might lose. They seem to believe that we are living in a real life Lord Of The Rings, in which Moscow is Mordor and Vladimir Putin is Sauron.

    That there seems to be this general impression that most of our politicians indeed believe those who think that we live in a version of Lord of the Rings – ‘Sssssssmokersssss’ are bad, tobacco control whispers, and having wormed it’s way into ‘Russsssssssssia’, it’s now time to return to the ‘Sssssssstatessssssss’ to continue whispering into politicians ears. Perhaps this is the plan – occupy politicians so they lose track of everything else?

    In 2015, we need more courage, more cojones. We need to stick by what we say …

    Indeed. And it’s getting easier every day! People are getting fed up with some ****wit Professor in Food and Obesity, who told this morning on the BBC news that overweight people who claim that they are healthy, are in denial. He thinks people cannot be trusted to manage their own lives.

    It’s getting time for collective disobedience.

    *Merry Christmas* to everyone!

    • carol2000 says:

      I think people should aim higher than just disobedience. They’ll just ignore that, and count on people to get tired of being ignored and give up. People should be demanding that the quacks, frauds and charlatans who falsely blame peoples’ lifestyles for diseases that are really caused by infection should at a minimum, be removed from government positions, and that the government be forbidden to fund any such activities. That will make a real difference – otherwise they’ll just treat people like balky children throwing a tantrum.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Carol I agree, but whats it take or that to happen when both political parties are like the same thing and doing each others bidding.

        Only one thing forces the type of change we need that your speaking of.

        Revenue losses and so deep the nannies get tossed under the bus and smokers welcomed back as part of the saviors of the defunct bankrupted government.

        We already know theres no such thing as health savings and they know it too.

        They also know that cutting welfare or anything like that will lead to total KAOS for the government.

        TC Nazis cost governments everything.

        Enforcement costs
        Illicit black markets taking billions away in lost revenues
        Then the real economic losses of outlawed smokers from traditionally smoker havens that have shutdown or lost so much business they might as well have.

        What Im saying is the same reasons prohibition failed is the same reasons Tobacco Control will fail.

        Time is the only figure we have to count. The rest will happen anyway as the government digs its hole deeper and deeper into oblivion.

        They cant keep the fraud up much longer on the real economics going on nobody can.

        • carol2000 says:

          You obviously don’t agree, because not only do you never attack their scientific fraud, you praise the junk – providing that it “proves” what you want it to (the IARC study, for example). And your fantasy of revenue losses magically saving smokers’ rights is nothing but pure wishful thinking. There were wealthy and powerful people against Prohibition, but there are no such people for smokers. With opponents like you, they can get away with it until hell freezes over.

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          Yo Carol alcohol Prohibition was a constitutional amendment.Its not a local or statewide ban like they had before and they all failed before. Ask yourself WHY THEY FAILED!

          Your thoughts on rich strong men is no more a reason for it to work today as back then either. They had Carnegie rothschilds,vanderbilts,kellogs all of them and the worse of the lot………….ROCKEFELLOR who was so pissed with prohibitions failure he financed a new plan of attack the ACS ALA AHA…………you know what they are doing right!

          Of course its going to fail and likely it will fail without the government even owning uo to the junk science at all. It will just become politically a liability to keep pushing it as times get harder and harder.

        • carol2000 says:

          As I said, your fantasy of revenue losses magically saving smokers’ rights is nothing but pure wishful thinking. (Plus, they believe their own official propaganda that reducing smoking saves government money so they’re impervious to claims of revenue losses.) And as I pointed out, there were wealthy and powerful people against Prohibition, but there are no such people for smokers. Repeat: THERE ARE NO SUCH PEOPLE SUPPORTING SMOKERS. And your history about “Rockefellor” (whose name you can’t even spell right) is bogus because he was involved with the ASCC long before Prohibition ended.

  9. Tom says:

    Just an FYI, but at another online blog, someone, a smoke-hater, and out of context with the subject of the blog, took liberty to foul-name-call smokers, then went on to specifically bad-name call to FD Journal and the DP blog masters. If you’re not aware of it, this sits unanswered, at this location.

    (I guess someone is sitting at home, Christmas approaching, is scared stiff they might be tempted to smoke and so they are sitting there thinking up mealy-mouthed insults to hurl at anyone not anti-smoking ban – might even be one of the big name anti-smoking lunatics him or herself who did the post.)


    d0e593b8-5b8e-11e4-9bc6-636bc186978424 December 2014 at 00:09

    A similar one was also banned, Snow White (Debs Arnot) and the seven smokers.








    Unfortunately this offended smokerloonies who claim nobody has died becaUSE of smoking ,also Dick Puddlecote knows a smoker at the allotments who is 90 and is still alive and kicking.

    Simon Clark also objected to toothrot because non smokers can also get it.

    Frank wrong -un Davis , Dictator and leader of the (banging on about the smoking ban) cult has promised to “retaliate” against anyone who shows the film as its part of a conspiracy against smokers and its beloved and respected wise leader .

    Merry Christmas


    Just letting you know, in case you’ve not noticed it yet, kind of hangs there, like a sore thumb.

  10. Lepercolonist says:

    A 2014 British movie ‘Dom Hemingway’ features Jude Law as chain-smoking safecracker who is released from prison after 12 years. He enters a London pub and lights a cigarette. The bartender says ‘No smoking’. Jude says ‘ What? This is a f***ing pub for chrissakes ! He proceeds to light-up anyway. Made my day.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Many years ago in 1980 a lady in her late 50s working the navy exchange told me their after tobacco prohibition again. I had no idea what she even meant at the time,but I told her I will be damned if somebodys going to tell me where I can smoke and cant………..

      I told her then and their Id fight em til the bitter end,so far I have.

  11. harleyrider1978 says:

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