Two Conceptions of Society

I usually think of myself as a night owl. For example, I usually write this blog after midnight. Right now it’s just after midnight.

But in recent times I’ve been finding myself waking up in the morning with an idea about something, very often something to do with smoking bans. And a couple of days back I woke up with an idea which I’d like to reconstruct before I forget it:

I’m very much an individualist. I see the world as made up of individual people. And I see ‘society’ as being all the connections between those people, like a big web, almost like an internet. Society, in my view, is made up of people. They’re the bricks, and they’re bound together by the mortar of friendship, family, creed, nationality, and so on.

But the tobacco controllers (and all the other controllers) seem to see things a bit differently. They seem to see ‘society’ as a kind of separate entity, like a house or something. And they see people as primarily members of society, like people who live in houses. So ‘society’ is like a huge building that everyone lives inside.

For them this ‘society’ is the primary entity, and it is from this society that individuals learn everything they ever know, like their names and the language they speak and pretty much everything else they know about anything. The individual is the creation of society. And so the individual is secondary.

And just like engineers engage in large scale engineering projects, like building houses and cities and roads and railways and dams, the controllers see themselves as engineers engaged in another kind of large scale engineering project: they’re trying to re-engineer ‘society’. They’re engaged in a social engineering project just like other engineers are engaged in civil engineering projects. And specifically, they’re trying to make society ‘smoke-free’, and also ‘carbon-neutral’, and in Europe they’re trying to construct a European Union that is a new superstate. There are a whole bunch of social engineering projects under way at the moment. And the goal is to make the huge building called ‘society’ smoke-free and carbon-neutral and have a little circlet of stars as the flag on top of it.

I can sort of see what they’re trying to do. There’s this thing called ‘society’ and they’re trying to re-organise and re-engineer it just like civil engineers drive tunnels and canals through hills as they reshape geography. And just like civil engineers with mountains, they see society as something that can be chopped up and moved around and reshaped. So they bring in smoking bans and all sorts of other rules and regulations to bulldoze people into conformity with their plans, just like civil engineers blast and bulldoze the surface of the earth.

Underlying it all is the idea that ‘society’ exists unconditionally as a monolithic entity, however much it gets chopped up and bulldozed, just like the material world that the civil engineers are chopping up and bulldozing exists as part of a monolithic entity called the Earth, which is a 6000 km radius sphere of solid matter. More or less whatever you do to the Earth,  it will remain. And society is the same. However much you chop it up and bulldoze it, there always be a society, just like there’ll always be an Earth.

Anyway, that’s how they seem to think. They see themselves as social engineers no different from civil engineers or mechanical or electrical engineers. And they see themselves as just as well-meaning and progressive and as scientific as any of those sorts of engineers. It’s just that they’re re-wiring and rebuilding ‘society’ rather than a city or a house or a ship.

But I don’t think the way they think. For while I think that there is such a thing as society, I don’t think it’s an indestructible monolithic entity-in-itself. That’s because I see society as made of bonds of one sort or other tying people together. And, the way I see it, when the ties binding people together are broken, society disintegrates. Because society is nothing but the ties binding people together.

If they’re right about the monolithic nature of society, it will endure more or less whatever is done to it. It can be chopped up and bulldozed and relocated and buried as much as the social engineers like, and there will still be the thing called ‘society’ at the end of it. People may not like the re-engineering work while it’s being done, just like they don’t like a new road or railway or canal being built a few hundred yards away. But they’ll get used to it in the end,  And they’ll come to love the new smoke-free and carbon-neutral society with the EU  flag fluttering over it, just like they soon get to like the new roads and railways even if they protested against them at first.

But if I’m right, all these utopian social engineering schemes are not ‘improving’ society at all: they are instead destroying society. It is, after all, my own experience of the social engineering project that is the smoking ban: it shattered the communities of which I was a member. In fact, I regard myself as having been expelled from society. And the same process is at work in all the other social engineering projects. The EU social engineering project is shattering the ties that bind nations and peoples together. And the dystopian future that beckons would seem to be one in which ‘society’, as a network of ties between individuals, has ceased to exist.

The contrast between the two ideas of society, mine and theirs, crystallised into the idea of a sculptor. The social engineers see themselves as being like sculptors who set  out to give shape and form and meaning to a block of marble (i.e. unreconstructed ‘society’), and create something new and beautiful. But I think that, as they rain down their blows on society, chiselling holes in it, they’re just going shatter the whole block, and end up with a pile of rubble. Because societies are not like marble. If anything, they’re more like sand or water. Or flesh and blood. And so all their social engineering projects will end in disaster, because they are based upon radical misconceptions about the nature and durability of the thing called ‘society’.

Such was the thought I woke up with a day or so back,

About Frank Davis

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34 Responses to Two Conceptions of Society

  1. Some other Tom says:

    That’s actually quite a beautiful analogy. I spent a fair bit of my twenties reading Nietzsche and Ayn Rand and have a similar view about society and collective entities; that is they are only a phenomena which occurs when people want to coexist or trade or share.

    Yet collectivists always seem to view that illusory amorphous thing as a solid entity which one must contribute to, conform to, change personal behaviors to evolve it for the better…

  2. The rights of the one are what makes the rights of all strong………….When one persons rights are trampled on everyones rights are trampled upon……..

  3. society is a natural happening in its own right. The Bible was the foundation stones for todays society and laws. Its what took man from roaming wanderers into humans living together in cities or towns……….without the basic laws of man nobody could coexist. The bibles laws didn’t just happen they are written from mans basic human nature and tendencies.

    1. you don’t go wife stealing,its a crime against humanity besides another man.
    2 ya don’t steal……….
    3 private property rights
    4 public protection from criminal elements ie also self defense
    5. freedom to smoke or consume and freely trade with anyone.
    6. Cultural realities that we aren’t all the same but require a certain amount of live and let live. But always remember our country and culture is ours not theirs. We respect theirs in their country.

    7. If they fuck with you, you have every right to give them equal shit back…………..eye for an eye

  4. Greek banks ‘close to collapse’ as debt soars
    Greek debt costs leapt yesterday as the French central bank warned that the banking sector in Athens is on the verge of collapse. The euro fell 0.6 per cent to $1.074 after International Monetary Fund and G20 meetings in Washington held out little progress on the prospect of Greece satisfying creditors to unlock €7.2 billion in financial aid by the end of the month.


  5. Lepercolonist says:

    “In fact, I regard myself as having been expelled from society.”

    Very well stated. I also feel like a leper. Some of the activities that I previously enjoyed before the smoking ban: socializing at the local bar, billiards,darts, attending sports events,attending outdoor concerts,bowling,poker, betting horses, etc.,etc. I refuse to participate if I am no longer welcome.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I’m the same. I had a slightly different set of activities. I no longer spend much time in libraries, art galleries, museums, cinemas. Because I’m no longer welcome. Why should I want to go where I’m no longer welcome?

  6. John Watson says:

    I am not at all sure ‘society’ is a solid thing at all, that it can be shaped by a few rabid zealots. It is composed of many smaller societies each with its own functions, customs and in some cases laws.

    In many ways (from the perspective of a mechanical engineer anyway) it is an engine. There are the working parts, valves, pistons, crankshaft.
    The fuel system, injectors or carburettor’s and fuel lines,
    The cooling system, the radiator and tubing or simple exchange of heat by airflow.
    The Electrical system, battery, generator fuses and wiring.
    The lubrication system which keeps the working parts free to work.
    What happens when any one of these societies within the engine society fails? The engine itself will not work.
    If it runs out of fuel (which is like currency) it has no currency with which to run or is bankrupt.
    If the cooling system fails (law and order) society overheats and breaks down.
    If the electrical system (incentive) fails the engine will not start at all.
    If the working parts (the working man) become worn then the engines performance declines and if left unattended inevitably fail through breakage or abuse.
    The most important part is the lubrication system (relaxation, the oiling of parts that enables free motion without friction such as entertainment, alcohol and smoking) if the oil dries up or gets too dirty the engine will overheat, the coolant system breaks down as it can no longer cope and the working parts seize up so removing entertainment, alcohol and smoking kills two major societies in the greater society which kills society as a whole.

    It is this that ASH, Smokefree and our Politicians (the electrical system that controls everything else) is doing to society and a good garage mechanic would replace the malfunctioning parts with new parts that make the engine run smoothly, more importantly they’d change the oil using the proper type (one which permits entertainment, alcohol and smoking thus lubricating the engine) and not a an incompatible oil. which is in use right now.

  7. waltc says:

    I echo the other Tom in that the words ” beautiful analogy” were the first thing that crossed my mind. As I read, too, I free associated, thinking first of the …was it 19th c ?…Chinese custom of binding women’s feet–forcing them– literally molding them–to fit some imposed ideal and in the process of course deforming and crippling them. But all totalitarian top-down societies do that one way or another. Deform and cripple human nature to make it “fit” the social paradigm. The soviets tried it with lithium to create right-mindedness. (You will love Big Brother.)

    I also thought, less abstractly, of Robert Moses ( no relation to the biblical figure but he seemed to think so) who restructured New York City by brute force in the 1950s, razing entire enclaves of ethic and cultural neighborhoods, destroying the heart and soul of the city (at least to Jane Jacobs’ mind) to create highways and clover leafs and the cold monotonous impersonal high rise street scape of today. I believe too that the destruction and replacement of a human scale environment itself changed the character of the people who live in it, made life and people colder, more impersonal, less creative, less eccentric and individualistic; more monolithic. I once looked at photographs of Leningrad and thought I understood how the individual could be dwarfed, intimidated, made to feel irrelevant and insignificant, by the looming architecture and the wide, wide plazas. And it just this minute occurs to me –hadn’t thought it till right now–that maybe the environmental engineers know exactly what they’re doing.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Robert Moses ( no relation to the biblical figure but he seemed to think so) who restructured New York City by brute force in the 1950s, razing entire enclaves of ethic and cultural neighborhoods, destroying the heart and soul of the city (at least to Jane Jacobs’ mind)

      Town planning is also large scale social engineering. We’ve had quite a lot of that in the UK as well. But at least in that case the planners seem to learn from their mistakes. Back in the 50s the fad was for Corbusier-style tower blocks set in featureless parkland road networks. They were thoroughly socially dysfunctional, with muggers lurking in their ill-lit corridors. But thanks to people like Jane Jacobs, this seems to have been recognised, and many of these housing developments are now being demolished. They are being replaced by low-rise developments which I call Toytown architecture, because it looks like it’s been built by kids with coloured bricks.

      But at least they learned something, and did something about it. The current bunch of social planners don’t seem capable of learning anything – because learning means recognising when they’ve made a mistake.

      • Frank Davis says:

        I think there’s a key difference between the town planners of the 50s and today’s social engineers. And that is that the town planners weren’t trying to reconstruct human nature and create a New Man (and Woman) like today’s social engineers are. The town planners weren’t trying to exclude people. In fact they were trying to put affordable roofs over everyone’s heads when they bulldozed the slums. But the new social engineers are trying to drive certain kinds of people – e.g. smokers – out of society. And in the case of people like me (and Lepercolonist and Rose) they’ve been very successful. They’re not trying to rebuild cities: they’re trying to change the people who live in them.

        • The Nazis weren’t so worried about the corporate interest doing their bidding they had them under control long ago. It was the mm and pops they were after as they are the ones who filled the void for smokers when everyone else kicked them out……

          The first act to destroy mom and pop businesses was the EPAs new replacement of all gasoline tanks in the ground to their standards or above ground………..No mom and pop station save a few could afford the nearly 200-300 thousand dollar investment as specialized GREEN TEAMS had to cpme out and remove all so called contaminated soil and that’s where the expences started adding up. So when the date for closures or meetng the new standards came,most simply folded or sold out to the bog boyz.

          Bars and breakfast coffee shops were next on the hit list…………..smoking ban.

          Food producers are next,Obese folks are next, we all are next………….

          In a world void of vision to whats happening around them,they have no hope unless they say enuf and retake their governments by force as they have no qualms taking you by force.

  8. Alan Deane says:

    as a mason and stone carver the eternal question is what shape is a block of stone?….I think all the meddlers only have their dogmatic ideologies to guide them….the notion that life can and is largely beyond their control is terrifying to them.glad you are still banging on….the flouride in our water seems to have done its work for the compliant majority in this cuntry…

  9. Rose says:

    Difficult times make strange bedfellows.

    I’m very much an individualist. I see the world as made up of individual people

    “There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families.” – Margaret Thatcher.

    And of course she was right, we are used to making our own groups and arrangements, without needing permission or guidance from social engineers, much less being stopped from doing so by a barrage of laws demanded by these outsiders

    • Frank Davis says:

      Yes, I think she was right. But she was interpreted to be saying that there’s no such thing as community, friendship, responsibility. That was how I interpreted her. But I now think that what she meant was the kind of abstract notion of Society that I’m writing about above.

      • Rose says:

        The original quote in context, see what you make of it.

        “I think we have gone through a period when too many children and people have been given to understand “I have a problem, it is the Government’s job to cope with it!” or “I have a problem, I will go and get a grant to cope with it!”

        “I am homeless, the Government must house me!” and so they are casting their problems on society and who is society?

        There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first.

        It is our duty to look after ourselves and then also to help look after our neighbour and life is a reciprocal business and people have got the entitlements too much in mind without the obligations, because there is no such thing as an entitlement unless someone has first met an obligation and it is, I think, one of the tragedies in which many of the benefits we give, which were meant to reassure people that if they were sick or ill there was a safety net and there was help, that many of the benefits which were meant to help people who were unfortunate—
        “It is all right. We joined together and we have these insurance schemes to look after it”.

        That was the objective, but somehow there are some people who have been manipulating the system and so some of those help and benefits that were meant to say to people: “All right, if you cannot get a job, you shall have a basic standard of living!” but when people come and say: “But what is the point of working? I can get as much on the dole!”

        You say: “Look” It is not from the dole. It is your neighbour who is supplying it and if you can earn your own living then really you have a duty to do it and you will feel very much better!”

        The concept of money coming from the contributions of ordinary people rather than some government money tree seeming to have completely eluded most of the participants on the Challenger’s debate the other day.

        • Frank Davis says:

          I have read the context. But at the time, the context wasn’t provided. It was just her saying There’s No Such Thing As Society.

          I think she could have said what she meant in some other way. Or she could have realised how she was being misinterpreted and moved to correct the misapprehension. But she did neither.

        • Rose says:

          No, she was quoted as saying “There’s no such thing as society” out of context deliberately.
          I expect she assumed she would be misquoted and misrepresented by the opposition no matter what.

          Look what’s happening now to Nigel Farage or anyone in UKIP.
          Misquoted, taken out of context, but if anyone tries to explain what was really said they are accused of making a u – turn or backtracking and made to look devious and weak, but what they really did say in full is generally already on record.

        • Rose says:

          Case in point, Lord Freud’s innocent musings on a difficult question which struck me as a particularly shocking example of distortion and selective quotation.

          Lord Freud’s comments about disabled people ‘deeply distressing’, says Clegg

          “But Freud was offered some support when David Scott, a Conservative councillor from Tunbridge Wells whose question prompted his remarks, said the discussion was about helping vulnerable people into the workplace.

          Scott told The World at One: “I was wanting to explore [with Freud] how to help some very vulnerable people in the community and to find ways that these individuals could actually get greater self-worth and be introduced to the workplace to help them … The sentiment is quite clearly that he was concerned: how do we help these individuals to enter the workplace so they can feel they are adding something and gaining worth.”

          Which I know to be true because I happened to be listening at the time.

          It got worse and worse as the mob bayed for his blood for political advantage and was joined by those who should have taken the trouble to find out.

          Lord Freud hangs on as MPs of all parties ‘call for his head’ over disability comments

          “Lord Freud was clinging to his job as welfare reform minister tonight after he suggested that some disabled workers are “not worth” the national minimum wage and should be paid just £2 an hour.”
          http: //

          Which was not what the discussion was about at all.

          This is correct.

          “In order to discuss this rationally then, it’s important that what was actually said is accurately represented. The full transcript shows that Freud was answering a direct question from a Conservative councillor who said that he was dealing with certain individuals who actively wanted to work – primarily for the benefits to their quality of life – but were unable to find employment at the current minimum wage rate. This was simply for the reason that their condition meant that these particular people weren’t economically productive enough to find paid employment at the minimum wage without state assistance – and hence had thus far found they were unable to find work.

          Freud reacted to the question by recognising that this was a problem for some individuals (note: not all disabled people or all of those with learning difficulties, as has been implied, most shamefully, by the Business Disability Forum on BBC News). He therefore suggested that for certain individuals – i.e. people like those asked about in the question, one idea might be to offer an exemption from the national minimum wage legislation to encourage private employers to hire them. You could, for example, have a much lower minimum wage at £2 per hour for these most difficult cases. This was discussed in the context of the Universal Credit – so it was clear that Lord Freud was not suggesting that vulnerable people would be living on £2 per hour – but that the state would step in to top up the lower market wage as a means of ensuring that severely disabled people would have the opportunity of employment but would not be living in extreme deprivation.”

          “When I saw this story developing yesterday, I thought: why bother? Expressing a view different to the mob will result in so much bile, so much misrepresentation of your argument that it’s not worth it. You’ll simply be labelled ‘nasty’. But as Matt Sinclair said on Twitter, ‘If it is “nasty” to discuss how to help severely disabled people find work, to improve their self-esteem, the word has lost all meaning’. This is a debate where the instinctive outrage train is worthy of being challenged.”

        • how do we help these individuals to enter the workplace so they can feel they are adding something and gaining worth.”

          Simple get the freeking government out of your back pocket and its red tape in your fromt pocket…………you cant be inventive or even a job maker with an idea when government destroys everything there is in ability to do it. Laws job destroying laws and treaties with regualtions etc etc…………that’s what has killed th entrepenurial spirit and even coporate spirit to dump trillions they have stashed away,just waiting for a pro-capitalist president to come along and destroy the government that stands in the way of real economic growth.

          We don’t belong to the state and neither do our souls or needs…………….they are ours to fulfil as we make it. Not a socialist state which is what all their green agenda is about and nothing more.

  10. Ed says:

    The social engineers of the last 400 years ascribed to the concept of Tabula rasa
    Basically, man is a blank slate- The term was used to describe the earliest efforts to control the mind of men. (behaviour modification)
    This concept can be traced right through history although the modern version of it is attributed to John Locke. British intelligence assets like Stanford Research Institute and the highly controlled subjects of “Social Science” and “Biological Psychiatry” also dabbled in the concept.

    The book, Changing Images of Man, is a result of a British intelligence -Tavistock – Stanford Research Institute early 1970′s “mind” restructuring project supervised by Willis W. Harman.
    Stanford Research Institute was controlled by the same hierarchy of men who were pushing Eugenics, as well as behaviour modification and “testing” techniques.

    Click to access changing-images-of-man-ocrd.pdf

    At the end of the day, this idea is a pile of rubbish, but it pays to know how these “engineers” think and reason.


  11. First Illinois shuts down their quit lines now New Zealand

    Contracts to be canned as ministry gets tough on quit smoking industry

    New Zealand Doctor Online

    Almost a quadrupling in the number of successful quits by smokers per year would be required to reach a smokefree Aotearoa by 2025, Massey

    • Remember a smokefree world by koop by the end of the century and then a new date by and then a new date by…………..looks like people finally saw the bullshit for what it was.

      If there shuttin them down it is not a far walk to repeals in the future.

    • Who gets what for quit advice?

      Smoking cessation funding for Whanganui DHB over the past four years has exceeded $2 million, but very little has filtered down to general practice service providers in that time.

      In the current year, Ministry of Health sources have provided $425,000 for the Whanganui DHB, as well as $96,000 to the PHO to recruit 120 pregnant women and youth smokers, “smokerlyze” them and pay them incentives to give up smoking.

      The local smoking champion also receives $150 an hour for a two-tenths job, plus $23 an hour for travel, accommodation and subsistence plus GST, on a ministry contract.

      Yet we have more smokers?

      For all those hundreds of thousands of dollars of smoking cessation funding into the district, the number of smokers in the DHB district has actually gone up: 6473 in July 2011, 8146 in July 2012, 8601 in July 2013, and 8641 in July 2014, according to ministry figures.

      Interestingly, at the 2013 census around 10,000 people in the region claimed to be smokers.

      In the year to 31 March, my practice saw six separate patients who smoked, for a total of 10 face-to-face consultations at which smoking cessation medication was prescribed.

      In the last financial year, smoking cessation activity has provided a contribution to the practice of $179 total, inclusive of GST, from the $700,000 plus received in the district from the Ministry of Health.

      Here’s a better idea

      If every smoking patient seen in the local hospital system was given a $100 voucher to take to their local GP for smoking cessation advice and support, general practice would receive a much better return on their contribution to smoking cessation.

      As well, it would facilitate the re-engagement of smoking mental health patients, who never see the general practice, a heavily subsidised or free inroad into their primary care provider.

      The current allocation of smoking cessation funding appears ineffective and wasteful.

  12. I knew something was up when no bans were brought forth this year in so many states………

    I think the political slide has begun…………..

  13. Rose says:

    Life imitates Dr Who

    “Don’t you think she looks tired?” *

    Negative Attacks On Farage Rebuffed By UKIP

    “UKIP has been forced to deny persistent rumours Nigel Farage is suffering from burnout. The latest claims come from Dan Hodges in the Daily Telegraph, the Labour blogger said Farage “is fading away without a fight” and that his “magic is gone”.

    Hodges said of Farage’s performance at the latest Leaders’ Debate: “Watching Nigel Farage standing on that stage on Thursday – railing against the bias of the BBC audience – was to see a diminished man. Or a diminishing man.

    “As the election has gone on, Farage has reminded me of the Michael J Fox character from the film Back to the Future. Gradually, as time runs out, Fox slowly begins to vanish, like an overexposed negative.”

    His attack follows persistent rumours spread in Westminster that Farage is “seriously ill”, a claim he was forced to deny. However, they have not gone away, despite there being no evidence to substantiate them.”

    The Christmas Invasion

    “Harriet Jones was a British politician in the early 21st century who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.”

    “Furious with Jones, the Doctor told her he could bring her down with just six words. When she stood by her actions, he whispered those six words to her aide: “Don’t you think she looks tired?” Soon she was fending off rumours of ill-health and facing a vote of no confidence.”

    I remember the episode distinctly, and perhaps I’m not the only one.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Hodges said of Farage’s performance at the latest Leaders’ Debate: “Watching Nigel Farage standing on that stage on Thursday – railing against the bias of the BBC audience – was to see a diminished man. Or a diminishing man.

      If you belive that you believe everything this BOUGHT TV channel tells you. Can I opt out of paying for my TV licence by losing the BBC channels? YES, please!!!!

  14. These EU countries live anti-smoking rules after, and not

    Courtesy of Wiel

    Many smoker will nostalgically recall the days when you could still smoke in restaurants, cinemas and train compartments. But while across the EU a smoking ban in public places, it is not respected everywhere. According to a report from the Brussels-based Smoke Free Partnership (SFP) are Austria, Czech Republic, Greece, Romania and Slovakia very lax with the anti-smoking rules.

    This fact leads to anxiety at the World Health Organization (WHO), which considers passive smoking as a serious health and passive smoking – like just smoke – considered as carcinogenic. The EU therefore wants to introduce legislation which encourages people to stop smoking, and the phenomenon of smoking denormaliseert. The EU imposes stricter requirements on the manufacture of tobacco products, and the presentation of cigarettes. Member States now have until mid-2016 to convert these requirements into national law.

    According to Martin Seychell, Assistant Director-General for Health and Food Safety at the European Commission’s passive smoking (still) a major killer. “It has a direct negative impact on the cardiovascular system and causes heart disease, lung cancer and many other diseases,” says Seychell. “Estimates from 2006 start from 79,000 smoke-related deaths in the EU each year.” Seychell also denounces the tobacco industry, with the introduction of electronic cigarettes managed to find a way to make possible again smoking in public areas. “It is good that countries like Belgium, Malta and Slovakia have adopted additional laws restricting the use of the e-cigarette to tires,” he says.

    According SFP director Florence Berteletti the inadequate enforcement of the smoking ban in several EU Member States caused by police are not trained trained to enforce these laws, and no special enforcement officers are appointed. Berteletti: “Educating agents results in better enforcement. The UK has its agents here emphatically instructed and it shows the extent to which the smoking ban is observed. Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Spain closely monitoring enforcement. ”

    Other countries are to the satisfaction of SFP weather is particularly severe in the leather. Cyprus, Ireland and the United Kingdom, for example, even prohibit smoking in private places, such as in cars – when children are. Ireland went even one step further, by a snap line to establish life where citizens can report on smoking in public areas.

  15. smokingscot says:

    Very thought provoking piece Frank. Same with the comments. And as I service my scooters, I relate to what John Watson says (though mine’s a 2T).

    I’ve never had very deep thoughts about the bigger picture because I’m pathetically of the opinion that we’re infinitely fluid and capable of adapting. Sometimes our adaptations are like those tower blocks you mention; the “flying pavements” with every apartment having a door opening on to one turned out to be a not terribly clever idea.

    And I’ve recently seen what the South Korean’s have to do with the few who manage to make it from the North. Seems the facilities in the North are woeful and even those educated to “degree” standard haven’t got a clue how to survive in a competitive, individualistic society.

    However, to the point. FWIW I see ourselves being kneaded and manipulated by individuals who simply haven’t a clue about how we live. Like your Doctor Landlord of yore, theirs is cerebral, earnest and much of their public persona is dictated by compliance and expectation, be it family or profession or whatever. Keeping up appearances is uppermost.

    Yet these people, who to a person I would shun socially (and doubtless the feeling is mutual), see fit to impose their standards upon us. So they care not if bingo halls or pubs or greasy spoons fall by the wayside, because they never set foot in any of them.

  16. beobrigitte says:

    But the tobacco controllers (and all the other controllers) seem to see things a bit differently.

    I don’t view them as tobacco controllers – I view them as people controllers in order to destroy an industry whose product a lot of people actually ENJOY!

    And just like engineers engage in large scale engineering projects, like building houses and cities and roads and railways and dams, the controllers see themselves as engineers engaged in another kind of large scale engineering project: they’re trying to re-engineer ‘society’.

    A ‘perfect’ society is a number of people living in close vicinity, making space for each other. Even back in the 70s I often said to some non-smoking friends: “Let’s change place, it’s (the smoke from my cigarette(s) ) is blowing your way. Most of the time I heard: “Ah, don’t worry about it”.
    We had it – and we gave it away to the smoke(r) haters.
    Today, the BBC loudly announced a war on slimming pills. A young girl died taking them. Well, is that the same BBC who endlessly declares war on obesity? And, of course, smoking, too!
    What this little part of media has done is to scare people – the deaths of the scared ones are on their hand, in my view. They do their best to drip feed the nation with every health scare they can find – and then wonder why so many youngsters are running and acting like headless chicken. Thanks to this constant bombardment of the BBC I have a friend who considers her life done and over with. She lost her daughter to the health bombardement from the BBC. No slimming pills – a ruptured stomach ulcer took the the life of a bright youngster. All in the name of HEALTH!!!

    And, they support Labour. We had > 10 years of Labour government – it brought us changes we still struggle with. And Labour has been bought by the anti-smokers. So have been the Tories.

    Perhaps it is time to light up a ciggie and walk away?

    • Edgar says:

      I agree with everything you wrote, beobrigitte, except the last. Perhaps it is time to light up a ciggie and not walk away?

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