I woke this morning with the thought that Tobacco Control (and Public Health in general) now focuses its attention on trivia. Tobacco and alcohol, sugar and salt, are really utterly trivial concerns. These people are all so very, very small-minded. Last year, the WHO ignored the Ebola epidemic while it had a week-long conference on smoking in Moscow.
It seems to be the outcome of a slow process of decay. Fifty or one hundred years ago, medicine looked set to become a genuine science. But since then it has gradually decayed into superstition and credulity, with tobacco and alcohol being demonised by a new priesthood of witch doctors. The science has gone, and all that’s left is irrational belief in hobgoblins of one sort or other.
Next we’ll probably be told to wear amulets to ward off secondhand tobacco smoke. They’ll be strings of coloured mothballs, manufactured by Big Pharma, and effective for 30 days before needing replacement.
Unfortunately the process of decay seems to be ubiquitous. I read today:
In a 45-minute speech, Obama called for reducing or eliminating mandatory minimum sentences, reviewing the use of the solitary confinement and banning of Confederate and Tea Party Flags on public property, among other things.
I’m not an American, but banning of Confederate and Tea Party Flags on public property struck me as being exactly like the exorcism of a smoking ban, and another example of petty, blinkered, spiteful small-mindedness. Banning the Flag of St George would be the English equivalent. What is it supposed to achieve?
Here in Britain, the Labour party seems to be imploding. Their last disastrous leader walked away from the job, and hasn’t been seen since, and they’re now trying to find a new disastrous leader. The current front-runner is a leftie called Jeremy Corbyn, whom all concerned believe will be a truly monumental disaster. So I suppose they’ll elect him.
The Lib-Dems face the same problem. But I’m not even sure if the party still exists.
Not that the Conservatives are any better. The largest idea that David Cameron ever managed to dream up was something called the Big Society, which sounded like it had all of ten minutes of thought devoted to it, and seems to be a variant of Lyndon Johnson’s inclusive-big-tent Great Society. But they obviously couldn’t use that name, so they came up with the Big Society instead. However, since smokers clearly aren’t included in the Big Society, it might better have been called the Fairly Big Society or the Biggish Society.
The EU also demonstrates the same symptoms of advanced decay. It seemed once to have produced a few statesmen – Jacques Delors, Romano Prodi? – who had real hopes and dreams for Europe. But now the dream has become a nightmare.
Nobody thinks big. Nobody has grand, sweeping visions.
A century ago, Britain had a few philosophers (e.g. Bertrand Russell). I don’t think we’ve got any now. I’m not even sure that we even have any intellectuals either.
But we’ve got hordes of tiny-minded people intent on banning smoking everywhere. And Russell Brand.
The philosophers thought about grand themes like Truth and Reason and Justice. Our modern midgets think about tobacco and alcohol and sugar instead. And carbon dioxide. And in fact, they don’t actually ‘think’ about them at all, but merely peddle scaremongering lies.
The same is true in art. That also exhibits the same symptoms of terminal decline. Nobody knows how to paint or draw. Last I heard, our greatest artists’ best-known works consisted of an unmade bed and a pickled shark.
Next up, economic collapse and social disintegration?
But then, maybe out of the decay there will eventually spring new growth.