This US election is getting crazier and crazier, and darker and darker.
As dramatic as this story is, it should not surprise us at all. As I often tell people, “The Left only understands force.” Force against America’s Constitutional limitations and the balance of power. Force against morality and the natural law, such as by “redefining” marriage, deconstructing gender, etc. And, most obviously, force against its opponents.
Is that true? Is force the only thing the Left understands? It reminded me of a Labour party activist that I knew many years ago, who responded to my attempts to assist a struggling theatre company by saying that he’d “see if he could twist a few people’s arms” inside the Labour party to get them to help. It rather shocked me that he felt he had to twist people’s arms to get them to do anything (although he was speaking metaphorically, of course).
Smoking bans entail the use of force. Smoking bans are an example of mass arm-twisting. Smokers are to have their arms twisted until they stop smoking. It’s now become arm-twisting on a global scale. You have some sort of ideal society in mind – a “smoke-free” society, in this case -, and you just twist people’s arms until they conform to the ideal. And if arm-twisting doesn’t succeed, you just ratchet up the level of violence until it does succeed, as Rodrigo Duterte is doing.
Which reminds me of the time, also many years ago, when I decided that my Lambretta scooter needed its engine de-coked, because I thought its exhaust was a bit too smoky. The single cylinder two-stroke engine was attached to the frame by a hinge, and held up by a long bolt that ran through the engine casing. I managed to pull out the bolt, and drop the engine down onto the ground, and remove the head to reveal the single piston. After I had de-coked the piston (which actually turned out not to need de-coking), and put the head back on, I had a big struggle to raise the engine back up, and push the bolt back through. I’d managed to get the bolt half way through the engine casing, but it wouldn’t come out the other side. I decided that with a little bit of force, I could drive the bolt through. So I got a hammer, and started whacking one end of the bolt. And eventually, after quite a lot of hammering, it finally slid satisfyingly through. But when I went round to have a look at the other end, I found that the lug on the engine casing through which it the bolt was supposed to have slid had broken clean off. I had broken the engine casing. I had done irreparable damage. I had completely wrecked my Lambretta. I never rode it again. All because I did something to it that didn’t need doing. The engine had been working perfectly well before I set about it with my hammer: it was just a bit smoky. And the only way I could go anywhere after that was by bus or train.
It’s the same with smoking bans. They also are applying force to society (which is a sort of engine) to make it stop smoking. And they think they’ve succeeded, because they’ve managed to “drive the bolt through” and force smokers to comply. But they’re going to find out, when they finally take a look, that they’ve really only succeeded in breaking society, and have done irreparable damage to it – snapping the bonds that held it together just as effectively as I snapped the bonds in the aluminium casing of my Lambretta with my hammer. And all because they did something to it that didn’t need doing.
The antismoking zealots haven’t actually taken a look at the other end of the bolt they’ve been hammering on. And I suspect they never will. But I’ve taken a look, and I drew a picture of what I thought they’d done to society (right). They’ve broken it. They’ve driven smokers out of it. They’ve shattered communities and broken friendships, and they’ve bankrupted pubs and cafes and clubs. And many of those broken communities and broken friendships will never be repaired, and many of those bankrupted pubs and clubs will never re-open.
The zealots will never look at what they’ve done. Or they’ll never admit that they did it. They’ll always blame the closure of the 16,415+ UK pubs on something else. Anything else but the smoking ban that drove their smoking customers (who were in many cases their best customers) out of UK pubs. They’ll blame the recession. They’ll blame supermarkets. They’ll blame anything they possibly can.
In fact, I think the global recession has been in part caused by the wave of smoking bans that has swept over the whole world over the past decade. For as smokers have stopped spending money in the pubs and restaurants and cafes and clubs and casinos from which they’ve been evicted, they don’t spend it elsewhere. They stay home, and stop spending. They buy cheap supermarket alcohol instead of going to pubs like they used to. And when a quarter (maybe half in some countries) of the population stop spending money, there’s a sharp reduction in demand for almost everything. Business dries up everywhere.
The antismoking zealots in ASH and the WHO and the RCP are never going admit that they did all this damage. They’ll carry on claiming that their smoking bans have been a “great success.” They declared them a great success on Day One, simply because smokers didn’t revolt. But sooner or later some other more clear-eyed people are going to see what happened, and take steps to rectify it, to the extent it can be rectified at all.
Force doesn’t work. It may seem to work, but the use of force always has unforeseen consequences, not always at the point where the force is applied.
And since the Left always set out to improve society by the use of force – either the force of arms or the force of law – they always end up damaging society. They always end up with broken Lambretta engines. And that’s why the Soviet Union and Communist China and Castro’s Cuba, and even the post-war semi-state-controlled, or “mixed”, UK economy were all economic basket cases to one degree or other. The same happens when the Right uses force, of course. But hands-off, laissez-faire capitalism always works better than top-down state control. It works because it’s not being forced to do something it doesn’t do naturally.
But the Left never seem to learn this lesson. They’re always trying to take control. They can never leave things alone. They can never just let things happen.
The Right – the traditional, conservative Right – are trying to preserve something that already exists, while the Left are always trying to create something different. And that means the Left is always engaged in destroying what already exists in order to replace it with something else. So the Left must always use force. And in general the Right need not use force. The Right only need to use force when they’re resisting the Left.
So, yes, maybe it’s true: The Left only understands force.