What a great start to 2017, playing bullshit bingo with the ‘experts’ of the anti-smoking scam. Yet again e-cigs have exposed the tobacco control industry as a collection of crooked, manipulative, rust-hearted shitsacks who are prepared to lie at all costs to keep their harmful but lucrative bandwagon going.
I agree – but I wonder if the people in Tobacco Control also think that they’re crooked, manipulative, rust-hearted shitsacks? I bet they don’t.
I bet that if you asked Deborah Arnott what she thought of them, she’d say that they were a fine bunch of people doing an tremendous amount of good. She’s come out with how smoking kills half of all smokers, and 70% of smokers want to give up smoking, and a long litany of other reasons why TC was such a good thing. She’s probably got it memorised, and repeats it every day, like a Credo. Maybe she repeats it to herself at daybreak every day, on her knees beside her bed, hands clasped together in prayer. It needs to be repeated, over and over again.
It probably helps TC that they have lots of conferences. It gives them a chance to get together with fellow antismoking zealots and repeat all the mantras to each other all over again, and come away with their faith renewed. After all, it’s not as if Tobacco Control is a vibrant scientific discipline in which new things are being discovered all the time, and people need to get together to learn about new developments. TC is more or less entirely static. There’s never anything new. Or if there’s anything new, it’s coming from outside – for example in the form of e-cigarettes (something TC didn’t see coming).
No, the conference is like a pilgrimage. It’s a way of re-affirming the faith, and boosting morale.
And you probably need your morale boosted from time to time, if you’ve devoted your life to extirpating smoking. You’re not trying to build something, but instead trying to tear something down. And when you are destroying something, you need to have your self-belief and morale boosted, in the same way that soldiers in armies need to be reminded of the cause that they’re fighting for, before they go out and kill a whole lot more people, and flatten a few more towns.
Tobacco Control is engaged in destruction. It’s trying to stop something, prevent something, end something, kill something. What they’re doing isn’t in the least bit creative or constructive. And so they have to believe that the eventual outcome of all their destruction is going to be something good, like the triumph and peace and prosperity that comes at the end of a war. And they need to be reminded of this, before they go out and start plastering No Smoking signs in a bunch of new places.
The same isn’t true of creative people. They’re constructing something. And in large part their reward lies in what they make. The artist steps back from his canvas, and admires the completed work. The potter holds up his completed pot. Artists don’t need to have conferences with other artists to re-affirm the value of painting pictures: they love doing it, and don’t need anybody to tell them it’s something worth doing. It’s only if you’re doing something truly horrifically awful that you need to have lots of other people tell you that it’s the right thing to do.
So Tobacco Controllers need morale-boosting conferences. And what’s most notable about recent conferences is that the general public are now being excluded. The conferences are now closed, held in secret. Why?
Probably because there’s growing resistance to Tobacco Control. They have enemies. Enemies who are telling them that they’re not doing any good at all, but that they are instead just a bunch of crooked, manipulative, rust-hearted shitsacks. And it probably doesn’t do morale much good at all to be told you’re a crooked, manipulative, rust-hearted shitsack. It becomes imperative to silence such dissenting voices. It becomes imperative to exclude them from the bonding rituals of the conferences. You can’t have people standing up and asking difficult questions.
So my guess is that morale in TC is beginning to falter a bit. Twenty years ago, nobody questioned their bona fides. Everybody thought they were doing something good. But now there’s a mounting chorus of criticism coming from all over. And it’s been getting to them.
Maybe the politicians that used to be eager to introduce oh-so-popular new bans and restrictions on smoking are beginning to lose their enthusiasm. Maybe their phone calls aren’t being returned quite as readily as they used to be. Maybe the funding is starting to dry up. Maybe more and more people are asking When Will ASH Be De-funded? Nobody used to ask questions like that. And, worse still, most of the people who are asking these questions aren’t even being paid to ask them. Pretty much everybody in TC, including Deborah Arnott, needs big bucks to do anything. And now they’re up against a growing army of irregular volunteers. It must be very dispiriting.