You’re In The Army Now

You’re in the army now.
You’re not behind the plough.
You can’t get rich
By digging a ditch.
You’re in the army now.

The words of this old song came to mind as I thought how we all seem to be in the army now. It’s an army in which we’re all supposed to obey orders, do what we’re told. And one of the orders we’ve been given is to stop smoking.  Although there are lots of other orders on the way. Stop drinking. Stop eating. Do this. Do that. Salute officers.

But I never volunteered to join this army. I’ve been conscripted against my will. Until 1 July 2007 I was a free man. Ever since then I’ve been a conscript, sneaking smokes behind the toilets.

But many socialists seem to see society as an army, and members of society as no different from soldiers in an army. As they see it, we are born into the army of human society, and we remain in it all our lives, at the end of which with luck we will be given a decent military funeral. There’s no volunteering about it. Nor any conscription. You are a soldier member of society from the moment you’re born to the moment you die. And all Tobacco Control is doing is remind you of this. The smoking ban is a bit of square-bashing military drill, designed to boost morale and discipline. And as we all march around the barracks square, we’ll be singing the above-mentioned song.

Everyone is a soldier in this army. Not just men, but also women. Not just the healthy, but also the sick in hospitals. And the aged in nursing homes. The children in schools. And perhaps even the dead in their graves. The army No Smoking rule extends also to them. Discipline must be rigidly enforced everywhere. Everything must be kept spick and span, with boots polished, and brass buttons shining.

The socialists approve of armies because armies get things done. They like the idea of a disciplined army being sent in to build roads and bridges and hospitals and homes, all done with military efficiency – unlike the inefficient, haphazard way that things get done in civilian society where most people seem to spend their lives sitting in pubs, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes.

And armies have command structures, and a system of ranks. General. Major. Colonel. Captain. Lieutenant. There’s usually just one general or field-marshal at the top, who decides what the army is to do next, and whose orders propagate down the command chain to the infantrymen at the bottom.

Smoking bans militarise society. Or they are part of a process of militarising society, converting civilian society into military society by issuing orders, and court martialing anyone who disobeys orders.

Schools have always been militarised in this way. The soldier ‘pupils’ wear uniforms, and they do what teachers tell them to do, with no insubordinate answering back allowed. School rules have always been No Smoking, No Drinking, No Eating Chocolate and Fudge, No Talking, No Hands in Pockets, No Running (except during compulsory games). A classroom is a platoon of seated soldiers, paying close attention to what their superior officer is telling them. And the school headmaster is a general or field-marshal.

It’s essentially no different in industry. Many companies (another military term?) and corporations have dress codes, elaborate sets of rules, and command structures. The Managing Director, like the school headmaster, is a sort of general or field-marshal.

Even families – at least until recently – had the same command structure, with children subordinate to parents, and wives subordinate to husbands. Families also have their own rules and regulations (e.g. always say grace before meals, always wash your hands after using the toilets, hold your fork in your left hand, etc). They even have dress codes: at least wear something.

And perhaps discipline has been slipping in recent decades, what with long hair, pot, and Women’s Lib, and so on. It’s all been getting very, very lax. And Tobacco Control is like some martinet who arrives at the barracks one day, and gets everyone practising drills, polishing buttons, shining shoes, and severely punishing anyone who has even a hair out of place. They are not so much militarising society as re-militarising it. And stopping all the smoking and drinking.

And one reason why I don’t like this one bit is because I’ve never been a soldier in any army. I’ve spent very little time even as an employee in a company or corporation. I’ve spent much of my life as a free agent. I was for many years a self-employed, freelance computer programmer, with a very strong emphasis on the “free” bit of freelance. For me, self-employed meant that I told myself what to do, rather than have some superior officer bark out orders to me.

And also I don’t think that human society is some sort of army. I think that society can occasionally become as ordered and disciplined as an army, but only as a temporary measure. Society-as-an-army is one extreme state that a society may adopt. It’s not a permanent state of affairs. Society-as-army is a response to some threat or alarm. In peacetime the army is dissolved back into the civilian society from which it emerged. And in that civilian society there are no majors or colonels expecting to be saluted, nobody ordering people around, and the least number of rules and regulations possible. In civilian society, everyone does their own thing. Or at least they did until Tobacco Control showed up and began imposing military discipline.


About Frank Davis

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15 Responses to You’re In The Army Now

  1. Vlad says:

    I just discovered that it’s possible with many pouches of tobacco to easily remove the cellophane wrapper and the paper and be left with the pouch in what could be called ‘real plain packaging’. Just put a removable sticker on it with the brand of tobacco you have inside and voila – no trace left of TC propaganda disguised as health warnings.

    • nisakiman says:

      I bought a leather pouch for my tobacco a couple of years ago. We don’t have any medico-porn on packs here in Greece yet, but doubtless it will come. The leather pouch is not only attractive, but it’s also very practical, having a slot for the papers too. I used to put the papers in the pouch with the tobacco before, but it tended to make the papers slightly damp, and the glue would sometimes stick to the packet. With my leather pouch, the papers are stored separate from the tobacco, so that problem no longer arises.

      I’m damned if I’m going to advertise Tobacco Control lies when I’m out. They can stick their stupid warnings where the sun don’t shine. Fuck ’em.

      • Rose says:

        I just open the flap without looking at the picture and cut it off with a pair of scissors.
        Which just leaves the words about tobacco smoke containing 70 substances known to cause cancer, but as I know that “it is well known that MSS contains numerous anticarcinogens present in quantifies significantly greater than those of the PAHs of concern”, I tend not to notice them.

        I use a silver case when I’m out and about.

      • Vlad says:

        Brilliant. Every self respecting smoker should stop unwittingly advertising TC propaganda. Those assholes who run Twitter campaigns #spotthepack or something similar will have a big surprise when seeing smokers with beautiful pouches, tins or whatever instead of the disgusting ‘plain’ ones.

      • nisakiman says:

        We don’t have any medico-porn on packs here in Greece yet, but doubtless it will come.

        I’ve been buying my tobacco from Germany for nearly a year, but of course the TC busybodies in the EU have forbidden that now, so I just bought my first pack of tobacco locally since I started getting it from Germany. Lo and behold, it’s got grotesque medico porn all over the pouch. Thank heavens for my leather pouch.

        They really are a special kind of degenerate in TC, who think up things like that to inflict on people. They do nothing but vandalise, uglify and persecute. They produce nothing of value to anyone – quite the reverse in fact, since misery and joylessness is their stock in trade. Real low-lives. I wouldn’t piss on them if they were on fire.

  2. garyk30 says:

    “all done with military efficiency”

    What a laugh, the US military expends about 250,000 rounds of small and medium arms fire for each enemy killed.

    This would include practice; but, does not include artillary, mortar fire, or airborne munitions.

    This has been going on since Vietnam.

    The amount of equipment left all over the world is staggering.

    • garyk30 says:

      By way of comparison, it is estimated the US fired about 20,000 rounds per enemy killed in WW2.

      • nisakiman says:

        Those are some amazing statistics, Gary. I’d never thought about it before, but now you bring it to my attention, it’s quite mind boggling. The cost doesn’t bear thinking about. And of course, it’s you and all your tax paying compatriots who are financing it all.

  3. Timothy Goodacre says:

    Cigarette case for me everytime. Tobacco control can get stuffed. The real tragedy for me is that many brands are now being discontined.

  4. Lepercolonist says:

    The Mormons are not allowed tobacco or coffee. This is the type of cultish behavior that is insufferable. All because the founder, Joseph Smith, was delusional.

  5. Supergran says:

    Just about 2 years ago I was diagnosed with copd. I have to have a “copd check up” every year. I just had it on Tuesday. I told the nurse I had given up smoking (not because I am ashamed – I am ABSOLUTELY not). I told them I don’t drink – I do, and am ABSOLUTELY not ashamed of that either. I just will NOT give the bastards ammunition ever again. My life, my business. After the tests etc she said “there is an improvement in your lung capacity and that will be because you gave up smoking”!!! Yeah right! So she couldn’t lecture on smoking, couldn’t lecture on drinking, and I am about a stone over my ideal weight, so she said “you DO know that if you let your weight go any higher that can bring on diabetes don’t you”?? Ha ha, NEXT year, I’m gonna tell her I don’t eat now either. Wonder what she will find to look down her snotty nose at me for then? Curly hair, long toe-nails?? Utter bastards, the lot of them.
    Anyway I said, we are all going to die you know, to which she replied “ah yes, but the “when” will be sooner if we don’t look after ourselves! To which I replied, I think there is someone or something higher than ourselves deciding that. I maintain if I am on a plane that crashes tomorrow and its not my time, I will survive. Because there was nowt else she could get me on, she said you are OVERDUE a smear! Bitch!

  6. slugbop007 says:

    I was in the US Army in 1968. Fort Ord, California. Fort Gordon, Georgia, Military Police. Military medical authorities deliberately chose to ignore my lengthy medical history of Grand Mal Epilepsy and drafted me anyway. Was in a state of shock and panic while waiting for the bus to drive us to Monterey, California. While I sat there, a young man mounted our bus on crutches, with a plaster cast from his toe to his groin. He spent two weeks at Fort Ord, hobbling about the base, before he was finally sent home. Military existence was a deadly boring experience. People shouting in your face all the time, trying to break your will. Very similar to the methods of Tobacco Control.

    Taskmasters versus the Hedonists, free thinkers versus conformists.

    I wonder how many of the women in Tobacco Control hate men? Could be a juicy subject for discussion.


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