I’m still musing over Tom Paine’s description of himself:
“The World is my country, all mankind my brethren, and to do good is my religion.”
Theresa May said recently something to the effect that “if you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere.” That struck me as being the plain and simple truth of the matter. She might also have added, as an afterthought, “and if you’re everybody’s brother, you’re nobody’s brother.”
But what I’ve been really chewing over was his “religion of doing good.” I commented on it in yesterday’s post: Tom Paine was a Do-Gooder. Tobacco Control is full of Do-Gooders too. Deborah Arnott is a Do-Gooder. But I firmly believe that it’s Do-Gooders who actually do most of the harm in the world, as they blunder around trying to do good, but actually doing far more harm than good.
My question is: how do they know what’s good, and what isn’t? I sometimes think that the Do-Gooders really think that Doing Something is better than Doing Nothing. That action is always better than inaction. The do-gooders like to keep busy. And the busier they are, the more good they think they’re doing. And so they’re all busybodies. For them, the good lies in the doing.
But I think that doing nothing is quite often better than doing something. In fact, I’d almost say that doing nothing is usually better than doing something. For I believe that some things are better than other things. That some things are helpful, and some things harmful. And, however busy you are, you’re doing no good if what you’re busy doing is something harmful.
And I think that the Do-Gooders in Tobacco Control are doing something harmful. I think they’re doing something very, very, very harmful. I think that they destroy communities, bankrupt businesses, and shatter trust and confidence. I’ve even drawn a picture of what I think they’re doing to society (right) that I used in the ISIS survey.
But of course they don’t see it that way. They don’t think about communities or businesses or the political fabric of society. They see themselves as saving lives. And what can be more important than saving lives? What could be more noble and good than that? If, with all their bullying and bludgeoning of smokers, they can get just one of them to stop smoking and live another 10 minutes longer than they otherwise would, it will have all been worth it. These people have become fixated upon one single thing – tobacco – to the exclusion of all else. Tobacco has become, for them, the singular embodiment of everything evil. Theirs is a one-eyed view of the world. And their one eye is unwaveringly fixed upon one single object in that world. And they simply can’t see that the wrecking ball that they have taken to that object is destroying everything around it. They’re like people who chase a bluebottle fly around a room with a hammer, and smash everything that it alights upon, without ever managing to kill it. All they can see is the fly they’re pursuing. They can’t see the plates on the table, the lampshade on the light, the glass in the windowpanes, that they’re breaking with every blow of their hammer.
I was reading somewhere yesterday about how people don’t trust experts any more, and don’t believe the once-trusted mainstream media, and how worrying this was. But that’s what I meant about shattering trust and confidence. I’ve stopped trusting the doctors who’ve been screaming at me to stop smoking (and who’ve now started screaming at me to stop drinking and eating as well). I’ve lost confidence in them. I don’t think they know what they’re doing. And I’ve lost confidence in the mainstream media which just unquestioningly repeats everything they say. And above all I’ve lost confidence in the politicians who, on their insistence, never hesitate to stack more bans and more taxes on everyone. And once you lose trust in one expert, it’s easy to lose trust in all the experts. The distrust spreads like a widening ripple.
It was an utterly appalling thing to do, to exile smokers to the outdoors with their smoking bans. It was utterly appalling to take their hammer to the communities they belonged to, the pubs and cafes they frequented, and make pariahs of hundreds of millions of smokers all over the world. But Tobacco Control can’t see that. And neither can the mainstream media. And neither can the politicians. They’re all completely blind. They have no idea what they’re doing, any of them. They think they’re Saving Lives. And now they’re wondering why trust and confidence in them has ebbed away.
Of course, it’s not just tobacco and smoking bans. It’s any number of other things as well. These people aren’t just blind to the effect of smoking bans, but to the effect of everything else they do. They’re oblivious to everything.
Can’t they see? Can’t they see what they’ve done, and what they’re still doing? No, they can’t. They can’t see a damn thing. And they never will. And that’s why Americans voted for Donald Trump: they knew perfectly well that the established elite political class was never going to do anything for them. And it’s why they’ve stopped listening to the mainstream media that parrots the views of that political class. Trust and confidence in them has gone. Donald Trump may not prove to be any better, but he is at least something different.