Yesterday I was tiptoeing towards the idea that Tobacco Control, instead of being something benign and good and life-enhancing, was something malign and evil and life-destroying.
In fact I’ve already more or less completely adopted this view. For a long time I’ve seen Tobacco Control as an enemy that must be defeated, an enemy that must be destroyed. I’ve said as much many times. I may not know how to defeat it, but I’m quite sure that it must be defeated somehow.
It’s one reason why I’m not interested in talking to people in Tobacco Control. I’m really only interested in encouraging and enabling opposition to Tobacco Control, and building the army that will destroy it. After all, Tobacco Control is an army, and a highly effective and disciplined army. It’s going to take another army to defeat an army like that.
And I think the army is out there, scattered all over the world, among the world’s 1.5 billion smokers, almost all of whom are experiencing to one degree or other the depredations of Tobacco Control. And there are also plenty of non-smokers out there who are equally appalled by Tobacco Control.
How do armies form? How was it – to consider just one of countless examples – that the colonists on the east coast of America managed to raise an army, and defeat the highly professional British army, and gain their independence? Did that army simply spring out of the ground overnight, upon the the very first call to arms? I bet it didn’t. I bet it didn’t because a great many of those colonists regarded themselves as English, and had close ties to England: people like Tom Paine, for example. It must have torn people apart to take up arms against their home country. It must have torn families and towns apart. A great many people probably refused to fight King and Country, and regarded anyone who did as traitorous. Such people may even have returned to England once independence was won. I’d suggest that the colonists were very much divided among themselves, and it took many years of debate and argument and thought (and even prayer) before enough of them were resolved to fight.
It’s probably always like that, everywhere. People don’t want to fight. They much prefer peace. It takes a lot to rouse them to war. It takes an insolent and arrogant enemy that tramples upon them, unchecked, to rouse their anger, and rouse them to the realisation that they’re going to have to fight.
In the case of the American colonists, that enemy was one that they thought should be – and had been – their friend and kinsman: the distant and unaccountable British government which was now insolently and arrogantly loading taxes upon them.
Is it any different now with distant and unaccountable Tobacco Control, which is insolently and arrogantly loading taxes on smokers all over the world, and denigrating and defaming them in the process, and ignoring their protests. Isn’t Tobacco Control a new and distant King George? And isn’t it only natural that, while some of us rail against Tobacco Control, a great many smokers retain a metaphorical allegiance to “King and Country” – by still believing more or less everything that is said against tobacco by all the doctors and scientists and experts in Tobacco Control.
The situation of smokers all over the world is the same as that of the American colonists in the years before the American Revolution. They’re growing increasingly outraged at what is being done to them, but they are powerless to do anything about it. And my blog is one of those Boston taverns where angry colonists met up regularly to complain to each other about the latest outrage committed by the British government, and to ask what could be done about it. Nobody was quite agreed. Some insisted that when the British government was presented with their justified grievances, it would see reason. And others insisted that King George would never see reason, and would instead send an army of redcoats to crush all protests. The debates lasted all evening, and were renewed again the following day. And periodically one of the Governor’s redcoats – a Dickie Doubleday – would manage to get into the tavern, and to jeer at all those there assembled.
One day, some of the world’s smokers are going to find themselves standing on their own version of the bridge at Concord, facing a redcoat army from Tobacco Control. It may not be that the battle will be fought with guns and bullets. Maybe it’ll be fought with cyber weapons. And it will mark the outbreak of a global war between smokers and antismokers. Because if the war of American Independence was fought wholly on American soil, this one will be fought everywhere, and will see just as many defeats as victories.
And it would help to encourage them, as they load their cyber-muskets on the bridge, if they had learned to think that their enemy – Tobacco Control – was not something good, as they had once thought, but was something profoundly evil, which had to be fought, had to be resisted at every step. They will have to feel that they are fully justified in fighting Tobacco Control. They are going to have to be firmly of the view that they have right on their side.
Such things are only discovered by debate and discussion, just as they once were in the taverns of Boston.