The Hermit On The Hill

Something I came across last week:

Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general of the United States, has said many times in recent years that the most prevalent health issue in the country is not cancer or heart disease or obesity. It is isolation.

I keep reading statements along these lines. I live the life of a hermit these days, pretty much. I’m an exile in my own country. Whole days can go by without me actually saying a word to anyone at all. Although I’m of course writing and reading stuff here every day, so I never feel isolated. And in some ways isolation is a good thing: you can think about stuff without being interrupted. No wonder the hermit on the hill was often a wise man as well. So where’s the danger in isolation?

Well, in my case, there are some pretty obvious dangers. And they are that if I get sick or have an accident or a heart attack, there won’t be anyone to find me. When my father fell and broke a hip in the garden one night, my mother fairly rapidly found him. Same a few years later when he had a stroke, and fell down again, and my mother found him once again. She saved his life twice. I often think these days that the principal virtue of marriage is that, at its very simplest, it provides someone to keep an eye out for these sorts of things, and to provide a helping hand. But I never got married.

And sometimes people need a helping hand. I still remember the occasion when I came off a motorbike and cracked an elbow. It mended pretty rapidly, but for a month or two all sorts of simple tasks became next to impossible. I remember, for example, cutting slices off a loaf of bread by holding down the loaf with one foot.

I’m a hermit not by choice, but by social exclusion. Tobacco Control works through social exclusion. The smokers are exiled to the outdoors by the Deborah Arnotts in Tobacco Control. Or they are fired from their jobs, or evicted from their homes. They are ostracised. To be ostracised is to be excluded from a society or group. And we are witnessing the mass ostracism of smokers all over the world. I’m just one of countless numbers of hermits.

The whole Tobacco Control modus operandi is to exclude smokers from public life, make pariahs and outcasts of them. They can only rejoin society when they have stopped smoking. Or stopped doing whatever else the controllers disapprove of. For the same methods are being used to exclude and marginalise drinkers and fat people. Shape up, fatty, or stay outside. Even words are being excluded. There are some things that can’t be said. If you don’t use the approved correct words to express the agreed consensus opinion, you don’t have any right to be heard: you’ll have to stand outside too, along with the smokers and fatties.

I’m still astonished that there are politicians and public servants who have little or no compunction in advocating and introducing such exclusions upon large numbers of their fellow citizens. And I’m still astonished that we have a press and mass news media that hasn’t been shouting from the rooftops about it. There is instead dead silence. They are, I think, forbidden to mention it. Smokers and smoking have become unmentionable.

And the method of exclusion is essentially murderous. The excluded smokers may fall off balconies or out of windows, or die of exposure outside, and this is fully intended. It’s not an “unintended consequence.” It’s something that was quite obviously going to happen. And so it was intended.

For Tobacco Control is engaged in a global eugenic public health programme, to rid the world of smoking, and therefore of smokers. Eugenics works through mass murder: if you want to create a world of perfectly white cats, you must kill all the black ones. And Tobacco Control has set out to “improve” the world by getting rid of all the undesirables in it: the smokers and drinkers and fat people and the politically incorrect. And if some of these undesirables die in the process, well, that’s what they were supposed to do. You can’t make omelettes without breaking a few eggs.

It’s essentially no different from the Nazi eugenic public health programme to rid the world of Jews and Gypsies and homosexuals and anyone else who didn’t fit into their plans for a world of perfectly white cats. Those people were regarded as vermin just like smokers are regarded as vermin today. Did anyone in the German press and radio raise the alarm about it? Of course they didn’t. They turned a blind eye just like the press and mainstream media do today.

And why should it be any different? In what substantive way has human thought advanced since the Nazi era? There is very much the same mindset today as there was 100 years ago, in most respects. Yes, we have TVs and computers and mobile phones and all sorts of technology the Nazis never knew. But the Nazi eugenic mentality remains. The old Nazis just took off their black uniforms, and put on suits, and carried on where they left off. And there were lots of them in Britain and America and everywhere else. And, guess what, there still are.

Which reminds me of something else I read recently:

We no longer have a moral compass. Before, Christianity provided this role, keeping us united over centuries. Now we can no longer distinguish between good and evil, and ultimately this is what this struggle comes down to.

When there’s no moral compass, who’s to say what’s right and wrong? And isn’t it likely that what used to be regarded as wrong becomes right, and what used to be regarded as right becomes wrong? Do you think that the Nazi guards pushing Jews into gas chambers thought they were doing something wrong? Of course they didn’t. They thought they were doing something right. And they were surrounded by people who also thought it was the right thing to do. It must’ve been a big shock for them when the allied armies showed up and told them they’d been doing something very, very wrong, and hanged quite a lot of them.

It’s the same with Tobacco Control today. Does Deborah Arnott think she’s doing something wrong? No, of course she doesn’t. She thinks she’s doing something right. And she’s surrounded by lots of people who keep telling her that she’s doing the right thing. They all meet up for conferences which are as much about building up and re-enforcing their morale as they are for making new plans for the Final Solution to the Smoking Problem. The conferences are bonding sessions during which their vision of a smoke-free world is re-iterated and amplified and detailed, so that they can all go away afterwards with renewed confidence and determination. It’s going to be a big shock for them when they find out that they were doing something evil.

The problem isn’t Deborah Arnott. The real problem is the moral vacuum in which the likes of her and Stanton Glantz and all the rest of them can grow and flourish.

 

 

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About Frank Davis

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25 Responses to The Hermit On The Hill

  1. Vlad says:

    I used to be very surprised (as in ‘how could this have happened’) when reading about the vandalism in the open that Nazis did against Jews during 1930s – perhaps the best known is KristallNacht. Because, as Wikipedia says, ”In the 1920s, most German Jews were fully integrated into German society as German citizens. They served in the German army and navy and contributed to every field of German business, science and culture.”. Or a more recent example, ISIS destroying monuments in Palmyra.

    Since the new cigarette packaging has appeared on the shelves and I see the discarded ones on the street, a thought hit me. What’s the difference between the vandalism on intellectual property that TC is doing, and what the Nazis or ISIS did on physical properties? It’s the same act of destroying/defacing of something that those in power don’t understand of approve of.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Sorry that this comment got stuck in my spam folder.

      And, no, there isn’t any difference between what TC is doing and what the Nazis or ISIS did. In fact, TC applauds ISIS.

    • Roberto says:

      Evidently, tobacco controllers are not planning an actual physical genocide of smokers, so we have to be careful when bringing the nazis in this debate. The Kristall Nacht that you mention is not a good example because tobacco controllers are not promoting state violence on this scale against smokers. The right comparison between the anti-smoking movement and nazi officials is on how the latter treated smokers among Nazi Germany’s own favored constituency of ethnic Germans (the “Arians” or Der Volk). Jews in Germany during the 1930’s were treated far more harshly than “Arian” smokers.

      Another similarity between the nazi regime and modern anti-smoking movements is in setting up gradual discriminatory policies in the name of some “public good”. People tend to forget that nazi state enforced discriminatory policies in the 1930’s against “undesirable” groups “prepared the ground” for much harsher actions, which lead to the physical genocide of Jews, Gypsies and Slavs that took place a decade later during the WWII years. This doesn’t mean that the nazis were planing a genocide of Arian smokers. The harshness of these “preparatory” policies varied with the target group. Discriminating Jews was harsher because “racial hygiene” was more important for the nazis than “health hygiene”. These policies gradually hardened a minority of Germans to become accomplices and perpetrators and secured that the a majority that remained either callous or indifferent. Tobacco controllers are engaged in a form of social engineering that is remarkably similar to the nazi state attitude on what they conceived to be the health betterment for the Volk.

      • Frank Davis says:

        Tobacco controllers are engaged in a form of social engineering that is remarkably similar to the nazi state

        It’s remarkably similar because it’s based on exactly the same eugenic worldview as the Nazis. The only difference is that they have identified a different set of undesirables to exclude, persecute, and ultimately, if necessary, exterminate.

        It’s a worldview that comes from, firstly, imagining some sort of ideal world, and then striving to realise it. Say, to use my example again, you imagine an ideal world full of perfectly white cats. And so you set about excluding and persecuting all the black (or non-white) cats. And ultimately you set about murdering them. In this manner, you construct a new hell.

        It’s this sort of thinking, which is endemic on the political left, that drives Tobacco Control. The political right is usually not quite so idealistic and ‘progressive’.

  2. “So where’s the danger in isolation? Well, in my case, there are some pretty obvious dangers. And they are that if I get sick or have an accident or a heart attack, there won’t be anyone to find me.”

    Very true! And as one gets up into their 70s/80s+ the problem becomes particularly acute regarding accidents. Not only are falls down stairs or in bathtubs far more likely to result is seriously broken bones etc that might make it more difficult to get help when living alone, but such falls become more likely as people’s sense of balance seems to tend to degrade for some reason.

    The “Final Solution” (or, as they now euphemistically have begun to call it, the “Endgame”) has been a part of their game plan for decades at this point … even before they began referring to it publicly at all. Back in the 1990s they set up big plans for “The SmokeFree Class of 2000!” and we’ve seen how peachily THAT turned out for them, eh? Their newer approach is the push for age laws that advance year-by-year, but they haven’t gotten a whole lot of traction on that yet.

    The Nazi concept of Passivrauchen took a strong hit with Hitler’s defeat in WW2, but it was revived 30 years later at the Godber conference and people barely batted an eye. And in the last ten years we saw the (originally) comedic extension of it to the nonsensical idea of a threat from “thirdhand smoke.” The big problem has been the money the antismoking groups have stolen from taxpayers: Since 1999 they’ve gotten an average injection of about 500 million dollars PER YEAR just from the US’s Master Settlement Agreement tax on smokers. Give me that kind of funding for 20 years and I can have people terrified of butterflies!

    Without funding, we’ve largely been limited to the relatively small microphone afforded by the Internet. In our favor however, the Internet is an ideal vehicle for us in some ways: it allows for detailed criticisms on podiums that give us roughly equal time and give it to us in a manner that sabotages slick debate tactics.

    Our social isolation has been transmuted into a strength as those of us who no longer enjoy pubbing as much as we used to now tend to sit a bit longer at our computers and keep the Antis from dominating the Web in the way they’ve dominated the broadcast media formal legislative halls. Would we do better if we were truly on equal footing with them in terms of funding? Certainly. But even without it we’re mounting a good fight!

    :)
    MJM

    – MJM

    • jaxthefirst says:

      “ … such falls become more likely as people’s sense of balance seems to tend to degrade for some reason”

      It’s true, MJM! Apparently the minor muscles which respond to the balance-signals given out by the chambers of the inner ear do get weaker over time, just like any other muscles do. This is partly due to the simple ageing process and partly due to the fact that as we get older many people do less exercise or activity (or don’t do it so energetically) as when we were younger – bounding around tennis courts and riding our bikes and playing in football matches and going off to dancing classes etc – and so these little muscles degrade even faster than the big ones which we have to use every day for normal things like walking, carrying stuff etc etc. The good news is that it’s actually quite easy to re-activate these muscles by some pretty minor, non-energetic exercises, there are loads on the internet, and they’re incredibly simple.

      It’s one of those things which medical professionals should be recommending to all elderly people, because none of the exercises are hard or even strenuous, and they are invaluable in preventing falls etc if a person does mis-step or trip or slip or anything – as we all do from time to time. But they don’t, of course, because they’re too busy trying to get them to stop drinking, smoking or eating the “wrong” foods or persuading them to take ever more medication to have time to give them any really useful information like this.

      • Frank Davis says:

        The good news is that it’s actually quite easy to re-activate these muscles by some pretty minor, non-energetic exercises, there are loads on the internet, and they’re incredibly simple.

        I’m getting a bit unsteady on my feet too. But I actually figured out for myself that I could re-activate the muscles with gentle exercise. As a result, while I’m still a bit unsteady at times, I’m much steadier than I was a year or two ago.

        But I’ve never found any of these exercise regimes on the internet, as yet.

        • jaxthefirst says:

          Search for “exercises for balance” and take your pick. The good thing is that you can test how much you have improved by: standing facing a chair, table or kitchen worktop (anything, basically, that you can rest your hands on); lifting one leg; closing your eyes; and then lifting your hands off the table just by an inch or two; and counting how many seconds you can stand on one leg without wobbling so much that you have to put your hands back down again. Then repeat on the other leg (most of us have one side which is better than the other). Then, after a few days of exercises, test again. As your “balance strength” improves, you should find that you can stand on one leg, with your eyes closed, for longer and longer periods.

  3. Rose says:

    Frank, I think you and I take it too much to heart.
    I read every smoking story, every study I can find on social denormalisation and every abusive comment on every newspaper thread. Everyday.
    After July 1st 2007, I was afraid to leave the house at first to go shopping incase a shop assistant wrinkled her nose at me and gave me a dirty look. But after a while, I realised that no one was acting any differently, even though the Government had effectively given people permission to abuse me in the street. The propaganda is very effective, but seemingly only on us.
    Yes, we have all the restrictions to cope with and nothing will ever be quite the same, but Prohibition took 13 years to fall apart and we’ve already done ten.

    ASH Scotland is beginning to act oddly too.
    http://taking-liberties.squarespace.com/blog/2017/3/20/ash-scotland-says-smokers-should-be-allowed-to-adopt-or-fost.html

    • “Prohibition took 13 years to fall apart and we’ve already done ten.”

      ::a toast to smokin’ in th’ pubs again in 2020!::

      Interesting link on Scotland there Rose. Of course when the Antis first started pushing the bans on fostering/adopting by smokers our voicing of similar criticisms went totally unheard. :/ Still, good to see the change as we move toward 2020 (##I can see clearly now…##)

      :)
      MJM

    • smokingscot says:

      @ Rose

      At the moment the selection process denies the right to adopt or foster a child if either partner smokes OR has smoked.

      However the system is so politically correct that large numbers of children are being kept in care for very long periods of time. (For example they will not allow people of one ethnic group to adopt a child of another ethnic group).

      Believe it or not Cameron did at one stage try to de-constipate the whole setup, but it has an agenda all of its own – to the detriment of one heck of a lot of very messed up children.

      This article goes back to 2014 figures for Scotland and they say there were close to 15,600 kids in the care of local authorities (and that figure’s gone up a lot since then).

      So smokers are usually denied infertility treatment if either partner smokes – and that creates a problem for infertile couples. Many of them would make wonderful parents – and I get very upset that same sex couples can get fertility treatment on request.

      Oh and smokers are not allowed to donate sperm either.

      I looked at this subject in very great detail some years back (March 2012 (vintage posts)) – and it’s a buggers’ muddle of conflict, with the kids being the losers all the way.

      Methinks ASH may have been shoved a little to make this recommendation – and it helps that Ms. Duffy has two kids of her own and lives with her “partner”.

  4. Rhys says:

    It can get scary. Being too alone is bad, but thinking about the reasons for it can be worse in some ways.

    I have a chronic illness, and once in a while I have occasion to ring an ambulance. I hope Britain is better than Canada, because here paramedics won’t come into your house if you smoke. I asked them what they did if called to the scene of a fire. They just looked at me, couldn’t work out why I was asking – what does one have to do with the other? I’m not sure if this is a rule for them, or just an ‘option’, but the propaganda has certainly had its effect.

    It’s the same with home help and home care workers, they definitely aren’t required to go to smokers’ homes, though the district nurse is kind enough to stop in occasionally.

    While I’m glad for the Internet, I do miss pubs. And sane people, though I grant the ‘anti’ sentiment here might have more religious fervour to it than it does there. The world has gone mad.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I haven’t ever had occasion to ring for an ambulance. Nor even to visit a doctor. And I have no chronic illness (that I know of).

      About 10 years ago, when I was looking after my mother, I had care workers coming every day. And the district nurse occasionally. And my mother’s doctor too. And occasionally ambulances and their crew. But while I smoked in the house, nothing was ever said about it by any of them. I don’t know whether that has changed. If it has, then it’s another example of the sort of exclusion I was writing about above. And if paramedics won’t go into smokers’ houses, then smokers are effectively being sentenced to death. Which is what I’m getting more and more convinced is what TC’s aim is.

      I miss pubs too, of course. But in summer I will go and sit in pub gardens with a beer and a cigarette on sunny afternoons. As do lots of other smokers. And this is the time of year when I start revisiting pubs. I had my first garden pint just a few days ago.

      And somehow or other I don’t mind being alone. I don’t think it’s something I could have done when I was younger. But I’m mentally a lot tougher than I was back then. And I feel I’m fighting a war. And anyway my brother lives nearby, and so I get to see him and his family quite regularly.

      • Joe L. says:

        I miss pubs too, of course. But in summer I will go and sit in pub gardens with a beer and a cigarettes on sunny afternoons.

        You’re lucky you can still do even that. I recently moved from Chicago to the Seattle area (one progressive hotbed to another, I know) and outdoor smoking bans in both Illinois and Washington make it impossible to smoke and drink at the same time in public. You can’t smoke on the property and you can’t take your beer off the property. It’s ridiculous, and not enjoyable in the least.

        Rant aside, I’ve read many posts of yours where you mention afternoons spent smoking and drinking in pub beer gardens. However, most, if not all of your posts seem to describe you as being there alone, thinking and/or reading. So you’re effectively still isolated, just not inside your home.

        Therefore, I have to ask, is it really any consolation whatsoever to have this ability? If you want to sit alone outside with a beer and cigarette, you can do so in your own backyard, and the beer will cost less! And what if it starts raining?

        Without the vibrant social scene that was eradicated from pubs by the indoor smoking bans, there is practically nothing to gain (and far more to lose) by going to pubs today, even the ones that let you smoke and drink at the same time… outside… 25 feet from the door… in an uncovered patio that waitstaff is not allowed to enter, lest they encounter a wisp of smoke and drop dead of a heart attack.

        • Frank Davis says:

          Therefore, I have to ask, is it really any consolation whatsoever to have this ability? If you want to sit alone outside with a beer and cigarette, you can do so in your own backyard, and the beer will cost less! And what if it starts raining?

          I used to often sit alone in pubs (and also outside them) before the smoking ban. For example, when I was looking after my mother, I hardly knew anyone in her little patch of Devon. But the local pub – which I called The River – was nevertheless a valuable refuge, particularly on those days when my mother was being a bit of a handful. I’d sit alone with a beer, lost in thought, in the quiet afternoons when they never had much custom. It took me an hour to drink the pint, and smoke 4 roll-ups. If I was a bit stressed when I arrived, after an hour or so, I was usually my usual serene self. This is why I often compare pubs to churches. I treat them rather like some people treat churches.

          I had a similar experience whenever I went abroad, and sat in bars in Spain or France or Brazil or Japan, surrounded by people speaking a language that I couldn’t understand. It’s the experience of being in a little river or pond of humanity. It is in many ways a rather fundamental experience.

          Of course, I’ve also been to lots of pubs with friends, and talked earnestly into the night about this or that. But that’s different.

  5. As the immortal Guru of East Cheam once said , I think: “I shall become a hermit… I shall find myself a lonely mountain peak to sit on. A blunt one.”

  6. Lepercolonist says:

    “And the method of exclusion is essentially murderous. The excluded smokers may fall off balconies or out of windows, or die of exposure outside, and this is fully intended. It’s not an “unintended consequence.” It’s something that was quite obviously going to happen. And so it was intended.”

    Maybe a smoker death squad should be formed to counter-attack these murderous antis ? That would put fear into these control freaks. Since smokers are already socially isolated this would be fertile ground for many lone wolves who can not tolerate the isolation. These nanny freaks are going to far. Some people are going to snap, it’s inevitable. Where is Augusto Pinochet when you need him ?

    • Frank Davis says:

      fertile ground for many lone wolves who can not tolerate the isolation … it’s inevitable.

      Indeed. I think this is bound to happen. Some day, somebody’s going to snap, and they’re going to hunt down one or two of the Controllers, and blow them away. But when that happens, it’ll bring an intensification of the persecution of smokers – much like the murder of a Nazi by a Jew – in pre-war France, I think – resulted in a significant uptick in Nazi persecution of Jews.

      But we’re in a war here. And in wars people die, unfortunately.

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