The Rise of the New Idiocracy

I’m trying to build up a collection of “plain” tobacco packs, because I think that one day they’re going to be collectors’ items framed behind glass for future generations to see what happens when madness takes hold of societies.

This morning my eyes fell on one which said, in big black letters on a white background (note to future generations: lies are told in big black letters on white backgrounds), which said:

Your smoke harms your children, family, and friends

All of them, and all at the same time? It conjured up the idea of getting a phone call from a friend living a few streets away, asking: “Frank, have you just lit a cigarette? I’m feeling a bit unwell.”

It used to be that smoking was harmless. Then it was that smoking harmed the smoker. Now it’s that smoking harms your children, family, and friends. How long before…?

Your smoke harms your neighbourhood, your home town, and your country.

Of course carbon dioxide has far outstripped tobacco smoke in the harm stakes:  it catastrophically harms the whole world. Beat that!

Then I started reading Walt’s additional report on the NYC council health committee that met to “discuss the many proposals to screw smokers”:

Of the committee’s 9 members, 7 were idiots (poor neighborhoods tend to elect One-of-Their- Own and usually the one who’s the fastest talker but not the deepest thinker) and 2 were Superior Beings. The idiots believe whatever The Experts tell them and want to identify with Acceptable Attitudes. There’s also, I think, the irresistible enchantment of passing the kick–abused turned abuser, powerless given power.

The white guy who said that “making it difficult” was good, was– to steal a line– “nasty, brutal and short” as in physically short, and he seemed to spit it out with a gleeful malice. The Science, for him, is probably nothing more than a prop for his malice.

This prompted two thoughts. The first was that, while I tend to think that the Tobacco Controllers are fiendishly clever, maybe the truth of the matter is that they’re all complete idiots, and what we’re witnessing is the relentless rise of a new idiocracy. The idiocracy is in control in NYC and most likely San Francisco and numerous other US cities, including many European cities.

Confirmation of this hypothesis quickly came a little further down the thread in a comment by Joe L:

Scientists from the University of Bristol have looked at all 14,500 participants in Children of the 90s and found that if a girl’s maternal grandmother smoked during pregnancy, the girl is 67% more likely to display certain traits linked to autism, such as poor social communication skills and repetitive behaviours.

The University of Bristol is my old alma mater, and it used to be one of the best engineering universities in Britain – home to Rolls Royce and Concorde and Brunel’s SS Great Britain and Clifton suspension bridge – . and now it was reduced to producing bilge like this.

Universities once used to be centres of excellence, but these days they more and more seem like centres of idiocy. I think it may simply be because the currency of academia has been debased by the simple expedient of multiplying the numbers of universities. In the past universities were full of people like Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, but now they’re full of idiots. And you have idiot professors heading idiot departments full of idiot students being taught idiocy (Note to future generations: minimize rather than maximize the number of universities), and they pump out tens of thousands of unemployable graduates with meaningless degrees in things like “Gender Studies”.

Political Correctness is of course one of the principal manifestations of the rising tide of idiocy. And it should be no surprise at all if it has infected not only NYC city council, but also the mayor’s office (e.g. Bill de Blasio and his predecessor Michael Bloomberg) and probably much of the US Senate and House of Representatives, as well as the British House of Commons (and Lords) and the highest echelons of the EU.

And the second thought that was prompted was that “making it difficult” was the opposite of Idle Theory’s goal of making life easy. It’s very hard to make life easy for people, with roads and cars and computers, but very easy to “make it difficult”. It requires a long succession of geniuses to create a sheet of transparent plate glass, but just one single idiot to smash it. And now, in NYC’s city council you have someone whose avowed goal is to “make life difficult” for a large part of NYC’s population.

In the past, enlightened city officials set out to make life easy for their citizens with good roads and subways and clean water and good education. But the new breed of idiots in City Hall is now setting out to quite deliberately “make life difficult” for people. And they’ll find any number of very easy vandalistic ways to make life difficult. And as life gets harder for everyone, they will all get poorer. The roads will fill with potholes. The subways will break down. There’ll be power cuts. The drains will block. Buildings will fall empty or into disrepair. People will move out, seeking prosperity elsewhere, while the idiocracy vie with each other to find new and ingenious ways of “making life difficult” for another bunch of people. A number of US cities seem to be already well advanced down this track. No doubt London and Paris will quickly latch onto the new fad of “making it difficult”, because idiocy in SF or NYC pretty rapidly makes its way across the Atantic.

Where else is idiocy on the rise, other than in education and medicine and politics? The mainstream media are pretty well advanced with their quiz shows and sport and “fake news”. I read somewhere that the new Labour party slogan for the upcoming General Election is going to be:

For the many, not the few.

What did it mean? For the  many who? It could be anybody. You could supply your own categories. Fill in the blank spaces.

For the many ______, not the few ______.

In the end I thought it most likely meant that the Labour party was

For the many non-smokers, not the few smokers

But I knew that already.

About Frank Davis

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22 Responses to The Rise of the New Idiocracy

  1. Pour Votre Collection or how Johnny Belgian does it these days (bought this week in Adinkerke), minimal branding *still* allowed…minimal.

    BTW One of the guys at REAL was telling me that it has become a bit of popular sport in Belgium and other EU countries for people now to sue , claiming to be the subjects shown in the med porn. I thought it was just that one case of some Spanish bloke but it seems ‘he’ the man shown has now become several different people.

    • Rose says:

      I’ve started hoping that I get the naked young man in the satin sheets, he’s the only picture I don’t cut off.
      After all, both anti-tobacco and parliament must have agreed that looking at pictures of him is good for my health.

      • Frank Davis says:

        I’ve got one of the naked young man. He’s curled up in a foetal position, holding his head.

        I’m hoping that there will be a naked young woman coming along soon. Equal opportunities, and all that.

        • beobrigitte says:

          If I find a picture of a naked woman curled up in a foetal position, holding her head I swap you that for the one of the naked man!!!
          As Rose so kindly mentioned,After all, both anti-tobacco and parliament must have agreed that looking at pictures of him is good for my health.

    • I always buy the cigarettes that would cause me problems if I become pregnant. I have no plans to become pregnant!

      – MJM (although… hm… my belly HAS been looking a bit larger of late…)

  2. Rose says:

    Picking the pockets of the traumatised victims of war.

    When the smoke clears… tobacco control in post-conflict settings

    “In new research published today by King’s College London – Institute of Cancer Policy and the Conflict & Health Research Group in the journal ecancermedicalscience, the difficulties of prioritising preventable disease and long term health issues in post conflict zones are explored.
    The paper particularly focuses on tobacco control. Globally, one in ten deaths is caused by smoking but in post-conflict zones tobacco usage rates are higher than global averages.”

    “Taxation is reported by many institutions, including the WHO, as the most effective means of reducing demand, but between low import duties, open corruption, and recorded collusion between smuggling rings and tobacco firms, success has been limited in post conflict settings.”

    “As for the longer-term prospects of disease development in the region, Prof Sullivan cautions “We know very little about the long-term effects; we can surmise that these are poor as more children and young adults take up smoking but to date there have been very few long-term studies. What we have seen already is an increase in tobacco smuggling, higher tobacco usage in women and dramatically lower quit rates.”

    • Smoking Lamp says:

      Talk about myopia! Perhaps the professor should research the “Long-term effects of smoking in post nuclear war environments” too…

  3. Vlad says:

    Excellent article. This ‘plain’ packaging is indeed madness, there’s no 2 ways about it. It kind of reminds me of that story by Christian Andersen with the emperor being naked and everyone around him acting normally for fear of causing offense, until a child said: he’s not wearing any clothes. The parallel being: everyone I see handling cigarette packs (buying, selling, taking it out of a purse, having it on a coffee table and so on) act so normally. It’s the ‘new normal’. Which is so baffling for me…

    • Rose says:

      The packaging is TC and a sign of their madness. it’s natural that normal people would disassociate themselves from their antics.
      It’s only the tobacco that’s of any interest to us as we’ve always said had they been prepared to listen to us instead of going off into realms of fantasy.
      It’s just another grocery item like tea or any other commonly available vegetable or herb.
      The price of coffee goes up because of a bad harvest, we pay the extra.

      • nisakiman says:

        That’s the problem, Rose. TC don’t understand that tobacco is just a commodity, same as everything else. They think it’s something special. It’s not. They think they’re being ever so clever by getting grotesque medico-porn put all over the packs, but the bottom line (as they are surely aware) is the cost. And the higher the cost due to taxes, the bigger the black market will become. Yes, some people may just give in and give up because they can’t afford it. Others (most) will seek alternative sources.

        It would be the same if they slapped 800% tax on coffee. Some would just give up drinking coffee, however much they liked it. Others would seek other sources than the official, taxed supply. Any grotesque images they plastered over the coffee packs would have little or no impact on sales, licit or illicit.

        And of course, with the social climate they’ve created around smoking, very few will admit to enjoying tobacco. So they do their surveys to ascertain smoker prevalence, and nobody admits to smoking, and there is no paper trail regarding the actual volume of sales. So what they have done, in fact, is to take themselves completely out of the loop through their idiotic demands, and now have absolutely no idea how many people smoke.

        What the hell, I’m past caring about how stupid they are. They’ve reached the bottom of the barrel, and they’re still madly scraping. Let them scrape, for all the good it will do them. It’s only a matter of time before they become an irrelevance.

        • very few will admit to enjoying tobacco.
          Worse still is that some smokers are wary around other smokers about even admitting to not believing the Pathologist Porn. This evening I was chatting to a smoking friend, he’s been rather helpful and so I wanted to give him some tobacco, which I did. We got talking about the images on the pack.
          He said he didn’t see the point in the ‘illegal if you posted them through someone’s door’ pics as, and I quote: “we all know the risks already”.
          I, of course, corrected him by saying “we are all aware of the supposed risks, of the dangers THEY try and convince us of”.
          A slight tension drained out of him visibly and he then ‘confessed’ that he had never believed a word of them and that the WHO had never found a link etc etc
          It reminded me of chats I’ve had with followers of some Xian denomination or sect, who will only admit to ‘doubt’ once they know they are talking to someone who won’t judge them for it.
          I found it rather troubling. An adult man older than myself , a single parent bringing up a teenage kid, working every hour God sends, was wary about admitting to his beliefs infront of a fellow smoker and a friend.
          Oh well the handful of cheap Springfield cigarillos (50 for £6.50) I gave him will help him man up (Look, I’m a tight git…you didn’t think I would give away quality gear did you?!?!) .

        • Frank Davis says:

          It reminded me of chats I’ve had with followers of some Xian denomination or sect, who will only admit to ‘doubt’ once they know they are talking to someone who won’t judge them for it.

          Interesting. My upcoming Skype conversations will have people talking to someone who will be encouraging them to doubt.

  4. Lisboeta says:

    A lot of those Tobacco Controllers *are* fiendishly clever. They invented a totally specious cause, supported by manipulated/cherry-picked data, not to mention outright lies. And thereby managed to get themselves very well paid (in any other context it’d be called ‘on welfare’) for the foreseeable future. That’s why the copy-cats are campaigning against alcohol, salt, sugar. It’s a lucrative gig.

  5. Joe L. says:

    This morning my eyes fell on one which said, in big black letters on a white background (note to future generations: lies are told in big black letters on white backgrounds), which said: Your smoke harms your children, family, and friends

    Wow. It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Europe. Your propaganda “warning messages” have gotten even more out of control. There’s nothing that even resembles a (pseudo)scientific “fact” there. They don’t even bother to tell you what types of “harm” they claim smoking causes anymore! That message is purely the lowest of social engineering tactics: a baldfaced guilt trip!

    Note that they purposefully chose not to print the lie as, “Cigarette smoke harms children, family, and friends,” opting instead for the use of the far more personal possessive pronoun, “Your smoke smoke harms your children, family, and friends.”

    It’s Brainwashing 101. They know that the emotional appeal of making the statement personal has far more effect psychologically. They obviously want smokers to feel guilty and ashamed for their behavior. They want us to hate ourselves. They won’t stop until we all hate ourselves.

    Sadly, this tactic has been effective on many smokers. Tobacco Control knows this well and is no longer obfuscating their true intentions. They’re just twisting the knife now.

    It starting taking its effect on me 5 or so years ago. I found myself having frequent but sporadic anxiety attacks. After a while I realized I was dealing with a subconscious internal conflict. The irrational, emotional, subconscious part of my mind was succumbing to the antismoking propaganda, but my rational, scientific, conscious mind never believed the lies.

    At that time, I began to do a lot of research, and in the process, stumbled upon this very blog. I found that there were others doing the same independent research, there were others who saw through the pseudoscientific fraud, there were others sharing similar stories of isolation. It was comforting to discover Frank and a community of other rational, intelligent and diligent people who simply enjoy smoking tobacco.

    I soon realized that the reason the propaganda was starting to influence my subconscious mind and cause the anxiety attacks was because I no longer had a local community; I no longer had a support system because the smoking bans completely destroyed it. As a smoker, I was left vulnerable and alone. However, through the wonders of the internet, I was fortunate to find a surrogate community scattered across the globe right here. I believe maintaining a strong community is vital to the future of our cause.

    I know for a fact my story is far from unique. However, many smokers don’t do the research, they don’t have the internal conflict. They simply believe the “experts,” succumb to the peer pressure and in many cases become vile ex-smokers. But for those that do have that internal struggle, hopefully they too can find and join our community. We need to end Tobacco Control’s campaign of bullying and lies, and we are all much stronger together!

    • Monty says:

      Joe that’s a persecution technique- it’s about who wields power, and over whom, and why.

      The smokers were just an easily identifiable early target.
      We see it all around us nowadays, pressure groups exist in order to put the public under stress, and also gain financially from that whenever they can, when governments throw money at their quangos to grab some brownie points.

      And their favourite approach is to pick relatively common, harmless behaviours and demonise those behaviours and incite hatred against the people who do those things.

      Smoking was the first. But look at what they are now doing to other cohorts:
      People who are heavier than the specified target BMI.
      People who have more than 14 units a week to drink.
      People who don’t like wasting their precious time sorting their household waste into umpteen different bins.
      People who like a traditional hearth with a nice log fire.
      People who eat meat, fish, and dairy produce.
      Folk who like to bring their shopping home in a carrier bag.
      People who resent paying over-hiked prices for their gas and electricity.
      People with pets…

      … all now find themselves among the ranks of the deplorables. Young people in our society are encouraged to hate and despise their own elderly relatives, by the likes of Monbiot in the pages of the Guardian. And guess what? They comply.

      We have a serious problem in our society- the prevailing atmosphere is corrosive, it rewards malevolence, and sidelines or punishes integrity. It is predation. Not just dog eat dog. Now it’s dog uses mainstream and social media to propose a pretext for a lot of other dogs to join him in the organised persecution of a smaller, weaker, easily identifiable group of victim dogs.

      • Joe ‘n Monty: FULLY agree with you both! It IS predation. It IS malevolent. And it DOES have a pernicious way of worming into people’s minds and causing them actual harm.

        What’s needed is for smoking parents to sue over the psychological torture being done to their children who will naturally end up at some point seeing these pictures and will believe these things are imminently going to happen to their parents.

        – MJM

  6. waltc says:

    I agree with Frank’s diagnosis of the political class. Tho I do think the dichotomy in my city council may be slightly more typical: Idiots and know-alls seem to be almost the sole components of all legislative bodies (Bloomberg was no idiot, eg.) reflecting the extreme poles of the electorate itself–leaving little to no representation for people with plain common sense and good will, though it has to be said that the idiots and know-alls are, by engineering and propaganda, winnowing their ranks. Or perhaps as others here have observed, making them afraid to express or even acknowledge their own common sense and good will.

    Still, it’s frightening to realize that even a so-called sophisticated metropolis like New York or London is ruled by a gaggle of idiots and know-alls with a smattering of the corrupt. Same goes for the states and , with only minor improvement, our congress, your parliament.

  7. waltc says:

    You might like this blog, as well as its internal links, on the subject of scientific certainty. The case in point is global warming but the implications are general.

  8. Rose says:

    Excellent piece by Carl V Phillips

    Lying with literally true statements is the worst kind of lying

  9. Mark Jarratt, Byron Bay, Australia says:

    Dear esteemed fellow independent smoking community members. The puritanical healthist anti tobacco zealots behind the ridiculous Stalinist so called plain packaging ‘public health initiative’ were comprehensively skewered, and proven to be impervious to evidence and reason in this closely argued submission

    Predictably, the submission was ignored and the grotesque propaganda forced on tobacco firms and daily on millions of citizens remains.

    The bullying prohibitionist Australian government and those who urge relentless petty meddling in the choices of others just redefined the objectives, a textbook example of ‘heads I win, tails you lose’.

  10. Pingback: Missive From ‘Merica: Too Parter – Library of Libraries

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