New Weapons for New Wars

In their own eyes, I’m sure that antismoking zealots think they’re doing good, and making the world a better place. They think the world would be a better place without tobacco. They think people would live longer and healthier lives without it. They probably also think that people would live longer and healthier lives without a long list of other things as well.

But how do they know what’s ‘good’ or what’s ‘better’? As far as I can see, all they have done is to equate goodness with longevity. For them, the best life is simply the longest life. And if tobacco or alcohol or sugar or salt or anything else they care to mention can be shown to reduce the longevity of human life in the slightest way, that is sufficient grounds for it to be banned outright or punitively taxed.

Nothing else matters. Longevity is the god they worship, and it’s an old and sick and ruined god, that’s only kept alive on a life support system. Nothing else matters: not truth or happiness or honour or compassion or friendship or community. Those things don’t matter at all. Longevity is the only thing that matters. And everything else must be sacrificed on the altar of the golden calf of longevity.

To me it seems morally vacuous. Too much is being sacrificed. Longevity is really only one good among many. There are lots and lots of good things. And maybe that’s why in antiquity there were lots and lots of gods, each of which was accorded their appropriate consideration. But in our monotheist era, there can only ever be one god. And right now that god is called Longevity, and it is everyone’s duty to live as long as they possibly can. Everything else can go to hell. And everything else has gone to hell.

We live in an age of moral confusion. Healthism is a product of that confusion. It’s a new religious cult, much like the cult of Isis or Attis or Cybele in antiquity, and its adherents are as fanatical as any of theirs.

Some people would say (and do say) that our moral confusion is the result of the decline of religion – specifically Christianity – in Western Society, and we have lost our way, and need to rediscover our Christian roots.

But was the Christian era really ever one of notable moral rectitude? Did men behave any better then than in any time before or after? And how does one measure moral rectitude? Were Buddhists any worse than Christians, or any better?

Isn’t the truth of the matter that humanity has been in a state of moral confusion since time immemorial? We have never known what was right and wrong. It’s just that periodically a Moses will descend from a mountain carrying tablets of stone on which the law is written, and bring a moment of moral clarity after which the confusion soon returns.

The trouble with all the great religions is that they are all of them based upon Mosaic figures of one sort or other, authorities who write authoritative books. But these Holy Books are all open to multiple different and conflicting interpretations. And from these rival interpretations there arise rival and conflicting sects. Christianity has been torn apart by rival sects, and so has Islam, and probably any and every other major religion as well.

But it has not been these rival sects that have done the real damage. What has happened is that an entire cosmos inhabited by gods and demons and angels and saints has been replaced by atoms in motion. The scientific world view has been chipping away at that cosmos, and replacing it with another one. The ancients may have looked up at the night sky and seen the outlines of the gods, but we only see planets and stars and galaxies. We inhabit an entirely new cosmos. We have said goodbye to the gods and demons, and to an entire moral universe. We have progressively stripped away the unnecessary and the inessential, and all we have been left with is atoms in motion. And this bleak new scientific cosmos is devoid of any morality. There is no up, and no down, but only relativity.

And the antismoking healthists are as thoroughly scientific in their outlook as our astronomers and physicists. They also strip away the inessential. And they have declared smoking to be unnecessary. You don’t need to smoke. You don’t need to drink. You don’t need sugar. You don’t need soda. And what you don’t need, you shouldn’t be allowed to have. And so they use the force of law to ban tobacco, alcohol, sugar, salt, and anything that is deemed unnecessary or superfluous. Soon they will be banning music, and dancing, and sex, and anything else we don’t need. We will end up with a society as bleak and cold as the universe of atoms in motion.

The antismoking healthists, in true scientific style, measure longevity with clocks. And for them the best life is the longest life.

But in Idle Theory, which is equally as ‘scientific’ in its outlook as modern healthism, a life is measured not only by its duration, but also by its idleness. And the best life is not the longest life, but the longest and idlest (or more exactly, longest times idlest). And idleness roughly corresponds with material wealth: the idle rich enjoy idler and better lives than the toiling poor. They very often live longer lives as well. (I read yesterday somewhere, maybe here or here, that the average age at death of Roman slaves was 17.5 years). Idle time is free time in which people can do whatever they like, and so if someone lives a 90% idle life of 70 years duration, they get to do as they like for 63 years in total. But if they live a 10% idle life of 90 years duration, they’ll only get to do as they like for 9 years in total. In Idle Theory, 63 years is better than 9 years. But according to healthist dogma, which doesn’t include any notion of idleness, 90 years is better than 70 years. So Idle Theory disagrees with Healthism about the best life. And it also includes a term that corresponds roughly to “quality of life”. After all, who wants to live a very long life being kept alive by a life support system? People justly ask: What sort of ‘life’ is that?

Furthermore, in their idle time, will not people want to do all sorts of things they enjoy doing? Like drinking and smoking and talking? Or eating or dancing or flirting? Or running or swimming or skiing? True, none of these things need to be done. But idle time is time in which nothing needs to be done, and so anything may be done.

Idle Theory perhaps provides a new weapon that might be used to to defeat the pernicious Healthist doctrine of the modern era, and to destroy Tobacco Control, which are currently doing so much harm. Idle Theory restores a moral dimension to the cosmos which went missing when the old Christian religious cosmos was dismantled, and everything unnecessary in it dispensed with. It breathes life into the atoms in motion. In Idle Theory heaven and hell re-appear, and so does God and the devil. But they have all been transmuted into new mathematical terms.

New wars need new weapons, and Idle Theory is a new weapon. And modern, scientific Healthism is going to have to be defeated by a modern, scientific antagonist in precisely the same way that modern scientific tanks are defeated by modern, scientific cruise missiles. Using Christian theology or Enlightenment philosophy against modern scientific Healthism is like sending infantry with spears, or cavalry on horseback, against trenches and machine-guns.

About Frank Davis

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40 Responses to New Weapons for New Wars

  1. Long Live Idle Theory!

    MJM, who’d type more… but it’s his Idle time. ;>

  2. RdM says:

    Well, I think the first Five Precepts of Buddhism are or represent a pretty good moral code;- not even imperatives, as in “thou shalt not”, but rather a training to undertake.

    And, undertaking, enabled

    • Frank Davis says:

      According to the BBC

      All Buddhists live by the Five Moral Precepts which are refraining from:

      harming living things.
      taking what is not given.
      sexual misconduct.
      lying or gossip.
      taking intoxicating substances eg drugs or drink.

      • Frank Davis says:

        A Critique of Buddhism’s Five Precepts:

        harming living things: Since killing and eating plants or animals entails harming them, then preparing and cooking and eating any meal breaks the first precept.

        taking what is not given: If nobody gives anything to me, I can take nothing. Even if I walk along a sandy beach, I cannot even take one grain of sand from it, because it has not been given to me. Owning anything is forbidden.

        sexual misconduct: Doesn’t this beg the question of what constitutes sexual good conduct? How can we know what is sexual misconduct if we aren’t told what is sexual good conduct?

        lying or gossip: Isn’t most casual conversation gossip?

        taking intoxicating substances eg drugs or drink: Smoking cigarettes?

        I suspect that I break the Five Precepts all day every day.

        • RdM says:

          “The refrain “I observe the precept of abstaining from …” which begins every precept clearly shows that these are not commandments. They are, indeed, moral codes of conduct that lay Buddhists willingly undertake out of clear understanding and conviction that they are good for both themselves and for society.”

          Harming living things:
          Well, you could argue that a vegetarian diet might get you closer.
          Then again, if you’re offered meat that is already dead…

          A sandy beach:
          Is this not given to you, to walk under the sun or stars along a sandy beach?
          Do what you like with it!
          I think the precept was more to do with human interactions…

          Sexual conduct, misconduct.
          You know when it’s right or wrong?

          Abstain from false speech (lying, gossip)
          Wikipedia notes:

          There is the case where a certain person, abandoning false speech, abstains from false speech. When he has been called to a town meeting, a group meeting, a gathering of his relatives, his guild, or of the royalty, if he is asked as a witness, “Come & tell, good man, what you know”: If he doesn’t know, he says, “I don’t know.” If he does know, he says, “I know.” If he hasn’t seen, he says, “I haven’t seen.” If he has seen, he says, “I have seen.” Thus he doesn’t consciously tell a lie for his own sake, for the sake of another, or for the sake of any reward. Abandoning false speech, he abstains from false speech

          Abstaining from intoxicants that cloud the mind and cause carelessness.

          Maybe tobacco is not so bad in that regard.

          Look, there’s great detail out there.

          I’m not going to argue the finer points much further tonight, I think! ;=})


        • Frank Davis says:

          Is this not given to you, to walk under the sun or stars along a sandy beach?
          Do what you like with it!

          What if it’s a private beach, owned by somebody, which they created by bringing in lots of sand from somewhere? Taking even one grain of sand would be theft.

          Same with farms, and everything that grows on them, including weeds.

        • “harming living things: Since killing and eating plants or animals entails harming them, then preparing and cooking and eating any meal breaks the first precept.”

          Actually there is, ideally, a subcategory of vegans that does not kill plants. They are called Fruitarians and eat only fruit. The strictest might only eat fruit which has dropped off a tree. (I don’t know how they deal with tomatoes and ears of corn.)

          I don’t know if any actually exist. I have an idea it might be impossible to survive at all on that diet.

          There’s a folk tale out there about a college student who went on a diet of just watermelon juice for something like three or six months. He then supposedly happened upon a leftover 2 pound bag of Halloween chocolate bars, ate the whole thing in one sitting… and died. No idea of the provenance or truth of that one.

          – MJM, a Mineralarian: I only eat rocks. I’m always popular at my dentist’s office.

        • Frank Davis says:

          a subcategory of vegans that does not kill plants. They are called Fruitarians and eat only fruit.

          Fruits and nuts are also living things. They even have their own very small metabolism. They’re baby plants that only start growing when they fall to ground. Unlike nuts, fruit come with their own water supply. So the Fruitarians only eat babies.

        • LOL! :) Po’ li’l Fruitarians. Guess they’ll have to join my Mineralarian cult!

        • smokingscot says:

          I have a friend who claims to be training to become a Buddhist Monk and he claims about 70% of them smoke.

          Google chucks up a series of photos to verify that that fifth thingy doesn’t include the consumption of tobacco.

      • RdM says:

        Yes well that’s a bit simplified but basically so; the idea of refraining from, rather than being commanded to not do, might be appealing;- a search on five precepts buddhism &or etc. might bring further elaboration, detail.

        Once you’ve decided to refrain from these things you may find yourself increasingly enabled to do so.

        (Suddenly you notice an insect just before you were about to step on it… ;-)

        And the language is so much nicer, I think. To aspire
        “To abstain from taking that which is not given.”
        vs the Judaeo Christian handed down commandment “Thou shalt not steal”.

        Anyway, as above, there is far more detail available online, much more …
        Positive aspects too, not just the negative injunctions or seeming rules.
        I hardly feel qualified to explain;- best look further yourself!

        But essentially, morality is the basis.

        “May all beings be happy” ;=})

  3. Richard says:

    Great post. Makes sense.
    Buddhists, as you know, don’t have a prohibition on tobacco because it isn’t considered to be a mind-altering substance.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Tobacco is slightly psychotropic: it improves concentration and endurance.

    • RdM says:

      The more strict ones might have moved beyond it of their own accord, but I remember going once on a 10 day Vipassana retreat and up early one morning catching the scent of the teacher’s pipe… I didn’t hold it against him.

      • RdM says:

        Hard to explain, but it was like the greatest class in oneself that one ever had…
        However, I didn’t keep up the practice… but I retain some memory of it.

  4. slugbop007 says:

    The WHO already sent out a directive last year telling people that they should only listen to music for one hour a day.


  5. Rose says:

    And right now that god is called Longevity, and it is everyone’s duty to live as long as they possibly can

    I couldn’t disagree more, longevity is just an excuse for their actions, they couldn’t care less if you live or die.

    I’ve been puzzling for a while now, if you live under “a system of government in which priests rule in the name of God or a god” it’s a theocracy, but what is it called if you live under a system of government in which medics always have the final word?

    Selling sickness: the pharmaceutical industry and disease mongering

    “There’s a lot of money to be made from telling healthy people they’re sick. Some forms of medicalising ordinary life may now be better described as disease mongering: widening the boundaries of treatable illness in order to expand markets for those who sell and deliver treatments. Pharmaceutical companies are actively involved in sponsoring the definition of diseases and promoting them to both prescribers and consumers. The social construction of illness is being replaced by the corporate construction of disease.”

    A perfect example.

    “This partnership with the World Health Organization offers great promise in the effort to reduce tobacco dependence and thus reduce the significant health costs and burden of tobacco-related illnesses and deaths,” said Sir Richard Sykes, Chairman, Glaxo Wellcome plc. “As a company, our commitment is to fighting disease. Tobacco dependence is in every sense of the word a disease with major but reversible health implications. Together, we can defeat this disease.”
    https: //

    Scholars discuss ‘medicalization’ of formerly normal characteristics
    April 28, 2009

    “In 1979, shyness had no medical status, but by 1993, it had been elevated to the third-most-common mental disorder in the United States after depression and alcoholism. And the treatment? Antidepressants — for which 200 million prescriptions are written every year, earning drug companies over $10 billion annually.

    The transformation of shyness from blushing to a bona fide illness is an example of medicalization — a complex social, moral, medical, and economic phenomenon that in the past century has widened the definition of disease.”

    • Vlad says:

      Written by Nightlight back in December 2013:
      ##Doctors are often sincere and well meaning (I know, having two parents medical doctors), but they can harm you since they are cogs of the sickness industry, which lives off the people becoming and remaining sick, hence in the long run they will harm you as result of most interactions with them. The industry relies on the subscriber model and will seek to turn anyone interacting with them into a life long subscriber to their goods and services (“disease management”). Their common procedures amount to suppressing illness symptoms with drugs (disease management i.e. prolongation), then suppressing symptoms of the side effects of these drugs with more drugs, … each causing more long term damage that will manifest as symptoms eventually and will need to be “managed” later as well. Once the beast snags you into its “digestive system” it is very difficult to break out and be free again.##

    • Joe L. says:

      I couldn’t disagree more, longevity is just an excuse for their actions, they couldn’t care less if you live or die.

      I think you are actually quite in agreement with Frank, Rose. I interpreted Frank’s statement differently, with a meaning more similar to “And right now that god is called Longevity, and it is everyone’s duty to try to live as long as they possibly can.”

      This is how I view Healthism. The prophets (the “Experts”) don’t care whether we actually live longer, they only care that we are scared into thinking we can and in turn, we spend copious amounts of money on doctors, hospitals and pharmaceuticals, in which they are financially invested.

    • Joe L. says:

      I couldn’t disagree more, longevity is just an excuse for their actions, they couldn’t care less if you live or die.

      I think you are actually quite in agreement with Frank, Rose. I interpreted Frank’s statement differently, with a meaning more similar to “And right now that god is called Longevity, and it is everyone’s duty to try to live as long as they possibly can.”

      Longevity is just an excuse for their actions. The prophets (the “Experts”) don’t care whether we actually live longer, they only care that we are scared into thinking we can and in turn, that we spend copious amounts of money on doctors, hospitals and pharmaceuticals, in which they are financially invested.

  6. Tony says:

    I was listening to the dawn chorus the other day and it struck me how wasteful it was. A huge variety of different species of birds each with their plumages and songs. We don’t need them.

    One species would be quite enough and I suggest crows. No fancy colours, plumage or songs. Just utilitarian black feathers and a simple call. I’ll call my cleansing campaign ‘Action on Birds and Health’ or ABH.

  7. Clicky says:

  8. garyk30 says:

    They have, perhaps, gotten people living longer; but, there are fewer people doing so.

    They claim that smoking and exposure to smoking causes death.

    If that is so, than the Bans and less smoking and exposure to smoke should have caused the
    UK death rate to decrease or at least increase it’s rate of decrease.

    That did not happen.
    In 2000, the U.K. death rate was 10.4/1,000 people.
    In 2009, with the ban just getting started, the rate was 9/1,000.
    At that rate of decrease, by 2015 you would expect tHe rate to be at 8/1,000.

    In 2015 the death rate was still 9/1,000.

    The ban has caused there to be a 1/1,000 people higher death rate than should be.

  9. Smoking Lamp says:

    The UN and company has established a whole #noncommunicable disease industry with a Twitter feed @NCDAccess.

    It is entirely focused on healthism and lifetstyle control. It is anti tobacco in all forms and also anti-alcohol and anti-meat… They are bankrolled by Bloomberg Philanthropies (which explains their prohibitionist bent).

    One of its memes is:

    “With improved education and intervention, we can reduce the amount of money and resources spent on smoking-related diseases.”


    • nisakiman says:

      One in ten thousand?

      That’s not a very scary figure at all. Whatever happened to the ‘Half of all smokers will be killed by their habit’? And 25% or thereabouts of adults smoke.

      One in ten thousand? Did they not get the memo from Tobacco Control? One in ten thousand? Here’s something I just found about 1:10,000 (dunno if it’s accurate):

      Here is a short list of things that also carry a 1:10,000 risk just so people can put things into perspective.

      Being killed by lightening that hit someone else

      A newly built dam having a total collapse

      Having serious complications from taking birth control pills

      Having an allergic reaction to an eppie pen (used for allergic reactions)

      Having a baby with downs

      Dying from shock alone ( meaning no other life threatening injuries) (this assumes also that you are not a fish in a bowl)

      Dying from a tree falling on you

      Dying from a blood transfusion

      Being in a flood

      Being in a landslide

      Getting an infection at an injection site (blood draw needle stick)

      Internal bleeding to point of death from a liver biopsy

      A headache being a brain tumor

      Being killed by a grizzly bear

      Being killed by an airplane crashing into you

      Being bitten by a maleria carrying masquitto

      Space junk hitting a satellite or space shuttle

      Being able to hold a perfect pitch vocally

      Getting hpv through oral sex

      Dying from arsenic from planting the garden

      I just lifted it from a random forum / blog that came up on Google (about AIDS, I note)

      • Joe L. says:

        Very nice job of putting the figure in perspective (something Tobacco Control purposely avoids doing), nisakiman!

        Also, I’d like to enquire how they even determined that a death was “caused by smoking.” Globally, there are a total of zero death certificates in existence that claim a death was “caused by smoking.” If smoking could pathologically be determined as a cause of death, it would be found on millions of death certificates. However, since it is not, exactly what data are they using to make this claim?

        • waltc says:

          SAMMEC, the infamous c 1992(?) Smoking Attributable Mortality computer. Based on epidemiological numbers it was fed that linked smoking with all known causes of death ( various kinds of cancer, heart trouble, respiratory diseases, and more), plus the percentage of smokers, plus the number of actual annual deaths from all causes (including car crashes, suicides and homicides), it then attributed a relatively arbitrary percentage of each category of deaths to smoking and then spat out a Number. In the original instance 400,000/yr which has been built on ever since.

          I recall, I believe, that its original calculations included the “fact” that 13% of all deaths from cervical cancer were “smoking-related” even though a) they could find no biological basis for the claim, and b) far more than 13% of women smoked which might tend, if anything, to show smoking was protective since 87% therefore occurred in non-smokers and the actual (viral) cause was unknown at the time.

          SAMMEC was also the basis of the Levy a nd Marimont study that busted it for bullshit and entangled our friend Michael Seigel in potential legal trouble and a rift with Glantz

  10. Rose says:

    More fun.

    It seems that Deborah has written a letter to Ofcom complaining about Love Island.

    Love Island: stars’ on-screen smoking angers health charity
    23 July 2017

    “Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) is questioning why the contestants’ cigarettes are contained in plain white packs which hide the highly visible – and distinctly unglamorous – graphic health warnings that carry pictures of diseased lungs and references to male impotence.”

    “ITV insists that the contestants’ cigarettes are contained in plain white packs so that the show will not be seen to be promoting one brand. The Ofcom Code prohibits product placement of cigarettes or other tobacco products.”

    “But Arnott questioned this approach. Since May, cigarette packs carry the brand name only in print, which viewers would struggle to make out. “Why, if smoking is to be depicted at all on the programme, are the cigarettes not in the standardised packaging required by UK legislation, which provides for strong graphic and text health warnings to be placed on packs?” she wrote.

    “I assume this is because pictures designed to show that smoking can lead to male impotence or diseased lungs do not fit the “glamorous” framing of the show. If true, this surely reinforces the conclusion that the programme is in breach of section 1.10 of the Code.”

    Comment – “Reality tv in which people smoke; and the cigarette packets are blank – wow, what a sin. Ash may have noble aims but they’re such a bunch of dictatorial prudes, it seems.”

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