Losing Freedoms

In conversation in the Smoky Drinky Bar last night, TwentyRothmans remarked that he was thinking of leaving England, in part because he didn’t think the English had it in them to resist the loss of freedom they were experiencing.

I could well understand what he meant. Freedom is being eroded in small ways and large ways all the time these days, and the English seem to have little interest in defending it. But does that mean that they will always be uninterested? And is it only the English who have (or are supposed to have) a particular interest in freedom?

I think the answers to those two questions are: a) No, and b) No.

The loss of freedom we’re experiencing is all being carried out salami slice by salami slice. And I think that when this happens, there’s usually some alternative freedom that can be fallen back on. Imagine a bar somewhere with 20 different chairs or stools in it. And imagine that you’re a regular visitor to the bar, and you have a favourite chair you like to sit in. And suppose that one day you go into the bar, and notice that one of the chairs has vanished, but it’s not your favourite chair, so you’re not much bothered about it. And suppose that next week you arrive to find another chair has gone, but once again it’s not your favourite chair, so you’re not bothered about that either. And then you read somewhere that the Health Ministry is looking to create a “chair-free” society, because Studies Have Shown that sitting on chairs causes cancer or heart disease or rabies, or maybe all three. And you start getting a bit worried about what’s happening, but you’ve still got your chair, so you’re really not bothered. But then one day, when there are just 12 chairs left, you arrive in the bar and find someone sitting on your chair, and you have to sit on another one. And you kick yourself and say it was you’re own fault for not going to the bar at opening time and claiming your chair before somebody else got it. By now more and more customers are finding that there simply aren’t enough chairs for them all to sit on, and they have to stand, and they don’t stay as long as they used to. And you don’t mind that too much, because you’ve still got your chair. And so it proceeds until there’s only your chair left, and you’re the only person who ever comes to the bar. And finally, when the bar becomes completely “chair-free”, you stop going as well, and the bar closes, never to re-open again. And then you’re angry, as it finally comes home to you how much you’ve lost: not just your chair, but also your bar, and all the friends of yours that used to go to it.

I think something like that happens with all these vanishing freedoms. There’s usually an alternative of some sort. And so people shift from one alternative to another. But in the end there are no alternatives left. And then it comes home to you how much has been lost.

As freedoms are gradually stripped away, like chairs, some people are more affected than others. The people who keep their chairs see no change: they don’t lose their freedom. Those who lose their seats, and can’t find alternatives, experience a loss of freedom. And since freedoms are being removed all the time, sooner or later everyone experience a loss of freedom.

I often wonder why I reacted so strongly to the 2007 UK smoking ban, when most other people didn’t. Was it because, unlike them, I have an inordinate fondness for freedom? I don’t think so. I think it was simply that the smoking ban affected me much more than it affected other people. It was as if my chair was the first chair that was removed from the bar rather than the last chair. And that was because I had no alternative to the pub. Other people had alternatives: they could entertain at home, or build little private ‘pubs’ in their back gardens, or visit the pubs after hours when they were ‘closed’, or smoke in back rooms they had access to. They could more or less carry on as before. But I couldn’t do that, and so I experienced the complete loss at the very outset. I lost my chair, my pub, and my circle of friends, all in one day. And I’ve been angry ever since.

But as they in turn lose their freedoms, everyone else is going to experience the same loss as I did, just rather later than me. And they’ll be just as angry as I am. And so you get a society where everyone is slowly getting angry. Or rather, you get a society where some people are angry at what’s happening to them, and some people are not angry, but where the numbers of angry people are mounting, and the numbers of people who aren’t angry are dwindling.

And that’s what I was writing about yesterday in Coming To The Boil. Smoking bans are one small loss of freedom that affects relatively few people. But there are lots and lots of other freedoms that are being lost. Later last night Gráinne in Ireland was complaining about how the Irish could no longer cut peat from their peat bogs. Some sort of environmental reason was given for it. Or maybe Studies Have Shown that peat causes cancer and heart disease and rabies. It’s something she’s mentioned several times. So it sounds like it’s a real loss of freedom she’s experienced, perhaps because there’s no alternative to peat for some people in Ireland. So that’s a few more angry people, this time in Ireland.

And think of all the countless other freedoms that are being removed, slice by slice. For almost every new law is a small new loss of freedom for someone somewhere. And the EU pumps out new laws by the gallon. And so does the UK parliament. and no doubt the Irish parliament as well. In the UK there was talk a few years back of a Grand Repeal of all these new laws, but nothing happened, probably because the political class likes having lots of laws.

The political class is the least affected, of course. They always keep their seats in the bar. In fact, they have their own bar, chock full of well-upholstered armchairs. Many people in the EU political hierarchy have got a job for life, and a good pension, and lots of kick-backs from lobbyists, and maybe even immunity from prosecution thrown in as well. Much the same seems to be true for the political class in Washington. So there’s a deepening divide between pampered political elites and the ordinary people slowly getting angry.

And all I can see happening is more and more people getting angrier and angrier. And maybe the big political divide of our time is between the people who’re getting angrier and angrier at the loss of countless small and large freedoms, and the people who’ve yet to experience that sort of loss. And the former are beginning to outnumber the latter. In the USA they elected Donald Trump. And in the UK they voted for Brexit. And maybe in Spain they’ll vote for Catalonian Independence. And in Italy they’ll do something else. But essentially the same thing is happening everywhere.

This includes the mounting terrorist attacks. Only a very few people are directly affected by these, as they lose friends or family. But they too will be becoming disenchanted. And they’ll join the ranks of the angry.

It all adds up. And when more or less everyone is angry? There has to be some sort of explosion.

Advertisements

About Frank Davis

smoker
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Losing Freedoms

  1. smofunking says:

    I fear there’s little hope for the future when we’re living in a world with an ever increasing number of petitions calling for the criminalisation of people who commit the heinous crime of opening a packet of peanuts.

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=petition+peanuts+plane&oq=petition+peanuts+plane&aqs=chrome..69i57.1845j0j4&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8.

  2. Vlad says:

    Speaking of lost freedoms…look at Jeremy Clarkson…all the money and fame in the world, yet he’s been hectored so much about quitting smoking that he finally gave in. That despite the tests showing nothing wrong with his lungs. WOW, the brainwashing regarding smoking…

    After his bout of pneumonia, Clarkson said lung tests showed he still had 96 per cent capacity for a person his age and he could ‘breathe out harder and for longer than a non-smoking 40-year-old’.
    ‘In short, getting on for three-quarters of a million fags have not harmed me in any way. I have quite literally defied medical science,’ he wrote.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4827320/Jeremy-Clarkson-FINALLY-quits-43-year-smoking-habit.html

  3. I think I can understand what 20 Roths means (He’s German isn’t he?). When I went to live in Germany in 1988 I couldn’t believe how restrictive German society was and couldn’t understand how Germans could live with so few freedoms- freedoms I took for granted as an Englishman. As a Brit I had great trouble (and got into great trouble) getting my head around having to carry an ID card at all times (particularly difficult as I still had a ‘proper’ blue LARGE GB passport), that I had to register my place of residence every time I moved, that I required the permission of the Ministry of Health to remain resident -and I almost ended up in court for not sending them a sample of my shit. I couldn’t comprehend that the police could compel me to turn my radio down at lunchtime or that I had to show iD to so almost anything. I couldn’t understand WHY I could only use the name on my passport.
    Some day I will sit down and write up the hoops I had to jump through to be ALLOWED to marry a German girl. I say ‘allowed’ because it had to be ok’d by the German High Court because I was a foreigner.
    I admit I used to poke fun at my German friends about how many laws they had to comply with.
    Then I returned to the UK and watched all my traditional British freedoms salami-sliced away…and nto in thin slices either. A process that culminated in the Smoking Verbot.
    Now when I go to Germany I find the situation is almost the reverse. Brits seem to have swallowed the line, hook and sinker about ‘it’s for the sake of the children’ and the really weird thing is a lot of people seem to think the Brexshite will mean an increase in liberty and personal freedoms. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad. Very few people , Brexiteurs or remainers, seem to really understand , how much uncontrolled power PMT. May-Be-Cromwell will be handed and we all know where power without oversight, with no checks and balances, leads.

    • Twenty Rothmans says:

      I’m unaccustomed to this level of celebrity.
      I lived in Germany 1985-6 and 1999-2004. You get less for murder.
      But when I arrived, I saw pubs open all night. 16-year olds buying beers. No speed limit on the Autobahn. They *paid* me to study there.
      Things changed later. Their Draconian rules on BitTorrent (essential for English speakers) the 25c “deposit” on tin cans and now their own smoking bans. So I’m from Niedersachsen then Hessen, and I turn up in NRW – a rough, working-class enclave – and there is no smoking to be had (apart from one bar in Duesseldorf very late at night).

      The influx of Africans has had an immediate, palpable, and immutable change to the country. I can remember the Polizei with ,machine guns at FRA when I was flying out in 86 (heavy US mil presence there and the wogs got at them in a disco in Berlin). Now it is quite normal. They turn up at the Hbf mob-handed and clean the streets temporarily.

      I do not regret coming to the UK. I’ve had the privilege of meeting some wonderful people, and the climate suits me. But inexorably, the State swallows me up. When they are not taxing me for something. they are telling me how to live. A less merciful person than I would want their families strung up with piano wire before they themselves met the same fate. But I’m not like that. I’d wheel out the brazen bull.

      ->As a Brit I had great trouble (and got into great trouble) getting my head around having to carry an ID card at all times
      Yes. I never did that but bluffed it.

      I was also enamored of a German girl, but I took her to Australia, They just needed to look at her lungs (after I had inspected them thoroughly) and see my father’s bank account. I did ask her to marry me but she had this feminist bug in her ass and did not want to.

      I was the victim of an attempted mugging a few years ago. I fought them off. The Polizei breathalyzed me! The Politzist said that I was quite drunk. I told him no wonder, I’d had two bottles of Champagne on the flight*. I spent that night on the rooftop of the hospital, smoking with a very pleasant nurse (I’d been concussed). Imagine doing that in an NSDAPHS hospital.

      When I go to Germany to work, I am taxed (this is paid for by my firm). I’ve worked in more than ten countries and never seen it before, what the hell is this?

      This from me fellow Hume Highway warrior below -> The problem is, Frank, that us angry ones tend for the most part to be like you and me – nearing the end of life.
      Take a few with you, I guess :-)

      * Six bottles, they are 250 ml on BA

      • beobrigitte says:

        I saw pubs open all night. 16-year olds buying beers. No speed limit on the Autobahn.
        Yeah, that was the case when I grew up.

        I can remember the Polizei with ,machine guns at FRA when I was flying out in 86
        You missed the 1977 Polizei after the RAF (Rote Armee Fraktion) kidnapped Schleyer and killed him. At that time, whenever you left a motorway you looked down a barrel of a rifle.

        As a Brit I had great trouble (and got into great trouble) getting my head around having to carry an ID card at all times
        I never carried my ID card – it wasn’t a big deal. Just had to turn up the next day at the cop shop and produce it.

        Then I returned to the UK and watched all my traditional British freedoms salami-sliced away…and nto in thin slices either. A process that culminated in the Smoking Verbot.
        Ironically, Germany has no blanket total smoking ban.
        Things changed later. Their Draconian rules on BitTorrent (essential for English speakers) the 25c “deposit” on tin cans and now their own smoking bans. So I’m from Niedersachsen then Hessen, and I turn up in NRW – a rough, working-class enclave – and there is no smoking to be had (apart from one bar in Duesseldorf very late at night).
        I don’t know about bit torrent rules there and the 25c Pfand on tin cans (if you don’t take them back) appears to help a lot of the homeless or pensioners who get up early and collect all of them.
        If you go to Rheinland Pfalz or Baden Wuerttemberg you do find “Raucherkneipen”. The anti-smokers are working very hard, though, to kill them.
        NRW is like Bavaria, where the smoking ban was dictated by a dodgy referendum as the government there was conservative. Amongst many other anti-smokers’ tricks used, the anti-smokers’ made use of old folks’ homes by inviting the inmates to a coffee afternoon and persuaded them to tick the “Yes” box and sign the form.
        There was no referendum in NRW because the anti-smokers knew they would lose. There it was easier to lobby the dictation (red-green government if I remember correctly) of the blanket ban the Bavarians were cursed with.

        This from me fellow Hume Highway warrior below -> The problem is, Frank, that us angry ones tend for the most part to be like you and me – nearing the end of life.
        Take a few with you, I guess :-)

        * Six bottles, they are 250 ml on BA
        Don’t celebrate too soon getting off the sinking ship. We oldies may well have to work even longer simply because the youngsters are off sick from work long term with depression/pharmaceutical drug dependence/sex change ops/yuppie-related breakdowns/health scares fear induced anxiety with the dawning realization that the now-life does end for them, too,/nose-jobs/boob-jobs/arse-jobs etc.etc.etc.

  4. nisakiman says:

    The problem is, Frank, that us angry ones tend for the most part to be like you and me – nearing the end of life. The younger generations have never known the freedoms that we have, so of course won’t miss them, and won’t get angry about them. Add in the total indoctrination in school and university about all the Politically Correct ways to behave, and you have generations of compliant voters who are now becoming the majority. People now in their early thirties have little or no idea what it’s like to be able to smoke in a pub. They just can’t conceive how it could be possible. Pubs have always been non-smoking.

    And politicians are well aware of this, and rely on it on a social level in the same way as they rely on fiscal drag on an economic level. It’s so incremental that nobody notices.

    • garyk30 says:

      Very true

    • Vlad says:

      True. But we have history on our side – hundreds of years of written history and about 60 years of movies showing people smoking relaxed indoors.

    • Frank Davis says:

      The younger generations have never known the freedoms that we have, so of course won’t miss them, and won’t get angry about them.

      I think everyone likes freedom. Or almost everyone. So they will miss it.

      Add in the total indoctrination in school and university about all the Politically Correct ways to behave, and you have generations of compliant voters who are now becoming the majority

      Indoctrination wears off after a while.

      • Joe L. says:

        I think everyone likes freedom. Or almost everyone. So they will miss it.

        Sure, but to nisakiman’s point, people just a handful of years younger than me have grown up knowing nothing but smoking bans–they can’t miss a freedom that they never experienced. They’re not angry because the world they live in is “normal” to them.

        For them to fight back against smoking bans, it will require a combination of them losing other freedoms along with them learning the nostalgia and history of smoking pre-denormalization (through books, movies etc.), which could take a generation or two.

  5. waltc says:

    I’m inclined to agree with Nisakiman though there’ll always be a counterculture–that small band of people walking around the hills smoking, eating bacon, and reciting the carefully-memorized text of “Gone With the Wind.” And while I hope Frank is right, I wonder if we, the increasingly suppressed, haven’t been too balkanized to ever get together– the bacon-eaters still up for banning the smokers, the wine drinkers favoring the banning of soda and the other way around. Hell, already you’ve got the pot smokers dissing the tobacco smokers, and the vapers looking down on anyone who smokes either pot or tobacco. “The narcissism of small differences” may prevail. The question may be whether the PC generation can be lured into the hills and given a taste of freedom…and bacon.

  6. C.F. Apollyon says:

    rabies? lolz. Maybe THAT’S the reason The Internet is perceived as being such an angry place. Everyone sitting around on their asses contracting rabid raging rabies, then committing themselves to statute destruction. Erm..I mean…statue destruction.

No need to log in

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s