I’m wondering when the satanic forces of Public Health will launch a ferocious attack on Christmas.
It is, after all, a time of year when people indolently eat and drink (and smoke) for the duration of something like an entire week. What could possibly be unhealthier than that? Think how much longer people would live if Christmas was simply abolished, and replaced with, say, public gymnastic exercises.
After all, length of life is the only thing that matters in Public Health. Tobacco packages now loudly inform their buyers that Smokers Die Younger. Just yesterday I quoted one source:
On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers.
Longevity is everything. It is the duty of everyone to live as long as they possibly can. Nothing else matters.
And it’s because nothing else matters that Public Health is a satanic agency in the world, crushing out everything else – including freedom, happiness, conviviality, compassion, friendship. Those things don’t matter: longevity is everything.
And longevity is measured in years. And the more years the better. It’s better to live for 70 years than 50 years or 20 years. And it’s even better to live 90 or 100 years than 70 years. And so on. The quality of the life lived is unimportant. A long and miserable life is always better than a short and happy life, because happiness doesn’t count.
In some ways, and perhaps in its entirety, Public Health = and that wing of it that is known as Tobacco Control – is a modern mathematical-physical ideology. And the Christian festival of Christmas belongs to a traditional, non-mathematical, non-scientific ideology.
And when modern scientific rationality meets up with traditional teachings, it defeats it just as easily as the cannons of Portuguese caravels and Spanish galleons defeated the sticks and spears of the native populations they encountered as they circumnavigated the world. The natives simply had no answer. They didn’t have any weapons of equal power and range.
Public Health wins because it uses science and mathematics. For underlying the claim that Smoking Causes Lung Cancer are highly sophisticated statistical arguments which uneducated natives simply cannot understand. It’s no good holding up a Bible or a Koran or a Torah in response to Public Health: you’ll just get mowed down by its statistical machine guns.
If Public Health is going to be defeated (and it absolutely must be defeated) it is only going to be defeated by another set of mathematical-physical arguments, much in the way that the Spanish galleons were only defeated by the superior ships of the line commanded by Nelson at Trafalgar in 1805, or the tank armies of the Wehrmacht were defeated by the tank armies of the Soviet Union at the battle of Kursk in 1943. It takes like to defeat like.
Public Health might best be seen as an early warship mounting a single cannon. It’s only invincible because nobody else has got anything like it.
Yet it shouldn’t be to difficult to build another warship that can defeat Public Health. But it’ll have to be a mathematical-physical, scientifically-rational warship. It’ll have to be more rational than Public Health. It will have to have a more comprehensive and inclusive rationality. Only something that’s better than Public Health is going to be able to blow Public Health out of the water.
And Idle Theory might fit the bill. Idle Theory is a mathematical-physical idea. And it’s also an ethical theory. In place of longevity (measured by clocks) as its One Good, it has idleness (also measured by clocks).
And while Christmas can never have a place in the ideology of Public Health, it’s very easy for Christmas to find a place in Idle Theory. Because the week of Christmas is a holiday, a period of idleness. The holy days of Christianity are the idle holidays of Idle Theory. As also is the weekly sabbath day of Christianity (or Judaism or Islam) another treasured idle day.
And Idle Theory contains a very clear idea of freedom: idle time is free time (in exactly the same way that sabbath days are days of free time).
And Idle Theory contains an idea of both the divine – a state of perfect idleness – and the demonic – a state of unremitting busyness -, and thus also contains an idea of Heaven and Hell.
The same is not true of Public Health, in which the only measure is that of longevity of life. There’s no Heaven or Hell in Public Health. There is no notion of freedom and constraint, leisure and toil, happiness and misery, or even good and evil, in Public Health. It’s long life – or nothing. In Public Health, the only value of anything lies in whether it serves to prolong life by a few more days or hours. Hence its obsessive interest in food and drink, every variety of which is seen as being a sort of poison which is slowly killing people. So not only is tobacco slowly killing you, but also alcohol, meat, fat, sugar, salt. The public health fanatic lives in a world in which everything is killing him, and the only real purpose in life is to delay death as long as possible.
If a life might be seen as an escalator ride from the top, where one first steps onto the escalator, to the bottom where one finally steps off, the health zealot is like someone who walks up the down escalator (or up the down escalator) in order to stay on it for as long as possible. It’s a futile exercise. Of course a Christian would say that once you step off the escalator, you will enter another post-escalator world. And a Hindu might say that before you stepped onto the escalator, you had inhabited a pre-escalator world, in which you had ridden on countless numbers of escalators.
If not Idle Theory, then something else. The ideology of Public Health will only be defeated when it is comprehensively dismantled, and shown to be nonsensical and self-defeating, and replaced by a better idea. But until it is defeated, it will continue to lay waste not just to pubs and cafes and clubs, and to community and friendship, but to absolutely everything else as well.