In Revolt

I’m in revolt.

I’m in revolt against top-down government control.

Specifically, I’m in revolt against smoking bans – which are almost invariably imposed by governments on their peoples.

In fact, I’m in revolt against all sorts of other similar, government-generated rules and regulations. I’m sick of it all.

But how does one revolt? What can one do?

I’ve come to the opinion that smokers should get together. There are a lot of them in the world. Something like 1.5 billion, in fact. Maybe a lot more. So I dream about a global smokers’ movement in which the world’s smokers are united, and highly vocal. At least as vocal as any gay rights organisation or Black Lives Matter or women’s liberation movement.

I’m much less interested in complaining to the government than I am about getting smokers to first complain to each other.

Haven’t all political movements started with people complaining to each other? Didn’t Bolshevism start with Lenin and Trotsky and co complaining to each other in Zurich coffee bars? Didn’t the Nazi party start with Hitler and Goering and co complaining to each other in bierkellers in Munich? In fact didn’t the Reformation begin with Luther and his chums complaining to each other about the Catholic church over dinner in Worms?

When people complain to each other, and other people agree with them, their complaints gather strength. If one person complains, who cares? If ten people complain, who cares? But if one hundred or one thousand or one million people complain, other people will take notice. They might not agree with them, but they will notice them.

And as people complain to each other, they learn to state more clearly what they’re complaining about, and what should be done about it. And that lends more force to their complaints.

And the internet seems to be the best way – perhaps the only way – for smokers to complain to each other.

The internet is a whole new medium. It’s a sort of new Gutenberg revolution. Gutenberg’s printing press allowed people to complain to each other, and have their words read and agreed with (or disagreed with). But you still needed to have paper and printing presses and books. It was quite slow and expensive. The new internet or World Wide Web revolution has just made it far easier to complain. And to complain to more or less anyone, anywhere in the world, instantly and with no further cost than the time it takes to write one’s complaint.

Gutenberg’s printing press gave people a voice that could be heard all over the world. The internet gives them a much quicker and cheaper way to be heard all over the world.

And politicians have been gradually latching onto its possibilities. Donald Trump used Twitter to send short messages to anyone who want to hear him, cheaply and instantly, without having to go through the mainstream Gutenberg print media, who were doing their level best to ignore him and deride him.

The internet is also highly conversational. The Gutenberg printing press was a one-way communication medium: from author to his readers. There wasn’t really any easy way for readers to reply to authors. And all the mainstream media shared this same one-way broadcasting characteristic: books, newspapers, pamphlets, radio, TV. The information all goes in one direction. Which is why governments always want to control these broadcast media (e.g. the BBC), and media moguls (e.g. Rupert Murdoch) always want to own them: that way they can control what their readers hear.

But the internet is two-way conversational. Newspaper letters pages never used to occupy much more than a single page (if that). But under this blog the comments (the equivalent to the letters page) frequently occupy more space than the blog posts I publish. The opinions of bloggers like me in effect occupy only one page of their blogs, and the comments occupy all the rest. It’s an inversion.

The Smoky Drinky Bar, in which I was present last night, is also highly conversational. And it has people from all over the world meeting up (rather intermittently) in it, and talking almost as naturally to each other as if they were sitting in each other’s own homes. I still find it rather amazing that you can do that. I’m as amazed as I’m sure people used to be amazed when they first used telephones to speak to people in nearby towns. And of all the new media that have appeared in recent times, telephones are the most conversational. Which may explain why there has been such a huge upsurge in the use of mobile phones. People always want to talk to each other. Everyone has a mobile phone.

And with all these new voices, the mainstream one-way Gutenberg media are losing their grip on public opinion, They can no longer shape it the way they used to do. They can no longer decide what’s news and what isn’t. Or who gets heard and who doesn’t.

In the USA, it almost seems as though the current political struggle is between the one-way mainstream media – which seems to be almost exclusively left wing – and the new internet media – much of which is right wing (Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones, Michael Savage, Mark Levin, etc.)  In fact, the political struggle may simply be between Gutenberg and the Internet. And Political Correctness is a one-way, top-down controlling attempt to prevent anyone from saying anything other than what the controllers want anyone hearing.

We’re moving away from one-way, top-down, state-controlled mass media to something much more two-way and pluralistic. And one in which one person’s news isn’t somebody else’s news, and each calls the other’s “fake news”.

In this new world, I expect that it will be much easier to form new political groupings (such as the smokers’ groups I’m interested in). And it seems likely that old, established political organisations (like the Labour or Conservative parties) are likely to lose support in much the same way (and for the same reasons) as the mainstream media. Is it really necessary to hold party political conventions in halls and stadiums, when people can meet online and speak and be heard? Is it really necessary to have political headquarters in which pamphlets are printed? It seems more likely that there will be lots more political parties, perhaps fixed upon one single issue or other. So while I might be a member of a smokers’ party, I’d also be a member of a drinkers’ party, and a meat-eaters’ party, and a car owners’ party, and a Herefordshire party, and maybe an England party (those being places where I live). The internet is changing politics as well as the media. And it’s always eroding monolithic top-down controlling edifices like the EU or WHO or ASH or the BMA.

We’ll probably vote via the internet one day. I have strong reservations about this, but I’m sure it will happen, if it isn’t happening already. And then, if we can all vote instantly about everything, then why wait for a General Election every 5 years? Why not have continuous daily voting. Why not have a Standing Vote (a bit like a standing order in a bank) in which everyone votes the same way until they change their Standing Vote.? At present if a government does something unpopular, it’ll be 5 years before the voters get a chance to kick them out of office. But in a continuous voting system, if enough people changed their Standing Vote, a government which did something unpopular might well find itself out of office the very next day. Wouldn’t that be fun! It might make for a little political instability, of course.

And the internet is changing international relations as well. Do we need diplomats and ambassadors with embassies in every country, when it’s just become just as easy for Britons and Americans and Russians and Germans to meet up and talk online instead? Aren’t we all diplomats now? When I met up with a bunch of Germans online a few weeks or months back, wasn’t I present as an English diplomat? And weren’t they German diplomats?

Yesterday I was watching Alex Jones’ host David Knight (a genial new favourite of mine) talking (via Skype or something) from Austin, Texas to English MEP Janice Atkinson, and saying nice things to each other. They were both being diplomats as well, in their way. I’d never heard of her before. She probably never gets invited on BBC radio or TV.

The internet erodes top-down control. And it’ll be the internet that erodes top-down controlling social experiments like smoking bans. And it allows revolting people like me to articulate their revolt. And get heard a little bit. And thereby encourage other people to speak up as well.

About Frank Davis

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36 Responses to In Revolt

  1. smokingscot says:

    Coincidental? I think not.

    Couple of days back in Davos, George Soros took a pot shot at Social Media, saying they’re “a menace to society”.

    There’s nothing new about the sentiment, the establishment want only their messages to be heard. Trouble is they get horribly peeved when we don’t chose to read or listen. And that makes me very happy indeed because I’m very fond of dishes being served up cold.

    All Soros has done is improve my morale!

  2. nisakiman says:

    It’s going to be hard work getting significant numbers of smokers together, I fear. Many, if not most, have swallowed the propaganda hook, line and sinker, and are ashamed of being a smoker. They don’t want to stand up against the Tobacco Controllers because they believe TC is right, and that they are an unpleasant drain on society.

    A Thai expat forum I frequent has a large contingent of anti-smokers who comment there (‘smokers stink’, ‘disgusting, filthy habit’, ‘should be allowed to shoot smokers on sight’, that type of anti. They have no facts, only invective, so I quite enjoy trolling them), and the majority of smokers who comment (if a thread is about some aspect of smoking) are both daunted and cowed by the righteousness of these antis, and abjectly apologetic about their habit, saying things like “well, I never light up is there are kids in the vicinity”, and “I understand that my second-hand smoke damages health, so I never light up around non-smokers” etc etc. (Bleaagh…) Of the smokers who comment on that forum, very few are like me, having the approach of “well if you don’t like my smoke, fuck off somewhere you can’t smell it”.

    And I think that forum is something of a microcosm of the western world. The majority of smokers don’t want to risk the opprobrium that may result from their putting their heads above the parapet. So they will be reluctant to join a ‘movement’ they’ve been indoctrinated against.

    • waltc says:

      Unfortunately, I think you’re right

    • Rose says:

      the majority of smokers who comment (if a thread is about some aspect of smoking) are both daunted and cowed by the righteousness of these antis, and abjectly apologetic about their habit, saying things like “well, I never light up is there are kids in the vicinity”, and “I understand that my second-hand smoke damages health, so I never light up around non-smokers” etc etc

      What makes you think that these posts are from smokers ?

      “…… Plant stories in the media about non-smokers politely asking smokers to move to a designated smoking area or outside the smoke-free area and smokers complying. Create the impression that the bylaw is working and it will! (page 48)”

      • nisakiman says:

        You may be right, Rose, but my gut feeling is that these are genuine. Being a forum, you can see how long any poster has been a member, and how many comments they’ve made; and there’s no sign of new arrivals joining in the feeding frenzy – they’re all well established members of the forum, mostly expats living in Thailand.

        No, I’m afraid they’ve drunk deep of the Kool Aid.

      • Just reading this PDF file, and the meticulous planning of Tobacco Control, tells me that if smokers do not have the same ‘tools’, they have no hope! Frank – have a glance at this –

        • Frank Davis says:

          It’s got 101 pages in it! Which bit drew your attention to “tools”?

        • Well, even the fact you got 101 pages of it indicates Smokers Worldwide All Together (SWAT) haven’t got and probably never will have a ‘plan’ like it. I think there are interesting bits throughout – like responses to what smokers say to you, and what you say in an interview and who you contact to promote your cause. It’s meticulously thought out. Don’t read it from first to last – just dip in and think SWAT instead of Tobacco Control :-D

      • Frank Davis says:

        I think it’s quite plausible that antismokers could pose as smokers. After all, the antis are waging psychological warfare on smokers (e.g. shocking images on “plain” packaging.) Why not pose as demoralised, apologetic smokers, and get real smokers to believe that most smokers are like that. It’s like dropping leaflets in wartime behind enemy lines with glowing testimonials from cold and starving deserters. e.g. “After I surrendered to the enemy, the first thing they did was give me a nice hot mug of coffee, followed by a large plate of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. And then let me sleep for two whole days in a bed with nice clean sheets. It felt like I’d gone to heaven.”

        I have myself often posed as something that I’m not, and if I found myself in an antismoking forum,I’d be strongly tempted to post as an antismoker, but with a few different twists. e.g. express sympathy for smokers:

        “I haven’t smoked in years, and I now detest even the sight of anyone smoking. All the same, I feel rather sorry for all those smokers exiled to the outdoors.”

        There are any number of subversive possibilities.

        • nisakiman says:

          Yes, I agree that it’s very plausible that anti-smokers could pose as smokers, and I’m certain it happens all the time. It’s been part of the TC playbook for years, just as you point out.

          But in this instance, I don’t think that’s the case, not least because I’ve been posting there for more than ten years, and I’m passingly familiar with many of the people who post there – nationality, politics, attitude to global warming, polite or aggressive, thoughtful or full of shit, all that kind of stuff. And, of course, whether they hit the ‘like’ button on my comments.

          So yes, you’re correct that it’s a common ploy, but I’m still of the opinion that many smokers fall into the ‘apologist’ category, TC stooges notwithstanding.

        • Joe L. says:

          I have myself often posed as something that I’m not, and if I found myself in an antismoking forum,I’d be strongly tempted to post as an antismoker, but with a few different twists. e.g. express sympathy for smokers

          While a novel idea, if there is such a thing as an antismoking forum (I’m sure at least one exists), it is most likely a circle-jerk of self-righteousness, narcissism and hate, so any vote of sympathy or tolerance would most likely stand out like a sore thumb and be viciously attacked. It’s worth a shot, though; it would really serve to expose the baseless, heinous intolerance at the foundation of the Antismoking movement.

          When I post in comments sections that are overrun by virulent antismokers, I usually do not reveal that I’m a smoker, because it welcomes ad hominem attacks which dilutes any message I may have. Instead, I try to agnostically post commonsensical statements and arguments which could come from a tolerant, open-minded human being, whether smoker or non-.

          Regarding astroturfers, I believe they have served (and continue to serve) their propagandist brainchildren well. They have made it acceptable to openly display prejudice against smokers, spawning copycat antismokers who feel empowered to spew their own unsubstantiated hate, and have also brainwashed many smokers into believing they are terrible human beings who are hurting and killing everyone around them, and thus must only speak of their smoking habit in a apologetic fashion, and only if prefaced by cliché disclaimers. It’s what successful propaganda does: brainwash.

          For any new readers unfamiliar with the subject who may doubt the existence of (or efficacy of) “astroturfing,” here’s a TED Talk on the subject from 2015:

      • Rose, yes, I’ve seen a number of obvious examples of those “fake smoker” postings. They’re actually often easy to spot because they can’t resist adding stuff about how they stink etc and anything they offer on the “pro” side is deliberately weak. They’ll also be invisible in terms of internet history (a good sign that a name was just created for the purpose of the post) or, for a few of the more skilled ones there’ll be a few superficial “cover postings” in other areas and that’s it.

        And of course I’m guessing most folks here remember Rollo Tommassi (or however it’s spelled) who was a longtime professional suspect whose IP addy happened to be in the same tiny grid point as CRUK or the British ASH or somesuch. I finally got him at one point several years ago when I went searching for his name on the net and discovered that it translated roughly into the old fake name of Ulysses in the Cyclops story: “No Man.” I waited until a Saturday night UK time and “outed” him on it and he was in his cups enough that instead of blowing it off as coincidence he went on a little rave about how he had “a right to anonymity!” Heh, so much for his credibility, though I don’t know if he’s resurfaced over the years.

        But, as nisakiman points out: there ARE a fair number of genuine self-hating smokers out there, and particularly self-hating ex-smokers. It’s a subcategory of The Innocents and of course smack in the middle of the “Ex-Smokers” category:

        – MJM

    • Smoking Lamp says:

      It is common for antismokers to attack any pro-choice position. As you know, they start by pointing out that smoking and/or second hand smoke (which they conflate) is bad for you or causes X disease (usually lung caner). When you dispute that, they fire backchat there are many studies that support them (they usually don’t know which studies support what, have never read a study and wouldn’t know how to recognize a good research design) but that doesn’t stop them. They will google a quick reference and post that.

      if you dissect that reference (usually a press release) with the actual results of the study with usual are much more qualified than the press release and resulting propaganda they shift to ad hominem attacks, combined with rude and insulting comments. This can include saying all smokers stink, wishing all smokers die, etc. Some will even claim to be smokers seeking to quit or even claim to have worked in a lung cancer clinic for example and assert that only smoker–who of course stink–get lung cancer. They are an irrational bunch, driven by emotion and fear, that has been brainwashed by relentless propaganda and social engineering.

      Many smokers don’t have the tools (access to valid counterarguments) but many more fear confrontation as you suggest. The problem is you can’t avoid confrontation when you are victim of persecution. As I learned many decades ago the best way to take on bullies is straight on.

  3. Very good post Frank. I became hopeful it might come true! I have reblogged to my Archive site if you don’t mind…..

  4. Reblogged this on Life on an alien planet and commented:
    I liked this new political format that would change the world!

  5. So Frank, just how revolting ARE you? :> Heehee

    Regarding this: “If ten people complain, who cares? But if one hundred or one thousand or one million people complain, other people will take notice.” I think people have already taken notice though not too many seem to realize the role the smoking bans played. I’m talking of course about both BREXIT and Donald Trump where it’s likely that disgruntled smokers (who are likely a very significant subset of disgruntled citizens since they keep getting thrown out of places!) had a significant effect

    – MJM, disgruntled AND revolting…

  6. waltc says:

    Great stuff I missed this week, catching up briefly now. Buckshot comments:

    Yes, Exactly. “When everything’s carcinogenic, nothing is.” And when they push their slogans like “sitting is the new smoking” it’s as likely to backfire as to work since one well might gather that smoking is no more dangerous than sitting. (“I dunno, Mabel. My grandfather lived to 107 and he sat every day.”) …

    Another leaf from anti-tobacco: “straws cause wrinkles” . LOL. The last straw, indeed. I wait for the claim that they also cause impotence.

    Though I wouldn’t like to see the (easily manipulated) public voting on everything, let alone voting daily (tyranny of the majority), how about a Smokers Liberation Army? The SLA , which were also the initials of the Symbionese Liberation Army that kidnapped Patty Hearst and robbed banks. Maybe they could kidnap Stanton Glantz or Debbie Arnott and hold daring robberies of tobacco warehouses. Or storm the WHO.

  7. Smoking Lamp says:

    Smokers in Armenia are standing up against a smoking ban! See Armenia smokers to protest proposed smoking ban”

  8. Roobeedoo2 says:

    Not sure if this was picked up last week, but…

    ‘A steady stream of nicotine normalizes genetically-induced impairments in brain activity associated with schizophrenia, according to new research involving the University of Colorado Boulder. The finding sheds light on what causes the disease and why those who have it tend to smoke heavily.’

    Which makes the current drive to ban smoking from mental health facilities, both counterproductive and cruel. This is in your neck of the woods, Frank:

    • nisakiman says:

      Meanwhile, of course, we have Tobacco Control’s tame ‘researchers’ coming up with studies that say that smoking exacerbates schizophrenia, and should be discouraged.

      It seems to be a mission for the antis to discredit any possible benefits of smoking, regardless of the damage they do by promoting their junk science.

      • “It seems to be a mission for the antis to discredit any possible benefits of smoking, regardless of the damage they do by promoting their junk science.”

        Most definitely. Look at the money they’ve poured into their pseudo-studies trying to prove that women won’t gain weight if they quit, or argue that smoking *causes* Alzheimer’s rather than prevents it, etc. Heh, I don’t think they’ve yet been able to come up with one showing that banning smoking increases casino profits though. LOL! The **ONE** casino that banned smoking in Atlantic City (out of about 15 casinos total) went bankrupt within three years!

        They DO try to argue it’s good for the bar biz though: I think it was Mayor “Bloombug” who gave a speech fairly recently where he talked about their profits being up 30% since 2002. Of course the NY ban went into effect in 2003, so that’s a 30% increase from a baseline reading just after the World Trade Center bombing when a whole section of the city was pretty much shut down for months. Plus I’m pretty sure he did the standard Anti trick of throwing restaurants into the mix when the restaurants were all under a smoking ban from previous years already. Unfortunately Bloomy’s natterings get full network coverage while there’s never a peep about any of those corrective factors — so all the public hears is that single side of the issue.

        – MJM

      • Rose says:

        In the early days of the ban I learnt many useful things I didn’t know by holding anti-science up to a mirror and reading it backwards.

  9. Roobeedoo2 says:

    Talk about revolting…

    ‘Tide pods have become an unexpected cultural phenomenon in the early weeks of 2018. People are baking “Tide Pod-inspired” donuts – a tastier, and less corrosive, alternative to eating laundry detergent.’

    Teens eating laundry detergent because it’s dangerous. In days of old they’d have nicked a fag from a parent’s pack to flirt with danger.

  10. Lepercolonist says:

    My favorite golf pro is Miguel Angel Jimenez from Spain. This is an excerpt from an interview with Miguel:

    “Miguel, would you like some water?”

    “My friend, water is for fish.”

    He pours himself a tall glass of 10-year-old Bushmills whiskey.

    “Don’t forget—your tee time is in 18 hours.”

    Jiménez, 51, arches an eyebrow but says nothing. He opens a small metal case and produces a Cuban cigar, which he fires up with gusto.

    “I come from a different generation,” Jiménez says. “And I’m not a hypocrite. I don’t hide the way I am. If I want to have a drink, I have a drink. Why shouldn’t I? Is it illegal to drink alcohol? Is tobacco illegal? So why should I care if people see me smoking? I do what I do out in the open. If people have a problem with that they can stick their tongue up their ass and let the rest of us do what we want to do. You can quote me exactly the way I said that.” He cracks an impish smile. “And what else do you want me to tell you?”

  11. Two added thoughts:

    (1) “When everything’s carcinogenic, nothing is.” I often like to point to parents giving their children orange juice to drink at breakfast. If you read you’ll find that a single liter of OJ contains roughly 400mg of the toxic Class A Carcinogen ethyl alcohol. Parents who try to poison their children with this deadly drink should be sent to jail and their Children raised in a healthy state institution!


    (2) Re the Antis’ organized manipulation of social media. Several years ago I had an email exchange with an Australian researcher who’d just published a piece looking at strategies on how antismoking groups could make more effective use of social media targeting The Children — FBook, Twitter, etc. I wrote to her in a supportive tone asking for a “courtesy copy” of her article/study to share with my email circle of activists concerned about smoking.

    Usually I’ll just get a positive response and the requested study as the researcher will assume I must be supportive since I’m actually literate enough to write a coherent sentence or two — and we all know smokers are incapable of such a thing. This particular researcher however affirmed that she’d be happy to send it to me, but wanted to know first what my background was in the area and which group I was associated with. I believe in being honest in such matters so I told her.

    That was the last I heard from her until after I sent her four followup emails at which point she sent me a curt “I have no interest in helping you!” note.

    So yes, they most assuredly plan out their strategies etc in a highly organized way to abuse our love of our children and to brainwash the public… AND they like to keep those strategies secret!

    – MJM

    • Rose says:

      So yes, they most assuredly plan out their strategies etc in a highly organized way to abuse our love of our children and to brainwash the public… AND they like to keep those strategies secret!

      They certainly do, MJM

      Strategy Planning For Tobacco Control Advocacy

      “Tobacco-free Children”

      “Some tobacco control advocates express concern about focusing on children and tobacco, rather than on all tobacco addicts. This is a valid concern when the term “tobacco-free children” plays into the hands of company propagandists. These propagandists then (falsely) claim that they, too, are deeply concerned about youth tobacco use—and only youth tobacco use.

      But many of the most powerful messages for tobacco control advocates focus on youth and tobacco, even when the goal is to build support for comprehensive tobacco control policies that will protect adult smokers.

      Politicians appreciate the power of simple, hard-hitting messages. That is why, when comprehensive tobacco control legislation was being debated in the US Senate, virtually every senator who sought to persuade others to support this legislation began by reciting a version of this message: “Every day in America, 3,000 children start smoking; 1,000 of them will die early from the diseases smoking causes.”

      I have to admit that I find this lot quite fascinating, it’s the most gripping whodunnit I ever read and the most absorbing part is looking for the missing pages!

      • I have to admit that I find this lot quite fascinating, it’s the most gripping whodunnit I ever read and the most absorbing part is looking for the missing pages!

        I know the feeling! Since I learned about the non-involvement of tobacco smoking with LC and other ailments, I have become jaded with all the dominant narratives (Including Global warming and the Holocaust), to the point of being impervious to (I’m hoping) all of the seductions of spectacular domination.

        • RdM says:

          Although I’ve been well behind even personal emails, let alone forum posts, baking in this (quite delightful!) Auckland summer heat, I want to take this opportunity to thank you now for your previous links to and my subsequent extensive browsing therein… quite (even very!) interesting! ;=})

          I am reminded of a favourite battered book by Vladimir Volkoff, The Set-Up, an influence agent fiction, yet well informed, set in Paris in the ’60’s, ’70’s? – great expositions of influence propaganda methods within! – and I also have ‘The Turn-around.’

          I’ve thought I’d like to scan & OCR some of the influence propaganda methods exposed, ex-posited in the early chapters of The Set-Up.

          So obvious now in Tobacco Control.

          But he has several works untranslated to English I wish I could read.
          Particularly the ones involving disinformation or Désinformation.
          Entirely relevant I think here.

          Have you noticed him before?

          A for what it’s worth, who knows? (always subject to revision, and perhaps not even friendly revision at that!) wikipedia page here:

          “With Le montage (“The Set Up”; winner of the Grand Prix du roman de l’Académie française, 1982) Volkoff illustrated the methods and networks of tricks and traps of Soviet “disinformation” in Europe; the idea of this novel could have come from Alexandre de Marenches, director of the SDECE, who may have provided the factual basis for its plot.”

        • You’re welcome, RdM. As I remember, V. Volkoff went semi-mainstream in the French media of the late 1970s / early 80s, nowadays he’s hardly ever mentioned. At the time I gave him a miss, though, ‘cos he sounded far too right-wing for my then-tastes…

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