The Ever-Deepening Divide

I’m going to elaborate slightly on a response of mine to a comment by Lepercolonist:

On Joe Rogan’s podcast the guest, Brian Callen, stated that Sam Harris has only ONE smoker (Christopher Hitchens) on his rolodex of 1,000 people. The topic discussed was “living in a bubble.”

How many people have no contact with smokers these days ?

Good question. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it’s rather a lot.

Because the War on Smoking (and on smokers) has opened up a profound division in society, between smokers and antismokers. It’s a division that is always deepening. They have been taught to hate us, and we in turn have begun to hate them.

It’s a social catastrophe of the first magnitude. And it’s a global catastrophe. And its consequences are going to felt for many, many years to come.

And it’s not even as if the indifferent non-smokers in the middle won’t experience it either. Because they are finding themselves torn between the two sides, and they are being forced to back one side or the other. They’re always being forced to either sit indoors with their non-smoking friends, or join their smoking friends outside where they’ve been exiled.

I don’t have a rolodex, but if I did there wouldn’t be any antismokers in it. I don’t want to know them. In fact, I can’t know them, because we can’t comfortably share the same space or the same air any more. We can no longer co-exist.

The doctors in the medical profession who started the War on Smokers probably believe that a little discomfort for smokers is a small price to pay to rid the world of the scourge that they believe smoking to be. But they are never going to rid the world of tobacco. What’s going to happen instead is that the medical profession is going to be the principal casualty of this war. For when people realise (and they will realise) what a profound and lasting and bitter division in society they have created, they will turn on the doctors who worked so assiduously to conjure up this divisive war. And the medical profession will be shattered. Its prestige and standing will collapse.

I’ve remarked many times that I used to have a wide circle of friends, nearly all of whom I have now lost. They were perfectly good friends. I liked them, and they liked me. That’s how it is with friends. But the smoking ban took away the neutral ground where we used to meet. It took away all the pubs and cafes and restaurants where we used once to cheerfully meet up. And since those of them who’d become sufficiently terrified of tobacco smoke had already banned smoking in their own homes, it was impossible to meet them there either. And so I haven’t seen most of them for 10 years or more. I no longer know what they’ve are doing, or what they are thinking. They have become strangers to me, and I have become a stranger to them.

One of them was a very good friend of mine for many years. We used to go on holiday together. But when I found out that she’d been working in Tobacco Control, in one capacity or other, for much of the time I knew her, our friendship came to an abrupt end. For I realised that she wasn’t actually a friend of mine, but was instead an enemy. And now I hate her. The best of friends can very easily become the worst of enemies. And they become the worst of enemies precisely because they were once the very best of friends.

So far, there’s not been much real violence between antismokers and smokers. But I’m sure it happens – most probably between husbands and wives, or fathers and sons (i.e. between people who were once close to each other). But it probably also happens between complete strangers from time to time. A few angry words are spoken, and a punch gets thrown.

And it’s only going to slowly get worse. Because the two sides are only going to get more and more deeply estranged from each other, as they move further and further apart, and understand each other less and less.

And as the mutual hatred and fear mounts, the words will get angrier, the punches harder. And smokers will start to arm themselves. And antismokers will too. And there’ll be shootings. And deaths (there already have been).

I expect that at some point, one or two enlightened politicians (hard to find these days, i know) will realise that a very dangerous division in society has opened up, and they will try to reverse the slide. I expect that, almost overnight, the War on Smokers will come to an end. The propaganda war on them will stop. And there’ll calls for inclusivity and mutual respect. Perhaps even some pubs and cafes will be permitted to allow smoking.

Unfortunately, I don’t think this will have much effect on a population that has been so thoroughly brainwashed about smoking that they can only think of tobacco smoke as a poison worse than mustard gas. So even if governments try to counteract the process that they themselves set in motion, at the behest of the medical profession, the wider population will remain as divided as ever.

So I believe that the War on Smokers will come to an end, and an abrupt end. And it will come to an end not because antismoking doctors will call for it to end, but because people outside the medical  profession will realise what damage the war is doing to the whole of society. The war will end for political reasons rather than medical reasons. But it will leave behind it a bitterly divided society. And the divisions that have already opened up will only continue to widen. It won’t just be that I will not know my former friends any more, but that I won’t think like them either. We will inhabit separate, mutually exclusive worlds. We’ll think differently not only about smoking, but about everything else as well.

I sometimes think that if the intelligence services (GCHQ, CIA, FSB) were doing their job properly, they would already be warning governments about this profound and deepening social division. It’s as much a threat to all of them as any state (e.g. North Korea) or religion (e.g. Wahhabi Islam) or political movement (e.g. Marxism). But there’s no sign of any awareness in them of what has been happening. The intelligence services seem to be as blind and complacent as anyone else. Their eyes are fixed on other threats. e.g. The Russians!!!

I have no contacts in the intelligence services. But I know that everything I write is readily available to them. And so I’d like to implore any NSA analyst who happens to be reading this to take what I’ve written here, and show it to the people upstairs, who usually have names like M or Q, and say: “Do you think we might have a little problem here? Do you think this is is something we ought to investigate a bit? Because I’ve got this guy called Frank Davis warning of an ever-deepening social divide, and imploring me to tell you guys about it.”

I think I know what will happen. M will glance through my essay, and toss it aside. And he’ll say, “Don’t listen to this kook. Our big problem is the Russians and the Chinese and the North Koreans and the Muslims and the Commies. It always has been, and it always will be.”

And then he’ll put his feet back on his desk and carry on watching the Super Bowl.

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About Frank Davis

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21 Responses to The Ever-Deepening Divide

  1. Timothy Goodacre says:

    The UK iis becoming a nasty, intolerant, anti libertarian society thanks to the likes of ASH, PHE, weak MP’s and nasty little bigoted puritans.

  2. Rose says:

    I have only ever known one true antismoker and as soon as the pubs started visibly shutting she became remarkably silent on the subject and has mericifully remained so.
    A small compensation after years of complaint.

  3. John R says:

    Hey Frank – I’ve written a letter to my federal MP in Australia. what do you think of it?

    Federal Government Tobacco Policy
    Australia’s tobacco policies are causing great damage to our community and need to be revised immediately. I see in the paper recently that 65,000 children now attend school without being provided any food. Low income parents are choosing between their smokes and food for their children and it is your government that has imposed this choice on them.
    It’s obvious to everyone except apparently the anti-smokers that people smoke to manage (self-medicate) anxiety and stress. The incidence of anxiety, depression, stress and even suicide has skyrocketed over the last 20 years as governments have applied more and more pressure to smokers and some have quit.
    A pack of cigarettes which costs $2 in Asia now costs over $20 in Australia. Many smokers smoke a pack per day. Those on low incomes are now forced to choose between their smokes and feeding their children, or to turn to the black market or theft.
    Financial stress is a leading cause of family discord leading to domestic violence. Service station robbers have more interest in the cigarettes than the till. Smokers no longer have any disposable income to spend on other things so the wider economy suffers.
    A few years ago KPMG estimated the tobacco black market in Australia at 15%. It has surely expanded rapidly since then with the accelerated taxes being applied every quarter. The Border Force seemingly seizes huge volumes of illicit tobacco every week. This black market means there is no tax at all collected by government and funds criminals and other criminal activity.
    Prohibitionists have been around since before King James 400 years ago, pretty much saying the same things, and up until the Nazi era, nobody really took them seriously. They now dictate Australian government tobacco policy regardless of the party in power. King James, himself a rabid anti-smoker, set up a monopoly with extortionate taxes eerily similar to the current situation in Australia. He was forced out of it by rampant smuggling. More recently Canada was forced to reduce tobacco taxes due to smuggling in 1994. Those who ignore history will repeat its mistakes.
    Every smoker who quits means extra profit to the Pharmaceutical Industry (Pharma) by way of their expensive and useless NRT products or even more lucrative and dangerous anti-depressant, opioid and other drugs. Prescriptions for anti-depressant and other drugs have sharply increased over the last decade – in tune with the increased government mandated persecution of smokers. Those prescription anti-depressants are also very risky in terms of side effects, perhaps an order of magnitude riskier than smoking itself.
    An example of scientific rigour by the prohibitionists is attached. It was found on the Internet but there is no reason to doubt its authenticity. This is where newspaper reports of 4247 deaths per year in Australia from passive smoking come from. The American studies on which the pro-rating was based are Pharma sponsored (blatant) junk and have been debunked. The Australian people including politicians have been deliberately misled. The reported number of deaths from active smoking is also highly questionable as it is the result of a computer model, conveniently including their assumptions, not actual data as everyone assumes.
    If you try to objectively sift/critically review the Pharma sponsored junk science, there is almost nothing left to inform on the actual harms from smoking, however the consequences to our community and nation from current tobacco policies are extensive. While (excessive?) smoking may well be harmful in the long term, the negative consequences of the anti-smoking effort are immediately obvious and are clearly disastrous.
    The last time the prohibitionists were put in charge was in the 1920’s in America. We all know how well that went. It’s well past time these people were challenged instead of being treated as experts by gullible politicians. In my view they should be put in jail.
    The costs to the Australian people imposed by the anti-smoking industry include (inter alia):
    • Low income children going without food.
    • Increase in domestic violence and family breakdown (promoted also by “plain” packaging designed to cause family discord via graphic propaganda aimed not at the smoker but at family members. Smokers know these are lies, non-smokers do not).
    • Economic damage through reduction in disposable income especially of low income earners.
    • Reduced productivity of depressed and stressed workers.
    • Increased direct and indirect costs due to rapid growth in prescription and illicit drug use.
    • Promotion of criminal activity and funding to gangs and terrorists via black market growth.
    • Increase in fatigue motor vehicle crashes.
    • Increase in obesity. On average ex-smokers gain 10kg from overeating to compensate.
    The government should immediately reduce the outrageous tax on tobacco products. It should launch an investigation into scientific corruption pedalled by the prohibitionists (noble cause corruption) and Pharma (vested interests). Pharma’s influence on the medical profession is also a major concern.
    I don’t like seeing science corrupted to pad the profits of Pharma or fulfil the twisted moral imperatives of the prohibitionists. One day truth and justice will prevail but it will happen sooner if good people stop doing nothing.

    • Joe L. says:

      Very well written, John!

      I would encourage you to include the damage that smoking bans have had on the Australian economy (pub closings, etc.), as well as the impact they have had on society (increased depression, anxiety, loneliness and isolation).

      I understand smoking bans can be an entire topic unto themselves, and you don’t want to get tangential and lose focus, but I think you need to at least mention the effects of smoking bans; it feels like they are conspicuously absent among a list of some of the most damaging effects of the contemporary antismoking crusade.

    • Tony says:

      A superb letter John.
      “An example of scientific rigour by the prohibitionists is attached. It was found on the Internet but there is no reason to doubt its authenticity.”
      Just out of interest, with so many examples to choose from, what did you attach?

      • John R says:

        Thanks Tony. It’s a 1995 fax from a well known prohibitionist to some researchers who had data showing 103 deaths a year from passive smoking, mostly made up of part deaths like .2. Well that just wouldn’t do, so lets prorate some American studies on population sizes and say it’s 4247.

        That’s the 10th edit of that letter and I have yet to drum up the courage to send it. Not having anyone else to run it past, I thought you guys might like to comment on it before I send it. Thanks to Frank for passing moderation.

        • Rose says:

          John, as far as I know James 1st never repealed his extortionate taxes, not only that but he banned all tobacco growing in England so that all the revenue had to pass through the ports for collection.

          Tobacco Leaf Growing

          “It was during the 16th and early 17th centuries that the area around Winchcombe was extremely poor , it was during this period that a family named Tracy established themselves at Toddington, the eldest son Sir John Tracy became involved with a John Stratford who was related to him by marriage, they set up a business together to grow tobacco in the area, with plantations at Toddington and Bishops Cleeve.”

          “At the very time of the first crop in the area coming to maturity in 1619 tobacco growing in the British Isles was banned, this was done in order that it could be grown on a commercial scale in the Colonies where it was considered that the need for employment was greater.

          After which much of the land on the Cotswolds was turned to growing flax but despite the ban illegal tobacco growing continued on a substantial scale this resulted in a proclamation being read out by a parliamentary agents declaring it illegal, many fights broke out between them and the local populace who could see their livelihoods being lost.

          As a result of such disturbances a fresh act of parliament was passed in 1652 banning the growing. Despite this continued and further disturbances took place when in 1667 the authorities sent in a platoon of Life Guards to destroy the crops and to quell the dissenters.”
          http://www.cotswolds.info/cotswolds-heritage.shtml#tabacco_leaf_growing

        • Tony says:

          Rose is probably right about this as usual. But on reversing the tax, Chris Snowdon, in his book ‘Velvet Glove Iron Fist’ claims that he did. He doesn’t give a reference but says on page 19: “So heavy was the trade in contraband that, despite the massive tax rise, the treasury found itself receiving less revenue from tobacco duty than it had before. Not too proud to turn pragmatist, James I reversed his decision and lowered the tax while banning tobacco growing at home.”

        • Tony says:

          As for sending the letter John, I think you should definitely go ahead and do so. I suggest sending it on paper by old fashioned post. My handwriting is not brilliant so I print letters but still sign them manually.

        • Rose says:

          Tony, I shall of course defer to Chris Snowdon on that, thank you for setting me straight.

    • In my view they should be put in jail.

      Jailing the bastards (or feeding them to the sharks for that matter) would be improductive, so forced labour and confiscation of their assets, once each and every one of their absurd claims has been proved wrong in court, is the best answer.

      Note to self: find a way to reinstate forced labour in all countries affected by anti-smoking zealotry (about 193 of them).

  4. beobrigitte says:

    Because the War on Smoking (and on smokers) has opened up a profound division in society, between smokers and antismokers. It’s a division that is always deepening. They have been taught to hate us, and we in turn have begun to hate them.

    It’s a social catastrophe of the first magnitude. And it’s a global catastrophe. And its consequences are going to felt for many, many years to come.

    Indeed it is a catastrophe. The blueprint provided by the anti-smokers is being used to divide e.g. obese/non-obese people etc. etc. etc. in any society. The confused are praying to the the god-of-health and have become medieval style missionaries.
    Joseph Goebbels:
    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.

    The anti-smokers worked long and hard to avoid the backlash from smokers. Their arrogance leads them to believe that all smokers will succumb. The same psychology has been applied successfully to the e.g. obese people. “Sugar is the next smoking” is supposed to make obese people feel bad about themselves and the self-righteous (health) twits are looking for further expansion.

    What happens when a obsessed bunch takes over?
    Everything eventually goes pear-shaped. So when ASH etc. talks I just hear: ‘bla-bla-blahhh-bla-bla-bla’.

    And, just picking on one, for the superfood AVOCADO fetishists:
    http://www.vogue.co.uk/article/the-real-cost-of-avocados-facts-and-health-economy

    I think I know what will happen. M will glance through my essay, and toss it aside. And he’ll say, “Don’t listen to this kook. Our big problem is the Russians and the Chinese and the North Koreans and the Muslims and the Commies. It always has been, and it always will be.”

    And then he’ll put his feet back on his desk and carry on watching the Super Bowl.

  5. Smoking Lamp says:

    The antismoking divide was connived to not only attacks smokers and decimate and ultimately destroy the tobacco industry but also to enhance the status and power of the antismoking pressure groups. The attack of smokers is as many have come to recognize is not about health but about power. I agree , the prestige of the medical professions will be tainted by their complicity in this experiment in social engineering. As the incidence of so-called smoking related diseases continues to rise despite a drop in smoking rates and exposure to second hand smoke the fragility of the health arguments will become more apparent. They would be now but relentless propaganda and censorship obscure this fact. Ultimately this wlll end. The political showdown is getting closer. I suspect in part because the antismokers are becoming more extreme in their demands. The solution won’t be a smoke free world but once again a rejection of prohibition. The cost to society in the meantime has been extreme.

    • Jay says:

      “…the prestige of the medical professions will be tainted by their complicity…”

      Somebody’s come up with the theory that many people in the UK aren’t going to their GP because they’re ‘afraid to know’; someone commented that it isn’t that, it’s that patients are sick of being bullied about their lifestyle choices.

  6. DP says:

    Dear Mr Davis

    Tomorrow, Wednesday, is National Smoking Day and National Tobacco Day rolled into one.

    Time for another cigarette to celebrate the occasion.

    The anti-smokers at ash et al have got it wrong – again – they seem to think it is a day not to use tobacco.

    Strike a light for liberty and puff away!

    DP

  7. Clicky says:

  8. Lepercolonist says:

    Spot on , Frank. Nearly all my ‘friends’ are gone. I was recognized in the grocery store last week by my old non-smoking ‘friend’ from 10 years ago. He called me a hermit for not socializing. I tried to explain the life of a smoker in today’s totalitarian society. There’s nowhere to go. Including his house. I invited him to my house which I’m sure he will not come (tobacco being smoked).

    They have no idea how catastrophic these smoking bans have been to their old ‘friends’.

  9. John Watson says:

    There is, I think, no greater example of division than the American Civil War, Lincoln’s ‘House divided’ speech was one of prophecy, even today there is a gulf between families, friends, states and more importantly race that started long before Fort Sumter and still continues long after Appomattox. Equally the 600 year religious war over Ireland, although religion was not the entire causation it was a significant factor, and will long simmer in the background in Anglo-Irish affairs. So too will smoking become another division, the open interference in the rights of man to believe, or to act according to their beliefs is abhorrent, if someone dislikes football they do not go to football matches or watch football on tv,
    There are a small minority of football supporters who take their dislike of other teams to an extreme level, they cause injury, destruction and even death by their actions yet no one demands the eradication of football, yet here is the same militant mentality, openly displayed by ASH and some other more reputable charities who take our money (via taxation in the case of ASH) and use it to divide our country with the support of politicians elected to represent the very people who are persecuted!
    As Lincoln said, so prophetically ‘a house divided cannot stand’, today we are watching the collapse of our house, and sooner or later we will witness civil strife on a world wide basis on the word of a small minority of zealots who think they know best and are willing to destroy anything to prove it.

  10. waltc says:

    Odd, but a questionnaire “Do you live in a bubble?” posted by America’s Public Broadcasting station also asked about knowing or spending time with smokers, presuming that those who don’t, live in a bubble. (other questions involved fast food, pickup trucks, popular television and movies and whether you knew any evangelicals) Smoking and smokers seem to be equated with everything PBS viewers would scorn as tacky, trashy, stupid and lower class. Try it, if you like:

    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/economy/do-you-live-in-a-bubble-a-quiz-2

    But meanwhile because the bubble is self-sealing, and the movers, shakers and wannabe’s are sealed in, I believe they neither notice nor care (or are possibly grateful) that they’re divided from smokers. They probably quite like it and would be loathe to bring such declasse polluters–for whom they have neither empathy or sympathy– into their midst.

    So you’re right that the rift is hardening into permanence but that doesn’t bode well for the war ending, let alone for any truce.

    • waltc says:

      Oh and if the only smoker in tne guys address book is the long-dead Hitchens, he doesn’t know ANY smokers

      • Joe L. says:

        That thought crossed my mind, as well, Walt.

        Hitchens died in 2011, so I assume the quote from Harris must predate that by at least a year. That would mean Harris had pretty much cut all smokers out of his life by 2010.

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