When smokers were expelled from society, some of them got angry about it. They wanted their lost rights restored. They wanted the bans lifted. They wanted to be re-admitted into society as full members, not second class citizens.
And I was one of those angry smokers. I was furious. I got so angry at times that I thought I might have some sort of apoplectic fit. So much so that I felt I had to take myself in hand, try to calm myself down.
Ten years after the imposition of the UK public smoking ban, I’m still angry. But my attitudes have been shifting a bit. My thinking has evolved a little bit.
And I suppose that what I’ve begun to think is this: I don’t want to be re-admitted into their society. I don’t want to be a member of their mean-spirited, vindictive, controlling society. I don’t want to live in their smoke-free, alcohol-free, sugar-free, fat-free, carbon dioxide free world. I loathe their world, and I want nothing to do with it.
I don’t watch their BBC and ITV and Channel 4 TV any more. And I don’t read their newspapers and magazines or books either. I don’t go to their theatres or cinemas or art galleries or museums. I don’t travel on their trains or buses or planes. I don’t stay in their hotels. I don’t eat in their restaurants or canteens. I don’t drink in their pubs or cafes. I don’t consult their doctors. I don’t listen to their pundits and experts.
I’ve left. And I’m never coming back.
I don’t want to know what they think. They don’t want to know what I think, so why the hell should I want to know what they think?Maybe if they listened to me, I’d listen to them. But they don’t listen to anybody but themselves. They only listen to people who think the same way as they do: they ignore everyone else. So now I ignore them.
They want to control everything. They want to control not just what people put in their mouths to eat and drink and smoke, but also the words that come out of their mouths.
They want to control everything, but they’ll end up controlling nothing at all.
Increasingly, I believe nothing they say about anything. Increasingly, I believe they know nothing about anything.
They seem to think that “society” is some sort of monolithic unity, which they can change at will to be something else. But I think they have broken society into bits.
In fact, I think that was all they ever intended. They wanted to smash society. And they have done. And they’re probably proud of it, like some hooligan or vandal who has smashed a window somewhere. Hey, see what I did! I smashed the window!
No, I don’t want to be part of their society. I don’t want to know them. I don’t want to meet them. I have no respect for them. I have no admiration for them. I only have contempt for them.
I’ve become much more interested in constructing a new society. A new society which recovers the best of what was in the old society, the society they smashed. For I think that a new and tolerant and rational and considerate society can emerge from its ruins. I think a new house can be built using the bricks and timber of the ruined old house. It won’t be the same as the old house. Maybe it’ll be bigger and better.
All I do know, with perfect certainty (to the extent I’m ever certain about anything) is that they will never build any new society. For they are incapable of building anything. They are only capable of breaking things and smashing things and trampling on things.
I probably won’t live to see it, but I think they’re all going to be swept away soon. And maybe they’ll go away and try to build their smoke-free, fat-free, sugar-free, carbon-free utopia somewhere else.
Maybe on another planet.