Grandad wrote yesterday:
The smoking laws were inherently wrong from the very start for one simple reason – it dictated to business owners what they should allow on their own property.
I’m not going to disagree. But I just wonder whether he’s put his finger on the central problem with these laws.
After all, now that they’ve started banning people from smoking in their own homes, it’s gone way beyond just business owners. And now that they’ve started banning people from smoking in public open spaces like parks and beaches, it’s gone way beyond just private property.
It’s been perfectly clear for a long, long time that they want to ban smoking everywhere.
And smoking is just one thing in a very, very long list of other things that they want to ban, and want to ban everywhere. Alcohol, sugar, salt, fat, meat are just a few of the other things they want to ban. And once they managed to ban smoking, the way was open for them to ban lots and lots of other things as well. Music, book, beliefs.
Of course they always deny that this is what they want. But everyone knows that they’re lying. Even they know that they’re lying.
It’s way beyond just smoking. It’s way beyond even health. It’s a matter of what laws are all about. Because they think that laws are restrictions that one bunch of people can place on another bunch of people. They think that laws are ways of controlling other people. And they very much do want to control other people. They want complete and total control of other people.
Banning smoking was just the start. It was just the thin end of a wedge that was, once it had been hammered fully home, was going to end up with absolutely everybody under their complete control. And the law was going to be the means by which they gained control.
One might say that people either want complete freedom or complete constraint, or some condition in between. They either want a world in which everyone can do exactly as they like, or a world in which nobody can do anything that they want, or a world in which some people can do as they like and some people can’t, or a world in which everyone is bound by some set of restrictions.
A world in which everyone is completely constrained would be one that is organised like an army, with a whole set of ranks, with everyone required to obey orders issued by higher ranking officers. But in such a world, there would always be one person – a commander-in-chief – over whom there was no higher authority. He’d be a Hitler or a Stalin or any one of countless dictators found throughout history.
A world that was completely free would be one in which the above-mentioned army had been completely demobilised, and all the ranks abolished, and nobody allowed to order anybody else to do anything.
We have seen both of these worlds pretty nearly actualised in recent history. During WW1 and WW2 the whole of society was organised as an army, on both sides of the conflict. Even women and children were organised into armies, usually providing munitions for the adult male soldiers fighting in the field. Pretty much everybody, except for a very few people – such as the sick and the elderly – was under the command of somebody or other. And when the war ended, and the armies were almost completely demobilised, most people were set free to do pretty much as they liked. They ceased to be under the command of anyone, and they ceased to be able to command anyone. If they’d been a sergeant or a corporal or a major or a general, they ceased to be those things the moment they stepped outside their army barracks for the very last time. In fact they even took off the uniforms that they’d been wearing, and put on civilian clothing to indicate their new freedom.
It seems that the post-war “free world” was largely confined to the western world. But even that world was very far from completely free. There were still lots of laws that everyone had to obey. And lots of people remained in large standing armies, particularly in the USA. In the Cold War that followed after the end of WW2, wars were still being fought, but they weren’t being fought in Europe or the Soviet Union as they had been in WW1 and WW2: they were being fought pretty much everywhere else.
When societies are organised as armies, the leaders usually wear military uniforms. Hitler wore a uniform. So did Stalin. So did Mao. So did Fidel Castro. When Kim Jung Un met Donald Trump in Singapore last week, he was wearing a military uniform, although it was one that was devoid of any insignia of his rank as coommander-in-chief of North Korea. And Donald Trump was also wearing a business suit which was also a kind of uniform (has anyone ever seen Donald Trump wearing anything else?).
So all societies are always oscillating (and oscillating rather wildly) between civilian freedom and military constraint. And I’ve been lucky enough to live the entirety of my life in a condition of civilian freedom. For I was born not long after the end of WW2, and grew up in a Britain which was gradually demobilising (food rationing was ended in 1954, and compulsory national service was ended in 1960). One might say that the 1960s were something of revolt against military discipline (you wore long hair and beads). But now, with smoking bans (and any number of other creeping bans) we’re effectively seeing the gradual re-militarising of society. We’re all being told to obey orders. We’re all being brought slowly back under control. We may as well all be being inducted back into a military command structure. Soon we might all start to have to wear uniforms, with the insignia of our various different ranks somewhere on them. Do they think that another war is coming?
In Russia, Vladimir Putin has been telling (November 2017) Russians to prepare for war:
VLADIMIR PUTIN TELLS RUSSIAN DEFENSE COMPANIES TO PREPARE FOR WAR
These days, it’s hard to tell what’s fake news and what isn’t, so maybe it isn’t true. But with trade wars breaking out everywhere, the world is beginning to look a lot like it was in the 1930s, prior to the outbreak of WW2. And the USA is almost in a state of civil war since the shock election of Donald Trump. There’s an intense power struggle going on. And Trump is surrounded by military men (General Mattis, General Kelly, General Flynn, Admiral Rogers, to name just a few) in ways that neither Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton ever were.
What’s certain is that the state of the world in 2018 is far less stable than it was 10 or even 20 years ago. Everything is in flux. And anything might happen next. We might well suddenly find ourselves all caught up in a colossal global war, much like that into which the world descended very, very suddenly between July and August 1914, without anyone really wanting it.
And all these smoking bans and alcohol and food restrictions have absolutely nothing to do with health, but everything to do with control within a military command structure in which luxuries like tobacco and alcohol and meat and sugar will be very scarce, and perhaps even non-existent.