Dead Silence

All over the world right now, smokers are being exiled to the outdoors. That is to say that, if they want to carry on smoking, they must stand outside in the cold and wet and the dark and dangerous. They can be seen everywhere, these outcasts.

And nobody says a word about it!

Nobody stands up and says: “This is wrong! This is no way to treat people! This must be stopped!”

Instead there’s dead silence.

The ostensible guardians of morality – the churches – say nothing. The Pope says nothing. The Archbishop of Canterbury says nothing. The Muslim mosques say nothing. The Jewish synagogues say nothing. Hindu and Buddhist temples say nothing.

And doctors says nothing. And lawyers say nothing. And police say nothing. And scientists say nothing. And newspapers say nothing.

And ‘Social Justice Warriors’ say nothing. And human rights activists say nothing. And Alex Jones says nothing. And Michael Savage says nothing. And Jordan Peterson says nothing.And Roger Scruton says nothing.

And Mick Jagger says nothing. And Keith Richards says nothing. And Paul McCartney says nothing. And Bruce Springsteen says nothing. And John Cleese says nothing. And Rowan Atkinson says nothing.

And because nobody ever says anything, the persecution of smokers only mounts higher. Smokers are now being exiled further and further outdoors. In many hospitals now, smokers must not just go outside to smoke, but must leave the hospital grounds entirely, hobbling with catheters to the distant gates. It’s absolutely obscene.

And smokers are also being robbed. For the ‘sin taxes’ on tobacco are now astronomical. Government taxes are, for the most part, a payment for services rendered by the state in the form of roads, schools, hospitals, defence, and so on. But in the case of smokers, the tax is pure theft: smokers get nothing in return at all.

And smokers are also being insulted and browbeaten by ‘health messages’ printed on tobacco products. These messages – mostly lies, accompanied by grueaome images  – now cover most of the packages.

And smokers are being evicted from their homes, refused employment, refused medical treatment.

What’s happening to smokers is exactly the same as what happened to the Jews in Nazi Germany during the 1930s. For they also were excluded, evicted, fired, exiled, defamed, insulted.

And the interesting thing is that, back then nobody said anything either. Who was speaking up for the Jews in the 1930s? Pretty much nobody. It was only after 1945 that everyone was falling over each other to condemn the Nazi death camps in which millions of Jews had been murdered. The outcry only came after the worst had been done.

It was the same with the gulags in the Soviet Union. Who was protesting about them in the 1930s? Pretty much nobody.

And so, seeing what’s now happening to hundreds of millions of smokers all over the world right now, it can be said with confidence that absolutely nothing was learned from the Nazi or Soviet experience. Everyone says “Never Again!”, but they say nothing as it all starts to happen all over again, this time with a different social group.

Perhaps it’s only when the violence that is being done to some social group exceeds some threshold that conscience is pricked, and the scales fall from people’s eyes, and they finally see what’s happening, and what’s been happening in plain sight all around them for a very long time.. But until that threshold is reached, they will see nothing and say nothing.

Or perhaps it’s that all can see it quite clearly, but they can’t bring themselves to say anything, while nobody else is saying anything. Everyone is waiting for someone else to speak up. And it’s only when someone else has spoken out that they’ll speak out too. And then everybody starts speaking out. And everybody says that they could always see what was being done was wrong.

In fact it’s not as if exactly nobody is protesting about the treatment of smokers. After all, I’m protesting. I’ve been protesting for years. And so have quite a few other bloggers. And even one or two social commentators in newspapers.

But there are hardly any of us, and so we’re ignored. So it seems that you need more than one person to speak up. There is perhaps a threshold number of voices that have to be speaking out before other people start to join in. It’s the same with lighting cigarettes: it sometimes takes several matches to light one.

Or perhaps it takes a combination of abuses to rouse people to speak out? Smokers are a minority, and so have little influence, and can easily be ignored, and easily persecuted. It’s maybe only when everybody starts to suffer that everybody starts speaking out.

And the persecution of smokers is gradually being extended to other social groups. To drinkers. And fat people. More and more people are being subjected to the same insidious process of exclusion and demonisation and punitive taxation. The more powerful that “Public Health” campaigners become, the more enemies they make for themselves. And at some point they have far more enemies than they have friends, and a tipping point is reached where the voices of protest outnumber the voices of support.

When the end comes, it probably happens very suddenly. Much like with Nicolae Ceausescu, Romanian leader, interrupted while speaking to a large crowd, and executed a few days later, as all his support melted away overnight.

About Frank Davis

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14 Responses to Dead Silence

  1. Rhys says:

    Nobody says anything because we’re weak-willed addicts whose addiction causes us to murder people without even caring – second-hand smoke and all that. And we cost them money for health care because apparently half of us die young and expensively and that has to be paid for by other people, or so I’m reliably informed.

    It’s been some hideous experiment in how to turn normal people into Nazis, I feel. Give them someone to hate, and reasons to hate them – good scientific ones, no less. And look at how well it’s worked. Better than any of the TC ‘confidence tricksters’ could’ve imagined.

    • smokingscot says:

      “It’s been some hideous experiment in how to turn normal people into Nazis…”

      Not all of them, thankfully. Yes they swamp the online comments sections and yes those lists of hate comments are real, but the majority of people, while not in favour of returning to the old system are still perfectly comfortable with separate indoor smoking rooms.

      What I’ve been doing for some time now is to insert the cost of all these Tobacco Control measures. Just reviewed one I did in the Scotsman newspaper where I pointed out that ASH Scotland receive “north of £600,000” from taxpayers.

      As most newspapers do not allow links, these figures just stand there, never ever challenged. With England I have all the links to all the Blackman speeches where he says they need far more than £200 million a year to pump out yet more “specials” on television. Few people know they get their funding from the public purse and very few ordinary people have the slightest idea of exactly how much they get.

      I just let it sit there and sink in.

      So yes I was absolutely delighted when Oxfam was slammed every which way for ignoring the fact their volunteers used their positions to coerce young children to perform sex for their benefit.

      My take is most of us can easily understand how people on the front line can and indeed do abuse their power over others, however the real rage was that senior management made such a small deal about it all. At first the boss tried to stay in his position, then eventually he capitulated and resigned.

      I see insignificant peckerwills getting first class travel, first class hotel rooms and sheer luxury that’s unimaginable to most of us simply to attend some “meeting” about tobacco control. So yes I make damned fine certain I get that out to a much wider audience (via on line comments)..

      Point is that while they’re whining about more funding they’re actually moving upmarket themselves in their salaries, perks and expectations.

      Allow me, if you will, to illuminate here. The link is to the Fellows employed by Stanton Glantz at his fiefdom known as “The Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education” at UCSF.

      There are 13 of them

      Then wing it to the “Faculty”

      and I simply cannot be shagged to count them all.

      Depress yourself some more and check out their Alumni.

      No need to mention this is total overkill. I simply cannot grasp how so many people who appear to be quite clever can be gainfully employed.

      And just imagine the cost of these people, all of whom will have assistants, secretaries, researchers and so on.

      It happens on a smaller scale in the UK, but if they get the money then know what to expect.

      • I simply cannot grasp how so many people who appear to be quite clever can be gainfully employed.

        … while the not-so-clever just drift along with the stream of popular consensus. Guy Debord’s ‘theory of spectacle’ never mentions the smoking scare. Perhaps he was too busy drinking to even suspect the extent the anti-tobacco hoax had already reached in his time? Anyway, your comment provides a perfect illustration of his theory.

      • Rhys says:

        Wouldn’t it be amazing if instead of spending all that money on eradicating smokers, drinkers, fat people, and whoever else is in their sights they put it towards eradicating diseases?

        But I guess then it would be about health, and that’d never work.

  2. Rose says:

    I am sure that most thinking people can smell a rat, but not knowing where to start looking for that rat, they have either to stay silent or chivvy round the edges in a minor way, not questioning the whole.
    It is particularly difficult when that rat is of considerable antiquity, say slightly over 400 years old.

    Here”s a more recent one, like the anti-pasta Fascists from yesterday’s blog “the quarters of government, medicine, science and academia, the guardians of power and public conscience” all jumped on the bandwagon and tried to silence anyone who didn’t agree.


    “Science writer John Tierney talks about cascade effects. They work like this: I don’t know what’s true about, say, eating fatty foods. So I listen to a person I trust and form the opinion that I should avoid fat. Now two of us agree, and it’s a lot easier to convince a third. Pretty soon it’s common knowledge that fatty foods lead to cancer, stroke, and heart failure.

    The scientific business of erecting conclusions consistent with facts must often be done when facts are incomplete. What happens when we can’t table a question? I can’t put off eating until I know what’s good for me. For twenty years I’ve faced dire warnings about fatty foods — claims we now take as gospel. I try to turn away, but my baked potato cries out for butter and sour cream.

    Now we have the result of a huge government-sponsored eight-year study of 49,000 women. Disease, it turns out, and even weight, were virtually unaffected by diet. This study, for all its solidity, is kicking up a storm. And far be it from me to try to start a new cascade effect. Doubters point out that the study didn’t sort good fat from bad, it was limited to older women, and so on. Still, it now does seem that our genetic formation (and maybe our mental condition) are bigger factors than diet.

    I suspect the science of nutrition is particularly vulnerable to cascade effects since it’s an arena where we might actually influence our destinies. But so many choices also lie outside our bodies. Think about how the intense hurricanes of 2005 provided a flurry of evidence in favor of global warming. Then the dearth of hurricanes a year later was evidence for global-warming nay-sayers.

    That’s how cascade effects work. Incomplete evidence is coupled with a need to believe what our friends do. In the end, it seems, we have to rely on people less well-tuned to the minds of those around them — if we’re to be saved from ourselves.”

  3. Roobeedoo2 says:

    It rained heavily all day on Thursday. Yesterday, I and everybody else who works where I work received an email:

    ‘Dear Colleagues,

    ‘May I remind all colleagues of the Council’s ‘Smoking in the Workplace’ Policy and that employees should not smoke within 10m of any Council building.

    ‘Many thanks’

    Yeah but I didn’t stand out in it, did I Clicky? …/lights up… I stood sheltered under the body of the building, watching the cascading rain whilst I smoked… /drags… right next to a ‘NO SMOKING’ sign… /streams smoke…*

    • Rose says:

      They can’t help themselves, can they? Was it signed?

      • Roobeedoo2 says:

        Oh yeah. It has ‘Smoking in the Workplace’ policy behind it. Although, technically I wasn’t smoking in the workplace and standing on public ground…

        Tru dat, Clicky…/drags… If I’d used the pathetic, plastic smoking shelter provided, I’d have caught pneumonia, not least walking to and from it… /blows smoke rings…*

        • Rose says:

          I had a vision of smokers walking in wearing sou’westers and oilskins and dripping all over their desks, leaving a trail of mud behind them, just to prove that they had walked the 10m from the council building.

  4. Joe L. says:

    I am currently at an outdoor festival which has a beer garden. The rules (laws?) state that one must be 21 years of age or older to enter the beer garden. However, smoking is not permitted inside the beer garden — one must step outside the beer garden (and obviously cannot take their beer with them) to enjoy a cigarette (what I’m doing as I write this). However, smokers need not entirely leave the festival boundaries — we can smoke anywhere inside the festival except inside the beer garden! (?)

    This makes zero sense. It’s obvioisly not about “protecting the chiiiildren”, because I am now smoking as adults walk right by me hand-in-hand with little ones and push strollers less than a foot away from me. Whereas, if smoking were allowed inside the beer garden, no one under the age of 21 would be subjected to my “toxic” secondary tobacco smoke.

    This setup is clearly not designed to be about “health” or “protection” but rather about inconveniencing smokers and also forcing nonsmokers to walk past smokers and resent them more. Unbelievable.

  5. waltc says:

    Though its topic is broader, this very interesting article offers a social psychology explanation about how the General Public became anti-smoker. Worth reading the whole thing:

    Excerpt: “how does the moderate majority come to accept the preferences of an extreme minority? Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute provide an answer. The researchers, using mathematical modeling, found that there is a tipping point for when opinions held by a committed minority spread to the rest of the population. The tipping point is 10%. “When the number of committed opinion holders is below 10%, there is no visible progress in the spread of ideas…once that number grows above 10 %, the idea spreads like a flame.”

    “In short, how we behave often depends on how many people are behaving in that manner.

    “For a viewpoint to become popular, a minimum number of group members must first adopt it. Once this threshold is reached, the viewpoint becomes self-sustaining with more and more adopting it. Thus, the preferences of an intransigent minority are mainstreamed once enough moderates adopt them.”

  6. Rhys says:

    That’s an interesting article, Walt. But I still feel like I should rename Vancouver to City of Lemmings. I haven’t been to the US in a while, do you still have the East/West Coast split there?

    • waltc says:

      For the most part, the northeast (New England states + NY, NJ) –and the entire west coast (also known as “the left coast”) are Democrat, which these days veers to Progressive. California like New York is itself split, with the big coastal cities of CA being left and much of the interior (which is always outvoted) right to moderate, and in NY, tne populous downstate NYC and environs (which numerically has the majority) outvotes entire the upstate moderate to right. The rest of the country (the geographically greatest part) is moderate to right. If you look at one of those red/blue maps from the last election, you’ll see what I mean. Based on population density alone and w/o the Electoral College, the blue areas would almost inevitably win every presidential election.

    • Joe L. says:

      To add to Walt’s response, it is not so much an East Coast/West Coast divide politically as much as it is a split between large, densly-populated urban areas (Democrat) and rural areas (Republican) across the entire country.

      Having lived in Chicago all of my life until recently, Cook County always went blue in elections whereas the rest of the state of Illinois always went red. Now that I’m in the Seattle area, it seems to be the same: King County goes blue while the rest of the state of Washington goes red. If the majority of a state’s population resides in urban areas, the state generally goes blue and vice-versa.

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