Antismokers are driven by hatred. This was something I realised with the very first antismoker I ever met: Dr W, in whose home in England I once lived (because I was at school in England, and my parents were living in Brazil). I discovered his hatred of smoking not long after I arrived in his household in late 1965, when I heard him inveighing at the top of his voice against the “filthy, filthy, filthy” habit, after he’d caught his eldest son smoking (again). That was hatred. Hatred of smoking.
It was then that I stopped believing that the mounting war on smoking was driven by any sort of measured, rational science. Rationality is something that is slow and cool. Scientists don’t shout at the tops of their voices at each other. Or at least I don’t think they do. All the scientists I’ve known have been rather quiet, retiring sort of people. And calm, quiet, cool reasoning is completely incompatible with hatred and anger. Whatever Dr W might have been, he was no scientist.
The entire time I lived in his house, I was terrified of Dr W, as a result of the outburst I’d heard. For although he never shouted like that again, I always knew that he was capable of doing so. So I saw him as a sort of dormant volcano, to be steered clear of, given the widest possible berth.
Back in 1965 I hadn’t started smoking. But after Dr W had disabused me of the idea that there was anything rational about the mounting war on smoking that was already going on, I saw no reason to not take up smoking. So in about 1967 I started smoking.
And Dr W wasn’t just any old medical doctor. He was a big shot in the BMA. The very last time I saw him was on TV, speaking on behalf of the BMA, wearing one of his pinstripe suits. No doubt he knew George Godber and Richard Doll and all the rest of the antismokers that infested (and still infest) the medical profession.
He was a very strange man. He was incapable of smiling a genuine smile, although he was able to simulate one when he knew that he was supposed to smile. When he got back from his job as district health officer in the evenings, he’d put on old clothes and carry on working in his garden, even in complete darkness. I never saw him read a newspaper or a book, or watch TV or listen to the radio. He kept himself busy the whole time, repairing things, doing odd jobs.
He died in about 2000, at the age of 79 (the same age as my smoky drinky father), very suddenly of a heart attack, seemingly without having smoked a single cigarette in his life, or drunk a single beer. It was something that he’d predicted would happen, because his father had died that way, and it was something that ran in his family. And, when he died, I happened to possess the only photograph of the entire family, taken by me in 1965, copies of which were given to everyone in his family.
I’ve never understood why some people hate smoking so much. I’ve also never understood why some people hate Jews and Gypsies either. But there seem to be a lot of people who do, which is why I bracket antismoking with antisemitism: they’re the same sort of malady.
And it’s hatred that has now driven smokers from their pubs and cafes, exiled them to the outdoors. It’s now a state-sponsored hatred, driven by all the Dr Ws in the medical profession and the WHO. It’s a hatred in front of which smokers have retreated, bewildered by the intensity of it.
But such hatred invariably engenders equal and opposite hatred. If you hate me, sooner or later I will start hating you. And so now that antismokers hate smokers, so also smokers now hate antismokers.
I used not to hate Dr W while he was alive. But with the 2007 UK smoking ban (for which he probably worked tirelessly, but never lived to see), I started hating him. And I started hating antismoking friends I’d once known. It’s a hatred that gets stronger as the years go by.
Antismokers are the only people I hate. As soon as I discover that someone is an antismoker, my good opinion of them vanishes, like a candle snuffed out. Madonna, Queen guitarist Brian May, and also Leo Tolstoy and Karl Popper. There are lots more. I have several books by Karl Popper that I can no longer bring myself to open.
Hatred breeds hatred, much like love breeds love. And I think that the coming years are going to see a tidal wave of hatred for antismokers sweeping the world, in response to the hatred that smokers have been experiencing. It seems to me inevitable that this will happen. And since there are far more smokers than antismokers, once the hatred kicks in, the antismokers are going to be outnumbered. They’ll have to flee to places like Argentina, and live under assumed names. That’s how it’s going to be.
I used to wonder how people could fight wars with each other. But now that I’ve experienced the hatred of the antismokers for smokers, and know in myself the hatred of smokers for antismokers, I can completely understand why wars break out. Because the hatred of anyone for anyone else will always be met with equal counter-hatred, whatever the cause, whether it’s national or religious or anything else.
Things like this are not going to be forgotten. They’re going to be remembered for a long time. They’re going to be stored up, as fuel for the fire to come.
Until, that is, the old hatreds start to slowly build once again.