In a comment yesterday, musing on the fact that Deborah Arnott has two children, DP wondered:
Maybe she allows herself time off from persecuting smokers in her day job to being motherly and kindly after work and on her days off.
This presented Deborah Arnott as being a sort of Jekyll and Hyde character, sweet and kind one moment, utterly beastly the next. But it occurred to me that, most likely, Deborah Arnott is the same person the whole time.
That is, should may well be as beastly to her children as she is to smokers. Or, more likely (and what I suggested in my reply), she treats smokers in the exact same way as she treats her children, and she doesn’t think she’s being beastly to either. In fact she thinks that she’s “helping” smokers just like she probably helps her children with their homework. She sees smokers as children, and probably as naughty children.
This led me into a train of thought that I’ve explored a little before: which is that smoking (and drinking) is generally something that adults do, but not children. The transition from childhood to adulthood entails a great many changes in taste. As a boy I liked sweet fizzy drinks, but as a man I preferred rather slightly sour or bitter beer and lager. As I boy I liked sweet chocolates, but as an adult I preferred salty snacks like salted peanuts or crisps. And there are, of course, all sorts of other changes that accompany the transition.
And I have been entertaining the thought that some people never succeed in quite making the transition from childhood to adulthood. They remain children in many ways, even though they’re fully grown adults. And these child-adults are the antismokers who don’t like smoking (and don’t like drinking either), because they have remained children. And in demanding smoking bans and drinking restrictions, they are re-asserting their childhood values.
In my own case, after leaving school at the age of 17 (and starting smoking and drinking at age 18), I spent the next 13 years of my life in a university, as an undergraduate, a postgraduate, and finally a research assistant. And I now think that those 13 years were a sort of extended childhood. Why else do ex-students refer to their former school or university as their Alma Mater – nourishing mother -? Just like in my childhood, I didn’t have to earn my own living during my university years: I got government grants most of the time.
And if I was a left winger throughout that time, it’s because left wing politics is all about keeping people in a dependent, child-like state. The Left want a state or society in which people are as protected and cared for in adulthood just as they were as children. The Left want everyone to remain as children for their entire lives. And I wanted to remain a student for as long as I possibly could.
So if universities always seem to be full of Leftists, it’s because they’re full of people who are living an extended childhood (and this applies to lecturers and professors as well). And that’s why they’re all so noisily demanding. And that’s also why they always expect everything to be free, handed to them on a plate as of right. And it’s also why they never really understand money or profit or enterprise or inventiveness or independence or work: because they never do any work, never make anything, and never buy or sell anything. Money, for them, is the pocket money that their parents give them. And this is why they often think everyone should be given pocket money, in the form of a “citizen’s wage”.
By contrast, the political Right are made up of adult working people who make and sell goods, using money, for profit. And the fundamental difference between Left and Right is between childhood and adulthood, between idle, dependent life and independent, working life.
And these working adults tend to smoke and drink precisely because they live busy, working lives, and the work they perform – physical or mental – is always stressful to some degree, and alcohol and tobacco relieve stress. After a long day of hard work, the adult worker wants to (needs to) be able to relax over a few beers and cigarettes. And the harder you work, the more you’ll want beer and cigarettes to compensate for your efforts. And you may even want stronger stuff than that.
And as the idleness of society increases, with less and less work needing to be done, because we have machines that can do most of it, we have more and more child-adults and fewer and fewer real working adults. And smoking bans – which re-assert childhood values – represent the victory of the child-adults over the working adults. The smoky, boozy pubs are emptied of their adult customers: they become creches instead.
What we’re seeing in the USA is a confrontation between child-Americans (the Left) and adult Americans (the Right). Donald Trump is a hard-working, adult Daddy, and the Democrats are all revolting children, even if many of them (e.g. Nancy Pelosi, 78) are older than he is.
And what we’re seeing all over Europe as well as America is a revolt of the independent adult Right against a child Left which which wants to keep everyone in a state of perpetual, dependent childhood for their entire lives. And it’s a very necessary revolt. And it’s a revolt that will succeed. And when it succeeds, smoking bans will be rolled back, as pubs and bars and restaurants revert to being the adult, smoky, boozy places they always should have been.
And the rise of the Left over the past few centuries has been a consequence of the rise of childhood over that time, and the extension of childhood for longer and longer duration. And if we are to avoid having a society polarised between children and adults, we’d best introduce children into adult life as early as possible rather than as late as possible. In this manner children will grow up quicker, and gain an early understanding of adult life, as they are given the responsibility to perform paid work, and come to understand money and profit in ways they can never otherwise. Rather than removing responsibility from children (rendering them irresponsible), we ought to add as much responsibility as possible.
In short, we ought to abolish childhood.
I hope that makes a little bit of sense.