Smokers love tobacco. They love pipes and cigars and cigarettes. And they love smoking.
And antismokers hate tobacco. They hate pipes and cigars and cigarettes. And they hate smoking.
The difference between the two is the difference between love and hate.
What is the difference between love and hate?
It is said that Love Conquers All. But why should it? Aren’t love and hate symmetrical opposites? Aren’t they equally powerful? And isn’t hate defeating love right now, as the antismokers ban smoking everywhere?
But there’s at least one important big difference between love and hate. And that is that while hate is destructive, love is constructive. If you hate someone or something, you are trying to destroy them. But if you love someone or something, you will be trying to enhance and magnify and build them.
So, for example, if you love gardens, you’ll probably end up with a lovely garden full of flowers and shrubs and trees and lawns and ponds. But if you hate gardens, you’ll end up with a barren wasteland. You’ll end up with nothing.
And that’s why the love of smokers for smoking and tobacco will eventually triumph over the antismokers’ hate for those things. The antismokers can only destroy things. And in the end there’ll be nothing left for them to destroy. They will leave nothing to the world that comes after them, because they never created anything. But the smokers who love pipes and cigars and cigarettes, and smoking and smoky pubs and cafes, will carry on recreating those things that the antismokers have destroyed.
Or, to return to the garden. once the garden-haters have killed off all the plants, and left a wasteland behind them, the plants will eventually re-colonise the barren land, and repopulate it with flowers and bushes and trees and pastures, because plants are constructive rather than destructive. So also, once the smoke-haters have killed off all the pubs and cafes, they will be reconstructed by smoke-lovers. It may take a long time, but that is what will eventually happen.
Because there is an asymmetry between love and hate, which is the asymmetry between the constructive and the destructive. And there’s a further asymmetry between the constructive and the destructive, which is that it usually takes a long time to construct anything, but only a short time to destroy it. It may take months or years to construct a beautiful palace, but only a few minutes to burn it to the ground. And because destruction is quick, it is short-lived. Once everything has been destroyed, the destruction stops. And once the destruction stops, slow reconstruction immediately starts.
So once the short-lived destruction of smoky pubs and bars and cafes by smoke-hating antismokers has ended, they’ll start slowly springing back into existence. And they’ll spring back to life because some people love smoky pubs and bars and cafes, just like some people love gardens, or cities, or countries.
Love Conquers All is a translation of a line in Virgil’s Eclogues. These days it’s usually written as Amor Vincit Omnia, but in the original poem it appears as Omnia Vincit Amor.
The full line in Virgil reads:
Omnia vincit amor: et nos cedamus amori — Virgil, Ecl. 10.69
i.e. “Love conquers all; let us, too, yield to love!” (transl. Rushton Fairclough)