Death of another civilised, smoker-friendly nation
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2019
As of today, Austria is the latest country to ban smoking in restaurants, cafes and bars.
The writing has been on the wall since the country’s coalition government fell apart earlier this year in the wake of a scandal involving a senior member of the far right Freedom Party.
Amazing that Austria managed to hold out so long. The antismokers must be cock-a-hoop.
But given the determination of the EU to stamp out smoking everywhere in Europe, it was probably more or less inevitable. And it’s probably more or less inevitable that the same will happen with those parts of Germany where smoking is still tolerated.
How did they manage to hold out for so long? The answer is almost certainly one word: Hitler. The antismoking Hitler was born in Austria, and ruled Germany, and many people there have never forgotten it, and can never forget it. And the arrival of smoking bans in Austria is the return of Nazism. Smokers are Europe’s new Jews. It’s their turn to be reviled and excluded, refused jobs and medicine, and maybe even eventually murdered en masse. History is repeating itself.
I was quoting David Hockney just yesterday:
“Hitler was the biggest anti-smoker of them all, you couldn’t smoke in his presence – which is why I notice in Germany there are quite a lot of smokers because they can’t demonise smokers there.”
A great many Austrians woke up yesterday to find that they had become members an excluded subclass. They’ll be having the exact same experience that I had on 1 July 2007, when the UK came into force, of bafflement and rage and resignation and disbelief. To some of them it might even seem like another Anschluss: they’ve just joined the pan-European antismoking club.
Back in 1938, it didn’t last very long. Seven years later Austria had regained its independence. And the same is very likely to happen this time too. For now we are seeing many millions of people experiencing the same persecution, almost everywhere in Europe. There are millions and millions of baffled, enraged, resigned, disbelieving smokers all over Europe.
I wrote yesterday:
Nobody else will suggest this, but it seems to me very likely that it’s not “national populism” that’s now tearing Europe apart: it’s disenchanted smokers.
This won agreement from Jax in a comment under that post:
But there’s a thing about anger, as any decent psychologist will tell you: if it can’t be expressed in a direct way towards its real cause, then it almost inevitably comes out elsewhere. So, yes, I think that much of the present unrest and upheaval going on, certainly in the West, is actually driven to a great degree by angry smokers, even if many – possibly most – of those smokers don’t even themselves recognise it. Look at where all the biggest “surprise” upheavals have occurred – in the USA with the election of the wildcard Donald Trump; in the UK with the unexpected two-fingered Brexit referendum result; in France with the ongoing and sustained gilet jaunes protests; in Spain with the Catalans’ continued demands for independence even in the face of open State violence; and elsewhere around Europe with the increasing popularity of all the so-called “nationalist” parties so clearly feared by the EU.
I completely agree with Jax. The real anger that smokers feel is going to be expressed in one way or another. I think anger is just like Potential Energy in physics, that gets converted into Kinetic Energy. In something like a spring, the system acquires the maximum of potential energy when compressed, and the maximum of kinetic energy when released. Potential energy is pent-up energy. And so is anger. In fact energy and anger may well be etymologically very closely related. And Europe has just reached something like its maximum of pent-up potential energy, pent-up anger, as a few million Austrians join the ranks of the excluded and persecuted.
There’s an explosion coming, an overdue release of pent-up anger. It’s already started in Britain and France and Spain. It’s going to consume the whole of Europe. I expect to see riots in Austria soon. I expect to see riots everywhere. They won’t be riots against smoking bans: they’ll be riots against almost everything but smoking bans. Europe is about to be torn apart. In fact, Europe is already beginning to be torn apart.