The Continued Expulsion

I thought I’d continue today along yesterday’s thread, exploring the expulsion of smokers from society, and some of the consequences that seem to have naturally flowed from this.

I still vividly remember the day – 1 July 2007 – when we smokers were expelled from all the pubs and cafes and clubs in Britain, and exiled to the outdoors. It might have seemed at the time like a singular, one-off event, but it was actually the beginning of a process of expulsion, not just from pubs and cafes, but from the whole of society.

On that first day, the pubs in Devon (where I was living at the time) were quite crowded. I suppose everyone wanted to see what would happen. But after that day, they emptied. I used to have a number of acquaintances with whom I swapped conversation and drinks, or with whom I played pool. And they all vanished, and I never saw them again. An entire circle of acquaintances dissolved away in the space of two or three weeks.

It took a lot longer to lose the wide circle of friends in Britain that I’d known before the ban. But as one by one they started banning smoking in their own homes, and I became as unwelcome there as I was in pubs and cafes, I grew steadily more distant from them. And furthermore, ours had ceased to be a shared experience of life: I was one of the excluded, and they were not. Which is not much different from me being black, and they being white.

But this was a process that took place over time. It didn’t happen suddenly. It took years.

But there were other gradual changes as well. Prior to the smoking ban, I voted Liberal Democrat, and I saw myself as liberal and democratic. And I tended to want everybody – blacks, gays, women, Muslims, etc. – to all be included. But once I myself had joined the ranks of the excluded, I ceased to feel quite the same about it. I began to resent the fact that these social groups were being included in society, while I was being excluded. Why should an excluded and reviled smoker like me be glad that a black/gay/handicapped/Muslim like you is being included? There is no reason at all why I should feel pleased.

And also I had a deep nostalgia for the way thing used to be, when smokers like me were welcome. I longed for the vanished, congenial, smoky pubs of yesteryear. And I longed for much else beside that had now been swept away.

In short I stopped being a progressive Liberal Democrat, and started being a conservative. From initially being a bit Left wing, I became steadily more Right wing. I found myself agreeing with Right wing people who I never used to agree with before. And very often I found them to not be Right Wing enough. It’s been said that “A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged,” and in my case this was exactly correct: we smokers had been mugged, and left bloodied and penniless on the street.

I think a shift in political orientation of this sort was actually something that was an inevitable consequence of the exclusion of smokers, and if the whole of Europe and America has been becoming steadily more conservative in recent years, it seems to me that all one need do is point to the many millions of excluded smokers in all these countries, and say: “Here are your new conservatives.” These aren’t people who had a sudden awakening one day: these are people who have just been enduring exclusion and demonisation in countless small ways for year after year after year, and getting more and more tired of it, and starting to vote for politicians like Nigel Farage, or Marine Le Pen, or Matteo Salvini, all of whom are smokers, and thus One Of Us.

I think that if we also seem to be in a permanent economic slump, with interest rates at rock bottom, it may well be for a very closely related reason: the excluded smokers have stopped spending. I was remarking yesterday that I never go anywhere any more, never catch any trains or buses or planes, never stay in any hotels, never visit any cinemas or art galleries or museums, because I am no longer welcome in any of these places. So why should I want to frequent them? It’s not just that smokers no longer spend freely on beer and cigarettes and food like they once used to, they don’t spend on anything else much either.

The oddest thing about all this is that: nobody can see what’s happening. This doesn’t just apply to the progressive Left: it applies equally to the conservative Right. All over the world, hundreds of millions of smokers are being expelled from society, and nobody notices it happening. There’s complete, dead silence. There’s not a peep about it on any radio or TV channel, nor any mention of it in newspapers, or in parliaments, or churches, or community associations. Can’t they see? Haven’t they got eyes in their heads?

One possible explanation for this is that smoking bans are not regarded as political measures, but as health measures. So if you mention smoking bans to anyone in any position of authority, they will immediately drop it into the medical in-tray. Whereas if you mention blacks or gays or women or muslims, they’ll drop that into the political in-tray. Smoking is not treated as a political matter at all, but as a medical matter, and in fact as a medical emergency, during which normal rules of care and consideration are suspended, and ambulances may drive through red lights and on the wrong side of the road. Once something has become an urgent matter of Saving Lives, it ceases to be an ordinary political matter up for discussion, and there can be no debate about it whatsoever.

And so there isn’t any debate.

About Frank Davis

smoker
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7 Responses to The Continued Expulsion

  1. smokingscot says:

    It’s my opinion that from an economic standpoint, the smoking ban has had exactly the same effect as a high level of unemployment. I wrote way back in 2016:

    I’ve often pondered what the real difference is between people who are unemployed and those who are “exiled” (to quote Ms Arnott of ASH). Semantics aside, there’s nothing in it. The unemployed may can’t spend money because they don’t have it, while the majority of smokers don’t spend money because they’ve got no place to spend it where they feel comfortable or get value for money. The effect on the economy is identical.

    So yes our economic slump will continue for many, many years for while we’re not the only reason very highly taxed outlets such as pubs and bingo clubs and bookies have experienced difficulties, we are a significant factor in their decline.

    And as Fumo ergo sum so eloquently detailed yesterday, the ramifications impact many places others overlook, like hotels – in our case little country ones and many others that Fumo ergo sum named.

    If this theory holds water then it’ll show through in the figures for 2020 onwards in Austria.

  2. slugbop007 says:

    Hello Mr. Davis, I just stumbled upon this webpage from a Dutch publishing company, Elsevier,  that specializes in Tobacco Control propaganda. Bloomberg is funding one of the studies. No surprise there. They are worried about environmental pollution on tobacco leaves. What about fruits, nuts and vegetables?

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/tobacco-industry

    slugbop007

    • smokingscot says:

      Just skimmed the entire epistle. Had to re-read bit where they claim that embers of tobacco in our cigarettes can reach over 1,000 degrees Celsius and can melt tin!! Had no idea my little rollie is a mini acyteline torch.

      I know sod-all about weights, or rather I have no idea what a µm unit of measurement is. Is it infantesimally small?

    • beobrigitte says:

      Bloomberg is funding one of the studies. They are worried about environmental pollution on tobacco leaves.
      How about levelling the playing field with the Tobacco industry funding studies? Oh, wait, the Anti-smoking industry put a block to that in the 1990s! Hence the most idiotic, ideally jumped onto the environmental bandwagon, “studies” proposed are accepted.
      Universities need that kind of funding to keep afloat.

    • RdM says:

      Your lnk comes across on my screen as a compendium of article headers.
      Not sure which one you were referring to?
      But I do see old arch-enemy archetypal TC slaves here, from NZ:
      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128012383032013#ab0010
      G. Thomson, N. Wilson
      From 2015, “The Global Tobacco Industry”.
      Get the un-pay-walled free pdf here:
      https://sci-hub.se/10.1016/B978-0-12-801238-3.03201-3

      Copy any doi number in to the root sci-hub address, you might get lucky!

      Cheers!

  3. Fumo ergo sum says:

    “And I tended to want everybody – blacks, gays, women, Muslims, etc. – to all be included. But once I myself had joined the ranks of the excluded, I ceased to feel quite the same about it. I began to resent the fact that these social groups were being included in society, while I was being excluded.”

    –> But do the progressivists really want all these groups, minus smokers, to be included into their dream of a compassiante, inclusive society? I actually do not think that they really want that to be. Real concern about those minor groups means that you try to show some real interest in those groups’ shared history, intentionality, background and the cultural values they display. That you therefore take their value commitments seriously, and that you respect these commitments as emanations of the way individual persons who consider themselves to be members of these groups c.q. communities try to bring their life plans into fruition. Of course, taking someone or some group seriously definitely ain’t no easy task. It requires the use of virtues such as empathy, patience and openness toward what the other has to say about his commitments. Taking the other seriously, also means that you do not try to use this person as a mere mean in order to persuade him of one’s own particular standpoint or even as a mean for the fulfilment of one’s own plans. Indeed, it may eventually turn out that the other has something important to say from which one can learn for oneself. On the other hand, the other person too has to consider his interlocutor seriously for exactly the same reasons.

    But the progressivists actually lack all those virtues. They are not ‘really interested’ in the value commitments espoused by the minority groups they seemingly cherish. They actually use and abuse them for the sake of their own progressivist agenda. The examples you give perfectly illustrate my point. Take for instance gay people. Yes, they may be free to walk hand in hand on street without fearing any state imposed sanction. And in some countries, they may even legally marry. But are they really free to develop themselves qua gay people? It is for instance stated that the rate of smokers is proportionally higher among gay men than among straight men. For what reasons exactly I do not know: perhaps because cigarettes may be considered to be a phallic symbol? However, who do you punish most when imposing comprehensive indoor smoking bans that obviously include gay bars as well? Indeed… gay people. As I said, taking someone seriously ain’t no easy task. But marching along in a gay parade as a ‘progressive’ politician or hanging a rainbow flag at the entrance of the town hall, and hence allegedy showing support to ‘the gay cause’ is definitely very easy. It’s even a cheap publicity stunt. It is just a manner of window dressing or image building to show to the world how “progressive and compassionate” that politician or political party is. But in the end, the group they seem to care for are also being swallowed in the all-pervading grey flood of progressivism, which is ultimately a totalitarian ideology that allows for no exceptions (and thus, for no genuine course of personal development).

    The same may apply to Muslims. But let me give perhaps an example not related to smoking. For the sake of so-called “animal rights”, some progressive countries in the Western hemisphere – including Belgium as well as the Scandinavian countries – have banned the use of methods involving unstunned slaughtering of animals, a practice quite common among Muslim (and Jewish) communities. Now, it may be said and even argued that avoiding the cause of unnecessary added pain (to animals) may be part of a moral imperative, but that does not mean that it is an overruling imperative overriding all other rights and obligations. I deny that animals have any subjective right whatsoever, and whoever may think contrariwise, I heartily welcome to have a five minute discussion with an average wild leopard about the legal implications about what is mine and thine – I do not think he will manage to survive those five minutes. At least from a legal standpoint, I therefore have not a single objection to Muslim or Jewish people ritually slaughtering animals for the sake of pursuing their religious faith. In any case, why should the sake of so-called animal rights trump the rights of religious minority groups? I cannot see any valid reason at all, and I actually denounce the progressivists once more to invoke an arbitrary, ad hoc constructed goal to be achieved, namely the flourishing of animals. Just as “public health” is used as an invalid legitimation to pursue an agenda of antismoking bullying, so “animals rights” are invoked to redesign the whole fabric of society according to the standards of arbitrary pseudo-values. Yet, in doing so, Muslims and Jews alike are denied to exercise their fundamental rights to shape their faith as they see fit, which means that they have to sweep their practices under the Oriental carpet as well. Then, again, progressivist politicians and public intellectuals who would show themselves wearing a headscarf or a Palestinian keffiyeh may seem to be wanting to have ‘Muslims included’. Whereas they obviously do not. I doubt whether they may have read or studied anything fundamental about Islam, such as its different denominations (Sunni, Shia, Sufi,…) or its many philosophical advocates (Al-Ghazali, Avicenna, Averroes,…)

    This is, in more general terms, one of the reasons why I am so much opposed to the “multiculturalism” touted by the progressivists today. Not only because multiculturalism takes our own culture – shaped by the close collaboration between Greek philosophy, Roman law and Christian religion – not seriously, but also because it does not take other cultures, religions and value communities seriously either. So the multiculturalism does not take anything or anybody seriously, except the ‘great consensus’ of liberal tolerance. But in a sphere of tolerance in which nothing and nobody is taken seriously, that very tolerance will ultimately glide toward indifference. And where there is indifference, there will be finally much oppression and unfreedom. Which may be indeed the ultimate accomplishment of the progressivist’s dream – yet society’s worst nightmare.

    • Charles Burns says:

      Inclusion of minority groups by progressives in their top down utopia is highly selective, and does not include smokers, Catholics, and other formerly prominent groups now marginalized. Progressive “inclusion” is mere virtue signaling, their “virtues” being the lastest collectivist fads.

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