No Restoration

James Delingpole:

Boris is an optimist, a patriot, a lover of the good things in life — wine, women, song, fast cars, Greek epic poetry… He has no time for the puritanism of the left, nor for the narrow reductivism of identity politics, nor for constraints on freedom of speech…

Boris Johnson feels like the Restoration of Charles II after far, far too long under the grim, Christmas-banning Puritans.

There’ll only be a true restoration if the smoking ban is repealed, and people can once again smoke in pubs and restaurants and cafes and clubs.

But I very much doubt that this will happen. If nothing else, nobody is suggesting it should happen. The only person who has ever suggested anything like this is Nigel Farage. Nobody else ever mentions it.

Boris may well be a lover of the good things in life — wine, women, song, fast cars, Greek epic poetry -, but he’s not a lover of tobacco.

James Delingpole also mentioned a piece by someone called Laurie Penny, in which she wrote of the coming Conservative era:

“People are going to die. People are going to live shorter, meaner lives. Communities on the brink of collapse will implode. We’re going to have to try and hold it together through these years.”

Reading this I couldn’t help but think that it was Labour that already did this with their 2007 smoking ban. Communities collapsed. I watched it happen. And people died. What else can happen when people are exiled to the outdoors?

It’s no better in the USA, as Joe L reports:

Upon further research, it appears that this bill [about to be signed by Donald Trump] does indeed raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21 years across the entire U.S.; it does not appear to be limited to federal property as I/we originally assumed. The sections of the bill pertaining to raising the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products were basically attached to a completely unrelated bill consisting mostly of defense-related spending because the slimy politicians who wanted to get the age increase passed knew this big bill would very likely get passed in order to prevent a government shutdown.

And with that my admiration for Donald Trump takes a very big hit. He’s no more a friend of smokers than Boris is. Neither of them smoke. so they care nothing for smokers. And Donald Trump has just thrown American smokers under a bus. There are going to be 20-year-old smokers all over the USA who have been buying tobacco for years, but will now be prevented from doing so. Will they vote for Trump in 2020? Very likely not.

So much for “having no time for the puritanism of the left”.

About Frank Davis

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18 Responses to No Restoration

  1. smokingscot says:

    No, Boris does not smoke, however he does celebrate big things with a cigar – and that was why the ban on smoking in parks never made it to law during his tenure as Mayor.

  2. Furtive Ferret says:

    Laurie Penny is another fucking hypocritical left wing trot who is not beyond exploiting the vulnerable for her own ends:

    “People are going to die…” this and the rest of the screed seems to be another piece of left wing rhetoric, hyperbole and hubris that I have heard my own Marxist nephew trot out.

    What I recall, and that idiots like Penny are too young to remember, is that the last time we had a truly Conservative Government we had a period of unparalleled economic growth and wealth improvement.

  3. Timothy Goodacre says:

    Laurie Penny – twat. It feels to me that we are, now, in the Restoration period. Miserable socialists with their mean bans did their best to bollocks this country. Now we fight back !

  4. slugbop007 says:

    Mr. Davis,

    I just had another telling coincidence about 30 minutes ago. This is what happened:

    On Boxing Day 2016 I wrote two posts to your blog. In one I mentionned LOTHAR WASKO’S PIPE SHOP. I went looking for his shop again today, Boxing Day, 2019, when I stumbled upon your blog from Boxing Day, 2016. Here are two of comments from that day three years ago.

    slugbop007 says:    December 26, 2016 at 2:27 pm    But by then Joe Biden’s eyes would have glazed over. “Smokers?” he’d say. “Smokers? Who gives a damn about smokers? Teachers, truck divers, miners, folks like that. Those are the people we listen to. But smokers? No.” You should have replied that there are many teachers, truck drivers, miners and other hard working folks who smoke and you are ignoring them, Mr. Biden. President Obama smokes. Many people think that there are evil, smelly, child killing smokers on one side of the ledger and the pure as the driven snow nonsmokers on the other. Like weekend athletes, there are plenty of occasional smokers. You have met some of them. The building just beside mine had its roof resurfaced with tar last summer. Most of the workers were smoking on the job. I saw a documentary on the steel industry recently and the guy working the blast furnace had a cigarette dangling from his lips.  Racing drivers used to smoke while driving long distance races and after winning: Nuvolari, Juan Manuel Fangio, James Hunt et al. Paul Newman smoked. Sir Isaac Newton, J.S. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and many others smoked pipes. Immanuel Kant, Edwin Hubble, Albert Einstein, the list of notable geniuses who smoked is worth researching and disseminating.

    I just ordered some organic rolling tobacco from Lothar Wasko’s Pipe Shop this morning, Boxing Day. There was a link to the EU directive on blocking the distribution to certain countries and regions of Europe.

    I think that it’s time to sue the EU for obstruction of legal commerce: Article 18 Cross-border distance sales of tobacco products

    1. Member States may prohibit cross-border distance sales of tobacco products to consumers. Member States shall cooperate to prevent such sales. Retail outlets engaging in cross-border distance sales of tobacco products may not supply such products to consumers in Member States where such sales have been prohibited. Member States which do not prohibit such sales shall require retail outlets intending to engage in cross-border distance sales to consumers located in the Union to register with the competent authorities in the Member State, where the retail outlet is established, and in the Member State, where the actual or potential consumers are located. Retail outlets established outside the Union shall be required to register with the competent authorities in the Member State where the actual or potential consumers are located. All retail outlets intending to engage in cross-border distance sales shall submit at least the following information to the competent authorities when registering: (a) name or corporate name and permanent address of the place of activity from where the tobacco products will be supplied; (b) the starting date of the activity of offering tobacco products for cross-border distance sales to consumers by means of Information Society services, as defined in point 2 of Article 1 of Directive 98/34/EC; (c) the address of the website or websites used for that purpose and all relevant information necessary to identify the website. Here, in Quebec, the distribution and marketing of flavoured pipe tobacco has been banned. Meanwhile, armanent conventions grow apace. The (2003) directive from the World Bank to eliminate the existence of tobacco from the face of the Earth must be exposed for its sociopathic indifference to the livelihood of millions of workers, their families, their communities, pub workers, lorry drivers, service industry workers and the artisans who create and produce thousands of tobacco accessories.


    • Fumo ergo sum says:

      Unless a new global financial meltdown may occur somewhere during the 2020s. In which case it may be more likely that it is the World Bank itself that will be eliminated from the face of the Earth first…

    • Fumo ergo sum says:

      Also, I am glad that you mentioned Immanuel Kant, who ranks among my most favorite philosophers. Manfred Kühn, professor of philosophy at the University of Marburg, reports the following in a biography on Kant published in 2001:

      “After getting up, Kant would drink one or two cups of tea — weak tea. With that, he smoked a pipe of tobacco. The time he needed for smoking it ‘was devoted to meditation.’ Apparently, Kant had formulated the maxim for himself that he would smoke only one pipe, but it is reported that the bowls of his pipes increased considerably in size as the years went on.” (quoted from )

      Indeed, those folks trying to downplay Kantian ethics as either ‘formalistic’, ‘rigid’, ‘stiffling’ or even ‘austere’, reflecting the narrow mindset of a Prussian Lutheran ascetic, may be astonished to find the following lines in Kant’s writings:

      “But that man can be called fantastically virtuous who allows nothing to be morally indifferent and strews all his steps with duties, as with man-traps; it is not indifferent to him whether I eat meat or fish, drink beer or wine, supposing that both agree with me. Fantastic virtue is a concern with petty details which, were it admitted into the doctrine of virtue, would turn the government of virtue into tyranny.” (Metaphysics of Morals, 6: 409)

      On the other opposite of the spectrum, those invoking a Kantian categorical imperative to justify a global prohibitionist agenda in which ‘perfect health’ is taken to be a universalizable maxim won’t find an ally in Kant to pursue their evil plans…

      • Frank Davis says:

        I’ve never really understood Kant’s Categorical Imperative:

        Act only according to a maxim by which you can at the same time will that it shall become a general law (Russell. History of Western Philosophy. p683)

        Should we act according to maxims? A maxim is a principle or rule of conduct. I suppose that “women and children first” is a maxim that has become a general law, and therefore a categorical imperative. It applies during disasters or emergencies, such as the sinking of the Titanic, during which women and children were the first allowed to enter lifeboats. But it’s possible to imagine that other people might have claimed that they were Very Important People, and should be given priority over women and children. If King George V had been aboard the Titanic, would they have insisted (at gunpoint) that he stay aboard, and drown along with everyone else? Aren’t there exceptions to every rule?

        “No Smoking” appears to be another maxim that has become a categorical imperative. It has been made into a one-size-fits-all general law.

        The alternative to acting according to maxims would seem to be to respond flexibly to circumstances as they change, doing one thing at one time, another at another time, rather than rigidly and inflexibly doing the exact same thing all the time.

        But I’m essentially a Benthamite Utilitarian who replaced Utility or happiness or satisfaction with the Idleness of Idle Theory.

        • Fumo ergo sum says:

          There are definitely many exceptions to the rule that could be brought in, even within a Kantian moral framework.

          Russell’s outline of Kant is indeed an adequate but far from complete summary of Kantian ethics, I think. It makes seem as Kant is arguing along the following lines: a maxim or rule of conduct is either directed toward an external goal or it is not. If it is goal-directed, then the maxim only holds insofar as it is able to accomplish the goal I want to have accomplished. The maxim then becomes a hypothetical imperative which is, in a certain sense, a duty to oneself which can be expressed by the use of an ‘if […] then […]’ clause.. For instance, if I do not wish to be defamed, I ought no to lie. The motivation underlying the imperative then is one of prudence. But Kant also holds that there are other rules of conduct that hold unconditionally, because they do not pertain to personal inclinations or desires. Those roles then hold categorically, because (i) they are not directed toward a personal, subjective goal and (ii) they never ‘expire’ once the act has been done: I ought no to lie, even if I do not care whether or not I would ever get defamed if I did. The obligation not to lie holds unconditionally, whether or not I attach any practical consequence to it. As a result, the categorical imperative seems to be a purely formal principle, as Bertrand Russell mentions this is in his History of Western Philosophy (the quote you gave are actually Kant’s own words in the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, 1785, AA 421)

          So at first sight, one could actually derive nearly any norm (or ‘moral law’) merely by invoking the formalist exemplification of the categorical imperative. In that case, the danger looms that transcendental philosophical reflection downgrades into the entertainment of the wildest utopian fantasies, since there are countless maxims that may pass the universalizability test. Of course, these maxims may actually contradict one another – either directly or indirectly – and as a result, the idea that we could derive a system of moral prescriptions by applying a categorical imperative ultimately boils down to mere subjective preference. You mentioned as a maxim that has become a categorical imperative. I definitely do not doubt that there must be numerous busybodies entertaining pseudophilosophical reflections on a smoke-free Sunday afternoon, thinking with themselves that it would be so advantageous if they did not have to wash their clothes after an evening out in the cafe… if just people would quit smoking or got exiled to the outdoors! Eureka! Let’s make this a universal law! But I, by contrast, could have equally strong arguments that it ought to be a universal law that all people DO smoke: it would foster human sociability, and as a corollary, social welfare as well.

          To which Kant would then reply to both of us commit the fallacy that we are using humanity as a mean to an end. This is why a contradiction between two competing maxims could arise, because there might be a contradiction between the final ends that must be pursued. For the antismoker, this final end would then be the accomplishment of a (truly queer and illusory) ideal of ‘perfected public health’, whereas for the pro-smoker, this may be an equally illusory conception of social welfare maximization. So a purely formalist conception of the categorical imperative actually won’t last for long: it may be a necessary, but in itself insufficient criterion for a law to be called truly ‘moral’. I think that Kant himself was aware of the dangers that were hidden beneath his initial formulation of the categorical imperative that he gave at the beginning of the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. The moral law therefore seeks after an end that is unconditioned by any particular motive, that is, an end which is in and for itself a good in itself. Kant asks the following question: “Suppose that there were something the existence of which has an absolute worth in itself, that could be an end in itself to buttress certain laws. Then this could be the foundation of a possible categorical imperative, that is, of a practical law.” (Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, AA 428) The only end that has an absolute worth in itself, transcending all other particular ends, is man himself. As a result, Kant is able to distill another formulation of the categorical imperative: “Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end.”

          This formulation enlightens the scope of moral action in a much broader way than the formula of universal law. It actually determines the categorical imperative according to its material content. Yet, the scope of this formula may be conceived to be so broad that it becomes nearly meaningless. For what does it mean to treat humanity as an end? Indeed, given Kant’s own insistence that we have a duty to foster one another’s happiness, this might as well be a license for a full-blown nanny state dictating what to do in order to achieve a state of eternal happiness. But I think this won’t be an option for Kant. There are, according to Kant, two different kinds of duty that are prescribed by the categorical imperative. The first kind of duty or ‘moral duty’ pertains toward man’s inner freedom or his attitudes, ends and maxims. Ethical duties are actually non-enforceable, since they are duties in the broader sense. They have their basis in the free, autonomous will of the moral agent. The other kind of duty which are duties in the narrower sense, are dubbed ‘duties of right’. They pertain toward man’s external freedom (i.e., his freedom to do certain acts) and are effectively enforceable because they are prescribed through juridical legislation. Kant defines these duties of right as follows: “The sum of the conditions under which the choice of one can be united with the choice of another in accordance with a universal law of freedom.” (Metaphysics of Morals 6: 230)

          So if we take it that only duties of right are enforceable and are to be narrowly conceived to yield only negative duties – that is, the freedom not to interfere with another’s equal freedom of choice and action – than this means that even if an ethical demand to positively do something can only be carried out if this demand respects the equal freedom among persons. So even if there were to exist a moral imperative not to smoke, this imperative won’t be enforceable as a duty of right as it would clearly violate the ‘choice of another’. But I do not think that even as a moral maxim a duty not to smoke would even stand a chance. For even though Kant holds it to be a moral duty to foster one another’s happiness, Kant’s conceives happiness to have certain qualitative, non-measurable features as well. Nor does Kant conceive of happiness to a an aggregative sum consisting of separable parts that could be added or subtracted, but rather a non-aggregative whole consisting of non-separable moments that may even contain less pleasurable aspects. I think I could certainly endorse this Kantian outlook on ‘happiness’ when applied to my own personal smoking experience. There is, for instance, no direct causal link between my smoking habits and my happiness that is achieved therewith as if my happiness is nothing but a function of the number of cigarettes I have been smoking. The link between smoking and happiness would rather be indirect, in that it contributes to my overall state of contentment without this contentment being entirely reducible to my ability to smoke. So given this qualitative and non-separable account of happiness, it would actually be hard to account for it in one single, universalizable maxim. Actually, later in his life Kant would conceive of the command to foster one another’s happiness to be a religious rather than a moral command – that is, belonging to a transcendent realm outside the scope of human intervention.

          Kant did indeed recognize that there can be exceptions to a rule, such as during wartime, in which no law holds at all (‘inter arma silent leges’). It is therefore expedient for categorical rules that they bind in a state of affairs of non-emergency. The case you provided with the Titanic would actually be a situation in which those categorical rules would no longer be binding, as this is most definitely an emergency situation. So I think it would be very plausible that King George V would have secured a place in the lifeboat after all. Or to give another relevant example. Given Kant’s conception of right as “The sum of the conditions under which the choice of one can be united with the choice of another in accordance with a universal law of freedom”, the general rule would be that no single smoking ban could actually be enforced. Doing so, would be too demanding of what (narrow) duty requires of us. However, even in this case there may be exceptions to the general rule. Think for instance about a gas leak that just took place in an apartment building: in that case, a temporary smoking ban limited in both time and place could be justified in order to prevent a real disaster such as an explosion. It is therefore for this reason that the progressivist cenacles, touting about ‘emergencies’ and ‘epidemics’ all the time, are so dangerous. Because in the long run, their discourse will ultimately inflate the notion of an emergency up to the point that it becomes meaningless, hence, leaving us in a state without any steadfast rule at all except the petty and capricious regulations of the experts knowing how to deal with emergency situations.

  5. mandy vincent says:

    Any child under 21 who dies for the USA should be able to sue for child abuse, when you can die for your Country but not considered old enough to smoke, surely.

    • beobrigitte says:

      A 17 year old can enlist in the army, being trained to defend the country, thus kill/be killed in an instant and they can drive cars, thus kill/be killed in an instant, too.
      An 18 year old can also receive a death sentence (to which I use Werner Herzog’s words: “I respectfully disagree”).

      However, none of them could buy a beer or cigarettes until the age of 21.

      I rest my case.

  6. waltc says:

    In (doubtless undue) fairness to Trump, he had to sign the budget bill this was snuck in on; then, too, I believe his signing it gets him off the hook (that himself earlier baited) of banning menthol and flavored vapes. As I pointed out elsewhere, this move at the federal level violates the Tenth Amendment but no state would dare take it on since they’d be labeled “pro childhood cancer” or (God forbid) just “pro-smoker.”

    • Joe L. says:

      I’m sorry, Walt, but I don’t think there’s any room to defend Trump here. The fact that he specifically bragged about how the bill increased the legal age to purchase tobacco (or as he incorrectly dubs it, “the smoking age” — it has never been illegal to possess or smoke tobacco at any age in the U.S.; if it was, I would have been arrested many times between the ages of 14 and 18) makes it clear to me that he is quite proud of himself, and he believes he’s some kind of hero who is helping save lives and protect the chiiiildren:

      If he wasn’t happy that the measure was snuck into the bill, he wouldn’t have mentioned it at all. In fact, this Tweet indicates that it was actually one of his favorite parts of the bill.

      • beobrigitte says:

        JoeL, I share your frustration. At least a young mother now gets 12 short PAID weeks maternity leave – presumably to catch the young mother’s vote.

        Frank, I’m sorry, I am totally convinced my worst fears are coming true. Britain kicked out a demon to let Beelzebub (tobacco control) run free.

        • Joe L. says:

          Brigitte, bear in mind that the new 12-week paid parental leave only applies to employees of the federal government (unlike the increased age to purchase tobacco products, which affects everyone residing in or visiting the country). Only ~1% of American citizens are employed by the federal government. While this may be designed to sway the votes of young mothers, in an informed, critical-thinking society, it shouldn’t have any effect, because the other 99% of the population is at the mercy of his/her private employer’s benefits package.

  7. slugbop007 says:

    Trump’s a frump. Smokers should start their own party and throw the bum out.


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