On the Forest webinar yesterday somebody made the point that with the current UK lockdown everybody is now experiencing what smokers have been experiencing for the past 13 years: all pubs and restaurants and cafes have been closed to them.
But is everyone’s experience the same? In my own brief contribution to the webinar I simply said that I used to always meet up with people in pubs and restaurants, and with the smoking ban I was expelled from society: all my acquaintances vanished on day one, and pretty much all my long term friends over the subsequent decade.
But I don’t think it was quite so drastic for most people, whose social lives were not as entirely dependent on pubs and restaurants as mine. They probably had social lives at home and at work as well.
Everyone’s experience is different.
I also said I was angry. It’s anger that makes me bang on about the smoking ban.
But I didn’t get the impression that the participants in the webinar were particularly angry. They seemed more stoically philosophical than anything. The smoking ban was something to be endured like the weather: it was a fact of life and there was nothing that could be done about it.
The only person that I know to still be openly angry about the smoking ban is Chris Snowdon. He’s said so several times. The last occasion was in a podcast conversation with James Delingpole (who seemed completely indifferent to the ban). So that’s something that Chris and I share, even if we disagree about much else (e.g. he thinks smoking causes lung cancer, and I don’t).
Another person who might be angry about smoking bans is Joe Jackson, who has been fleeing from them for years, first from New York City, then from London. But I can’t remember him actually expressing any anger in his thoughtful writings on the matter.
Perhaps it’s just the British Stiff Upper Lip: you endure without complaint as the bombs rain down upon you.The worse things get, the less you say about it.
And perhaps that’s for the best. Anger is an ugly emotion. And smokers are good-natured people. And tobacco is a calming, soothing drug. Better slow to anger than quick.
Yet if smoking bans aren’t a hot political issue, here’s the explanation for it: smokers don’t get angry. People will get angry about more or less anything else, but when it comes to smoking bans they fall silent.
And if the antismokers never let up in their drive to rid the world of tobacco, it’s because nobody gets angry at what they’re doing. And this encourages them to keep pushing further and further. Their latest outrageous demand is that smoking be banned not just inside pubs, but outside them as well, simply to spare children the sight of smokers puffing away. All pretence at concern about “Public Health” has vanished. And it was never about public health in the first place anyway. And everybody knows that the war on smoking was never about public health. It’s a moral war, just like the war on alcohol and fast food which are also pursued by prohibitionists who want to control and restrict everyone else.
The lockdown is another piece of prohibitionism, of course. Covid-19 is not much worse than any influenza epidemic. But nevertheless “Public Health” is invoked to impose absurd and unnecessary restrictions on everybody.
The simple truth, most likely, is that all smokers everywhere are angry about the bans that have been imposed on them. It’s simply that they don’t express that anger. They keep it locked in. But that means that one day they’re likely to boil over. They’re going to explode. And they’re going to erupt all over the world, simultaneously.
The underclass is no longer blacks and women and gays: the new underclass is smokers and drinkers and fat people. They’re all victims of “Public Health.” One day they’re going to have had enough. And it’s all going to blow.
When it will happen, I don’t know. I may never live to see it.
But it’s coming.