A New Wolf

Taking Liberties:

ASH campaign grant slashed from £350,000 to £70,000

This looks like a large (and long-overdue) cut in funding for ASH.

But perhaps it just reflects the fact that there’s a new kid in town: the coronavirus pandemic. And this newcomer is now demanding funds that in the past would have gone to well-established antismoking, anti-alcohol, anti-fast-food, and global warming lobbyists. The coronavirus pandemic is killing thousands of people right now, rather than after 50 years of smoking, or after 100 years of global warming. It’s a clear and present danger, and this is what has jumped it to the top of the list of threats.

And the coronavirus pandemic isn’t going to fade away any time soon. In fact it looks set to remain in play for years to come as a second, third, and fourth wave of it are expected to come rolling in. Most pandemics last a few months, but this one is set to become a permanent fixture.

And it has direct effects in ways that the old threats mostly never had. People are required to wear masks, isolate themselves, quarantine themselves, get vaccinated (when a vaccine eventually shows up), have their contacts traced, and more. Lots of businesses are going broke, unable to survive in the new coronavirus-dominated social environment.

So the old threats are struggling to stay relevant. And one way they are trying to do this is to hook themselves onto the new threat. So we have Quit For Covid (even though there is abundant evidence that smoking is protective against it).

It’s the same with global warming:

Exclusive poll: Amid COVID-19, Americans Don’t Care About Climate Change Anymore

Peter Hitchens:

In the name of Covid, the State has already thrust itself into every corner of our existence.

It has come between husbands and wives at the ends of their lives. It has forbidden the old to embrace their grandchildren.

It has denied us funerals and weddings, locked the churches, silenced the ancient monastic music of cathedral choirs and prevented the free worship of God for the first time in 800 years, and banned us (unless we are Left-wing) from holding or attending public meetings.

It has ordered us to stay at home, scolded or fined us for sunbathing, going on country rambles or even entering our front gardens.

It has forced millions of us to stop working, sabotaged the educations – at school and university – of untold numbers of young people and has become our boss and paymaster in the biggest state takeover of life and work ever attempted by non-Communists.

Soon we will discover that it has also wrecked an already wobbly economy and separated untold numbers of us from jobs and businesses we thought were safe. Soon, too, it will also separate us from our savings, through punishing tax and savage inflation, to pay for the disaster it has caused.

Now it presumes to tell us what to wear. And what it wants us to wear is a soggy cloth muzzle, a face-nappy that turns its wearer from a normal human into a mumbling, mouthless submissive.

And this is the whole idea: it’s a new excuse to take control of everybody and everything.

But the new Covid-19 threat is just as much an exaggerated threat as all the other well-established threats. It’s treated like it was the Plague or the Black Death that will kill a quarter of the population, but it’s actually not much worse than a standard ‘flu epidemic.

But if there’s a silver lining to it, it may be that we are witnessing the demise of all the old threats: We could be at last saying goodbye to ASH, goodbye to the obesity epidemic, goodbye to climate change/global warming, and goodbye to all the rest of the threats with which we’ve been terrorised for the past 30 years and more.

Perhaps it’s simply that all these threats have sell-by dates, and need to be regularly replaced by new threats. If you’re going to cry wolf the whole time, you periodically have to replace the old wolf with a new wolf. And Covid-19 is the new wolf.

Life will be no better for smokers than it was before. It won’t just be that smokers will be exiled to the outside of pubs and restaurants: it’s that there won’t be any pubs or restaurants for them to sit outside, once people are forbidden from gathering together anywhere for any reason at all. We’re entering a new and completely atomised society, everyone confined to their own homes, and held together by nothing but a state-controlled internet.

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15 Responses to A New Wolf

  1. Timothy Goodacre says:

    It is indeed 1984 Frank. Total state control. Unfortunately when we voted for the Tories we expected Cavaliers and got Puritans. Expect total smoking bans soon like Spain is now imposing.

  2. Rose says:

    A brilliant article by Christopher Snowden

    Covid has exposed the political pygmies governing our politics
    15 Aug 2020

    “We are governed by little men and women. If it were not already obvious, the coronavirus has showed that unserious people are ill-equipped to deal with serious problems. Six months into the pandemic and the political pygmies continue to behave as if we still live in trivial times.”

    “Trying to defeat an infectious disease with outdoor smoking restrictions would be silly at any time. It is particularly perverse when smokers seem to be less likely to ‘blow droplets carrying the virus’ than nonsmokers. Studies suggesting that smokers are surprisingly resistant to Covid-19 have been around since April and, although it has received minimal media attention, the evidence has been growing stronger every week. A study in the Lancet last month found that countries with more smokers had less Covid-19.”

  3. Smoking Lamp says:

    The only way to stop comprehensive (total) smoking bans is political action. The tobacco control lies must be exposed. Politicians need to know there is a cost for persecuting smokers.

    • Rose says:

      The way to stop smoking bans is to make use of the nitric oxide in tobacco smoke as a covid killer public knowledge, while they wait for their politically correct vaccine.

  4. Lepercolonist says:

    Ask a antismoker bully: ” Would you rather be exposed to secondhand smoke or the Chinese virus? I would love to see some honest replies.

  5. Александра Собина says:

    “And this is the whole idea: it’s a new excuse to take control of everybody and everything.”


  6. Fumo ergo sum says:

    It is indeed mind-boggling to see the rapid ease with which the lockdown and other so-called pre-emptive measures have been implemented across virtually all nations around the globe, dismantling any and every single right to freely move, gather, work, worship and love as one sees fit. Or to put it more adequately: what is still left of our so-called ‘free societies’ illuminated by the idea of the rule of law. At this very moment, I have been put under custody by my local authorities in the place where I live: any so-called “non-essential migration” between 1.30 am and 5 am is strictly forbidden by provincial decree within the province of Antwerp, Belgium. It is supposed to be lifted at the end of August, but given the nature of the ratchet-effect, it may still continue to exist afterward as well. Wearing a face mask covering both nose and mouth is required upon leaving one’s house as soon as we venture into “public domain”. This means, strictly speaking, that I am supposed to partially veil myself even when I just go out on the pavement to empty my mail box. Legal experts all tend to agree that the measures by the governor of Antwerp violate the Belgian constitution, but both national and local political warlords simply waive any criticism as completely irrelevant. Going out somewhere at around 3 am without wearing a face mask? Make sure your savings accounts is well funded, because you may expect a fine of up to 1,600 euros. Elsewhere in Belgium, where there is actually no evening curfew, the police may be more clement and leave you in peace upon paying a ‘mere’ 250 euros upon violating one the the pesky measures that are currently in force. I already gave up following all the updates months ago…
    Also, and this applies as well to the whole Belgian territory, don’t think of gathering in communities or groups. Under the advent of the ‘new normal’, we now only have so-called “contact bubbles”, the size and variety of which is permanently adaptable by the government. Those “bubbles” of course must be “traceable” once they seat themselves on some sunny-sided terrace where its members may finally drop their facial burkas for a while. And perhaps even enjoy a cigarette, if God’s grace is with them.

    But of course, the things we witness now should not be as mind-boggling to us as they probably are to other people. A couple of weeks ago, I had a chat with a friend – or a spark in my bubble, as I should call it – who lamented that people are behaving like complete fools by complying with the rules of the ‘new normal’. For instance, by permanently wearing those disgraceful face masks any where, even though conclusive evidence for its usefulness is still wanting. “Who could have foreseen this utter craze?”, he cried out.

    “I could have”, was my honest response. Because I immediately pointed out to him that the smoking bans of the late 2000s, culminating with the final deathblow of Belgium’s cafes as of July 2011, actually set the stage for the total and totalitarian Armageddon we now witness. The smoking ban, too, was based on lies and false pretexts. The boundaries between ‘private’ versus ‘public’ property already had been redrawn more than ten years ago, so that every restaurant, tavern or club would henceforth become a branch office of the state. Smokers also soon degraded into ‘bubbles’, floating outside in the open air, having to withstand the elements of the weather.

    The only difference now is that the state has managed to make the polarisation complete. It is no longer a struggle between smokers and non-smokers. Or between fat people versus thin people. Or between straights and gays. Or… No, everybody now is a potential threat, because everybody could be a carrier of the coronavirus – perhaps especially those who do not have any symptoms. It is a war of all against all, that ultimately leads to a state of paranoia. ‘Homi homini virus’, to update the famous aphorism of Thomas Hobbes. Of course, my dearest hope in all this is that those people who remained silent during the last couple of years or even decades and are now experiencing the bully’s scourges themselves, will finally raise their voices and persevere in throwing off their shackles. Until now, their deafening silence is really disappointing. After all, even in full lockdown period protests and fury was targeted at ‘shocking’ statues of king Leopold II and other evil dead white men. One has to now one’s priorities, isn’t it?…

    For me, the whole lockdown and the partial ‘unlock-down’ afterwards has had little or no effect at all. And this for the obvious reason that I had no more meaningful social life anyway since the smoking ban went into effect. So I got already used to a life of relative contemplative solitude.

    Or to be more precise: the lockdown and other antisocial measures did not affect me until the 12th of July of this year – and I am sorry for being a bit personal now. A good friend of me – we were both in the board of the same student’s association in Antwerp between 2007 and 2011 – had decided to voluntarily leave this earthly realm. He had my age, 31. Even though I lost him out of sight the last couple of years, it afterwards appeared that he was experiencing some personal struggles and challenges since late 2019, thereby rejecting all worldly vainglory and fake ambitions. These are indeed very intense and enduring rites of life that one goes through – I experienced it myself many times in my life up to now – but one should be able to communicate one’s thoughts and feelings during such stages at all times. And without ugly face masks. But due to the lockdown, this simply wasn’t possible for him. As far as the chilling account that his sister gave me reveals, he must have been living a solitary life in his flat, only having his neighbour to chat with, teleworking from home, having only meaningful contact through Skype and other virtual assistants. In such a cold and hostile constellation, his process of inward conversion probably won’t have guided him toward shining new lights, but to an embittering void and darkness. A daunting place that he could only manage to escape through one final and fatal act…

    For me this news did not come as a shock, but as an explosion equal to the disaster that recently hit Beirut. The smoking ban was and still is very bad and disgraceful thing. But it actually only targeted me, and as long as it only targeted me, I could still figure a way out to continue living a meaningful life, even including a modest yet significant social life. But being confronted with a friend’s loss is different, especially due to the utmost sinister cause of death. It is totally devastating and heart-wrenching, because there is simply no way to take control over the situation. And there is no single person – no other “bubble” whatsoever – who could replace that very unique person, that I loved and admired for who he was. So for this reason alone, I will henceforth say that the lockdown has been of a much greater (negative) impact on me than the smoking ban. For this reason alone, I won’t continue calling the politicians, lobbyists and so-called ‘experts’ who are recklessly imposing one ill-conceived measure after the other our ‘policymakers’. They are henceforth just a bunch of brutal and misanthropic scoundrels.

    Also, the unpardonable atrocity did not take place here in Belgium, but far away in Montréal where my friend worked and lived since a couple of years. All his relatives still lived in Belgium. As with the smoking ban, the lockdown too is a ‘globalist’ phenomenon spreading its vile tentacles around all the corners of the earth. If I am not mistaken, there used to be a Canadian or even Québecois reader and commentator following this blog, isn’t it? Could he or she please share some testimonies, if any available, about how people there are experiencing the lockdown and/or other ‘preventive’ measures in the ‘fight’ against the coronavirus? I would be very grateful for that, as I am just trying to understand what my friend must have been going through the last couple of months. Thanks in advance, and take care of yourself and your beloved ones wherever they are.

    • Frank Davis says:

      There are a number of Canadian readers and commenters here. Iro Cyr is in Quebec, I believe, although I’ve not heard from her recently. Slugbop007 would seem to be in Montreal. There’s also Rhys, Doug, and no doubt several other Canadians.

    • Doug says:

      to “Fumo” – Yes, in Canada it is depressing to see so many people wearing masks in some public places, as required by law. However, this will end in maybe a year or two, when COVID is defeated. Until then, let’s hope I don’t forget to bring my mask when going out. To Frank, it is welcome news to hear that governments are running out of resources to fund useless causes such as Exposure to Cigarette Smoke. This is a blessing of the COVID pandemic.

    • Joe L. says:

      I’m very sorry to hear about your friend. Suicide rates have skyrocketed due to these draconian lockdowns worldwide, but the mainstream media (at least here in the US) refuses to even mention it. They continue on ad infinitum like a scratched record about the need for face coverings (without ever discussing the actual scientific data regarding their efficacy against viruses) and the Orwellian concept of “social distancing”. There is nary a mention of the psychological or financial toll these measures have had on a large portion of the global population. Much like they never discuss the negative effect that tax increases and smoking bans have on smokers.

      • Rose says:

        “Much like they never discuss the negative effect that tax increases and smoking bans have on smokers.”

        Oh but they did, Joe, they used the trauma caused by social isolation to smokers becoming social pariahs overnight to say that nicotine caused suicide and that more bans and takes would cure it.

        Smokers at higher risk for suicide

        “Nearly everyone knows cigarettes can kill, but startling new research is also finding that smokers may actually be more likely to take their own life.

        A new paper, published online in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco, finds state public health interventions, such as cigarette excise taxes and indoor smoking bans, could also reduce rates of suicide by as much as 15 percent.

        According to the report, smokers have 2 to 4 times higher risk for suicide than non-smokers. Studies suggest that people who smoke are more likely to have psychiatric disorders or abuse other substances such as drugs or alcohol. Some research even argues that smoking changes neural pathways related to the pleasure centers of the brain that are activated as a result of addiction, which can severely impact mental health.

        The study, led by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, analyzed data from the National Center for Health Statistics, representing all 50 states. The researchers concluded that each dollar increase in cigarette taxes could reduce suicide risk by as much as 10 percent. From 1990 to 2004 those states that adopted strict tobacco control policies saw a decrease in suicide rates as well. In that same time period, states with lower excise taxes on cigarettes and fewer laws on smoking in public spaces saw a 6 percent increase in suicide.

        “Nicotine is a plausible candidate for explaining the link between smoking and suicide risk,” said Richard Grucza, PhD, lead author of the paper, in a statement. “Like any other addicting drug, people start using nicotine to feel good, but eventually they need it to feel normal. And as with other drugs, that chronic use can contribute to depression or anxiety, and that could help to explain the link to suicide.”

        Astounding opportunism

      • Fumo ergo sum says:

        Thank you for your condolences, Joe.

        Here in Belgium, mainstream media are totally ignorant and negligent as well. But I am afraid that this is a common trait everywhere in the world. The only thing that seems to matter is numbers, numbers and even more numbers. We get bombarded daily (!) with numbers concerning Covid-related deaths, infection rates and numbers of hospitalizations. But as the famous saying goes: there are lies, damned lies and statistics. Because, first of all, those statistics only convey a very small part of reality. For a start, there may indeed be Covid-related deaths. But what about the countless suffering inflicted upon those who were left behind? Who have not been allowed to utter a final goodbye to their beloved ones? Again, to speak for myself: after his mortal remains had been transported back to Belgium, my friend’s funeral took place a couple of weeks ago in an entirely “corona-proof” environment. Now given the tragic circumstances of his loss, such a ceremony already isn’t the nicest setting for sensitive souls. But under the spell of the ‘new normal’, things only got worse: no embraces, no handshakes, compulsory face mask wearing both inside and outside the auditorium (so that it was impossible to see one another’s emotions…), no coffee table afterwards. When the ceremony was over, everybody had to hustle outside to the parking place where we, well eh,… all could dissipate like phantoms in the night (on a sunny Thursday afternoon). But at least there WAS a ceremony…

        So you are definitely right to stress that lots of lockdown induced dramas such as soaring suicide rates are completely being neglected by mainstream media. The same counts regarding more quantifiable issues such economic losses (corporate failures, rising unemployment rates,…). Already from the very start of the lockdown, it seemed that the stage of the discussion – if any – would be set between health VERSUS the economy. Of course, we are talking about PUBLIC health, which is the only realm where this utterly counterproductive Manichean dichotomy could exist. In a parallel yet more intellectually sane universe, opposing ‘health’ against ‘economy’ is utterly futile: one’s job is one’s income. And one’s income is one’s access to shelter, food, drinks and medicines (including cigarettes, of course) and other things that keeps one alive.

        The only moment when our mainstream media showed some interest in economic affairs was in May when the European Union unveiled – eh, or perhaps unmasked?… – its famous “stimulus and repair” programme worth € 750 billion. See? Nothing to worry about the economy… big government will bail out everything and everybody, and all will be fine in the end. Of course, there is no such thing as a free lunch. And even the European Commission’s press release (see https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_940 ) that “this additional funding will be channelled through EU programmes and repaid over a long period of time throughout future EU budgets – not before 2028 and not after 2058.”

        Which basically means that I can continue to fill a bottomless pit for the rest of my (professional) life… And this is only the very beginning of the corona pandemic. Yet there is no one around within the mainstream media who challenges this nonsense or who even dares to question the consequences of such reckless, grotesque bailout schemes.

        I still wanted to add some remarks regarding face masks and social distancing, which are indeed very Orwellian concepts. But it is already too late in the evening so perhaps I will add those comments later this week.

  7. jaxthefirst says:

    Well, there’s one bit of good news over at Simon’s blog. PHE is to be axed. Gone. Finito. Ended. And about time, too – a total waste of time and money for however long they’ve been in existence. Take a look at http://taking-liberties.squarespace.com/ As Pat N comments there, it almost certainly won’t, unfortunately, mean the end of the bullies’ shenanigans, but at least some of them will surely have to “move on to pastures new,” so we won’t be wasting quite so much of our hard-earned tax money paying quite so many of our own persecutors. Hooray!

  8. Rose says:

    Another foray into murky world of Australian tobacco contol.

    Impression management and adolescent smoking

    2.1. Self-esteem
    Although many studies have linked substance use with low levels of self-esteem (e.g., Elliot,1982; Kaplan, 1985), recent research has found that, in many cases, substance users are in fact
    more gregarious, socially adept, and possess higher levels of self-esteem than their non-substance-using peers (e.g., Clayton, 1991; Killen et al., 1997).

    These results are also consistent with Sharp and Getz’s (1996) finding that drinkers of alcohol had significantly higher levels of self-esteem than individuals who were classified as nondrinkers. A study by Sussman and colleagues (1990) suggests that through the use of cigarettes (in order to alleviate social anxiety), subjects experienced increments in self-esteem in relation to their perceived success at ‘‘fooling’’ their cohorts into believing that they were not nervous during particular situations. Successful impression management represents an increment in social power, which will, as a result, lead to enhanced self-esteem.”

  9. Александра Собина says:

    Political pygmies
    The Scottish government is banning music in pubs on the flimsy grounds that people might raise their voice and spread the coronavirus. It is the latest in a series of petty measures from pygmy politicians. I discuss some other articles in this article for the Telegraph.

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