Gilets Jaunes Insoumis

Back in 2010, when I learned that the EU parliament had voted for a European smoking ban, I ceased believing in the European “project”. For it seemed to me that if you deliberately organise a society to exclude large numbers of your own citizens, you have more or less guaranteed its failure. And given a high smoking prevalence in eastern and southern Europe (30% or more) , it seemed to me most likely that a smokers’ revolt against the EU would most likely start in those places, and spread elsewhere. And it would start in traditional, conservative, rural areas outside progressive, modern cities.

And to some extent it has, given the rise of populism in Poland, Hungary, Greece and now Italy.  I’ve been a bit puzzled at the absence of such populism in Spain, but this may be beginning to rectify itself.

The Socialists (PSOE) — which have ruled the southern region uninterrupted for 36 years — came in first but could lose their grip on power if parties on the right team up against them.

With over 99 percent of the ballots counted, the PSOE won 33 seats out of 109 — down 14 from the last election in 2015. The far-right Vox party won 12 seats.

And now we have the gilets jaunes/Yellow Vest insurrection in France, which seems to be a traditional, conservative, rural revolt against progressive, modern, metropolitan France.

…employment and wealth have become more and more concentrated in the big cities. The deindustrialised regions, rural areas, small and medium-size towns are less and less dynamic. But it is in these places – in “peripheral France” (one could also talk of peripheral America or peripheral Britain) – that many working-class people live.

It is in this France périphérique that the gilets jaunes movement was born. It is also in these peripheral regions that the western populist wave has its source. Peripheral America brought Trump to the White House. Peripheral Italy – mezzogiorno, rural areas and small northern industrial towns – is the source of its populist wave.

It seems that in France it has become  a revolt against the progressive, modern, metropolitan person of Emmanuel Macron.

For Emmanuel Macron seems to be the very embodiment of modern, progressive, globalist. He’s an antismoker who wants to make the French people stop smoking. He’s a global warming alarmist who wants the French to stop using both cars and nuclear power. And he’s also in favour of the Islamization of France. And he has what seems to be a profound contempt for the French people.

Since entering political life, Macron’s remarks have not only revealed a contempt for the French population, but also have multiplied. That has not helped. As early as 2014, when Macron was Minister of the Economy, he said that the women employees of a bankrupt company were “illiterates”; in June 2017, just after becoming president, he distinguished between “those who succeed and those who are nothing”. More recently, he told a young man who spoke of his distress at trying to find a job, that he only had to move and “cross the street”. During a visit to Denmark, he announced that the French were “Gauls resistant to change”.

Such contempt for their own peoples is perhaps one of the principal hallmarks of the European political class, who do not see themselves as representatives of their peoples so much as their well-educated, aristocratic superiors and guides and teachers. But in Macron this arrogance and conceit seems to be unusually overt and strident. And this may have made him into something of a lightning conductor for French grievances.

And since Macron refuses to back down in the face of this populist revolt, he may end up exacerbating matters in ways that a less confrontational politician would not. He is apparently considering declaring a state of emergency. It does not bode well for him that French police have been siding with the protests. And the protests would seem in many places to have resulted in a breakdown of free movement of goods.

Big-box retailers have been hurt by the demos and blockages throughout the country, with customers denied access to some hypermarkets and supermarkets for entire days at a time…

The impact on toll roads is harder to quantify, as demonstrators have been regularly opening them to let cars pass freely.

Whatever the outcome, it would seem that grass-root populism (it seems that the Yellow Vests have been self-organised using social media on the internet, and aren’t aligned with any political parties) has arrived in France, and is spreading elsewhere. And could well explode in the new year:

Macron has maintained that he will not back down from his progressive climate change agenda and fuel duty will rise again in the new year.

Meanwhile, at the  UN climate change summit in Poland which Macron will no doubt attend, the old guard in the form of David Attenborough have been declaring:

“Right now we are facing a manmade disaster of global scale, our greatest threat in thousands of years: climate change,” he said. “If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”

Macron believes in global warming: the gilets jaunes do not.

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The Dialectics of Smoking

I’ve always supposed that the prevalence of smoking increased in 1914 in response to the outbreak of war, and the increased anxiety that must always be attendant in wartime. Soldiers must necessarily experience considerable anxiety, but so also to a lesser extent the civilian population must experience this too.

And I’ve also rather supposed that the rise in antismoking was a response to the rise in smoking. Because the rise in the prevalence of smoking created its own new set of problems, as smokers appeared everywhere. And indeed almost as soon as soldiers started smoking new-fangled cigarettes in 1914 there were numerous warnings about their dangers.

After the end of WW1 and WW2, and the accompanying peak smoking prevalence, it was natural that smoking prevalence would decline during the long peace that followed, in the western world at least. And it seems that as smoking declined, and fewer and fewer people smoked, antismoking prevalence gradually increased, and antismoking measures became more and more intensive.

I think now we’re at the point where it’s no longer smoking that is having the greatest social impact (given that smokers have been largely expelled from public life), but instead antismoking, and the increasingly draconian smoking bans, and loud health warnings, that have attended its rise.

Once it was smoking that was the pressing problem. But now it’s antismoking that has become the bigger problem. For the smokers who once made up the oppressive majority have now themselves become an oppressed minority. And since smokers and antismokers can’t co-exist in the same environment, deep divisions have appeared in society, that never existed before. People who were once good friends fall out with each other, because one smokes, and the other does not. And these social divisions in turn have other effects that ripple outwards, as people stop voting for one political party, or stop attending some club, or stop reading some newspaper.

Antismoking is now causing far more social damage than smoking ever did. And so the war on smoking will be replaced by a war on antismoking. And this war on antismoking will in turn have consequences which will only become obvious later on.

Each cause has some subsequent effect. And this effect itself becomes a new cause. And the new cause has new effects. And so on, in a sort of Hegelian dialectical process, whereby the solution to one problem simply breeds a new set of problems, and the solution to the new problems creates yet another set of problems, and so on ad infinitum.

Antismoking measures create new sets of social problems. Initially, all the supposed benefits of the antismoking measures are loudly promoted, and the costs of these measure downplayed. But as the benefits decrease, the costs mount, it gradually becomes impossible to ignore the downside.

For example, one consequence of the war on smoking, which has largely been driven by the medical profession, is that smokers lose confidence and trust in the medical profession, and become disinclined to visit doctors. And because this will result in some diseases remaining undiagnosed, and doctors advice ignored, some doctors will become concerned about such a new development, and look for ways to encourage renewed trust among smokers. These doctors will be in a minority at first, much like antismoking doctors were in a minority 70 years ago. They will point out the multiple forms of damage that smoking bans cause. They will question whether Health – physical health – is the only thing that matters, and start to highlight the importance of community, of trust, of honesty, etc, etc. Over time their numbers will grow, and their voices become louder, until eventually they will become a majority like the antismoking doctors became a majority 40 years earlier.

 

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Jigsaws and Colouring Books

Thanks to Kin-free and Joe_L, from the Scottish Sun:

Another proposal is to give prisoners in Scottish jails jigsaws and colouring books to wean them off cigarettes.

If the plan is to treat inmates like children, don’t be surprised if they behave like children.

This fits neatly with my recent observation that Tobacco Control infantilises smokers.  People like Deborah Arnott regard smokers as naughty children.

In fact I suspect such people regard everybody as being children, and they think the role of the state is that of a parent who bullies and cajoles people into compliance with state-defined social norms. If we have a Nanny State, it is because many people think that nannying is what the state should be doing, rather than, say, merely representing the people.

I think this is something that needs to be further explored.

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The Truth Is Whatever They Want It To Be

I’m not following the current Brexit stuff very closely, because I don’t think that the European political class is going to allow it to happen. In their view, it was a mistake to have ever asked Britons in 2016 whether they wanted to remain in the EU, because they gave the wrong answer. But since Parliament will be able to vote on Theresa May’s proposals, and as best I understand them, they amount to more or less staying in the EU, I expect Parliament to vote in favour of her proposals, because they’re too frightened of Brexit.

For it seems to me that if MPs in Parliament were frightened enough of tobacco smoke back in 2006 to vote for a pub smoking ban, they’ll be absolutely terrified of the prospect of Britain leaving the EU and sailing off into uncharted waters. It’s simply far too scary. It’s much scarier than tobacco smoke, and even global warming.

It follows on from what I was writing about yesterday, which was the growing infantilisation of Britain (and much of the rest of the world). And this infantilisation entails trusting doctors (about the terrible dangers of tobacco smoke), trusting climate scientists (about the terrible dangers of carbon dioxide), and trusting the politicians and pundits (about the terrible dangers of leaving the EU), and in general trusting all experts and authorities.

And I think this process of infantilisation is a perfectly deliberate policy, because if you can reduce a population to infancy, you’ll be able to make them do absolutely anything you want, simply by telling them any scare story that’s necessary, in order to shoo them in one desired direction or other. Of course the scare stories will all be fabrications, all lies, but that doesn’t matter so long it has the desired effect.  For the European ruling political classes, the truth is whatever they want it to be.

So I expect Britain to be worse off after its non-Brexit than it was before, because we’ll remain members of the EU while having lost the right to vote within it. Britain will most likely become a European dependency, much like its American colonies once were, with no real say about anything.

And much the same will happen with other European states. Any attempt to break away from the EU will be met with punitive measures which will leave them worse off than they were before.

This is one way in which slavery comes. You leave the responsibility for everything to experts, doctors, scientists, politicians, priests. You do whatever they tell you to do. And you do it quickly, without asking questions.

I’ve been taking an interest in prison smoking bans and their accompanying riots. I’ve even written to my MP about them. For example:

A RIOT broke out at Cumbria’s only prison when a peaceful protest about a tobacco ban turned ugly.

Chris Snowdon draws attention to a piece by Deborah Arnott in the Sun:

According to Arnott, the prison riots that I’ve been reporting, and which were reported in many newspapers, simply never happened.

Fears of riots and unrest were unfounded, and after prisons went smoke-free the level of assualts and self-harm went down, not up.

That’s how it’s done. You just rewrite history. Truth is whatever you want it to be.

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Childhood’s End

In a comment yesterday, musing on the fact that Deborah Arnott has two children, DP wondered:

Maybe she allows herself time off from persecuting smokers in her day job to being motherly and kindly after work and on her days off.

This presented Deborah Arnott as being a sort of Jekyll and Hyde character, sweet and kind one moment, utterly beastly the next. But it occurred to me that, most likely, Deborah Arnott is the same person the whole time.

That is, should may well be as beastly to her children as she is to smokers. Or, more likely (and what I suggested in my reply), she treats smokers in the exact same way as she treats her children, and she doesn’t think she’s being beastly to either. In fact she thinks that she’s “helping” smokers just like she probably helps her children with their homework. She sees smokers as children, and probably as naughty children.

This led me into a train of thought that I’ve explored a little before: which is that smoking (and drinking) is generally something that adults do, but not children. The transition from childhood to adulthood entails a great many changes in taste. As a boy I liked sweet fizzy drinks, but as a man I preferred rather slightly sour or bitter beer and lager. As I boy I liked sweet chocolates, but as an adult I preferred salty snacks like salted peanuts or crisps. And there are, of course, all sorts of other changes that accompany the transition.

And I have been entertaining the thought that some people never succeed in quite making the transition from childhood to adulthood. They remain children in many ways, even though they’re fully grown adults. And these child-adults are the antismokers who don’t like smoking (and don’t like drinking either), because they have remained children. And in demanding smoking bans and drinking restrictions, they are re-asserting their childhood values.

In my own case, after leaving school at the age of 17 (and starting smoking and drinking at age 18), I spent the next 13 years of my life in a university, as an undergraduate, a postgraduate, and finally a research assistant. And I now think that those 13 years were a sort of extended childhood. Why else do ex-students refer to their former school or university as  their Alma Mater – nourishing mother -?  Just like in my childhood, I didn’t have to earn my own living during my university years: I got government grants most of the time.

And if I was a left winger throughout that time, it’s because left wing politics is all about keeping people in a dependent, child-like state. The Left want a state or society in which people are as protected and cared for in adulthood just as they were as children. The Left want everyone to remain as children for their entire lives. And I wanted to remain a student for as long as I possibly could.

So if universities always seem to be full of Leftists, it’s because they’re full of people who are living an extended childhood (and this applies to lecturers and professors as well). And that’s why they’re all so noisily demanding. And that’s also why they always expect everything to be free, handed to them on a plate as of right. And it’s also why they never really understand money or profit or enterprise or inventiveness or independence or work: because they never do any work, never make anything, and never buy or sell anything. Money, for them, is the pocket money that their parents give them. And this is why they often think everyone should be given pocket money, in the form of a “citizen’s wage”.

By contrast, the political Right are made up of adult working people who make and sell goods, using money, for profit. And the fundamental difference between Left and Right is between childhood and adulthood, between idle, dependent life and independent, working life.

And these working adults tend to smoke and drink precisely because they live busy, working lives, and the work they perform – physical or mental – is always stressful to some degree, and alcohol and tobacco relieve stress. After a long day of hard work, the adult worker wants to (needs to) be able to relax over a few beers and cigarettes. And the harder you work, the more you’ll want beer and cigarettes to compensate for your efforts. And you may even want stronger stuff than that.

And as the idleness of society increases, with less and less work needing to be done, because we have machines that can do most of it, we have more and more child-adults and fewer and fewer real working adults. And smoking bans – which re-assert childhood values – represent the victory of the child-adults over the working adults. The smoky, boozy pubs are emptied of their adult customers: they become creches instead.

What we’re seeing in the USA is a confrontation between child-Americans (the Left) and adult Americans (the Right). Donald Trump is a hard-working, adult Daddy, and the Democrats are all revolting children, even if many of them (e.g. Nancy Pelosi, 78) are older than he is.

And what we’re seeing all over Europe as well as America is a revolt of the independent adult Right against a child Left which which wants to keep everyone in a state of perpetual, dependent childhood for their entire lives. And it’s a very necessary revolt. And it’s a revolt that will succeed. And when it succeeds, smoking bans will be rolled back, as pubs and bars and restaurants revert to being the adult, smoky, boozy places they always should have been.

And the rise of the Left over the past few centuries has been a consequence of the rise of childhood over that time, and the extension of childhood for longer and longer duration. And if we are to avoid having a society polarised between children and adults, we’d best introduce children into adult life as early as possible rather than as late as possible. In this manner children will grow up quicker, and gain an early understanding of adult life, as they are given the responsibility to perform paid work, and come to understand money and profit in ways they can never otherwise. Rather than removing responsibility from children (rendering them irresponsible), we ought to add as much responsibility as possible.

In short, we ought to abolish childhood.

I hope that makes a little bit of sense.

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The Climate Crisis is becoming a Health Crisis

Washington Times:

Al Gore to host 24-hour climate change TV special featuring Moby, Goo Goo Dolls

Al Gore will host a 24-hour broadcast special on climate change next month featuring an array of celebrities and musical performances by artists that include Moby and the Goo Goo Dolls.

The former vice president on Tuesday announced the eighth annual “24 Hours of Reality: Protect Our Planet, Protect Ourselves,” which will be televised in more than 125 countries and streamed live online at 24HoursofReality.org, according to a news release.

The special will include performances by Moby, the Goo Goo Dolls, Sting & Shaggy, Jeff Goldblum & the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, among others, as well as celebrity appearances by Jaden Smith, Bill Nye, Téa Leoni, Claire Danes and Cody Simpson.

How long has Al Gore been plugging Climate Change/Global Warming? It seems like forever.

In the accompanying video, his face looks rather flushed. I don’t remember him having ruddy cheeks like that in the past. Might he have been hitting the bottle, depressed that nobody ever pays any attention to him?

And in the list of celebrities and artists, I’ve only heard of two of them: Sting and Bill Nye (the Science Guy, or is it the Climate Guy?)

Sting’s heyday as a rock star is long past. Was it the 1970s? Message In A Bottle. Walking On The Moon. Stuff like that. I thought that Amazon tribes were his virtue-signalling thing. But maybe he’s moved on since then.

I can’t help but think that Al Gore is a bit of liability for the Climate Change movement. He’s one of those failed presidential candidates, like Hillary Clinton, who never go away. He has to be there, getting attention for doing something or saying something. And he’s not a scientist of any sort. He’s just an Important Person. Or once was an Important Person.

And I suppose Sting and all the other one-time rock stars up on the platform with him are or were also Important People. And their collective message is: If Important People like us think that climate change matters, then you ought to think it matters too. I mean, are you going to argue with the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra?

But what drew my attention to the event was the ad below:

It seems they’re rebranding the “climate crisis” as a “health crisis”. Why?

To maintain the air of crisis. Climate crisis, Health crisis, who cares just so long as it’s a crisis?

I suppose it’s also that most people aren’t very worried about the climate, but they are worried about their health. So if you can make your climate crisis into a health crisis, you’ll get many people’s rapt attention.

But isn’t Health getting a bit old and tired and hackneyed too? Is Health really the only thing that matters? Don’t other things matter too? In fact, doesn’t more or less everything matter more than Health? Honour. Decency. Truth. Freedom. Stuff like that.

Millions of young men have given their lives for their countries or their causes or their families or their friends. They seem to have thought that there were things their lives were worth laying down to defend. Were they mistaken? Should all those soldiers who volunteered in 1914 to fight for their countries have just stayed home? Should they have all just said: “No way! I might get shot. I might get killed”?

Romeo and Juliet ended up killing themselves, dying “premature deaths.” Just imagine how long they might have lived if they’d not done something stupid like falling in love with each other (which is almost as fatal a pastime as smoking). Why, they might have both lived to the age of 90.

Health is what you worry about when you’ve ceased to believe in anything else. Health is what’s left at the bottom of the barrel once everything else has been emptied out. Concern about Health is the last vestige of morality, the dregs. When all you want to do is just stay alive for a few minutes longer, living a life that has become empty and meaningless and purposeless, because lived only for itself.

I might actually try to watch a bit of “24 Hours Of Reality” just to see how unreal and empty it is, as all these has-been politicians and celebrities parade on stage. I wonder if they’ll have dancing girls to help it all along? Will there be walk-on parts for polar bears? Will you be able to phone in and talk to Cody Simpson, whoever he or she might be, or once was?

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A Universal Political Crisis?

Following on from yesterday, we seem to be in in something of a universal political crisis. The UK is in a political crisis over Brexit. The USA has been in a political crisis ever since Trump got elected. France is in a political crisis over the Yellow Vest protests. Italy is in a political crisis in its confrontation with the EU. Germany is in a growing political crisis as the Merkel era comes to an end. Russia has captured some Ukrainian navy ships. And so on, pretty much everywhere else in the world.

The current focus of my interest is on France.

In a speech addressing the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vest) movement Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron stuck to his green agenda, promising to close 50 per cent of nuclear plants and make France carbon-free by 2050.

and

President Emmanuel Macron is concerned that “war scenes” during anti-tax-hike protests will tarnish France’s “global image,” while his government has focused blame on violence on the “brown plague” of the “far right.”

Macron made the comments to his Cabinet Monday after the country faced its tenth day of grassroots activism against his green agenda.

This weekend saw 100,000 ‘Yellow Vest’ protesters across the country with reports of violence and destruction of shop fronts and restaurants at the Champs-Elysées avenue, a tourist hot-spot, to which police responded by firing rubber bullets and tear gas.

 “One shouldn’t underestimate the shock to people, in France and abroad, of seeing in the media what looked like war scenes,” the progressive president is reported to have said, according to government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux.

The action began as a populist-driven protest against diesel taxes, with protesters wearing the yellow vests which all French drivers must carry by law, but evolved to include protest against other policies, with protesters calling Macron the “president of the rich” who has abandoned Frenchmen in rural and suburban areas.

Macron seems to be something of a historically illiterate hyper-progressive. He wants a United States of Europe. And he wants to close half of France’s nuclear power stations. And he wants France to be “carbon-free”. He may not describe himself as Green, but he may as well be.

He also wants to get the French to quit smoking:

Macron came into office promising a transformative brand of politics. Getting France to quit smoking would certainly count as revolutionary change. That said, neither the global tobacco industry nor the politically powerful buralistes (the local tobacconists and newsagents who sell France’s cigarettes) are willing to go down without a fight.

Macron, in short, is a revolutionary. And a revolutionary in multiple ways. And it’s precisely because he’s a revolutionary that France is in a political crisis, as millions of French people refuse to adopt his radical environmental agenda (and most likely refuse to stop smoking as well).

And, as a globalist, he has no time for nationalism:

The French president denounced those who evoke nationalist sentiment to disadvantage others, calling it a “betrayal of patriotism” and moral values.

The US and Russian leaders listened in silence as Mr Macron took a swipe at the rising tide of populism in the US and Europe, warning: “The old demons are rising again, ready to complete their task of chaos and of death.”

“In saying, ‘Our interests first, whatever happens to the others’, you erase the most precious thing a nation can have, that which makes it live, that which causes it to be great and that which is most important: its moral values.”

I think it’s a mistake for Macron (or anyone else) to describe the “nationalism” of Donald Trump (or any other European conservative) as being akin to the Nazism or Fascism of a century ago. Today’s “nationalists” are not Brownshirts: they simply want to run their own countries, and not have them run by remote and unaccountable globalist organisations like the EU or UN or WHO. The nationalists of a century ago didn’t just want to run their own countries (they already did), but wanted them to be pre-eminent among nations – a sentiment expressed in “Deutschland über alles” and “Britannia rules the waves.” The nationalists of a century ago were imperialists: they wanted to dominate other people. WW1 and WW2 was the clash of empires, and brought about the fall of all the empires.

Today’s imperialists are not to be found in France or Germany or Britain or Italy, as they could a century ago. Today’s imperialists are to be found in the EU and its capital city, Brussels. And the growing revolt by “nationalists” across Europe is against the new empire of the European Union. Their revolt is the same revolt as that by the American colonies against the British Empire in 1776: they want independence and autonomy.

If there are any Brownshirts around these days, they are to be found in Brussels. The Green movement’s origins are in Nazi Germany. And much of the the antismoking movement’s origins also lie in Nazi Germany, as described in Robert Proctor’s The Nazi War on Cancer. One might even say that Emmanuel Macron is perhaps at present Europe’s principal Brownshirt. But these days the Brownshirts advance by calling everyone else brownshirts.  Or else these days Fascists call themselves Antifascists.

Fascism’s origins lie in the Roman fasces: a bundle of rods and axes symbolising state power.

The fasces lictoriae (“bundles of the lictors”) symbolised power and authority (imperium) in ancient Rome, beginning with the early Roman Kingdom and continuing through the republican and imperial periods.

 …lictors carried fasces before a magistrate, in a number corresponding to his rank.

the highest magistrate, the dictator, was entitled to twenty-four lictors and fasces

During times of emergency, the Roman Republic might choose a dictator to lead for a limited time period, who was the only magistrate to be granted capital punishment authority within the Pomerium.

So “fascism” is perhaps best understood as being the emergency rule by a dictator (e.g. Hitler or Mussolini) with powers of life and death over his people. It’s top down state control. And globalism might best be understood as global top down state control.

And today’s “emergency” is not, as it usually used to be, some invasion by a foreign army (e.g. Hannibal), but instead Anthropogenic Global Warming. We have to stop burning fossil fuels if we are to prevent the planet being fried. And perhaps we have to stop smoking for the exact same reason.

In this sense, Macron’s attempt to stop France using fossil fuels could be said to be fascistic in character, if the French don’t want to do it (and it seems they don’t). And smoking bans are always entirely fascistic.

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