Amazingly in our right-filled society there is still at least one group which has no rights.  My libertarian readers will know to whom I refer, but for those in any doubt, this is what Stewart Cowan of Real Street said (emphases mine throughout):

Former Lord Provost of Glasgow, Michael Kelly (he of “Glasgow’s Miles Better” fame) left a comment on my Facebook page last night – “stop defending smokers’ rights. They have none.”

Wow — that’s a pretty strong statement.  You may be reading this nodding your head and thinking along these lines:

smokers should be shot

They’re bad for other people, bad for the environment, and anyone stupid enough to start smoking at this late date isn’t worthwhile and probably lacks the brains required to contribute anything useful to society.

Dick Puddlecote and his fellow libertarian smoking community readers have put together a special page compiling death wishes to smokers.  It’s an eye-opening eugenicist hatefest.

Let’s look at the facts.  Most Western nations have smoking bans in place. Very few places are left where people can smoke — not even in the home or on a terrace. How many landlords still rent to smokers?  Very few in English-speaking countries, especially in Australia.  In the 1990s there was a vogue in certain American towns to delegate one or two streets as non-smoking.  Calabasas, California went non-smoking a few years ago.  Most hotel chains and bed and breakfasts are completely non-smoking; it is not unusual to find sites that stipulate there is no smoking allowed anywhere on the property.  College campuses have banned smoking in dorm rooms, if not on the campuses (and I’m talking secular institutions here).  An increasing number of employers — public and private — do not hire smokers.  Restaurants and bars — as driven by law, not the market — are generally 100% non-smoking.

Dr Chuck Crawford is the President of Kimball Physics, Inc., in New Hampshire.  His company produces scientific apparatuses.  All his employees must sign an agreement saying they will not smoke or hire smokers.  For his gallant efforts, the American Lung Association gave him the C. Everett Koop Unsung Hero Award in 2007:

The policy Dr. Crawford put into place forbids the use of tobacco on the entire Kimball Physics campus, including employee parking lots, company buildings and vehicles.  While it is increasingly common for corporations to enact such policies today, this was a groundbreaking decision to make in 1993.  And Dr. Crawford – whose concern for the health of his employees extended to non-work hours – took the extra step of encouraging smokers in his employ to quit by offering a financial incentive …

Dr. Crawford is tireless in his efforts to make tobacco control everyone’s goal. He shares the policy’s successes and merits with partners and vendors in hopes of encouraging more businesses to follow in Kimball Physics’ footsteps.

It seems they applaud the Kimball tobacco policy excerpted below:

No tobacco-residuals emitting person, article of clothing, or other object is allowed inside any Kimball Physics building. This restriction also applies to anyone or anything emitting characteristic tobacco odors. Anyone who has used a tobacco product within the previous two hours is automatically to be turned away, unless measures have been taken such that residuals-sensitive persons are not exposed. The determining factor, regarding allowable residuals levels and/or exposure durations, is whether anyone is either significantly bothered, or even worse, made ill …

Unfortunately, when a smoker (no longer smoking) moves to a new location, the tobacco residuals he emits are often of sufficient intensity to cause both health problems and annoyance to individuals at the new location …

This sensitivity, of course, explains the need for non-smoking hotel rooms, non-smoking rental cars, tobacco-free taxis, and the like. A surprisingly large fraction of the population is sensitive to tobacco residuals …

It is also worth noting that Dr Crawford is not simply a concerned disinterested employer.  No, he is also a Board of Trustees member of ASH, the foremost non-smoking ‘charity’ in the English-speaking world.

So, for a hypochondriacal ‘large fraction‘ of the population, we are not allowed to even have smoking areas — indoors or out — anymore.  Okay, fine.  Because for those still nodding their heads and swallowing the Tobacco Control propaganda, drinkers and the obese are the next targets.

On warning drinkers of the showdown to come, Man Widdicombe writes:

As we’ve seen from the anti-smoking lobby one crucial thing to achieve is to make people think that their attitude to something is abnormal by promoting a ‘consensus’ view, usually aided by producing statistical data from heavily weighted surveys. Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of science and ethics for the British Medical Association, agrees “We have to start de-normalising alcohol”.

In fact, ASH are now branching into Alcohol Control.  (There is already a ‘charity’ called Alcohol Concern led by a chap named Don Shenker who has been all over the news recently on the subject.)  On March 15, 2011, in Edinburgh

Alcohol Focus Scotland, ASH Scotland and Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems are pleased to announce a joint conference which will consider what progress has been made in alcohol control and tobacco control and explore what each sector might learn from the other. Chief Executive of AFS Evelyn Gillan and Chief Executive of ASH Scotland Sheila Duffy look forward to hearing your views and ideas to improve Scotland’s health.  A report with policy recommendations will be circulated to delegates and to the Scottish Government.

Readers might think this is about binge drinkers, but it is very likely that — as with smoking — it will fully encompass middle class folks who enjoy a glass or two of wine with their dinner.  Please don’t say you weren’t warned. And, believe me, it won’t be restricted to Scotland, either.  This is merely the start.  Watch for higher taxes, notices around restaurants and pubs on a maximum number of units per customer (likely to be a very low amount) and much more.

I recall when our recently departed Labour government voted in the smoking ban.  At that time I was surrounded by rather bibulous colleagues who said, ‘Who cares?  As long as they don’t touch my drink!  I couldn’t live without my drink!’  I warned them then that this was the thin end of the wedge.  They laughed at me.  Who’s laughing now?

Professor David Nutt (!) — asked to resign as a government adviser in 2009 for saying that controlled substances are relatively safe — for the Guardian:

There is no safe dose of alcohol

We must not allow apologists for this toxic industry to pull the wool over our eyes with their myth of a safe alcohol dose, however appealing it might be to all us so-called “safe” drinkers.

Let’s not be deceived. This is not about ‘health’ or ‘our children’. Here is a reminder of what some elected Labour MPs have supported.  Now, tell me if this is healthy or thinking responsibly about our young people in Britain.  The article cited below is from the Telegraph:

… one of these MPs, Harriet Harman, in an earlier incarnation as legal officer in 1978 for the organisation now called Liberty, wanted to lower the age of consent to 14 and to decriminalise incest? British readers should also note that at that same time Patricia Hewittlater a Secretary for Health (!) under Tony Blair — was the general secretary for what was then the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL):

It also defended self-confessed paedophiles in the press and allowed them to attend its meetings

In NCCL’s official response to the Government’s plans to reform sex laws, dubbed a “Lolita’s Charter”, it suggested reducing the age of consent and argued that “childhood sexual experiences, willingly engaged in, with an adult result in no identifiable damage”. It claimed that children can suffer more from having to retell their experiences in court or the press.

So smoking is wrong but paedophilia is okay? Please!

It’s impossible to do this subject justice in one or two posts (e.g. my entry of July 29, 2010,  ‘Can you take tobacco and receive Communion?’), but what I am trying to do is get you to think outside of one group of people.  Society will always need a scapegoat.  ASH, as far as tobacco are concerned, see that their days on that subject are numbered, although they haven’t — sadly — given up the fight.  So, now they are morphing into Alcohol Control.  When that’s done and dusted — probably near the end of the decade — they will make the obese their target.  After all, ASH need jobs, don’t they?  Never mind if you don’t have one because you smoke or work in a part of the leisure industry that relies on smokers: pubs, bingo halls, cafés.

On the subject of obesity, Conservative Secretary for Health Andrew ‘Legal Product Display Ban’ Lansley has agreed ‘voluntary’ measures with the UK’s food industry to display calorie content, reduce salt and ‘once and for all’ get rid of transfats. This is just the start.  In a few years’ time, fat people will probably be declared unsuitable parents who might encourage poor eating habits in their children.  Like smokers — and drinkers (wait for it) — they will be told that they are a  debilitating and irresponsible influence on the young.

And, like smokers, fat people are just pariahs, anyway, aren’t they?  Here’s a heavy guy who doesn’t mooch off the state and earns a living as a contortionist.  So what? Nonetheless, Daily Mail readers are appalled:

How revolting.

And

OK ..so we have found the first human Butter Ball..still makes me feel sick.

There is more to come on this at some point.  The sad thing is the amount of tax people in the English-speaking world pay on cigarettes.  Out of £10.7bn in tobacco taxes and VAT every year, British smokers use only £2.5bn worth of NHS services.  The rest, I understand, goes into the general taxation pot for use on roads, education and more.  For a US example, Minnesota smokers contribute $2.24 of tax with every pack purchased.

Eventually, people will get sick of the abuse.  Smokers have been quite patient and acquiescent.  But how long will that last whilst we contribute so much and get so much stick in return?  And who involuntarily finances their own subjugation through ASH?  Smokers do, that’s who.

Leg Iron of Underdogs Bite Upwards, writes of the fat man from the Daily Mail article and on scapegoats in general:

He costs them nothing, he does not affect their lives in any way, but they hate him. Why? He does not affect them at all. By making use of his physical attributes, he earns a living and affects nobody else, but they hate him anyway.

Because he is fat. For the same reason they hate smokers because they smoke, even if they are on the other side of the planet. For the same reason they hate anyone who likes a drink, even if they do it all at home and never venture onto the street at any level below sober.

It has become automatic. Anyone different must be culled. Anyone different must be hated and there are always those who will be delighted to take the chance to hate.

In ‘Gardening with Intent’, he observes:

I help out the antismokers by writing ‘Handled by Smokers’ on every cash note that passes through my hands so they can refuse to accept it at the tills or the bank or the cash machine. On coins, they’ll just have to guess. Perhaps sniffing them would help. I help them close the pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants and certain shops and businesses by refusing to spend money in any place that has made it clear I am not welcome. I give nothing to charities in case they help an antismoker with third-hand-smoke tainted money … I am being a good guy, I am doing what the antismokers expect of me. I am complying with the image they have designed for me, I am fitting myself into their mould. What more do they want?

They want me to donate my organs? Why? They are smokers’ organs, nobody wants them. They want me to help out if I witness a crime? Why? Smokers are stupid, remember? My word means nothing in court. They want me to help someone I see in distress? What, and risk getting sued for exposing them to third hand smoke? No, no, no, this won’t work at all. No, the only option is to completely isolate myself from antismokers

When I go to vote, I will go early. You’ll need to ask the poll office staff which cubicle the smokers used so you don’t touch the same pencil those nicotine-infused fingers handled. The staff might respond to this by designating a cubicle ‘for smokers’. Just to make the game interesting, if they should ask me if I smoke I will say ‘no’. Since I can’t smoke in there I will not be smoking so ‘no’ is the correct answer.

So, the resistance is there.  ASH might have won the day.  They claim there will be no cigarette smuggling no matter how high tobacco taxes go.  Yet, there is already a smuggling ‘industry’ active in Canada and Ireland.  It’s here in the UK, too, despite ASH’s claims.  A BBC documentary  covered smuggling in Scotland on Monday, March 7, 2011.  My solution? Lower tobacco tax to benefit everyone in (what was once) Great Britain.

We should exercise caution about the people we demonise.  Anyone who pays extra tax, especially ‘sin’ tax, should receive our gratitude.

You know, if Tobacco Control hadn’t banged on so much over the years about cigarettes, the end result probably would have been less smoking (the numbers were already decreasing in the 1970s) and the pastime (as my late father called it) would have died out on its own.  Now, Tobacco Control have opened the floodgates to full-on revolt.  Watch what happens in Greece and Spain.

As I said earlier, more about this in future.

For now, though, it really is all about control — of people we deem unsuitable for society.  And, as Christians, we, too, are in the mix — so let us be the last to criticise!

If you are wondering how exactly we got into this behavioural mess, one reader of IanPJ on Politics — John Hurst (not to be confused with prisoners’ votes advocate John Hirst) — had this explanation, citing a civil libertarian, Sean Gabb:

… the power of the British State is both more concentrated and less restrained than at any time in the past. The old notion of the State, as limited by custom and law, has given way to the common belief that there should be no impediment whatever to the clearly expressed will of the people – or of those who can, with any show of reason, claim to represent this will. For a long time, the effects of the change were largely confined to certain economic areas. Of course, these are of the highest importance, and no definite boundary can be drawn between them and other areas. In practice, though, a boundary was observed; and areas of life that, by common agreement, lay outside were usually left unaffected. We could therefore argue for or against socialism within an undisputed framework of civil and political rights.

However, the intellectual collapse of socialism within the past generation has tended to break down the old boundary. So far from allowing the State to be rolled back, this collapse has had the unexpected result of letting it roll uncontrollably forward into every other area of life. This should not have been unexpected. Once established, beliefs about the duty of the State to intervene, and the benefits of intervention, are unlikely to die simply because the old justifications for it have died. Therefore, when politicians have realised the futility – and, more importantly, the danger from a mercantilist point of view – of trying to manage things like the telephone network or the prices of food, they will turn naturally to trying to control our lives in non-economic matters.

And these new controls will be accepted, and even demanded, by a people so accustomed to control that they cannot accept the lifting of it in one area without a compensatory extension of it into others. Therefore the controls on smoking and driving and sport and amusement and child rearing, and even on the expression of ideas. Therefore the new supervision of private life that would never have been attempted …

And so the threat of unlimited government is actually greater today than it was in the late 1970s, when it first became a popular concern …

Now because the nature of this threat is new, so the response to it must be new. The concentration on economic issues, that for most of the present century, has been the main feature of conservative and libertarian argument is no longer appropriate in an age when the debate over economics has mostly come to an end. We must turn to a far greater degree than has so far been the case to putting the argument for limited constitutional government. Instead of dealing with one aspect of the changed conception of the State, we must deal with the changed conception itself

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