Thursday, 25 August 2011

The ox loves the yoke

I was reading an article recently which said that, in the era of the Suffragettes, a substantial proportion of women didn’t actually want to be given the vote. From the perspective of a hundred years later, this may seem unlikely, but at the time I have no doubt it was true.

More than once, commenters on this blog have said that many smokers actually support the blanket smoking ban. That may seem equally unlikely, but that too contains a certain element of truth. Indeed, I have spoken to one or two such myself. Now I can see how a smoker might support some legal restrictions on smoking in public places. That is an intellectually defensible position, in the same way as a motorist might to a greater or lesser extent support the use of speed cameras and road humps.

But to be in favour of a blanket ban in any indoor public place is taking things to a completely different dimension. I mean, something that you do personally, and that is entirely legal, but you don’t believe you should actually be able to do it anywhere. What kind of twisted thinking is that?

All I can conclude is that these people have been so brainwashed by years of hysterical antismoking propaganda to come to believe that they really are contemptible, weak-willed, dirty, smelly, inadequate second-rate human beings. Self-loathing has been inculcated into them. Just as in the 1900s many women believed their sex was inherently inferior in judgment and intellectual capability to men. Something similar has happened to a proportion of the oppressed throughout history.

And it is completely wrong to claim that all, or the vast majority, of smokers are hopeless, enslaved addicts. As James Rhodes explains here, many smokers find smoking actively enjoyable. “Every puff is like a little hug,” he says. Is that really much different from scoffing “naughty but nice” cream cakes, something else that we are constantly told is unhealthy and shows a lack of self-control?


  1. analogy doesn't hold because one person eating cream cakes doesn't impinge on the health of other people directly, whereas smoking does

  2. Just because something is legal and socially acceptable doesn't mean that you have the right to do it in any location that you would like to. We can all think of obvious examples of this.
    I know some smokers who make the choice not to smoke in their own houses because of various reasons, and self loathing is not one of them. Smoking indoors is likely to make your skin, clothes and hair smell of old tobacco and not everybody wants that.

  3. Anonymous. These smoking discussions are about smoking on private property. Imagine a pub or cafe staffed by the owner and his wife. None of us is arguing that smoking should be permitted in GP's surgeries, public libraries, municipal leisure centres etc.

  4. I have no time for self-loathing. I'm far too busy loathing idiots. There are an awful lot of them around these days.

  5. "something that you do personally, and that is entirely legal, but you don’t believe you should actually be able to do it anywhere"

    Like 70 mph?

  6. I have met smokers who are in favour of the smoking ban because previously they found pubs too smoky. Just because they smoke themselves doesn't mean they enjoy walking into a room full of smoke.

    I don't see how that makes them self loathing idiots.

  7. To want it banned in some places is a defensible position; to want it banned everywhere even though you do it yourself is the stance of a self-loathing idiot.

  8. As someone who didn't like walking into a wall of smoke in a certain pub in the 70's, I just hoped that they would install better ventilation than the cracked Xpelair that was supposed to serve the crowded, low ceilinged pub.

    It never occurred to me to have everyone thrown outside as a solution.

    Mind you that's not what sending people outside is all about.

    If you want people to believe something is a deadly menace, you have to get others to act in public as if it was.


  9. I have never met a smoker who was in favour of the ban. I know many who are in favour of smoking and non-smoking areas (like my local used to have; mind you, the non-smoking was always half empty) I do smoke less when I'm in the pub now, which I suppose is a good thing but I resent it being imposed on me.
    You never know, one of these days I might pack in smoking but I would want it to be my own choice not something imposed by some health fascist.


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