While I have discussed the subject of a smoking licence over at my own place and the illiberal nature of the idea, I thought I’d follow a slightly different train of thought here while still on the same basic subject; that of the puritan lobby and its illiberal agenda of prohibition. Julie Novak’s article from last May on the subject of smoking licenses is a balanced and objective assessment of the idea – that it is bad. And it is, although Novak is rather more nuanced.
While consumer licensing governing tobacco use might sound reasonable to non-smokers who don’t blink an eye to the fiscal and regulatory persecution of users of a legal, if unhealthy, product, the proposal looks like being all too clever by half.
I have to say, as a non-smoker myself, it sound neither reasonable nor clever, let alone too clever, it sounds highly illiberal, not to mention a sure-fire route to riches for the smugglers, but that’s by the by.
No, the real reading comes blow the line where the bile and hatred is emitted by the foam-flecked anti-smoking brigade who come out in force to remind us why these evil smokers need to be restricted for their own and everyone else’s good. Novak is accused of being in the pay of big tobacco – now, where have we heard that one before?
However, gird your loins and take a dip in this cesspit of rancour and see what comes up:
“For a start many existing smokers will resent having to seek a license to exercise personal choice”
Oh boo hoo! I resent having to show ID every time I want to purchase suda fed but there is a good reason for this precaution.
It bloody stinks and costs the country thousands in health care dollars. This is one ‘personal choice’ not worth protecting.
Ah, yes, two comments in and we get the same old, same old – it stinks! Well, actually, as a non-smoker, I cannot say that the smell is something that bothers me. Indeed, one of my colleagues was taken to task the other day for smoking outside the store. Until that point I hadn’t been aware that she smoked – yet, apparently, smokers stink. Maybe I need to get my nose checked out. And as for the ID comment well, that’s a classic tu quoque. We shouldn’t be having to proffer ID for buying pain-killers either. There is no good reason for the precaution, none at all. Unless it is for, wait for it, wait for it…. the chiiiiiildreeeen. But, then, prior to having to jump through hoops to buy a limited amount of packets of pain killers, how many children – or adults for that matter – died as a consequence of over indulgence? Not enough to justify the current paranoia about perfectly ordinary products. I get around it by putting a couple of packs into every shop and build up a stock over time. When I get a headache, I tend to use them at an alarming rate. Haven’t died yet.
Anyway, how about this from some cretin called Jason:
It is interesting how often the mantra is repeated “prohibition does not work”, as if this is a self-evident truth. It seems the lobbyist groups have had at least some success in swaying public opinion.
In fact, prohibition is as successful as the will to enforce it. In some countries, it is so successful there is practically zero use of the controlled substance. For instance, Saudi Arabia strongly enforces its prohibition of all alcoholic substances. Prohibition in the United States did achieve a decline in alcohol consumption, notwithstanding the general lack of concerted official effort to enforce it.
That’s right, prohibition does work, just so long as you have a truly totalitarian society that limits liberties in the way that middle eastern theocracies do. So, this is the new Australia, eh? Looking to Saudi Arabia for inspiration? Wow! Just wow! And, of course, that war on drugs, that’s been a whacking great success, hasn’t it?
There’s more like this, much more if you have the strength to wade through it all. The anti-smokers are not merely opposed to smoking, they are on a roll with a bandwagon that includes all sorts of verboten lifestyle choices, be it fast foods, fizzy drinks, sugar, fats or salt. The academics and politicians merely have to mention the repression of a chosen untermensch and the bile literally oozes from the pores of society as these freaks compete to outdo each other with their misanthropy and illiberalism. They want a totalitarian regime whereby people are denied the freedom to choose. The state will choose and the state will choose well, all hail the mighty, wise and considerate state.
Being somewhat hard of thinking, these people always assume that their choices and preferences will be the approved ones, that they will never suffer the consequences of being in the unfavoured groups such as smokers, fat people or those who enjoy a bit of the good life. They are pure of mind, heart and lifestyle, they will never be rounded upon by the rabid antis because, well, they are the rabid antis and the beast never consumes its own tail, does it?
What is worrying to anyone who values liberty is an increasing realisation that, actually, the majority really appear not to like it. That in coming up with ever more illiberal schemes to restrict our lives, the academics and the politicians are playing to the crowd, a crowd that wants to be told what to do and all those liberty loving folk – trouble makers to a man and woman (not to mention in the pay of big tobacco, big oil et al) – need to be shut up, pronto.
Tell me I’m wrong, please…