July 31st, 2010

frank_davis4

Small Potatoes

One thing about the smoking ban that always seems glaringly obvious is the manifest injustice of it. There's nothing remotely even-handed about this law. There is nothing fair about it. How could anyone enact a law that was so manifestly unjust?

And the answer seems to be that such laws are made in times when morality has fallen into decay, and there are no principles, and therefore injustice abounds.

For in the absence of any moral principles, how are people to decide what is right and wrong? A set of principles of some sort allows people to measure the virtue of their actions. Just like a ruler allows them to measure the length of things, or a set of scales allows them to measure the weight of things.

In the absence of a guiding set of principles, nobody knows the good or evil of their actions, just like in the absence of a set of scales nobody knows the weight of anything.

It's like going into a greengrocer and asking for a pound of potatoes, and the grocer hands you a single small potato, and you say: 'Is that really a pound of potatoes?' And he says, 'Well, that's what everybody thinks a pound of potatoes is.' And you ask, 'Haven't you got some scales to measure it with?' And he says, 'Scales? What are they?' And he says, 'Listen, you're obviously new around here. And round here a pound of potatoes is whatever anybody thinks a pound of potatoes is. It's the consensus opinion.' He calls over one of the other customers and holds up the small potato and says, 'Is this a pound of potatoes, in your view?' And the other customer says, 'It's pretty darn near a pound of potatoes. Perhaps a bit under.' And the grocer turns to you and says, 'See! He thinks it's a pound of potatoes. And I bet you that any other customer of mine would agree it was too. Now do you want this pound of potatoes or don't you?' And you can't argue any more, and anyway you're hungry, so you nod your head. And the grocer puts the little potato in a little paper bag, and hands it to you and says, 'That will be five dollars.'

For that's what would happen in the absence of scales to measure the weights of things. People would make guesses about weight. There'd be a consensus view. And that consensus would change. One pound would become whatever most people thought one pound was. And almost certainly a pound would over time gradually weigh less and less. It would become devalued as a measure.

So also, in the absence of a set of moral principles against which to measure the value of actions, morality becomes devalued.

I was writing a few days ago about the decline of Christianity in the West. Christianity was what provided its set of moral principles, its moral weights and measures. Once those moral weights and measures were no longer available, or no longer used, morality became a matter of consensus. What was right and wrong became whatever everybody agreed was right and wrong. And this consensus was always gradually shifting towards the lowest common denominator.

And with smoking this consensus has been gradually shifting from tolerance of smoking towards intolerance. Smoking was once normal everywhere, and then became disapproved, and now it's all but illegal.

But even though there is a consensus, it's really only a consensus among senior doctors and epidemiologists and people like that. The consensus view on the ground (i.e. in the pub) remains pretty much what it has always been: nobody minds. The consensus among senior doctors is actually a false consensus. It's only reached by excluding ordinary people, and discounting their opinion. It's a consensus among 'doctors' and 'experts' and 'scientists'. Only their opinion counts.

And when it's come to be like that, then when you go into a greengrocer to buy a pound of potatoes, and are handed one small potato, and you complain, the grocer doesn't ask other customers their opinion, but calls up an Expert Potato Weigher. And this expert comes into the shop, and looks at the small potato through a magnifying glass, and sniffs it, and rolls it around in the palm of his hand, and says: 'It's exactly 1.173648 pounds.' And the grocer says, 'See. I told you! I was even being generous, so help me.'

It gets worse still. Once it's just a matter of consensus opinion what anything weighs, or what is right and wrong, then people who are determined or strong-willed are most likely to be able to push the consensus their way. It becomes a tug of war between two sides, with the 'consensus' being pulled first this way, and then the other way, entirely depending on how hard people can pull on the rope. Determined people win over less determined people. And determined, strong-willed people are zealots who are determined to get their own way.

And then when you go into a greengrocer to buy a pound of potatoes, and you question the weight of the small potato he offers you, the grocer gets angry and calls you a 'denialist' or a 'filthy sceptic'. You get shouted down. Unless you are yourself a zealot of the opposite sort, with a different burning certainty about the weight of potatoes. Everyone becomes a zealot of one sort or other. Everybody knows how to weigh potatoes. But nobody has a set of scales.
frank_davis4

E-cigs to be Banned

Via Facebook and UK Vapers today:

Now another massive blow to the harm reduction market, UK authorities have decided to ban all recreational nicotine, bar tobacco on the basis of a flawed 'consultation' and in spite of thousands of testimonies about the value of recreational sales.

400,000 existing UK users of electronic cigarettes and millions of potential swappers are now left with no legal alternative to smoke. The small businesses which brought us these life changing products are to be destroyed and the unregulated, higher risk import market will be the only source of supplies for people who bother to go to the trouble to try the product. The disproportionate and unjustified burden of medical regulation may well destroy the usefulness of the product and make it unprofitable. (For more details about commercial and economic impacts, Michael from http://www.cheapelectroniccigarettes.co.uk/ says he can tell you how his business will be affected - sales@cheap-electronic-cigarettes.co.uk )

Keeping people smoking, stigmatised, quitting, failing and repeating the process is how tobacco control keeps their gravy train running - over our dead bodies. The NHS is no longer a public health organisation, it is the state's drug dealing arm and we're forced by rent seeking legislation to use only their drugs while being subjected to non-consensual addiction treatment or exclusion from healthcare, care homes and social venues.

Nicotine has a similar pharmacological action to caffeine, it's not a big deal but the delivery system can be harmful. The government will only allow the most harmful or those proven not to work, creating a problem and spinning it out of control; costing a fortune in financial, social and human terms.

Over twenty countries have closed their recreational nicotine markets since electronic cigarettes emerged six years ago. This medicalisation process is promoted by the World Health Organisation which only endorses proven ineffective pharmaceutical products and encourages suppression of harm reduction strategies.

Presumably the medicalisation of all recreational substances is the goal for totalitarian control.

A link was provided to a letter sent by West Sussex County Council on 29 July 2010, in which it is written:

As we discussed during our visit back in June, the MHRA have been in consultation over whether electronic cigarettes should be classed as medical products and regulated as such. I have been in discussions with other Trading Standards authorities and have found out that the consultation is almost complete. The outcome will be that as of a date (yet to be announced) there will be a 21 days period and then these products will be outright banned in the UK, unless the traders apply for certification as a medical device from the MRHA. This process could be complicated and costly so it is expected that many traders may cease trading.

First one unnecessary and vindictive ban, and now another. All that there is in an e-cig is nicotine and inert propylene glycol and flavouring. There are no carcinogens like benzapyrene which are found in tobacco smoke (and in fact in more or less all combustion products). Nothing is burned in an e-cig. So there is no health threat to vapers, and in particular no health threat to any third party. If it's the nicotine that regarded as a threat, why aren't nicotine patches banned too?

A lot of smokers have moved over to exclusively vaping instead of smoking. Their only option now will be to go back to smoking. I've got an e-cig (a Titan) which I hardly use, but came in really handy last winter in pubs, and when I came down with flu.

The real reason for the ban is probably to protect Big Pharma's profits from nicotine patches (which will remain legal, natch). Patches have about a 1% success rate at weaning smokers off tobacco. But because using e-cigs is almost exactly like smoking, it's much easier for smokers to quit smoking using them.

Either that, or antismoking campaigners want to stop people putting anything that looks like a cigarette in their mouths and even inhaling air through it.

The possibility of a ban on e-cigs has been foreseen, of course. What if e-cigs are just marketed as 'flavour inhalers' with no nicotine in them at all? That'll probably happen now.

These nazis are storing up more and more trouble for themselves. They're all just filthy bastards. And one day they're going to be destroyed. Every single last one of them. And this measure will only serve to hasten that day.

P.S. F2C responds. And Pat Nurse. And Leg-iron. Plus Chris Snowdon. And now Anna Raccoon too!