The Tyranny of the Majority

Gosh! I’ve been run off my feet these last couple of days. And yet, looking back, I seem to have done very little. So what have I done today?

[Readers should be aware that, because of my wife’s disability, my way of life is decidedly affected]

OK.

Rising at about 1 pm (Don’t be appalled – my ‘personal time’, the time when I am able to relax and do my own thing, arrives late a night and extends into the early hours).

Make drinks (first of several).

Washing up.

Go bog.

Go to shop.

Put some plantlets outdoor to harden off for a while.

Peg out washing.

Water and change plants in growlight box.

Tidy up a bit.

Feed animals.

Make lunch.

Eat lunch and read favourite blogs.

Roll 40 cigs.

Get yesterdays washing out of dryer and put away.

Bring in washing and put in dryer.

Take broken turbojet lighter apart to see why it has broken – fail and chuck away.

Get herself out of bed, washed and dressed.

Eat tea made by daughter 2 (and very delicious it was!).

Cover plants which have been planted out two days ago with pop bottle personal ‘greenhouses’.

Take today’s washing out of dryer and put away.

Swap plants in growlight box again.

Read some more of favourite blogs.

Put herself back onto comfy bed.

Finally, sit down to relax at about 11 PM.

So it is easy to see how one seems to have been busy, busy but to have done very little. It is a multitude of small events which, individually, take only a short time, but, in total, take all day.

—–

So I have now ended tasks, other than making a few more cups of tea for herself and I, and can spend some time thinking.

The Tyranny of the Majority came up in something that I was reading. Can’t remember what. But it set me to thinking.

Once upon a time, around 1970, the College of Physicians set up a ‘front group’ called Action on Smoking and Health. The name was well though out since it produced the acronym ASH, which is nasty stuff. Volcanoes spew ash far into the sky which rains down and chokes everything and everyone. Coal and wood fires produce ash, which has to be cleaned away all the time. Everyone know that ash is nasty stuff. The reason that the College of Physicians created ASH was to have a lobby group with which to harangue Parliament which was separate from the College, but was controlled by the College bosses. For a long time, ASH was pretty quiet, but, after a while, it somehow got lots of money and started to make very big noises.

But it was still a very small organisation, and politicians did not take much notice. There were too many smokers who contributed too much money to the State’s coffers and who were voters. Why upset them? What would be the point of trying to stop them smoking when all that would happen is that they would live longer and be a drain on the State with their pensions and health problems?

Cleverly, the bosses in the College of Physicians brought in a ‘magical wizard’ in the form of ‘marketing guru’. They gave him and his organisation lots of money to come up with a plan. He did.

His plan was to designed to ‘gain influence’. To do so, ASH needed to have public backing to frighten politicians. So, since there were only a few people in ASH, the impression had to be created that millions were behind them. How to do it?

The plan was to use the fairly new internet polling organisation called “YouGov”, whose owner was sympathetic to anti-tobacco, to poll people asking questions about their attitude to smoking. But before those polls could be ‘primed’ to produce the right results, it was necessary to ‘soften the public up’ with lots of anti-smoking press articles and reports. Some newspaper proprietors and editors were recruited and for a couple of years, press release after press release was published and highlighted with huge headlines. When the consultants thought that the time was right, the first survey went out. Many ASH supporters were primed to look out for the survey and answer it. The first question was simple: “Do you think that smoking is healthy or unhealthy? Answers: “Healthy”/”Unhealthy”. 85% voted “Unhealthy”. A few days later, newspapers ran the press release from ASH quoting: “85% say smoking is bad for you“. And thus was the Majority created.

Subsequent polls were more subtle. As smoking bans were proposed, so were the poll questions slanted to get the required majority, but only after lots of publicity had been given to the benefits of the proposals and the evils of SHS. Again, ASH supporters were given the nod, and, of course, non-smokers and non-pub goers had been ‘activated’, so that a majority of 70% was engineered.

After several similar polls, ASH could bombard politicians with demands that THE WILL OF THE MAJORITY BE COMPLIED WITH. Economic Cost/Benefit arguments were trumped.

Smoking bans were enacted.

====

Before ASH starts to get its knickers in a twist, the above is mostly an imaginary chain of events, apart from the general idea that a majority had to be created somehow. Since then, ASH ET AL have been riding the crest of a wave, and the idea of gaining a majority has spread to all sort of similar organisations.  But it does not seem to be working as well, which is not surprising. Comparatively few people never drink alcoholic beverages; comparatively few people do not like a bit of sugar in their tea; comparatively few people do not like a sprinkle of salt on their food.

So what do the Zealots do? They miss out the polling step and concentrate of THE SCIENCE. Except that it is not science – it is mumbo-jumbo quasi-epidemiology. “There are a lot of very fat people. Eating too much sugar tends to make people fatter. Therefore no one would be very fat if everyone was forced to pay more for sugar”.  Or, an alternative: “Food manufacturers deliberately put too much sugar in their preparations; some people get very fat by eating too much of these preparations; therefore, everyone must be deprived of these preparations”.

What is the majority in those circumstances? There isn’t one. There is just a lot of noise.

Will the noise win? Bloomberg banned big pop servings. Right. Will that stop Americans gobbling massive portions of steak and chips? I doubt it somehow. Bloomberg’s ban was gesture politics.

In fact, when you think about it, all the smoking bans, drug bans, import bans, etc, are all gesture politics. There is no gain for the general public and the costs are spread around so thinly that they are unnoticeable – apart from the businesses which have to close and the people who lose their jobs. There is no health gain – there are only costs, and the costs fall upon taxpayers in general. That is what is so comical. Anti-smokers are voting to increase their own costs! Love it! Why was VAT increased from 17½% to 20%? Because smoking had declined from, say, 35% to 25%! Why not? Revenue from tobacco has remained steady, by it has fallen in real terms, taking into account inflation.

Smokers should make this deficit even wider. A person who smokes 10 cigs per day would smoke 3650 cigs in a year. Approximating, that would require about 180 packets of 20 cigs. That equates to 18 cartons of 200 per carton. 18 cartons in Spain would cost approx €800 = £600. The cost in the UK would be around £1200. A three-day trip to Spain off-season would cost about £200, if you were flexible on dates and times. Thus, you could save some £400 and enjoy a three day holiday into the bargain. But the main thing would be that you have contributed not one penny to your persecutors.

I read today somewhere else that some manic academic has proposed that a sugar tax should be imposed WITH THE OBJECTIVE of funding anti-sugar groups. Right. In that case, it is only fair that a further sugar tax should be imposed in order to fund pro-sugar groups.

Similar nonsense was proposed regarding the Master Settlement in the USA. Glantz et al thought that the MSA was intended to fund their anti-smoker propaganda, but, in that case, it would be unfair not to fund pro-smoker propaganda from the same source of money. In the event, States saw the MSA as a wonderful source of general funding. So confident were they that no one would stop smoking that they sold off future MSA annual income to get vast sums of money NOW for politicians to waste. It will not be smokers who have to repay these debts in due course, since there are becoming fewer and fewer of them who are buying tobacco products on the ‘legit’ market. It will be non-smokers who are paying! Is that not the most hilarious thing?

So we smokers, who cannot now go and enjoy a nice quiet fag and pint in the pub, can quietly chortle as the non-smokers and teetotallers pay more and more taxes while we pay less and less. What is there not to like?

====

So the Tyranny of the Majority is turning out to be having the opposite effect – the Minority is chortling as the Majority is paying more and more in taxes to support the Minority. Rejoice! Rejoice!

Grow your own if you can; buy stuff from TL4U; go for a short trip to Spain or Prague (Prague is even cheaper at £2.50 for 20). It is an adventure!! AT ALL COSTS, do not go to Ireland.

====

Ten years ago, I had hardly any alcohol in the house. I rarely drank alcohol at home. A bottle of whiskey could languish from one Christmas to the next. The smoking ban gradually caused a change in my habits. I have mentioned before that I used to go to the pug nine times a week – every evening and Sat and Sun afternoons. I am not talking about getting pissed all the time – merely having a few pints in convivial circumstances. I have reported before that my attendances are now reduced to only three times per week. But there have been further repercussions – I now drink much less when I do turn out. The reason is that the pub is boring. I still enjoy a couple of pints in the pub, but I am very happy to get back home, pour a glass of red, light a cig and blather on the internet. Far more enjoyable.

Let the non-smokers and the non-drinkers pay.

Advertisements

5 Responses to “The Tyranny of the Majority”

  1. michaeljmcfadden Says:

    “Let the non-smokers and the non-drinkers pay.”

    Very true, and something very few of them realize. The overall cost to nonsmoking individuals of the War On Smokers has likely been staggering indeed. Economic multiplier effects are very real, and end up being far larger (although also far subtler) than most people realize. It really does work out along the lines of “For want of a nail, a kingdom was lost.”

    – MJM

    • junican Says:

      I think that many people do not realise the quantities involved in the ‘knock on effects’.
      The first thing we saw after the smoking ban in Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales was closure of pubs (even though it took a few months to get underway as the winter set in). As pubs closed, lots of consequences followed. Publicans not only lost their income, but lost their capital. Workers lost their jobs. Those consequences were immediately visible. But there were additional consequences. Musicians had less opportunities, brewery sales went down, the supply industry lost business. The knock on effects are like a wave spreading out. The wave is at its strongest close to the centre and impacts anything in its way hard. As it spreads out, its TOTAL strength is not affected, but it is weaker at any given point.
      But that is not the only thing. There is also a spread of misery and loneliness. Misery and loneliness are known killers and they cost the NHS lots of money.
      But will we see any studies of these things? Of course not!

  2. Ed Says:

    All this lobbying for a sugar tax equates to is a stiff price hike of cheap foods and food in general. Not only that it would force many suppliers to replace their natural sugar in their ingredients with something cheap and nasty; e.g. high fructose corn syrup. A nasty GMO product that will actually contribute far more to obesity and poor health. It’s the same with artificial sweeteners, look how products like aspartame cause untold misery. Commercial production of aspartame is produced by genetically modifying E.coli bacteria, and aspartame is then excreted from this organism when it’s fed. You could go as far as calling them soft kill weapons.

    Stalin, Hitler, Kissinger and quite a few other despots knew that if you control the food supply, you effectively control the population. However, as Jefferson noted;

    “If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”

    I’m still surprised that people think our governments actually care about our health when we have a ton of examples that prove otherwise!

    • junican Says:

      I’ll have to take your word for the aspartame stuff!
      What I hate about all this healthist stuff is that it is not actually based upon science. It is based upon epidemiology, which is not science. Note that I said ‘science’ and not ‘A science’. Epidemiology could be said to be ‘A science’ if you use the word ‘science’ in a loose sense. Is measuring the area of a field ‘science’? No….. It is mathematics. Mathematics is a tool used in science. Epidemiology is mathematics, and is thus just a tool. The real science would be finding out the cause of some affect revealed by the counting.
      Public Health has become a tyranny. It must be stopped.

  3. Ed Says:

    lmao, Seriously though, you try finding bubble gum without aspartame in it!

    However if you told people that they are ingesting gmo E.coli faeces, they might be shocked but here’s the patent on Google for your perusal;

    https://www.google.com/patents/EP0036258A2?cl=en

Comments are closed.


%d bloggers like this: