Is it not lovely to see real conflict within the second tier of the tobacco control hierarchy? I say ‘second tier’ because the conflict is more or less confined to the UK. The conflict is between the BMA (British Medical Association) and the RCP (Royal College of Physicians).
There are two curiosities in this conflict:
1. The BMA controls the BMJ (British Medical Journal).
2. The RCP controls ASH (Action on Smoking and Health).
This is quite comical since the BMA and the RCP are very similar organisations, but the BMJ and ASH are very different. The BMJ, even though it is a propaganda vehicle, is a journal, but ASH is a lobby group. They really ought not to conflict since they do different things.
And yet Arnott, from ASH is quoted as saying, “There are people in the public health community who are obsessed by e-cigarettes. This idea that it renormalizes smoking is absolute bullshit. There is no evidence so far that it is a gateway into smoking for young people.”
She speaks for the College of Physicians. The BMJ, on the other hand, speaks for the British Medical Association, and condemns ecigs as ‘a gateway TO smoking tobacco’.
Is this a power conflict within TC?
Probably not, since the real power lies much, much further up the chain of command. It lies in the UN, the WHO, the World Bank, the IMF, the EU and in other, obscure, places. God only knows what it is costing to create a world-wide denormalisation of the simple enjoyment of tobacco, the demonisation of those who enjoy tobacco. Even so, however, because tobacco control is, in its nature, puritanical, there must come a point where pleasure reasserts itself.
As a good catholic boy, in my youth, I was blasted, again and again, that it was WRONG to enjoy. To be saintly, one must DENY ONESELF. The saints FLAGELLATED themselves for even thinking of pleasure. Funny, is it not, that the priests always wore very good quality clothes, lacked for nothing and were almost always somewhat rotund as a result of eating the best food.
Perhaps I did not see the blatant contradictions.
And yet, I see and agree with the basic philosophy of Christianity. For the most part, all of us worry and worry about little things. But when we are hit with a really, really major problem we do not worry about it. We either accept it or fix it. In a way, that is what Christianity says. “Give unto Caesar….”
There are two (or more!) possibilities philosophically. We can either decide, for ourselves, that the cosmos is just ‘a thing’ and that we human, intelligent beings, each and every individual, are just minuscule lumps of electrified matter, OR we can decide, for ourselves, that we are greater than the cosmos in the sense that we have intelligence whereas the cosmos is dumb and numb.
It is impossible not to conclude that intelligence does not trump dumb and numb.
Would it not be nice if a person, somewhere in the world, was 500 years old? Oh dear. There is no such person, despite the fact that there are those people who have never smoked, never drank alcohol, never ate fast food, exercised all their lives, placidly contemplated nature, and been good conservatives, labour or libdems. Not a single one.
We pass through this world. There is no reason that we should not enjoy it if we can. What is the most horrendous persecution from anti-Christs is the idea that a ‘healthy (!)’ body, right until death, trumps a ‘healthy’ mind. I would say that a ‘healthy mind’ trumps a ‘healthy body’ every time. We might quote the case of Stephen Hawkins. We might also quote the case of Richard Feynman, a great physicist who died ‘before his time’ from cancer. Consider the likes of Chapman, Glantz, McTee, etc, in comparison.
—Enough of this rambling. Frank Davis has the right idea. Science gets excited and works something out. That working out becomes dogma. After a while, that dogma becomes corrupted.
It has always been so.