Fanatics (2)

Yesterday, we saw that the word ‘fanatic’ originated from the Latin word ‘fanaticus’. It appears that the indirect connection is with the word ‘fanum’ – temple. Thus, a person described as fanaticus’ was ‘of the temple’, meaning, I suppose, ‘devoted’ in the first instance, and then ‘extremely devoted’ as time passed, until, by around 1500, the term came to mean ‘excessively devoted’ to the extent of ‘frenzied’. The word ‘dervishes’ leaps to mind.

We saw also how the word ‘fanatic’ had been reduced to ‘fan’ to describe a person who was a keen supporter of anyone or anything, mostly concerned with sport. Thus, the phrase ‘a Man U ‘fan’ could describe anyone who ‘supported’ Man U, even if that support was nothing more than watching Man U matches on the TV occasionally.

It is perhaps a very good thing that the word ‘fan’ was disconnected from the word ‘fanatic’.

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I have often used the word ‘Zealot’ to describe a frenzied anti-smoker. That might be the wrong word. ‘Zeal’ is not a bad attribute. For example, the people who worked on the spacecraft which took mankind to the Moon must surely have been ‘zealous’, meaning ‘enthusiastic’ but also ‘meticulous’. That is quite different from ‘fanatical’. ‘Fanatics’ are not interested in detail. They have ‘a belief’. If necessary, such (minimal) detail as is required can be discovered.

Problems arise when ‘fanatics’ gain power. It seems inevitable that fanatics will gain power. It is awfully difficult for ordinary people to understand that even the cleverest of people, such as university graduates, can become frenzied (fanatical). The ‘Frenzy’ drives some people to do everything that they can to get control.

It is a sad fact that persons who are not ‘frenzied’ tend to defer to the frenzied. It happens all the time. Imagine, for example, a group of frenzied people who are doctors and professors in unis, who want alcoholic beverages to have ‘a minimum price per unit of alcohol’. Imagine also a group of frenzied MPs who fight for the same policy. It would be far easier for Ministers to capitulate than to fight against that proposal. Why? Because the frenzied have all the emotional arguments – “FOR THE CHILDREN!” And yet, it must surely be true that frenzied people (fanatics) are only, say, 10% of the decision makers.

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How do the fanatics manage it?

Reluctant as I am, I must invoke the example of Hitler et al. Hitler et al might well have been well-meaning when they were first elected, and they might well have been well-intentioned, in a fanatical way, when they ensured that no other party could possibly be elected in place of them in the future. Communist regimes did the same thing. But having ensured their own continuity, they then took a huge leap – they became omnipotent. They became ‘FANATICS’ in the sense of crazed, frenzied, Gods. They decided that Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals and Smokers were ‘bad for the children of the Reich’. No other reason was needed. For the ‘children of the Reich’, it was a wizard idea to exterminate those people. Such people must not be seen, and the only way to do so was to get rid of them – permanently.

It isn’t difficult to see how ‘fanaticism’ converts into fascism and totalitarianism. How can it be otherwise?

And so we come back to our own situation, as smokers, in today’s world. A group of fanatics got control of the WHO. It isn’t hard to understand how easy that was. Despite the repeal of anti-booze and anti-tobacco temperance laws, the Eugenicist Movement still existed. After WW2, it rose again. In the 1950s, children’s comic in America were featuring anti-smoking stories. A favourite was a sort of Superman – a chiselled jaw hero, well-built, white, and perfect, battling against a character called Nick O’Teen, who was drawn almost exactly in the same way that the Nazis drew characters who were Jews – nasty little people with thin faces, narrow eyes, hooked noses, hunch-backed, greed expressed all over their faces. Frankly, I find it difficult to understand why any sensible person actually bought these comics for their kids. Note the word ‘kids’. Take yourself back to late 1930s Germany and imagine your ‘kids’ being encouraged to become ‘fanatics’.

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There is an unbelievable craziness about Tobacco Control. In the first place, the very name is nonsensical. “The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control”. Erm… How can you control ‘a thing’? Tobacco is ‘a thing’. You cannot ‘control’ a thing. You cannot control ‘water’ in itself. You can control the ‘movement’ of water, but you cannot control water. It is just a thing.

So, imagine a different set of word. “Treaty to Eliminate Tobacco and Eliminate the Tobacco Industry”. That would be honest. “The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control” is inherently dishonest in every possible way, most obviously by the use of the word ‘control’. It ought to read ‘prohibition’ or ‘elimination’.

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It has always been the case, as anyone who has been on a committee must know, that most of the members of the committee do not know what to do. In the vast majority of cases, that does not matter because the matter is explained to them and they vote according to the information which they have been given. For the most part, the Secretary or the Chairman will explain. There may be questions, but for the most part, committee members will accept the explanations and vote accordingly. I was Treasurer of a Golf Club for several years, and you would not believe how difficult it was to:

a) Cut the waste of money on ongoing and unnecessary things like ‘the current valuation of the land’ (especially in view of the fact that the club did not actually own the land).

b) Promote use of the course by ‘golf societies’ in quiet times.

Those two are only examples. The fact was that few members of the committee, when attending a meeting, knew that a couple of members had some agenda which suited their own, and their friends, desires. Those were the most difficult to counter, and were most likely to make enemies for The Treasurer. Fortunately, ALL members of committees accepted my ‘good faith’.

But that is all ancient history.

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We seem to be living in an era of distraction. ‘Reality’ (like the incidence of lung cancer in smokers as compared with non-smokers) does not lead to finding cures for LC – it leads to persecution of smokers. If it were true that smoking causes LC,  then the cure for LC ought to have been discovered decades ago. I don’t mean stopping smoking. I mean finding the actual molecules in tobacco smoke which cause LC. Not vague claims of thousands of chemicals, but actual specific causes in individual cases.

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You would think that Ministers in Government would be able to recognise the existence of FANATICS, would you not? And you would expect, would you not, that Ministers would see the evidence of Fanatics when such evidence displays itself – for example, smoking in the open air above hospital territory. A comical idea is this: if a person invented a car which could be elevated so that it was suspended in the air in a hospital car park, would it be subject to parking fees? My point is that smokers do not smoke ON hospital grounds. They smoke in the air ABOVE hospital grounds. The air above hospital grounds does not belong to the hospital or the Fanatics.

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There is a very strange ‘complex’ at work which has no real foundation. The complex is that it is OK, from the WHO point of view, for millions to die from the effects of extreme poverty, but it is not OK for millions NOT to die from extreme poverty.

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Our politicians are mostly affected by the ‘disease’ of ‘Fanaticism’. It is easy to get excited and jump for joy. It is not easy to tell the jumpers to sit down and listen.

SHS (second-hand smoke), in the quantities seen, is absolutely harmless for a normal persons. Persons who suffer from asthma, angina, colliwobles, hysterical outbursts, fear of the unknown, should not go to pubs.

 

 

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