“Philosopher Kings”

We tend to think that we are more intelligent than people were thousands of years ago. I gravely doubt that that is so. In fact, it is quite possible that people 30,000 years ago, when they were painting on the walls of caves depictions of the animals which roamed around at that time, were just as intelligent as we are. What has changed is that human expectations have become extensive and varied; we all expect to own a car and take holidays in exotic places; we expect not to have to hand-wash our clothes, or collect fuel for our fires. I remember seeing people, around 1950, going on tips of coalmine slag searching for bits of coal. “Success” in those days was not earning a bunch of pound notes – it was collecting enough coal to make a fire. 5000 years ago, people in England built Stonehenge. It is just a circle of stone pillars with ‘cross-members’ on top. Here is a pic:

Image result for Stonehenge

I have seen it stated that some of the stones came from South Wales. Stonehenge is situated near Salisbury, some 70 miles South of London. How were those huge stones transported? A huge amount of effort must have gone into its construction, bearing in mind the rudimentary tools available at that time. BUT THEY BUILT IT! That suggest to me that there was ‘peace in the land’ at that time.

In fact, it is easy to believe that, for generations, people live in peace. It may be that ‘the dark ages’ are only ‘dark’ because there was universal peace.

I think that it was Plato, the Greek philosopher, who first proposed that the best form of Government would be ‘philosopher kings’. ‘Philosophy’ means ‘love of knowledge’, so our ‘philosophy kings’ would be clever. In fact, King Solomon, it the bible, was just such a person. He was wise.

It seems to me that, despite the rise in ‘Democracy’, we still have ‘Philosophy Kings’ running out nations – Trump in the USA, May in the UK, Merkel in Germany, Putin in Russia.

But here is the problem. Are they really ‘wise philosopher kings’ or are they charlatans?

Blair’s imposition of the smoking ban leads me to think that he in particular was a charlatan. He was boss of the Labour Party, whose supporters were the working class. He deliberately decided that it was OK to persecute the working class – those who enjoy tobacco most. It is said that he ‘agonised’ over the smoking ban. Bollocks! He and his Government enthusiastically imposed swingeing penalties on anyone who defied the law. I remember visiting a restaurant just  before the ban, and the owners did not allow smoking in the dining area, but allowed it in the bar. No problem – that was their decision.

The ban was supposed to be about the health of bar/restaurant workers, but that was always a lie. Did Blair know that it was a lie? The real purpose was one step to reduce ‘smoking prevalence’. EVERYONE who worked in or visited a bar or restaurant could not smoke during the time that they were in that place. The ban on smoking in cars with children present has nothing to do with children – it is entirely to reduce places where you can smoke. And it gets crazier. The Zealots want to stop us smoking in our own cars, even it we have no children. Why? Simply to reduce our opportunities to smoke.

And that is where the idea of ‘Philosopher King’ breaks down. HIS pleasure comes from making ‘wise’ decisions; HIS PEOPLE’S pleasure comes from beer and cigs.

 

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3 Responses to ““Philosopher Kings””

  1. smokingscot Says:

    Intelligence is one thing. Knowledge another.

    Our forefathers were very intelligent indeed and they were hugely knowledgeable about the natural world in which they lived.

    Put very simply, they were “street smart”.

    We place far too great an emphasis on knowledge, that’s generally learned by rote. I am astonished at the number of relatively simple jobs that now demand a minimum level of education that far exceeds the tasks asked of them. (Hiring someone who’s overqualified is a recipe for disaster).

    We still tend to defer to people who have stacks of qualifications listed after their name – something they insist on placing on their visiting cards. I don’t: be it Doctor or mechanic, or whatever, it’s their ability to perform that matters.

    Theory’s only good in academia and very rarely translates as intended in the real world. Witness that crap about non-smokers coming out of their self inflicted isolation to fill the leisure facilities once they were smoke free.

    Politicians are faced with a bewildering number of petitions, letters, draft legislation and so on on a daily basis. Most just toe the party line, some do try a little research themselves, however it’s awfully difficult for them to question evidence provided by so called experts.

    That’s part of the weakness of the system, especially when fellow MP’s are in bed with pressure groups, like Stephen Williams.

    Blair was in his third term – so felt he was in touch with the electorate – and now so insulated within the Westminster Bubble that he felt he had the Midas Touch. And the Cabinet was under pressure because Scotland and Wales had already introduced/announced their smoking bans.

    Yet his natural instinct was to allow wet pubs and clubs to be exempt. There was huge pressure from his own MP’s to go for broke rather than have a three year suck-it-and-see period. In the end, he chose to take the easiest course of action and leave it to a free vote.

    England announced their legislation in 2006, shortly after the “success” of our smoking ban. One year later Labour lost in Scotland, but by then Blair was fighting to get a job he believed suited to his “awesome” talent. And he relinquished the post of PM to Brown on 24 June 2007, just a week before the stuff hit the fan.

    That was – for many – the first taste we had of the total disconnect between our political elite and we the common herd. In truth, all they were doing was following the advice of those they deemed as “knowledgeable” – meaning the D of H, ASH and your very own Chief Medical Officer.

    As you’ve pointed out several times, our politicians are simply the gun with various pressure groups pointing and pulling the trigger.

    So we have to consider yet another aspect that Man has had to deal with since the dawn of time – manipulation. And the examples of this are far too numerous for me to try to list.

    We’re not alone in this, the Australians, Canadians and Kiwis have had to endure this for decades. There it’s entrenched, yet there’s no real political alternative in any of these former colonies. The Yanks had that and they grabbed it with both hands.

    A good leader, no matter what their education or qualifications will always listen to every angle, then decide. FCTC removed that option from our politicians.

    It’s partly because of that (freedom of speech is enshrined in the American Constitution) that FCTC has never been ratified by the US. The shame is we not only ratified it; through straight lies as well as the threat of intimidation, our tobacco control have gone way beyond what’s laid down in the treaty.

    Yes it’s very nice to see individual politicians lose their seats (Williams was a genuine air punch moment for me), but thus far only Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer has quit his post.

    Much speculation about Trump and his attitude to smoking. Two salient facts. 1) He knows from experience they’re very bad for business. His casino in Atlantic City got nailed. 2) He has identified the Press and MSM as one of his greatest enemies.

    And yesterdays his Press Secretary just bollocked the lot of them, then left the room!

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/01/21/second-day-white-house-press-secretary-strikes-combative-tone/96894392/

    Brilliant! Street Smarts!

    • junican Says:

      A lot of stuff there, SS.
      Further blather has come to light about the attendance at the inauguration. Cut to the quick – Trump countered inaccuracies with inaccuracies. What does attendance matter? Not one bit. I loved it! Counter shit with shit.
      What really matters is what Trump DOES.

      There is a real possibility that Trump might address the reality rather than the combination of academics and career politicians. A lot depends upon what he considers to be priorities.
      But is he a ‘philosopher king’?
      His first priority might be building up industries which employ Americans rather than buying the products cheaply from China. In the short term, Americans in general might have to pay more for such products, and thus their ‘wealth’ might be reduced. But it is more important, in the short term, for America to be strong.
      I think that academic models of wealth creation are correct, but they miss the human, life-time, family necessities.

      • Rose Says:

        A cold, wet day in January for a Republican inauguration in a city that mostly votes Democrat? The clues are there.

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