The Arrogance of The Zealots

I have been reading a transcript of discussions in a Standing Committee of the Australian Gov this evening about ecigs. Readers will already know that Oz has already virtually banned ecigs due to fear. It is hard to know what that fear is. It vaguely seems to be a fear that a devil will tempt vapers to move to smoking tobacco cigs. The personification of that devil would be Big Tobacco, of course.

It is worth reading the transcript, which is here:

http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/committees/commrep/81a244ef-e46c-46bd-8ad6-ee3054352dc5/toc_pdf/Standing%20Committee%20on%20Health,%20Aged%20Care%20and%20Sport_2017_10_18_5636.pdf;fileType=application%2Fpdf#search=%22committees/commrep/81a244ef-e46c-46bd-8ad6-ee3054352dc5/0001%22

I would recommend that readers have a go at not being bored to death by reading the link.

Members of the committee asked questions of the witnesses which seemed to suggest that the members of the committee had no idea whatsoever of the workings of ecigs. But I do not believe that to be true. It is very easy to pretend to be ignorant. But there was one thing especially that struck me. It was that the committee seemed to be hung up about possible future harm in the long run resulting from vaping. It is a reasonable question, but, if vaping was all but forbidden, how would any ‘long run’ evidence be acquired? It is a really nasty idea that Oz would deprive smokers of the opportunity to try ecigs just because the Oz Gov wants to let other nations carry the can.

But that is precisely what TC has been doing. It has been experimenting. It has been playing with Govs like a fish on a fishing line.

I am not entirely sure that the committee members were as ignorant as they appeared to be. There are scientific truths, one of which is ‘the dose makes the poison’. A tiny, tiny bit of arsenic will not kill you. It would be interesting to know why not, but nobody goes there. In the case of ecigs, ‘genuine’ (as far as I know) toxicology experiments have shown that ecig vapour is harmless. So why should there be any fears about them?

What is important, and seems to be brushed aside, is the toxicology. If there are no ‘poisons’ in ecig vapour, why should there be a long-term problem?

I have not yet finished reading the transcript. I shall do so tomorrow. But what alarmed me is the implication throughout the discussion that smokers are THINGS.

I am really serious about that. Smokers are THINGS. There was a brief query from the ignorant committee members about excise duty on ecig liquids and machines in the UK. They had to be told that ecigs are normal VAT rated in the UK. No one who was really, really interested in persuading smokers to give up would want to tax excessively the means to do so.

Their is a craziness which is a disease in TC. I suppose that you could call it a virus. It may even be a physical virus. It might be one which has not yet been identified. It might particularly target professors and doctors. That may be the reason that they regard smokers as THINGS.

What reading that transcript suggested to me is that the politicians had no idea what to do. Is it any wonder that politicians take the easy way and enact laws dictated by medics? How will medics stop ISIS? How will they stop terrorist atrocities? If the medics are in control, then they must accept their duties to protect the people from ALL the threats.

That is what I mean by ‘The Arrogance of The Zealots’. They have so captivated Gov that they are a major distraction from what is really important.

It is important that Gov exterminates those groups, and it is very easy. They would not survive for a moment without Gov funding.

I do not understand why Gov did not kick the snakes into the ‘hard places’ years ago. Let them survive on voluntary contributions if the can.

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6 Responses to “The Arrogance of The Zealots”

  1. Vinny Gracchus Says:

    I think you are absolutely right about the “Arrogance of the Zealots”. Their tyranny relies upon intimidation of the politicians and public through fear mongering and censorship of alternative views. Many are certainly aware that they are being economical with the truth (exaggerating negative effects and obscuring positive or neutral effects).

    They are not interested in science, truth, or the political process. Rather, they in interested in imposing their ideology of prohibition and suppressing all dissent. As Frank Davis recently put it they are interested in eradication smokers (which in the dogmatic view includes vapes even if some vapes don’t see themselves in the same boat as smokers).

    • junican Says:

      But why are politicians so eager to comply? That is what flummoxes me. Perhaps it is because there is massive pressure from the medical profession and ‘experts’ to exterminate smokers but no pressure not to. Perhaps that is the reason that the salami slicing has been so successful.

  2. gatovapeador Says:

    I disagree with the notion that politicians surrender to the blackmail of power of prohibitionist tobacco (or other substance) controllers or physicians. Notice that the type of physicians we are talking about are mostly (what I call) medical “control bureaucrats”, that is advocates with white coats distinct from those actually practicing medicine (from the GP to high ranking specialists). Although a lot of the practicing MD’s follow (often without critique) the recommendations of the advocates, they are not (in general) the decision makers in tobacco (or any substance) control.

    Rather, medical control bureaucrats and politicians have a symbiotic relation: they need each other and use each other. The politician has the “hard power” and funds the medical control bureaucracy, which has a “soft power”. The control medical bureaucracy provides the politician with a form of “sciency” health improvement justification with the public, even if this justification is (very often) based on junk science. Politicians are not going to de-fund these bureaucracies, which provide a form of social control (behavioral change) that the public accepts and (largely) believes “can be justified by science”. Politicians also believe this and find it important for ruling. If a behavior like smoking can be “controlled”, other behaviors can (for example vaping or eating or drinking, and then perhaps, political preferences). This symbiotic relation will not change unless there is a major political upheaval (and no, I don’t think that Trump or Brexit were sufficient upheaval to change this).

    The relation between politicians and public health bureaucracies is analogous to that between the hard power of kings and the soft power of the Catholic church in medieval times. The church had no armies, no hard power. Any time kings could have easily killed or get rid of any priest (even bishops or archbishops). Yet they never (or seldom) did, and relied on the soft power of the church as an indispensable element for ruling and controlling subjects (including soldiers, noblemen and merchants). In exchange the church received favors and privileges. In fact, the soft power of the church got many kings involved in crusades that often resulted in disastrous campaigns. This began changing with the protestant Reformation.

    Is a Reformation happening with regards to the tobacco control church? Perhaps the disruption brought by vaping and low risk products are the beginning of a Reformation. We’ll see.

    • junican Says:

      Very wise comment, gat… The only problem that I have with your thinking is: “Why should politicians allow themselves to be drawn into the symbiotic relationship?” There is no obvious reason for them to do so. I can understand certain Ministers in Finance seeing £ signs in sin taxes, but I do not see how ‘experts’ can get to ordinary MPs. That is what bothers me.

      • gatovapeador Says:

        “Why should politicians allow themselves to be drawn into the symbiotic relationship?” Simply because it suits them, it affords the legitimacy. Concern for “Health” is for lots of people as important as concern for “Security”. “Health” and “Security” are modern versions of religion. The present day kings need the priesthood of these present day religions.

      • junican Says:

        Good point, gat…But there are no visible Kings. Is that the problem? Who are the Kings?

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