It's funny how one thing leads to another.

I was scanning around all the articles about Finian McGrath and his call for a drop of tolerance and reason in a world gone crazy over health. 

One fascinating fact that emerged from all my reading was that according to the Irish Cancer Society, 4,000 lives have been "saved" since 2004.  Now this figure rang a little bell of familiarity so I delved into history.  Sure enough I discovered that back in 2013, 3,726 lives had been saved since 2004.  A remarkably close match?  So either the smoking ban no longer works, or else they are making up the figures?  That couldn't possibly be the case, could it?

I started researching this interesting phenomenon and accidentally put the wrong search terms into the Google thingy and it gushed forth the figures for the numbers killed by passive smoking.  According to the sites I found, 3000 seems to be the favourite figure, be it the old U S of A, France or Czechoslovakia.  I can only assume we are killing 3000 a year here also?

Anyhows, back to McGrath.

The comments naturally were mostly of the "I wish all smokers would burn in hell" type as they a egged each other into a frenzy of smoker hating.  A poll in The Journal says that three quarters of respondents are against ant easing which I suppose is to be expected [I wonder how many of them frequent their pub?].

I have to [almost] admire the Anti-Smokers for their invention of Second Hand Smoke.  It is a stroke of mad genius to be able to turn three quarters of society against the minority on the basis of an imaginary threat?  And the "lives saved" line is equally ingenious as no one can disprove it.  It's akin to my saying I haven't killed ten people today – utterly meaningless but with an underlying hint that I kill ten people every other day? 

One of these days [though I doubt it will be in my lifetime alas], people are going to wake up to the scam.  And when they do, the entire house of cards will come crashing down.  If secondary smoke is harmless then the only argument for the ban is to make people's clothes smell better.

As soon as I heard about it, I knew McGrath's quest for a modicum of tolerance was a waste of breath.  The Anti-Smokers have turned normally rational people into a rabid mob who see smoking as the greatest threat to their precious lives.  They have created an atmosphere of intolerance and hatred and that isn't going to end any time soon, so McGrath might as well save his breath.

But at least he gave me something to write about?



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Finian McGrath and the House of Cards — 9 Comments

  1. Finian McGrathTD is a man of the people. He has given journalists, bloggers and others something to think about and write about. Danny Healy Rae also made people think about the causes of climate change in historical and current times. I'll give them half a vote for provoking thought, if for no other reason.

    On another matter, some good news about Magic Mushrooms. A scientific experiment (and I don't always agree with that kind of thing) has 'shown' that magic mushrooms can 'lift depression'. That's not useful for me because I amn't depressed currently, but here's a modest suggestion for the Minister for Agriculture. Investigate the possibility for Irish mushroom growers to diversify into magic ones, and set up a grant scheme to facilitate such diversification. Anyways read about it here:

    • I am fully prepared to put my life on the line and volunteer for any trials.  In fact I am even prepared to apply for a full time job as a quality inspector in all the new mushroom nurseries that will doubtless spring up.

      • Could magic mushrooms be mixed with tobacco and smoked as cigarettes (inhaled) or puffed in pipes? Would it be compulsory for smokers to be diagnosed as 'depressed' before getting a mushroom prescription from their local doctor?

  2. "The comments naturally were mostly of the "I wish all smokers would burn in hell" type as they a egged each other into a frenzy of smoker hating."


    But are they real?

    "When it comes to the smoking issue (and to a lesser extent the obesity issue), many people have expressed to us how amazed, baffled and even disgusted they are at how some of our fellow citizens have turned into arrogant, obnoxious, hateful individuals almost overnight."

    "When challenged with logical arguments and unable to offer any reasonable responses, many such commentators accuse their opponents of being in the pay of what they refer to as “Big Tobacco”.

    "We strongly suspected that this hostile attitude demonstrated toward individuals or associations with differing opinions were not the doings of ordinary citizens, however one must always give the benefit of doubt:   perhaps public opinion had changed overnight when public smoking bans were adopted?  

    Well, you can relax folks.  All this time, it was not your next door neighbor, co-worker, friend or relative who was turning into an aggressive “Mr. Hyde” when protected by the cover of anonymity.  We now have tangible proof that most of the people who are posting obnoxious and hateful material are simply following orders from the anti-tobacco industry:

    We have obtained the manual on how to effectively implement outdoor bans published in September 2010 by Physicians For A Smoke-Free Canada (PSFC) :  SMOKEFREE OUTDOOR PUBLIC SPACES:  A COMMUNITY ADVOCACY TOOLKIT."

    We certainly had our own 50cent Army in 2007 and they still attack every news story about smoking to this day.

    • I am fully aware that as soon as an article like this appears, that the Irish Cancer Society and ASH put their minions onto full blown attack mode.  You can recognise them by the standard stock lines that they learn off by heart.  With the exception of my little "debate" which I mentioned yesterday, I wouldn't bother my arse replying to them. 

      • You can indeed recognise them by their standard lines, it took me about a fortnight after the ban to notice that those lines seemed to change simultaneously all over the UK, but it took that article to finally convince me that I hadn't imagined it.

        • I doubt they are real comments.  They have the look and feel of mass antismoker spam.  The content is right out of teh tobacco control playbook.  Beyond that, the poll looks rigged.  It statys at about 74% against and when I tried to respond for the smoking rooms it wouldn't register my vote…  Looks like more anatismoker propaganda. 

  3. This comment might well belong better under the previous post, but I think it also kind of applies here.

    I’ve thought a great deal about zealots (of all varieties, not just the anti-smoking kind).  In many ways, they fascinate me, because of their seemingly effortless way of enabling themselves to (apparently) genuinely believe that what are, in essence, their personal opinions are actually indisputable facts.  And I’ve come to the conclusion that for zealots there’s a mindset which runs in the following order:

    (1) It suits me personally (for whatever reason) to hold this opinion;

    (2) Because this opinion suits me personally, it becomes important to my own sense of wellbeing and my own sense of self;

    (3) Because this opinion is important to my own sense of wellbeing and my own sense of self, I therefore have a subconscious emotional attachment to it;;

    (4) Any questioning of this opinion thus becomes emotionally threatening, and questions must therefore not be thoughtfully answered, for fear of exposing my emotional attachment, which would indicate my bias and lack of objectivity, which in turn would potentially diminish the validity of my opinion;

    (5) In order to maintain the validity of my opinion, I must therefore convince myself that it is not just an opinion at all, but an irrefutable fact.  Any questions can then be essentially disregarded in the same way as, for example, one might disregard a questioner asking one to “prove” that black is black or white is white. 

    (6)  I am then able to continue to hold my opinion without ever being forced by outside challengers to have to subject it to my own scrutiny, which would threaten my emotional attachment to it.

    This is a simplified version, of course, but it does, I hope, help to clarify why one can never get a straight answer from a zealot – no matter how gently, politely, or diplomatically one might put the question.  It is, quite simply, too scary for them.

    • You could be spot on there.  There could also be an element of quasi-religion there too.  The Superior Being is Health and one must do all in one's power to sanctify that Being.  Anything that is counter to good health is irreligious and is therefor sinful and just plain wrong.  I can see this leading to a full blown post!

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