I came across an article in The Guardian yesterday.
What led me to it was that there were a couple of references to this humble site in the comments, and I was wondering why so many Guardian readers were suddenly arriving. However that's not the point of this post.
Reading through the comments, what struck me was the appalling repetition of all the old propaganda clichés put out by the Tobacco Control Industry. There were the eight million deaths worldwide, the "smokers cost the NHS", "Big Tobacco is The Evil Empire" and all the other tired sound bites so beloved of the smoking Nazis. What all these people miss is the core foundation of the whole Anti-Smoker lark. What is it that makes smoking so unpopular? Why is Big Tobacco the evil empire?
Let me explain.
Suppose I decide that I want to make a fortune. The first thing I do is pick a target. For the purpose of this exercise let's say I choose diesel.
Having chosen my target I then set up a charity to "protect" people from diesel fumes. Now protection and health are seen as very laudable objectives so no one will complain. The charity can have a nice catchy title such as Diesel Emissions Are Terminating Health, or DEATH for short.
My next step is to produce "facts". These facts need not be true, but they must be good headline material, and the more lurid the better. "Diesel fumes account for 20 million deaths worldwide every year", or "diesel fumes are killing our children [mention of children is essential] at the rate of ten thousand a day". Naturally diesel fumes will be the cause of nearly all fatal ailments and even a few that I haven't invented yet. As diesel fumes are a known carcinogen, the public will suck up my imaginary figures and with a bit of luck will use them as a basis for their arguments.
I then apply for government funding. Again, as I am fighting to save the children, this should be no problem. I then use this money to lobby the government [after I have taken a very handsome salary for myself, of course].
I persuade the government to introduce new laws. First of all, all diesel vehicles must be painted red with a large skull and crossbones on the side. I will then produce fancy graphs and statistics that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that a hundred children are being saved every week as a result. I demand more money to build upon my success.
Naturally I tell the government that they must impose punitive taxes on diesel fuel. This money, I tell them is to be put into the battle against Big Diesel and should be used by charities [mine, in other words] to fight the pernicious evil.
The fuel manufacturers will naturally complain, but that's no problem – they are Big Diesel and are killing our children, They must therefore be excluded from all discussions and any facts and figures they provide have to be labeled as Big Diesel lies.
I then persuade the government to gradually introduce a raft of new measures such as banning diesel vehicles from residential areas and motorways, limiting engine capacity and forcing passenger restrictions [no child under 18 allowed in such a vehicle]. I tell the government that they can be "world leaders" in the fight against Big Diesel, and of course produce startling figures proving how more and more lives are being saved.
Throughout this period I produce tons of "research" proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that all the measures are saving countless lives and that they must pump even more cash into my charity so that we may save those unfortunates who are still dying.
Suppose though that someone comes up with some kind of catalytic converter for diesel exhausts [as electrofags came on the scene to thwart the Anti Smokers]? The simple answer is to invent further new research into the converters which not only proves they are just as bad as diesel fumes [if not a lot worse] but they are actually normalising the use of diesel engines.
One thing I have to watch though is that my efforts aren't too successful. After all, should I succeed in banning all diesel powered vehicles then there is no further use for my charity and my enormous golden goose is dead.
Of course my biggest success wil be in brain washing the gullible public into supporting my cause. They are my greatest advocates and will do most of my job for me.