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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Do you like being treated like a child?

Who owns you?

41 comments to Do you like being treated like a child?

  • Is this a real brand of cigarette?

    Is this woman available to help me understand liberty better? I might need some intensive coaching.

  • Nyarlathotep

    In truth there is indeed a psychosexual basis for socialism’s appeal for most of its supporters and same could be said for all forms of left and right statism: it is the desire to be infantalized and absolved of personal responsibility by the dominant few, who take on the role of sexualized parent figures, that gives statism its deep irrational appeal to so many.

    So yes, many people do indeed like being treated like children.

  • Innocent abroad

    David Carr – if you can bring yourself to visit spiked-online.com before you emigrate to Louisiana, you will see what I consider to be a far greater nonsense than discouraging people from smoking (which is, let’s face it, a sub-optimal life-choice – and I’m a smoker, btw)
    I refer to the proposal to create a “wife-batterer’s register” and to compel doctors, nurses etc to tell women that their new dreamboat has previous for beating up women.

  • David R Beatty

    Perry, you just gave me my laugh for the day. Thanks!

  • gorillaz

    i’d quite like her to own me. and by the way, i know that brand of cigs, mark, they are russian. blegh!

  • Innocent Abroad,

    I do occasionally read spiked-online and I regularly used to read its predecessor, Living Marxism.

    I have come across this proposal you speak of and it looks as if it is modelled on the Sex Offenders Register. Probably every bit as sinister as it sounds.

    And you will be either glad or disappointed to note that I have no immediate plans to decamp to Louisianna.

  • Mitch H.

    It has been my experience that no-one complains quite as much about being “treated like children” as children. Put the cancer stick out and look to the beam in your eye, Junior.

  • Bolie Williams IV

    My problem with smoking is that smokers often show no regard for my own desire to breath relatively clean air. The possible second-hand somke health effects aside, smoking fills the air with a foul stench. I have mixed feelings about smoking bans. On the one hand, smokers have the right to commit suicide however they want. On the other, I am not sure how else to keep away from the foul stench of cigarette smoke… I would rather not be confined to my house.

    And yes, the market can drive the creation of smoke free restaurants and such, but is it really efficient to have smoking and non-smoking stores? What about parks and sidewalks? There isn’t any market way to prevent smokers from congregating on street corners and stinking them up.

    So where does my right to non-stinking air end and their right to stink up the air begin?

    Bolie IV

  • Bolie: quite apart from the fact that many of the claims about the effects of second hard smoke are voodoo science, no, you do not have a ‘right’ to a stink free environment on someone elses property. Should people with stinking unwashed armpits be banned by law from travelling on the London Underground (Subway)?

    For years I simply refused to eat in a restaurant unless they had a no-smoking section as I detest smoke. I gave my money to establishments who catered to my needs.

  • snide

    Well Mitch, if I have a beam in my eye, someone else put it there. The thing about children is they do not usually have a choice about doing what other people think is right because they are forced to comply ‘for their own good’. Well maybe I value the inside of my lungs less than other things, so were the hell do you get off telling me to just do as I am told and put out the cancer stick? If I am aware of the risks I am running and just do not give a damn, I will not tolerate you trying to force me to behave.

  • I’m with both Bolie and Perry on this one [and I wish I was with the blonde in the picture too, even if she is smoking a horrid Russian brand, as gorillaz claims].

    I loathe cigarette smoke, and it is something which makes Eastern Europe frustratingly hard to put up with sometimes, but we must give up banning stuff.

    For me the core issue is that smoking near other people is very rude and selfish, and law is inappropriate. Imagine me trying to ask for legal protection against people making rude gestures at me. Cigarette smoke smells horrible, cannabis smoke is pleasanter, though sickly sometimes, some pipe and cigar smoke is rather nice in moderation. The health risk is, I believe, real, but not very large – it is just that breathing in the fumes is yucky for us non-smokers. I get a headache, my nose dries up, and I feel a bit sick.

    Smokers should ask if we mind, and accept that we may mind – and we have to develop the nerve to pleasantly but firmly say things like “I’d rather you didn’t smoke that here, it makes me feel a bit ill. Do you mind perhaps going outside to do that?”

    It’s tiresome, but that’s one of the prices of liberty. We need to talk to talk to each other a bit, and find ways to explain how we’d like others to treat us and ways to understand when they say the same, without always calling down airstrikes from state regulators on the heads of our hated foes.

  • becky

    For all you rabid EU haters, consider the fact that continental Europe is far more libertarian about smoking than puritanical America. As it is about many things.

  • Guy Herbert

    Not all of it Becky, not all of it. See this barking story.

    I agree, US society has appallingly bullying, moralitarian tendencies. What’s so relatively attractive is the general acceptance there of the principle of limited government and its (patchy) constitutional embodiment.

  • Becky: Like what? Taxes? Business? I am from continental Europe and I saw no libertarianism there. Oh, you mean like they can have topless women in adverts and, and, and… remind me again what is more libertarian there? My memory fails me…

  • But so what, becky? The fact the statists in the USA do things we do not like does not make the super-statists in Europe any more attractive to us.

    In any case, it is not in the USA that they are threatening to curtail free speech in a fit of Troskyist lunacy by banning smoking in the story of movies! More ‘libertarian’ eh?

  • … and by the way, if the EU bans advertising for tobacco on the Internet as it is threatening to, we will start running free advertisements for tobacco companies and cigarettes here on Samizdata.net, which is hosted in the USA.

  • snide

    What is it with you guys? Do you really think the chick in the picture is attractive?! Did you manage to look at her face?!

    She comes in a classic, can’t-whack-it, top Russian style with shiny dress, heaps of hair spray/gel and eyebrows plucked to death. Whoof!

  • becky

    Well, I’m sorry for the Dutch. In Paris, however, smoking in cafés is almost obligatory and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Even if the French government did introduce a draconian law, everyone would ignore it anyway. This healthy disrespect for the law is one of the things that make this city such a refreshing place to live. And it’s something I don’t believe Anglo-Saxons really understand about Latin countries. Yes, outwardly, they can seem very “statist” – but look carefully at if and how the laws are applied. Paris feels so much freer than repressed, down-trodden London I can tell you.

    The opposite is true in the States: yes, there’s the outward emphasis on limited government, but it’s coupled with an ever increasing erosion of liberties, moralistic legislation and culture of surveillance, particularly since 9/11.

  • mad dog barker

    As this is a Russian cigarette advert I suspect that you probably get the girl free with every ten cartons. Apparently it is cheaper than wrapping them…

    The warning continues, “The surgeon general has determined that sex with the girl might be more dangerous than smoking the cigarettes…”

    (Hang on it continues on the other side)

    .”..near an open petrol can.” Well I think that’s what it says – it’s all in Russian.

  • becky

    Perry/Gabriel – do you really believe that the French have less freedom than the British? Having spent extended periods in both London and Paris, there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind which feels the more free. Do I pay more tax in Paris? Possibly – although probably not on my income. Even if I am, that’s amply compensated by the fact that Paris is about half as expensive as London. I can afford to buy a flat here, I can go out for a meal without having to take out a mortgage, I can have a drink in a bar after 11 pm… the metro and rail systems actually work and cost less than half what it costs in England. The health system is efficient. Wages are good. Unemployment is higher, yes. But then again the unemployed are better treated and are not forced into shitty soul-destroying jobs – they’re given the time and the resources to find something useful and worthwhile to do. The business climate here is good and France attracts more inward investment than the UK.

    Put simply, Paris is a city which functions, London isn’t.

  • The Real Snide

    Outrage! My name has been taken in vain by an imposter!

    Sure, she is a sleezy looking but… is that supposed to be a bad thing?

  • Becky… you talk of a ‘culture of survaillance’ with reference to the USA but that is far far far more pervassive in Britain than there. We have more CCTV cameras per capita than even Israel.

  • Becky: Oh, so all those interminable strikes in France I read about are just media bias, then. The fact is Paris seems provincial compared to London. Yes, perhaps you can afford to own a flat but, so what, you have to pay capital gains tax on it, when you sell. Restaurants are fine but not as diverse as in London. Anyway, if I really feel like being condescended to by a French waiter I can always hop on the Eurostar.

    The French economy is doing splendidly then, more inward investment, oh goodie. And yes, there is the CAP to see the French through the hard times. And I am sure there are many things you can come up with that in your view makes Paris sooo much better than London.

    How unfortunate then, that so many young French people are ever so ungrateful and keep coming to London in such numbers… Why can’t they see just how much better Paris is?

  • Becky, how much of the relative cheapness of Paris compared to London can be attributed to government subsidies? I’d venture to say quite a bit, with particular emphasis on public transportation and the healthcare system. Measuring the liberty of a nation or city shouldn’t be based upon how easy or inexpensive it may be to live there.

    You should also differentiate between social freedoms and economic freedoms, something that seems to be a problem with those on the left.

  • Then feel free to stay there, becky. There are parts of France I do not mind at all but I loath Paris myself and the fact the French state vastly subsidise the capital city at the expense of the rest of the country on a scale that makes even London blush may not bother you but it does me.

    The fact is that the state permeates all aspects of French society in ways it does not (yet) in the UK. Try starting up a business in France and you will quickly discover why there is such a large French ex-pat community here in London. Try registering a domain.co.uk and you will find it takes about 30 seconds. Now try and register a domain.fr and see what happens. In what areas is French technology on the cutting edge? How many French movies take the rest of the world by storm? Religious tolerance in France? Don’t make me laugh. Did you know all churches are owned by the state in France? What about race relations…do you seriously think they are NOT worse in France than in Britain? Perhaps none of that bothers you. Whilst all cultures have broadly irrational elements, France’s culture has a profoundly distinctive irrationalist, intolerant and authoritarian streak a mile wide (that is 1.609 kilometres to you).

    There are many great things about France that are good: it is fine place to take in the sights, drink wine and coffee, eat good food and hunt all manner of yummy beasts, but their judicial, military, scientific, political and economic cultures are not amongst those good things.

  • Liberty Belle

    Becky – France attracts more inward investment than the UK? Where on earth do you get the basis for this absurd statement? Britain attracts more inward investment than the whole of the rest of the EU put together. That’s why the continent doesn’t want us to leeaave…..

    Paris is certainly pretty – who could deny it? – but the reason real estate is cheaper than in any other world capital is, the French don’t have the income to buy expensive real estate, so they don’t drive up the market, unlike other capital cities which teem with entrepreneurs, high earners and chancers who drive up prices knowing they can’t lose.

    Why on earth would anyone in their right mind invest in France? This month, we have had three public holidays (today’s falls on a Thursday and they are therefore entitled to take Friday as a “bridge day” — they have enough bridge days to build a viaduct to 2050). The Post Office has been on semi-strike for around the last five days. Who knows? Some days we get mail, some days we don’t. The air traffic controllers struck for two staggered days this week (as they did the week before) as did the train drivers. The teachers were out one day last week and one day this week. There have been two national general strikes this month. Next week the farmers’ choreographed strike will be playing for two days.

    In other words, in May, including their three public holidays, most French people will have worked for around 12 days out of 31. This attracts inward investment? Sources, please?

  • G Cooper

    In response to Innocent Abroad, David Carr writes:

    “I have come across this proposal you speak of and it looks as if it is modelled on the Sex Offenders Register. Probably every bit as sinister as it sounds.”

    I’m surprised no one had picked this up before I got home this evening and read Mr. Carr’s post – the very same idea is already being proposed for the UK.

  • Liberty Belle

    Becky – France has its charms, and not just in the rear view mirror, but to imagine that Japanese, American, Venezuelan businesses want to invest here is madness. To what end? To subsidize the state of France? Why would any business enterprise want to do that?

    Their big stores, for example, are computerised, so when something is passed through the cash register, that item is noted on their inventory system as gone from the shelves. Here is where the synapse failure cranks in. IT IS NOT RE-ORDERED! If a French hardware store, or similar, is out of an item and you ask when it will be in, they look at you as though you’d slapped them in the face with a wet fish. Their vision stops at: NO LONGER ON THE SHELF. It has left their area of responsibility.

    What’s so romantic about cheap apartments in Paris, with no kitchens for god’s sake, and some with shared bathrooms? Isn’t this a tiny bit 19thC? Failure to move with the times is France’s problem and it is driven by language jealousy. Their language languishes and English thrives. Our language, in their eyes, is a virus which mutates daily.

    Massive foreign investment? From where? Somalia?

  • T. Hartin

    I think Becky is confusing social freedom with legal freedom. The French are pretty tolerant of some things that are not tolerated so much in other countries (smoking, drinking, marital infidelity, etc.). However, this is social tolerance, which is all well and good, not legal freedom.

    The Samizdatistas are more interested in legal freedom, meaning freedom from state control and interference. In that area, France falls down pretty badly.

    Even much of the vaunted French social tolerance is purchased at the price of disregard for the rule of law, as the French are past masters at ignoring laws if and when they find them inconvenient.

  • veryretired

    God, you guys are funny! While paying lip service to the idea of being libertarian, the bunch of you can’t stand it whenever somebody has an idea you don’t approve of. Doesn’t it occur to you that the essence of being or thinking as a libertarian means that Becky can like France if she wants, and George can like Amsterdam, and Bill can like Timbuktu, and so and so can have a million more opinions that you don’t agree with and it’s none of your business? Jesus H. Christ, stop trying to “raise everybody’s consciousness” and just state your case, if you’ve got one. But arguing endlessly over some meaningless opinion because it doesn’t mesh with yours is a STATIST frame of mind, not libertarian.

  • S. Weasel

    No, VR, seeking to impose your will on others through threat of force is statist.

    Arguing your fool head off about it is about as libertarian as it gets.

  • Tony H

    Actually, Mr Weasel (have you strayed here from Wind in the Willows?) I rather enjoyed Very retired’s corrective comments. I mean, you’re right about the benefits of bloody-mindedness, but I think his point is that whenever anyone like Becky has the temerity to say something not wholly critical of France and the French, we get a tidal wave of anti-Gallic fervour. Couple of points:
    1. SNCF is billions in debt to the taxpayer but it’s still the greatest railway I’ve ever experienced. I mean, being whisked from Lille to the Med in four-plus hours by TGV, in great comfort, is a civilised way to travel. There might be a lesson to be learnt here, not just by Britain’s sclerotic railways but also by the somewhat clapped-out US system too.
    2. The Eurostar waiters referred to above I’ve always found to be polite, friendly and efficient, not to be confused with Parisian waiters who, er, can have an attitude problem.
    3. The French might collectively have a lamentably dirigiste State and be somewhat out of whack with Anglo notions of free trade, but on a lesser level they are admirably robust. A friend in Montpellier tells me that when the local fish-farmers didn’t like the latest edicts from the agricultural ministry, they didn’t protest – they marched on the local ministry HQ, sacked the place, and chucked the filing cabinets out of the windows. Nice contrast with the bovine apathy of Brits in the face of State bossiness…

  • Veryretired… I am not sure I see your point. Are you suggesting that in future I just just accept all views posted here as equally likely to be true, be they based on Ptolemaic astronomy, Keynesian economics or the phlogiston theory of combustion? That would make me more, er, libertarian would it?

    I have never said becky is not entitled to her views or even that we would rather only have views that agree with us posted as comments (hi Scott) here on our nifty blog…

    Even though becky certainly does not share our views, she clearly derives some morbid fascination from reading them and posting her dissenting opinions… and given her previous experiences with peoples responses, I would guess that she is robust enough to deal with the angry buzzing sound and resulting swarm of bees every time she kicks this particular hive. I don’t really see a problem here.

  • Tony: I would be very admiring indeed if the French, who have most certainly turned street protest into an art form, ever protested because they were refusing to accept the excesses and predations of The Activist State, but alas nothing could be further from the truth.

    What the vast majority of French street protests are aimed at doing is not rolling back the state to give civil society and the economy room to breath but rather protecting the structures of the state which favour them, the factional protestors, at the expense of other competing political factions who are trying to protect their looting rights and keep enough space for their snouts at the trough.

    Forgive me if I find that less than admirable.

  • Bolie Williams IV

    Rather than ban smoking, I would like to see the stench a smoker generates be considered assault or a nuisance. When in public, I could respond accordingly when subjected to the smell. 🙂

    Oh, and I never used the health threats of second-hand smoke as the basis for my argument. It’s the smell. Cigarette smoke reeks and makes me cough.

    In short, smokers should be allowed to smoke, they should just have to contain their smoke, much like dog owners aren’t allowed to leave their dog poo everywhere.

    Bolie IV

  • Ian

    Bolie, behave!

    If I smoke but hate the smell of petrol fumes and the dirt I get on my clothes from having to negotiate traffic, what redress do I have against car-drivers? Actually, buses are far worse.

    Do you think the police have time to deal with this sort of thing?

  • Back in the days when I smoked, I had phrase for what I did with butts and ashes when outdoors or in public places: “The world is my ashtray.” Ha.

    Even though I have long ago quit, I find the current moralistic crusade against smoking (like the NYC smoking ban of “Nurse Bloomberg”) annoying. And I still love the smell of second-hand smoke. If I was still a NYC resident, I would vote not to re-elect that RINO (unless the alternative was worse, as it usually is there).

  • Tony H:
    The Eurostar waiters referred to above I’ve always found to be polite, friendly and efficient, not to be confused with Parisian waiters who, er, can have an attitude problem.

    Yes, that is precisely what I meant – if I want to be insulted by Parisian waiters I can hop on the Eurostar.. and go to Paris, duh! I didn’t even know there were waiters on Eurostar, perhaps don’t travel first or business class or something.

    I just can’t believe anyone would not get the reference to Eurostar as going to Paris. What other reason could one possibly have to be on the damn train?!

  • Liberty Belle

    Eric E Coe – Yes, and the dogs of France share your ex-attitude: “The world is my crapper.”

    Perry is correct: French protests are not for rolling back the state, but for the preservation of state-protected favoured treatment and privileges of the segment doing the protesting. Much of the time it is about the right to retire at 50 on a full pension, but not have to contribute the same as those in the private sector. In other words, to iron fence the state-protected favoured treatment of fonctionaires.

    Very Retired – Becky is more than welcome to her opinions and I don’t think any of us tries to prise her away from them, but she cannot make absurd statements without correction. Britain, because it is more free-enterprise oriented than any other EU country, because it has a friendlier (although becoming more hostile daily) tax regime and because the whole world can communicate in English (not French) Britain attracts more inward investment than the rest of the EU combined. This is a fact. I asked Becky for her sources and so far, she hasn’t come back with any.

  • Greystar

    Oh, the STATE is, is it?

    How many relatives has the state lost to this shit, hmm?

    Gimmie a break

  • Tony H

    Gabriel: tthere are plenty of good reasons for being on the Eurostar, not least the fact that it doesn’t just go to Paris, but to Brussels & Lille, from whence one can connect to many other places without traversing the Paris Metro/RER (or using Parisian taxis), such as the S. of France. It’s scheduled to connect to Cologne & Amsterdam (I think) too, soon. True, you only get waiter service first class, which I can’t always afford…
    Perry: you’re absolutely right about the French people’s addiction to the protection of the State, and their extreme bolshiness (!) when the State fails to deliver. I just admire their willingness to act, compared with the apathetic, glued-to-the-telly Brits – who, it has to be said, are at least as addicted to State handouts as the French…