We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

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

“Choose freedom?” That would be nice.

Random link-chasing brought me here. “Leg-iron” writes:

I have a pack of tobacco with no hideous picture. Instead it has a phone number and the words:

Choose freedom. We’ll help you get help to stop smoking.

Freedom? Really? That would be nice. I don’t have the freedom to smoke in a bar, at a bus stop, bus station or on the open platform of a railway station.

There is more, please do read it. I should explain for foreign readers that British cigarette packets must by law bear an anti-smoking slogan such as “smoking kills” or “smoking causes impotence” and often, these days, a repulsive picture showing the bad consequences of smoking. I do not smoke so I do not often need to look at these pictures, but nothing about their appearance repels me as much as the fact that our laws force people to publish material designed to humiliate themselves. Truly, that does repel me. I neither like nor dislike cigarette manufacturers or those who work for them as a category, but when I imagine whichever bureaucrat thinks up these rotating slogans sneeringly transmitting the latest one to some servile flack in a cigarette company along with orders to start the print run – then I feel a faint echo of the shame someone living in Mao’s China must have felt at the sight of a wretch bearing a placard saying “I am an enemy of the people.”

I scrolled down Leg-iron’s blog and found another good post on the same topic:

On the first one I bought was one of those pictures that are supposed to terrify us into stopping smoking. This one shows a pair of eighty-year-old hands with the slogan ‘Smoking causes ageing of the skin’.

Interesting. I was under the impression that ageing was the main cause of ageing of the skin.

After ruminating on the lameness of these propaganda efforts, Leg-iron writes that it is almost

…as if ASH have realised that, should we all give up smoking, they’d have nobody left to torment and they’d all be out of a job.

ASH refers to a body called “Action on Smoking and Health.” It is a fake charity – in fact, I learn, it is the original fake charity – receiving just 2% of its money from voluntary contributions. The rest of its money is paid to it by the government. It exists in order to allow the government (I should say “the State” since it has been the tool of several successive governments of both major parties) to pretend that when enacting new forms of repression it is merely responding to popular demand; in other words, it pretends to be servant the better to be master. There are many such. Some call themselves charities, others “NGOs”. As the EU Serf asked years ago, “I always thought that NGO meant Non Governmental Organisation. How come any of them get money from the state?” Some are funded by the British government, some by the European Union, although trying to to establish the extent, if any, to which the former category is not a subset of the latter, would not be a good use of anyone’s time.

Devil’s Kitchen is sick of fake charities. He has put forward a modest proposal, and has registered the domain name http://fakecharities.org/ in order to put it into practice. His co-blogger, “The Filthy Smoker” wrote about the staggering dishonesty and corruption that the existence of these shills brought to a Department of Health “consultation process” here.

All these lies and deceptions spread out and reinforce each other – until we come to a stage where someone can force someone else to publish the words “choose freedom” and feel no shame.

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10 comments to “Choose freedom?” That would be nice.

  • RAB

    Freedom?
    That’s a fuckin laugh!

    Look what happened here!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_(cigarette)

    You must be PC, pious, sanctimonious and yadda da yadda.
    But if you are perceived to be taking the piss…

  • BN

    My workplace parking garage cannot manage to clear the ice and snow to protect us from falling, but has the nerve to proclaim a rule that parkers are not permitted to smoke inside their cars. (I’m not a smoker, but this drives me crazy.)

  • Kevin B

    As a smoker, I can honestly say that I never notice the words and pictures on the packet, however the government anti-smoking ads on the telly do cause me a bit of a twinge.

    It’s the same twinge I get when watching the Car Tax ads and the telly tax ads, (“We know where you live, sunshine!”).

    You know, that twinge you get when you remember;

    “Those bastards are stealing my money to pay for that crap!”

  • RAB

    What fools these moralisers be…

    I actually like some of the pictures.
    I had one on my packet the other day, of a bloke on a mortuary slab.
    Trouble was he looked like he was in the sauna and waiting for a stimulating massage!

    Go ahead, knock yourselves out, I’m scared shitless as you can see!

  • I’m also sickened by the gruesome pictures of rotten teeth and decayed gums.

    Did I mention that I’m Australian ?

    Yes, you guessed it, as is often the case, our moralisers copied the British example.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Natalie, I take you remember “Death Cigarettes”, which used to have a skull and crossbones logo on the front as a deliberate, fuck-the-nanny staters marketing ploy. I think the sellers got the idea from a comedy routine by Bill Hicks or Dennis Leary.

  • Sunfish

    It was Denis Leary.

    “They want the whole front of the pack to be the warning. They want a skull and a crossbones on the front of the pack, and call them Tumors! I bet you get a tumor as soon as you light them up! Smokers will be lining up around the block to get them!”

    Not that I listened to No Cure for Cancer all the time back when I smoked or anything like that…

  • RAB

    I dont think people read my posts anymore, sob!

    Did you click on the link on my first post Johnathan? 😉

  • RAB: it didn’t work when you first posted it, but it did now. Good one!

  • I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this issue. One of our members made an interesting post about how smokers in general are helping the anti-tobacco lobby by dividing ourselves and making it easier to defeat us. The post is titled, “Divided We Fall: The Self Segregation of Smokers”. You can read it here: http://pipesmagazine.com/python/pipe-news/divided-we-fall-the-self-segregation-of-smokers/