Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Personal demons and personal liberty

A number of people have pointed out in the comments of the last post that they came for cigarettes, now booze, and then it'll be the overweight. However, as we all know, the campaign against the overweight has already started.

There is a familiar pattern that is followed: first the advertising for the category is restricted. Then there comes the warning signs on the products, then there comes the "change of social attitudes" and then comes the ban. In amongst all of this, of course, there may or may not be talks about restricting NHS treatment.

Think about smoking; TV adverts have, of course, been banned for many years but one of NuLabour's first acts was to ban tobacco advertising completely (apart from as pertaining to Bernie Ecclestone's projects, netch'relly). Then there was the increase in the size of warnings on packets, and then there was an increase in the "social stigma" and then finally the ban.

Now drinking: restrictions on advertising, talks about warnings on bottles and in pubs and how they want to "socially stgmatise" being drunk.

Fatty foods? Well, we've already had the social stigma assault and the talks about banning fast food advertising, and we already have "warnings" on food.

All of these trends follow a very clear pattern of attack, and they are all wholly illiberal. I find it really rather worrying.

And where are the Tories—the supposed party of individual freedom? Why has Cameron not been all over the press, denouncing these measures as being the authoritarian, social-conditioning crap that they actually are? Who will stand up for personal liberty in this country, for the individual's right to choose their own course in life?

And answer came there none...

Because here's the trick: if you say that the government has responsibility over what an individual drinks, etc. when they cause no harm to others, then you are saying that the individual's control of their body is secondary to the state's claim on that same body.

And when an entity has more control over a human than that human does themselves... well... we have a word for that: slavery.

6 comments:

Mark Wadsworth said...

It's better than that, Nulab subscribe to the Kraft Durch Freude ideal of well-toned slimness, so they are simultaneously "combatting"* fatties AND size-zero people.

* "combatting" is Newspeak for stigmatising something without any clue as to how to actually deal with, help, cure or even decide whether there's any problem in the first place.

mitch said...

I find the way they are doing it very worrying its little things but all the time pressure always on and where is the oposition? any oposition, fukin nowhere.We are being turned into drones and noone cares but you and me and a few other cynical fuckers.

Dr Ray said...

Smoking and drinking have been known to be harmful for generations so why the sudden need to ban them?
The answer is that in the past your average working class wage earner spent almost all his disposable income on booze and fags (not much else to spend it on in the 50/60s) so HMG not only taxed the poor bar steward wages but got a second bite at what was left. Furthermore there was no effective treatment for lung cancer or liver disease. 20 years ago doctors would examine the patient and do a chest x-ray and that was it. I remember sending patients home to die with no investigation or treatment at all-not because I was callous-this was how it was. These diseases struck people down in their 60s at the end of economic activity and HMG thus saved on their pensions too.
Now booze and fags can be imported so the amount that can be raised in duty has decreased. Now when people do become ill with liver failure or lung disease they cost vast amounts to investigate and treat and we are on the treshhold of having very expensive new treatments available that the NHS simply won't be able to afford. The better the treatment the more people will survive to draw a pension and such people are unlikely to remain economically active beyond retirement age which HMG needs due to decreasing birth rate.
So, I think HMG do have a role in controlling the use of fags and booze because the population will expect to be treated for the effects of these and as a taxpayer I expect HMG to safeguard the money I entrust to it. On the other hand I see no place for the hypocrisy. It is not being done for the smokers and drinkers-HMG didn't give a sh!t before when these people crawled off to die cheaply and quietly after a lifetime of paying tax and duty. The antismoking and antidrink advice is to save spending on the NHS and elderly - not unreasonable if it means tax money can be spent on a jolly good war.

Roger Thornhill said...

I have noticed this too. Another example came with the call for "opt out" organ donation which I commented on earlier. To me this is the "we own your ass unless otherwise stated" Napoleonic mindset which is totally the opposite of English Common Law.

The State is trying to exercise what considers its "property rights" just as sneakily as the Islamists are trying to weedle in their so-called legal superiority.

Good: Consitent labelling, weights, measures, quality.
Bad: Control. Limitations. Rationing. Price fixing.


Who said the "European Cup" didn't always end in penalties?

DumbJon said...

Cameron ? Not only not speaking out, but claiming it doesn't go far enough. Remember his mock outrage over the fact you couldn't buy oranges at a stationers and the plan to issue fatty permits ?

Umbongo said...

"And where are the Tories—the supposed party of individual freedom?"

The answer to your question was provided by the Fink in the Times today. Among a lot of other SDP crap (after all wasn't he a loyal member of the SDP until he joined the "Conservatives" which was either a very bad career move or world-class entryism) he opines that " [the Conservative Party] has to compromise many of its long-held opinions in order to get some new people, people who are uncomfortable with existing Tory policy. ."