I'd especially like to quote this long section from part 8, which describes how the Righteous operate.
The Righteous don’t get their way by rioting. They incite others to riot, where appropriate, and then calmly suggest means to control such behaviour. Usually by giving the rioters what they want. So if smokers riot, will we get our one smoking room per company back again? Of course not. We are not a Righteous-approved group.
The Righteous achieved the current state of the smoking ban, and will achieve its extension, by incremental means over a period of years. Start by the banning of smoking in one or two areas within an organisation. Extend until only a few areas, then one area, remains. Restrict the times at which smoking is allowed in that one area. Close it completely. Then repeat in other organisations. Then extend it to cover all public spaces. Then extend into private premises and finally into homes.
Non-smokers, and especially anti-smokers, will shrug and say ‘So what? It doesn’t apply to me.’
Well, consider this.
Start with a restriction on the age at which alcohol can be purchased. Add in ‘expert’ opinions on how much is safe to drink. Check ID at point of sale. Insist on increased prices to deter drinking. Raise the age limit. (Oh, they’ll try that again).
Once these start to bite, take steps to separate the drinkers from everyone else. Have a separate queue in the supermarket. Set the drinkers up to be objects of derision. That granny with her once-a-month bottle of sherry is in the same queue as the kilted madman with a trolley full of whisky. That makes her the same as him.
The smokers had to endure warnings posted on the cigarette packets. Not to warn them. The smokers ignored them. They were so that anyone else could see how the smoker cared nothing for the health of themselves or others. Cue passive smoking and evil, child-murdering smokers.
Drinkers will soon get those labels. Granny’s one bottle a month will be as deadly as Angus McFlatulent’s sixteen bottles a day. Soon you’ll have to buy your booze by queueing up at a special counter, like the smokers do.
Plus, as one of my esteemed colleagues has already pointed out, you will have to endure trite "cigarette-style health warnings about the dangers of alcohol for display in shops, bars and restaurants" and on the bottles themselves.
Or how about this:
Begin with health labels on food. ‘Suitable for vegetarians’ sounds harmless and informative. We soon grew accustomed to that. It provoked no objections. Why would it?
Add in calories, fat content, salt content. Move on to red-amber-green warning labels. Bring in Righteous experts to tell us how evil fatty foods are, how salty ready meals are, how cholesterol will harden our arteries until we can’t move, and so on.
If you work that right, soon you’ll be able to dictate to people exactly what they can and can’t eat, and they will accept it. The easiest place to start is school. Remove all salt and fat from school dinners (ignoring the detail that there is such a thing as salt deficiency). Remove any fast-food outlets from the surrounding area. The kids now eat what you tell them. They will get used to it, despite their initial resistance. Many will start to criticise their parents’ cooking. Too much fat and too much salt. Slowly, the parents will fall into line, especially when they see ads telling them that they risk diabetes if they deviate from state-sanctioned waist sizes. All from one little label. Good, innit?
Incremental actions pass unnoticed. Each step is a minor inconvenience in itself. Each step moves the bar forward. Each step elicits moans, but no real resistance. If the Righteous had tried a total ban on smoking or special queues for booze in the 1980’s, there would have been outrage and very possibly riots. How could we deny them that one non-smoking carriage on the train? It was only fair. When did it become a no-smoking train with only one smoking carriage? Does anyone remember the steps that led from one to the other? It was one step more, one increment, to remove that last smoking carriage. Imagine what the reaction would have been if they had done that in one move.
Now there are ads all over bus stops showing women with men, apparently happy and enjoying each other’s company (one shows newly-weds) with the slogan ‘This is not an invitation to rape me’. There is no indication that any of the men pictured intend any such thing. There is every indication that the women in those ads want to sleep with the man they’re with.
While five-year-olds learn about sex, any sex between adults is rape. Unless it’s been approved, with all the proper forms, and the Righteous signatures added. Children will learn, from an early age, to accept the State line on sex and to procreate or abstain on command with a State-approved partner.
Never happen? It’s not an increment?
Tell that to the folk who said ‘Okay, it’s only fair they should have one non-smoking carriage’.
He is, of course, quite correct about the way in which the Righteous operate: we are told that the slippery slope, salami-slicing argument is a logical fallacy, and yet we who have eyes to see have observed it in operation.
It is one of the reasons that I was so fucking livid at many of my commenters when I excoriated Boris for banning alcohol on public transport: I thought that those who read The Kitchen would understand that this would not be the end of the matter—that is was an issue of freedom and to remove that freedom was yet another slice of the salami removed.
As I said to the students of Cambridge last week, freedom means tolerating those things that you personally don't like, as well as those that you approve of. Or maybe you think that this ban is such a little thing and, because you have been taught that the slippery slope is a logical fallacy, you think that the little ban cannot possibly lead to a bigger or more restrictive ban. But it does.
Because, you see, once you give people the power to inflict their personal morality on others, they have no reason to stop. If one aspect of their personal morality is correct, then why not all of them? Slice, slice, slice that salami...
And one day, Mr Morality-Power will ban something that you like—or, rather, the ban that you supported on, say, smoking in pubs suddenly becomes a ban on you smoking in your own home if anyone is there with you, and then eventually a ban on your smoking in your own home at all—and by then it will be too late to wake up, realise what is happening and protest.