David Warren on the deleterious effects (epistemological and physical) of not-smoking:
More widely disseminated medical literature has documented other risks of non-smoking, that include neurotic depression, violent irritability, and obscene weight gain. But these tend to be discounted because they lead to death only indirectly.
Likewise, indirect evidence for the dangers of not smoking comes from the 150th anniversary number of Atlantic magazine. P.J. O'Rourke points to (actual, serious) U.S. historical statistics showing that, in the period 1973-94, annual per capita consumption of cigarettes FELL from 4,148 to 2,493. In the same period, the incidence of lung and bronchial cancer ROSE from 42.5 to 57.1 cases per 100,000 population.
In the past I have flagged U.N. statistics showing that life expectancy was nicely proportional to tobacco consumption, internationally -- so that e.g. Japan and South Korea were respectively first and second in BOTH life expectancy AND tobacco consumption. Whereas, the lowest tobacco consumption was in “basketcase” Third World countries, where we also found some of the shortest life expectancies.
I think we could also find historical statistics showing that there is a reliable, worldwide relationship between rising tobacco consumption, and rising life expectancy, nation by nation, throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
As Al Gore likes to say, "the science is irrefutable."
The weakness in that last statement being, that there is no such thing as irrefutable science. There is nothing in the whole history of science, including physiology and meteorology, that is not tentative. And while, in astronomy, I remain convinced that the earth revolves around the sun, I would not put all my money even on that proposition, but, given attractively long odds, reserve a penny bet on the sun going round the earth.
There is one more hypothesis with which I would like to leave my reader today. It is that the kind of quack “science” that was used to ban smoking has now mutated into the kind that is used to flog global warming. It should have been resisted then; it should certainly be resisted now.
"The levelling demands of a generous democratic inspiration have been changed from aspirations and ideals into appetites and unconscious assumptions."
- José Ortega Y Gasset
"Strange to think of you, strange now to hear your voices through the ether coming from a world so long since barred to us! I miss you, miss you even though you were opponents of mine and politically on the other side - oh, believe me, finally it is the lack of all opposition and any dissension whatsoever, and the deadly monotony that results that makes life here so unbearable."
- Friedrich Percyval Reck- Malleczewen
"It is only the sentimentalist who imagines that the profundity of a person's response to tragedy is proportional to the length, volume or shrillness of his lamentation."
- Theodore Dalrymple
"Real freedom, concrete freedom, the freedom that can actually be defined, claimed, and granted, was not the opposite of obedience but its other side. The abstract, unreal freedom of the liberal intellect was really nothing more than childish disobedience, amplified into anarchy."
- Roger Scruton
"A spirit of innovation is generally the result of a selfish temper, and confined views. People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors. Besides ... the idea of inheritance furnishes a sure principle of transmission; without at all excluding a principle of improvement. It leaves acquisition free; but it secures what it acquires."
- Edmund Burke
"The current muddle between subjectivism about morals and dogmatism about rights, for example, merely conceals the semantic changes by which the moral is being transposed into the manipulable, leading to a gullible acquiescence in the projects of governments."
- Kenneth Minogue
"In Toronto, it appears, one may leer desirously at underdressed girls, or gape at them with the costive expression of one who considers Nudity and Art to be synonymous terms, but one must not laugh."
- Samuel Marchbanks
"Regicide, and parricide, and sacrilege, are but fictions of superstition, corrupting jurisprudence by destroying its simplicity."