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Sunday, 20 May 2012

Out of Sight Out of Mind

I suspect that most of you have already seen Jamie Whyte's opinion piece in City A.M. that draws a wonderfully apt analogy between burqas or niqabs and plain packs.  The final paragraph truly says it all (emphasis added):

Those self-appointed carers for the British people, who would protect us by dictating what we may see, really are no better than the religious police of Saudi Arabia. They conflate what is good for other people with how those other people would live if they shared the carers’ preferences. People possessed of such moral arrogance find it easy to believe they are helping us by depriving us of liberties.

How can you tell that Whyte's analogy is spot-on?  Because Simon Fucking Chapman, our Root of All Evil, felt obligated to comment on it.  He could have ignored it. He should have ignored it if he were wise.  But his over-inflated ego, sense of self-importance, and his desire to be the pettiest, most despicable and hateful man on the planet could not bear the thought of letting it go unchallenged, albeit very weakly.  Of course, he has no real argument to make against it, because it's all true. Merely this sad little tweet, which is what you always see or hear from the haters when they have no argument:

The old adage "Out of sight, out of mind" is tobacco control's mantra of choice. They truly believe that if you hide something away, people won't think about it.  We know this is fallacious prima facie. Just like, as Mr Whyte points out, some people believe that women cannot tempt men if they are completely covered up, which often leads to increased desire for the opposite sex.  Or perhaps like keeping drugs, both illegal and prescription drugs out of sight and within locked cabinets do nothing to stop demand. Strange that, eh?  Regardless of how you view burqas and niqabs, whether they are symbols of oppression and hate against women, or just a garment that people can wear if they choose to for religious or any other reasons, there are some who would use the burqa and niqab to control people, certainly.  On the other hand:

Wow! Very nice! ! !  Image via
My only opinion on the matter is that I think that all people should be free to wear whatever they like. If you want to wear something, for any reason, then do. If you don't, then don't. Why do humans feel the need to control every aspect of others' lives, down to the very clothes we wear?  I also feel this way about dress codes at workplaces.  Does wearing a suit really make any difference, or is it just a social uniform, a means of conformity and class identity, a means of control to equalise everyone?  If we all look the same, then we can only be judged on our merits and work. Yeah?  Maybe. Every culture has a different viewpoint. The trick lies in respecting other people's rights to do whatever the hell they want to do and to not be an arrogant moral busybody inflicting your beliefs on others. I personally believe that individuality is a beautiful thing.  Likewise, I feel the same about plain packs. We do not need to have cigarette packs all dressed up the same way.  It is wrong on every level, and those who would support plain packs as a means to control children's behaviour are going to be very sorry when their kids grow up to be incompetent morons incapable of making logical, reasoned decisions for themselves. 

There is another saying that I remember an old girlfriend once telling me when I was in the military and about to go away for many months:  "Absence makes the heart grow fonder."  This is certainly true many times. We tend to miss those things we no longer have, and sometimes regret we have lost them.

I would wager we will regret the end result of plain packs should the nannies succeed in its implementation. It's potential for harm and abuse, as well the slippery slope into other products, is enormous.