Mrs Treasure started smoking the other week, after four years off the weed. She has now put herself into a category of people who face mild but widespread and systematic discrimination on a daily basis. This discrimination doesn’t come from below. People have been historically tolerant, by and large, of smoking, until this tolerance was eroded by the steady drumbeat of anti-smoking agitation. And this has had to be orchestrated from above, by the government, with the support of the medical profession and with the collaboration of public and private institutions. Those doing the discrimination say that it’s the habit that they’re discriminating against. But habits don’t smoke. People smoke, and it’s impossible to discriminate against one without discriminating against the other.
I suppose it’s an obvious point, but despite the official public hostility to discrimination on various grounds, there’s no hostility to discrimination as such. You can choose to endure it any time you want. Just go ahead and spark up.
This may have something to do with why she started. It occurred to her after work one day that she didn’t have a bad habit. She doesn’t drink or take drugs. She tries to eat well. And she gets up in the morning ands goes to work. She’s rewarded for her work with wages, but there’s nothing in that to indicate that she’s anything more than a collection of useful functions. In short, she didn’t have a vice, and someone without a vice is basically a servant because everything they do is such as makes them useful to others. Want to make life hard for me because of a failure of servility? Well that makes the first drag of the day all the more satisfying.
Having a smoker’s liberation front sounds like hyperbole, but there’s a basic truth behind the idea. People of Britain, light up and live.