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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Okay, I laughed

But it was very, very wrong of me to do so:

A British commuter was thrown on to a railway line after she told two youths to stop smoking on a station platform on Wednesday. The woman, whose identity is not known, suffered burns and a suspected broken collar bone and was taken to the hospital after the incident, at Farningham Road station in Kent during the rush hour shortly after 7a.m.

This is amusing for several reasons. First, despite not being a smoker myself, I loathe all anti-smoking puritans. I'm not saying these busybodies all deserve to die, but the obnoxious way they often confront smokers makes me want to punch them in the face. I can't imagine how the smokers themselves must feel. Second, it's such a completely absurd escalation of the situation. Nine times out of ten, a polite "would you mind not doing that, please" will be well-received by most people; if a person doesn't accede to such a reasonable request, it's not very wise to press further. You're making a request, not a demand, after all. If, on the other hand, you're actually making a demand, then you'd best have the means to back it up.

Third, given how I suspect the situation developed, it's a cogent illustration of the impotence of female reliance upon the law. I suspect we're going to be seeing more and more of this behavior as it becomes eminently clear to younger men that the law is becoming ever more hostile to their sex. One can just picture the woman imperiously making her righteous demand of the two young thugs in the full confidence that the law is not only on her side, but protecting her, then finding herself sailing through the air as her position and her misplaced confidence are met with a speedy and forceful rebuttal. In these decadent overlawyered days, many of us have forgotten that the law is little more than a mirage of mutual consent; as that consent is withdrawn by more individuals, the essentially immaterial nature of the law becomes increasingly apparent to everyone.

Fourth and finally, it is such a perfect example of the progression from a once-civilized equalitarian society into the feral society of the future. The equalitarian society capable of conceiving and constructing a world that removes from the individual the ability to decide what substances he is allowed to put in his own mouth is precisely the sort of society that is very likely to produce barbarians of the sort that were smoking on the platform in open defiance of that dictate.

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