I’ll Miss The Vanilla Custard Most…
I never tire of watching video clips created with a scene from Der Untergang (2004), a German WWII drama that plays on the last ten days of Adolf Hitler’s life and apparent suicide in his underground bunker. An intense actor named Bruno Ganz portrays Hitler, and it is just amazing. I loved the movie, subtitled of course, and I was not at all surprised that it had become a meme* of gargantuan proportions. The scene lends itself to virtually every subject that can be taken to the extreme, often hitting the bull’s-eye better than most other pro and con arguments. Creative people, fed up with one thing or another, use the clip to represent their anger, annoyance, or sometimes, support of important issues of the day.
“I often wonder what the German people think about this. Do they find it funny or do they see it as bigotry in action?”
Though the hundreds of Untergang videos on YouTube do not surprise me, I am surprised that there are only a handful of videos based on e-cigarettes themes over the past 3 years. I may of have missed some, but running various searches turns up just a small handful.
Hitler and e-Cigarettes
The video below is timely, provocative, and spot on accurate, and is a recent addition to the Untergang collection. If you haven’t seen it yet, now’s the time, and if you’ve seen it a dozen times, like I have, watch it again…because this commentary depends on you knowing what the gist of the video is.
e-Cigarettes and the UK
This one is the newest, and funniest of the bunch. Not laugh out loud funny, but rather politically funny. What I get out of it is that there is a segment of the British population that are not as liberal-minded as I thought, and that personal liberties are just as important over “there” as we libertarians and conservations, and even some middle-of-the-road-liberal Americans believe it is over here.
Death of the Iron Lady – Let’s Take The Off Ramp For A Moment
When Margaret Thatcher died I read dozens of reports, tweets, posts, blogs, you name it, from people all over the UK who chanted things like “The Witch is Dead”, and spewed forth such hatred for the reign of Thatcher that you’d would have thought the Iron Lady was evil incarnate. Usually, such hatred is reserved for people like Hitler himself, not someone who believed to her core that socialism was a bad thing, that it made people weak, and who systematically tried to dismantle the quasi-socialist structures at every turn. Thatcher believed in the power of the individual, not the state, and believed that her tough medicine would make the citizens of the UK stronger, more independent, and wealthier.
Of course, this ‘knowledge’ of living under Thatcher only comes from reading, not actual experience, so I have no direct, first hand accounts of what truly went on, I could be completely wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time.
An Observation Is Made
I’ve made this observation for several years, to friends, co-workers, and family, and once they get over the shock of what I just said, they ultimately had to agree with me, based on what we saw. I would like to know what you think, especially our readers in the UK, so please feel free to post in the comments. Educate me, please.
The Poor Middle-Class
I love to watch British dramas and sitcoms, even Doctor Who. I loved the series called “Skins” (hated the MTV version) and the newest show I loved to watch was called “Him and Her”, starring “George” (Russell Tovey) from the UK “Being Human” Sci-Fi show. (The first 3 seasons killed, the last few seasons? Not so much. The Canadian version is better – Syfy Channel).
There was also a show I loved to watch a few years ago called “City Life” or something like that, maybe “City Lights”, but it lasted only 1 season. Others included “Life on Mars”, “Coupling”, and so forth. LOVE English Television… I know, “Get to the point!”
In any TV show, drama or comedy, that depicts normal everyday life in the UK, their living spaces, apartments, homes, etc., are more dilapidated than some of our (US) Section 8 (public housing) “projects.” Seriously, the conditions of standard dwellings they show on programs like ‘He and She” and “Life on Mars” to name just two, are horrible. Tiny apartments, desperately in disrepair, with peeling paint, broken windows, 25 year old refrigerators, and on and on. And no one seems to mind!
Invariably, I often think how these normal English citizens would react if they saw the apartments, condos, and houses that Americans take for granted. How they would feel if they visited such places and watched how Americans explode in anger if their 500-channel cable box goes down, or when the apartment manager doesn’t fix something that broke 30 minutes ago, or how it is unthinkable to even consider living in an apartment that was all of 300 square feet, much less how distasteful most of us think it is when we see walls that need a coat of paint. (Seriously)
Now, I realize I’m talking about a TV show or two, but I have spoken to many people in the UK over the years and while I have never asked them point blank if they are in any way envious of the way Americans live and how obsessive we are about cleanliness, I have asked if the portrayal of the apartments, furniture, and clothes that are depicted on such shows are accurate. I am always assured that they are…for the run-of-the-mill average blue-collar citizen that is. The normal “bloke” that lives with a “mate” or two, or for two young married people just starting out, or middle-aged union workers; I am told that this portrayal is exactly what it’s like.
The Rewards of the Nanny State?
This mindset of accepting a standard of living that most Americans would find appalling, even Americans on welfare, is the result, I believe, of quasi-socialism. Not the kind of socialism that scares people when they hear the word (the definitions of communism and socialism are so intertwined here in the US, though they are nothing alike), but rather the kind of socialism Obama wants to bring to the US. The kind of socialism where most of your earning are taken in taxes, that able-bodied people can “go on the dole” whenever they want, for as long as they want, (and get free cell phones too!) where the rich certainly do pay for the underclass of the lazy, uneducated and detached. All of this is the result of allowing our government to prevent anyone from going completely falling through the cracks. There should be a safety net in any civilized country, but it should be reserved for those that truly need it, not those that simply want it.
Isn’t This About e-Cigarettes and Untergang?
Yes, it absolutely is. If you read along with the Hitler meme subtitles directly below you get a the feeling that maybe a smaller government, a less intrusive government, a less cradle-to-grave government, might be what most Vapers in the UK would like to see. Nanny-State and United Kingdom are synonyms for God’s sake, so how can this be? And now that the UK government has spoken about e-Cigarettes and how they will be considered and regulated as “medicines” beginning in 2106, many people are now shouting out about how the government should stay out of their lives.
Now they want pushback?
All of this leaves many Americans feeling somewhat confused. I have already stated that I have no first hand account of what its like to live as a normal English citizen, so correct me if I’m wrong, I’m more than willing to learn.
It seems to me that the people in the UK kept accepting the government’s intrusion into their lives and now that they (the government) want to take away, or severely restrict, e-cigarettes, the citizenry begins shouting “No more nanny-state!” and “Big Government Sucks”.
Now? Over electronic cigarettes?
Just Say No
I might get in trouble for saying this, but if the United States federal government tried to restrict my usage of electronic cigarettes I’d do it anyway. There is no way to enforce such laws. They cannot ban propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and food flavoring concentrates and distilled water because they are used in hundreds of products. They cannot outlaw batteries, atomizers, cartomizers, or anything else. The very worst thing they can do is making it difficult for “cig-a-like” products to be sold in the US. That’s the worse thing they can do, and with Big Tobacco looking to get in the game now, politicians that support such nonsense would see their donations dwindle away. So that’s not going to happen.
Want to see an exponential growth in the deaths of Americans? Try to ban nicotine solution and see what measures people will take to extract nicotine on their own, with homegrown tobacco plants. Does the government want more blood on its hands?
If The US Mirrors The UK
If the FDA tries to imitate the recent announcement by the UK about making e-cigarettes available as medicines the only effect that will have on Vapers is to force them to go to ground. When faced with the choice of tobacco cigarettes at $10 a pack (and sickness and death) or homemade e-Liquids, what do you think we will do?
I guess what I’m saying is that if the people of the UK are serious, if they are tired of the government telling them what they can have and what they cannot have, then tell them to piss off. Do it anyway. Find a way, pushback, and pushback hard.
An Undeniable Act of Stupidity
Think about this for a minute. The government wants, demands, that the product that is proven to shorten lives, deliver cancer, heart disease, and more, be made available everywhere, but the product that has been proven (as much as possible) to be 1000 times safer than tobacco is being demonized. How can this be? Does anyone need more proof that the government of the UK is on the take? If Big Pharma isn’t buying them off then the only other reason has to be be their complete and utter stupidity. Can they truly be so incredibly stupid?
The Insanity of the Nanny State
In the US and the UK you can buy a pack of cigarettes just about anywhere. Any kid that is dumb enough to want to pick up the habit of smoking has easy access to cigarettes, easier access to them then they do condoms. Yet, keeping kids off e-Cigarettes is somehow a problem that must be addressed? Are you kidding me?
If you were raising a teenager would you rather see him or her come home with an eGo/Clearomizer or a pack of smokes? Would you rather see a bunch of kids hanging out on the corner vaping a VAMO and swigging down a bottle of water (dehydration remember) or smoking cigarettes and downing a 40oz? Can we be serious for a minute? Where the hell are the priorities?
Both the US and UK government force warning labels on the sides of cigarette packs and they think they’re making a difference. They do nothing to prevent kids from getting cigarettes, but they warn them. So why doesn’t the governments simply do the same thing with e-Cigarettes? You want a label on them? Fine, how about “Electronic Cigarettes are 1000 times safer than tobacco cigarettes. It contains nicotine. We’d rather not see you vaping. Not that it’s dangerous or anything, but it just looks bad.” I wouldn’t mind that, would you, if it meant that in every other way the governments would just back the hell away and keep its collective noses out of our business?
As a libertarian I have a natural inclination to be suspicious of the government, and in the e-cigarette ‘universe’ it turns out to be a well-founded suspicion. I felt this Thrill going up my leg’* when I saw the video below because it shows that not everyone in the UK believes in socialism, and that maybe not everyone despised what the Iron Lady wanted to do, and who at least tried to limit the governments reach. Maybe most of the Vapers in the UK are ready to declare; “It stops here”
In a world where Iran is rushing to build nukes, terrorists sit in wait for the next opportunity to cause mass destruction, North Korea has gone completely mad, and China owns everything, including the e-cigarettes we are fighting for… seeing ANY concern about e-cigarettes by the governments of the US and UK just causes me to shake my head and wonder how these clowns ever got elected in the first place.
This is madness.