Tuesday 25 August 2015

The reverse paranoia of 'public health'

Via Clive Bates on Twitter, I see that Simon Capewell has written an article about 'internet trolls' for his newsletter. I don't follow Capewell on Twitter but I do occasionally see his green ink tweets and, weirdly, he sometimes retweets things I say ironically thinking that I'm being serious.

In recent months the UK Faculty of Public Health, of which Capewell is the president, has called for a ban on vaping in indoor places and a tax on sugar. As you might expect, this has not gone down well with a large section of the public. Some members of the public have told him so on Twitter and that makes them industry-funded trolls in the fantasy world of Public Health (Capewell uses the term 'Big Tobacco' three times in his short article, despite the fact that 'Big Tobacco' has no reason to care about sugar taxes and might be positively upbeat about vaping bans).
He writes...
...trolls usefully provide the "scream factor"; a graphic term coined by Mike Daube. Hence the stridency and volume of protest increases with the potential effectiveness of the proposed intervention (and therefore the feared reduction in consumption and industry profits). My colleagues thus knew they were succeeding when their respective proposals for tobacco control and sugar taxation elicited death threats...

There is no way of saying 'no' to these people is there? If you say yes, it encourages them. If you say no, it encourages them. And if you scream 'no' they know they're succeeding. You wouldn't want to go on a date with one of them, would you?

It strikes me that Capewell and his ilk are suffering from a sort of reverse persecution complex. Whereas a paranoid man is surrounded by people who like him but is nonetheless terrified that they secretly hate him and are in a conspiracy against him, the 'public health' zealot is convinced that people secretly like him and are only pretending to hate him because of some sort of conspiracy.

Just as nothing can build up the confidence of a man suffering from paranoia, nothing can shake the confidence of a self-righteous prig.

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