The Tyranny of Consensus

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Say you find yourself in a large indian tent on the American plains circa 1880 and everyone is sitting around a large fire, passing a pipe from one to another… When it gets to you, would you point and deride the people for passing on their vile fumes?

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I know it’s a silly question, but I think complaining about a bit of cigarette smoke is a comfortable 21st century prejudice that would be incomprehensible in any other era. It would not only be laughed at, but seen as a childish concern.

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Sure people always have preferences (my own preference is not to be around smoke if I can help it) but I find anti-smokers (as opposed to non-smokers) take things a bit far. Their views and opinions have an unassailable militant edge. They are the only allowable voice on the topic and their message is one of hate. In short, they are bullies. Whether they know it or not.

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Leaving smoke aside for a little while, I’ve been in the company of people (mostly women) whose noxious perfume, etc. have caused me to almost collapse. Literally.

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If enough people were with me and we got a good campaign going I dare say I could point at such a lady in a crowd and deride her choice and application of toiletry products. And I would be applauded. And she should race home immediately and scrub herself down. And the contrary view would not be tolerated.

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But I wouldn’t like to do such a thing. I’m happy to stay away from smelly people (of any kind) whenever I can and to suffer in silence when it’s my ill-luck to be near them. If I worked near one I’d have to say something eventually, but that’s a separate and isolated matter.

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Similarly, I find people who kick up a fuss about doggie doo-doo to be equally angry and chipped individuals. Concrete paving and expensive, stylised footwear are an affront to nature. Excrement is not. I wouldn’t like to step in it every day, but that would be my problem, not the poor dog’s.

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Ideally dogs should be trained to dump in by walls and lamp-posts where possible, but the whole notion of ranting and raving about excrement is the mindset of imbeciles.

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I’m in the minority on this, I know, but that’s OK. My point is less about my personal opinion, than how opinions and prejudices become curiously militant and segregating once they are shared by a majority of vocal assayers. People who perhaps suffered in silence for many years suddenly rise up with an incongruous anger and scream foul at the perpetrator once their view is in the ascendant, seeking to destroy any vestige of the “foul deed” from sight and mind. In the process, I believe such people are as “wrong” as the crime they are fighting against -whether I agree with their cause or not.

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In short, live and let live. 🙂

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…And I don’t own a dog either. Never have. To date. Mainly because

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a) I hate the smell of dogfood. It makes me sick.

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and

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b) I’m not going to walk behind it with a bag in my hand, eagerly awaiting a donation.

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and

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c) There is almost nowhere left for dogs to run free. Thankfully we have  a garden, but outside that I’d have to suffer the tyranny of concensus that dictates dogs –ALL dogs- should be tied up.

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To that view, I say pooh pooh!

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