Thursday, June 16, 2022

David Samuels and Edward Luttwak on Re-Nicotinization

From a Q&A ("Three Blind Kings") in Tablet:


Why do educated people believe in obvious stupidities like the crushing power of hybrid warfare in such a herdlike way? A big reason of course is class interest—they are getting rich off it. Now there is also the role of Twitter and other networked social platforms in reinforcing the dominance of the mass mind, and punishing dissenters from the consensus from which everyone else is making money.

A reason that is less well-explored, I believe, is the West’s war on nicotine. The massive brain outages we see throughout the West, and particularly in America, are in no small part due to the war on smoking, which both makes people smarter and kills them before they become senile.

Absolutely. One book I’ve never written, is “The Impact of the Arrival of Nicotine and the Scientific Revolution.” A big jump in intellectual achievement that took place among Europeans, all of whom smoked. The social history of nicotine begins with the sharpening of the brain. I stopped smoking long ago but still I miss it.

So what’s your solution?

Nicotine patches. You may not like it aesthetically, and I agree, but it actually does give your brain the fix that it needs. Take away my nicotine patches, and I am immediately 5-10 IQ points stupider, which I can’t afford.

Are you on them now?

Yeah. I’m permanently addicted to nicotine patches, which have the advantage of not causing a slow, painful death from lung cancer.

I have been thinking about that. An easy remedy for the stupidity of mankind is to go back to nicotine.
Re-Nicotinization: "An easy remedy for the stupidity of mankind is to go back to nicotine."


Viennacapitalist said...

Provocative Thesis!
However, I am not that sure as there are a lot of confounding variables to be considered.

1.) Worse food on average (less cooking, less micronutrients, etc.) even among the “elite”. Just think of the daily meal of a Manhattan Investment Banker. We know for certain that certain trace elements like iodine have a significant impact on IQ – I would be surprised if iodine were the only one.
2.) Sleep patterns: I doubt during the scientific revolution there were many people partying through the night. (Melatonin is produced around midnight hours)
3.) Less physical activity – no further comment needed - (mens sana…)
4.) Culture: sentimentality and feelings kill every sophisticated thought and discourse (just look at the current “debates” on Russia vs. Ukraine – Luttwack with a terrible performance, btw.). Dalrymple says it all and more in his books.
As for point 4.) want to add the Austrian writer (monarchist) Joseph Roth. Reading one of his books (“Radetzkymarsch”) on the life of a Habsburg civil servant family, which he describes in painstaking detail, I got the feeling that culture back then (a mere 150 years ago) was Japan squared: rules, etiquette, self-discipline, honor dominate all aspects of life.

CP said...

Here's a question:

Why is the government pro-cannabis and anti-nicotine?

Viennacapitalist said...

I would say that they are pro cannabis because they are trying to appeal to liberal journalists and the ruling post 68 complex - in Germany and Austria statistics show that 75 percent of journos are greens or liberals - I suppose it is similar in the New York Times. Greens love cannabis ( castaneda and magic mushrooms, that sort of stuff)
They just want to look cool and progressive, as simple as that...

Now they also have a dirigistic bent and public health is an article of faith- smoking causes cancer and hence it is really low hanging fruit to campain against smoking, also you are effectively campaining against the hated proles (smoking libs have no problem with this crusade, as they are ready to confess their sin in order to score points against their political enemy- leftism is about power).

Maybe there is another reason, however, I doubt they are aware of your postulated relationship (so far it remains a hypothesis, albeit an interesting one to study)...this type of broad based thinking which is requred to come to your conclusion is non existent among our ruling class (including 90 percent of academia)... heck these are people who sincerely believe that EVs are good for the environment!!!