I will choose a path that’s clear

In today’s Guardian David Hockney presents a lucid argument in defence of smoking. While I’m not a smoker, I am something else equally frowned upon by many – a biker.

I’ll leave the philosophical arguments around free will to someone who managed to sit through more than one philosophy lecture before switching to Scottish History – but I did like this paragraph:-

“Deborah Arnott, with her cold abstractions of statistics, says “half of all smokers will die from their addiction”, but as we know the other half will die of something else (she’s not offering immortality), most people laugh or shrug their shoulders.”

Some bikers will be killed on the road. The rest of us will die of something else. Statistics and scare stories won’t persuade me to exchange the freedom to roll open the throttle and ride away from the cares of the 9 to 5 for the safety of staying at home.



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5 responses to “I will choose a path that’s clear

  1. I know someone who's got Lung Cancer – interestingly, one of the 'helpful' leaflets she was given on diagnosis, included the line “… 60-70% of people with Lung Cancer don't get it from smoking…” – almost contrary to the warnings on cigarette packs?

  2. Rob

    To live life, to feel excitement, to fall in love, to try some thing that no others have ever tried, to fight for ones beliefs, all involve Risk. I am not condoning smoking but without risk one can not really live.

  3. You could go all retro and ride a sporty 2 stroke!

  4. I don't quite buy the 'we've all got to die of something' argument. After all, you wouldn't use that to justify Russian Roulette, unless you were already suicidal. But risk is a part of everyday life – any activity at all involves risk of some kind. Your progress through life from a babe in arms to (hopefully) a fulfilled old age involves learning how to balance risk against reward, to know which risks are unacceptable and which can be minimised and accepted.

    To me, biking exemplifies this. The rewards are huge and, to me, the risks can be controlled to the extent that I am willing to ride and take my chances.

    When I used to smoke, I paid no attention to the 'risks' of getting cancer. What made me stop was the *certainty* of damage to my health from the non-cancery bits.

    To me, people should be free to smoke if they wish, as long as I don't have to breathe it in. But the problem with socialised medicine is that once person A is paying for the treatment of person B, person A feels as if they can tell person B how to live their life. I'd like to say 'as long as I don't have to pay for it' too, but I recognise that some people would say the same about biking.

  5. Hi HL,

    I smoke (just started again)and ride a bike, its a comfort to know that I am now unlikely to die of the dreaded ''Something else''lol..



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