- 28 Apr 14
Moral cruasaders are peering into every nook and cranny of our lives. Maybe it's time society started to push back against the all-seeing nanny state.
Zeal is a “fervour for a person, cause or object; eager desire or endeavour; enthusiastic diligence; ardour”. It is, on the whole, regarded positively. But add two letters and everything changes. A zealot is “a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals”. Synonyms for zealot include fanatic, enthusiast, extremist, radical, diehard, activist and militant.
This consideration was prompted by a recent conversation with an individual working at a senior level in pharmaceuticals. He mentioned a meeting where a senior official in the Department of Health talked about banning cigarettes in all public spaces as well as any building where there are children, and banning smoking completely for people born after a certain date. The objective, it seems, would be to make Ireland the first smoker-free country in the world.
Now, if this is the kind of thinking that goes on at senior policy levels, we’re in cloud-cuckoo land. One fully supports the intent to reduce smoking – but this is idealistic fantasy divorced from any semblance of reality. It’s fanaticism. It’s zealotry. It is expressive of a kind of faith, not reason.