Put This in Your Pipe and Smoke It

Declan Leary, Op/Ed Editor

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It’s no secret that the radical left hates men. That is, men who are men: men who fight and don’t back down, who listen to Lynyrd Skynyrd and Johnny Cash, who have never worn skinny jeans or drunk Starbucks or voted for anyone with the last name Clinton. Because of this hatred, the leftists have been fighting for years to take away the things that define us as men. They attack our guns, our families, our speech and the very concept of masculinity itself — which, they assure us, is nothing more than a restrictive and oppressive construct fabricated by the abusive patriarchy that dominates our society. Now, the militant left has come for another of the precious things we men hold most dear: our tobacco.

Call to mind the man against whom all men of the last century should be judged (challenged perhaps only by John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Richard Nixon and a few of mid-century American music’s manliest icons): Winston Churchill Winnie the Bulldog, the Last Lion, vanquisher of the Nazis, savior of the West, drinker of Johnnie Walker whisky and smoker of Cuban cigars.

In 1895, the ambitious son of one of England’s great families was commissioned into the British Army to pursue honor and glory in service of his country — as all great men not sworn to a peaceful life in the Church once did in a better time. The young soldier was sent to Cuba during the last of its three rebellious wars against the great Spanish Empire, and there gained a taste for the only thing that island has ever done right: cigars.

Churchill’s love of cigars endured throughout his life, and it is rumored that at his peak he smoked 10 maduros a day. It’s hard to picture the United Kingdom’s greatest Prime Minister not puffing on a stogie while going about his daily business of saving civilization. The inherently masculine symbol, which he always carried with him, became inseparable from the image he had crafted. And this image — of the strong leader of a strong nation — contributed in no small way, by encouraging the British and intimidating the Germans, to the tide of war’s turning in favor of the English and the Allies. This is, of course, an extreme simplification, but the fact of the matter is that World War II, like all wars but perhaps especially so, was a war of cultures, ideas and appearances just as much as it was a war of armies. Winston Churchill and the Anglo-American culture he represented, which had produced some of history’s greatest men both during this war and before, were undoubtedly Adolf Hitler’s greatest fears. Now, I’m not necessarily saying that Hitler would have won the war if Churchill had not  smoked, but, as a man of questionable character recently said on a flight headed for Rome, you can “make your own judgment.”

And if Winston Churchill, the reason we’re not speaking German right now, were alive today, the John Carroll University administration wouldn’t even let him smoke. One can’t help but wonder what quip the famously witty Churchill might have offered to some pompous career academic or university administrator who tried to rob him of his favorite indulgence.

We all know the official reasons given by the administration for the campus-wide tobacco ban: smoking  has some detrimental health effects, and those effects can be spread by secondhand smoke. But if this university decides to wage war on everything that might cause damage to its students, they’ll end up taking away everything that makes life fun. We don’t need them to take care of us. We don’t need them to tell us what to do. They’re here to teach us, not to police us. We’re all adults, no matter how much most American college students want to deny it.

There was a time when boys used to come here to become men. But the devolution of modern society has turned our men into women and our women into girls. It’s time to be men again, no matter how much John Carroll wants to stop us. Do not let them turn you into another neutered, kale-eating, metrosexual barista. Enjoy yourself and take a stand. Turn on some Ted Nugent and light one up. You’re going to die anyway.