Does ‘Denormalisation’ Actually Work?

From Dick Puddlecote:

Labour MSP Confirms It Wasn’t About Bar Staff

You may not have heard of Ken Macintosh – not surprising because even Ed Miliband struggles to remember him – but he made quite a revelation in the Scottish Parliament yesterday.

I cannot speak for other members, but my main motivation in voting for and supporting the ban on smoking in public places in Scotland was that it would help us to denormalise smoking, so that we would no longer see people smoking in our pubs or cafes or in most other workaday or social situations, and so that we and our children would no longer see smoking as a normal activity. I believe that the ban has been successful in doing exactly that …

Now, we jewel robbers have always known that the smoking ban was installed on the back of lies and deceit, but it’s nice to see it officially recorded.

I’m not particularly surprised at this. But it did raise a question that seems to me to be always floating around on the edge of this business.

And the question is: Is it really possible for governments to denormalise cultural activities like smoking?

The reason I ask is because it seems to me that a social culture is something that grows out of the interaction of hundreds and thousands and millions of individual people over time. Culture grows from the bottom up, rather than from the top down.

I sometimes think that, culturally, I’m the sum of everybody I’ve ever met, or ever encountered.  Things rub off on me. If I think of myself as English, it’s because for most of my life I’ve been surrounded by English people, and their Englishness rubbed off on me. And if I’m a residual Roman Catholic, it’s because that rubbed off too. And if I was once a bit left wing, it was because the university I attended was, like most universities, rather left wing. And if I smoked pot, it was because my friends were smoking it. And if I smoked cigarettes, it was because my friends were smoking them too. And if I got a bit drunk now and then, it was because my friends got a bit drunk now and then too. And if I got to like Leonard Cohen or Fleetwood Mac or Roxy Music or any other band you care to mention, it was because they’d come round with one of their albums and put them on the turntable and say, “You must hear this!” And if I had a turntable that could play vinyl disks, it was because everyone had one. And so on.

And apart from that, there are all the books I’ve read. And all the movies I’ve watched. And all the TV I’ve seen, and the radio I’ve listened to. And the places I’ve been, and the things I’ve seen. And still more beside.

These are all the uncountable eddies and ripples and cross-currents and tides which make up the cultural influences that are continually acting upon everyone. And they come from all directions, and sometimes with surprising force. And they act differently on different people.

And, in my experience, the cultural influence of government amounts to about 0.1% of the total. It has hardly any cultural effect at all.

So what makes governments think that they can change or re-define culture? Because to me it just looks like pissing in the wind. It’ll just blow back over them.

What governments can do, of course, is to make some activities illegal. And that changes behaviour. But it doesn’t change the underlying culture. It just creates a new obstruction for people to get around, like a pothole in a road. The law is like a concrete mole that creates a haven against the sea beyond, but which doesn’t change the behaviour of the sea, which remains as unruly as ever. And, unless the obstruction is kept in good repair, the powerful and anarchical sea will eventually breach it.

And it’s unruly culture that defines what is ‘normal’ and what isn’t. This Ken Macintosh seems to think that banning smoking in pubs and restaurants and workplaces has ‘denormalised’ smoking. But it hasn’t done that at all. Smoking is as culturally normal as it ever was. It’s just that people don’t do it in pubs and restaurants and workplaces any more, because it’s illegal to do so – not because the culture has changed. Take away the obstruction of the law, and it’ll soon be back.

Back in the 1960s, when cannabis and other drugs started appearing in Britain, the government cracked down hard with tough laws and thousands of arrests of drug dealers. They were trying to ‘denormalise’ the drugs. But it didn’t work, and within a decade or two, the drugs were endemic throughout Britain, and a normal part of the culture. And the war on drugs was quietly reined back.

So why does Ken Macintosh think that the smoking ban has changed the culture, and denormalised smoking, when similar legal sanctions failed to denormalise pot smoking 50 years ago? It’s probably because, as an MSP, he’s part of government, and so is naturally inclined to have greater faith in the effectiveness of government programmes than most people do. But that’s really just wishful thinking.

Nevertheless, governments seem to want to press on and ‘denormalise’ not just tobacco, but all sorts of other things. Alcohol. Meat. Sugar. Salt. And they’re not going to be any more successful with them either. Because they are also embedded in the culture, and part of normal, everyday life. It’ll be no more successful than building an Atlantic Wall all around the coast of Britain to keep out the unruly ocean, and make the coastline storm-free and child-paddling-friendly. It’ll seem to work for a while, but then the Wall will be breached first here and then there, and then a whole 100 mile stretch of it will be washed away in some great storm. And it will come to be seen to be a prohibitively expensive and futile measure that should never have been undertaken in the first place.

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88 Responses to Does ‘Denormalisation’ Actually Work?

  1. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Denormalization and its coming str8 from the Obama Administration and his Cronies

    Don’t want to stop smoking, ma’am? Well, there are plenty of others eager to take your place in public housing and they are not puffing away their health.

    That, put a little coldly, is part of the reality within the new non-smoking rule for publicly owned units, including common areas.

    “A great opportunity exists here for Kansas City. What happens next could become a national model. The federal government is pushing for housing authorities to go smoke-free, largely for health reasons. It makes sense, especially given that half of the local residents are children who suffer under secondhand smoke.”


    Read more here:

    • Harleyrider1978 says:

      Tony Sciolaro · Top Commenter

      I don’t have any problem with a person smoking and killing their self, BUT I don’t think they have a right to take me with them. Making me inhale their second hand smoke. I have a right too. If you want to smoke and go outside and do it that is fine with me. I guess it all boils down to who is paying off who. You can’t smoke in a Bar, you can’t smoke in a Restaurant, you can’t smoke in a State of Federal Building, BUT you CAN smoke in a Casino. Now what is the difference in the Air inside a Casino that is different than a Bar, Restaurant, or Office Building ??

      Gary Hoffman · Top Commenter

      I hope it makes you feel safer to know that the biggest and longest studies have concluded that there is no statistically supportable connection between non-chronic exposure to environmental tobacco smoke by a normally healthy person and heart or lung diseases, or cancer.

  2. Frank, you ask, “Is it really possible for governments to denormalise cultural activities like smoking?”

    and I’d have to disagree with your answer, at least partially. BY ITSELF the gvt may not be able to do it, BUT, if there’s enough money floating around for the activists to be able to their part in the world of the media, it can combine with the governmental effort to produce a devastating effect.

    See this video clip of a typical late night talk show of 35 years ago and skip to the halfway point where you’ll see two of the three guests AND the host all smoking as a regular part of the show:

    Contrast that to the last five years or so where I believe the total extent of ANY public “smoking” on ANY of those shows has consisted of two or three scandalous moments when a guest pulled out an e-cig!

    Then see the media strategy guidebook at:

    Click to access Stqs32f00.pdf

    and, for newer readers, the “con game” strategy used and admitted in the UK:

    Click to access SmokefreeLegislationinEngland.pdf

    and the pulling in of the innocent bystanders to support the Anti camp through fear:

    Click to access Guide1a_SecondhandSmoke.pdf

    Take those as a base, and THEN supplement them with government power by creating ban laws that make it *uncomfortable* or *difficult* to relax and smoke (thereby reducing the positive pleasure aspect of smoking) and taxations (that increase the “pain” of smoking) ….

    ….. and you’ve got the “Perfect Storm” type of effect that has produced the success of the antismoking movement today.

    Soooo…. I agree that government alone can’t do it all. BUT, combined with those other forces at play the power to treat us like lab rats to be trained greatly increases. Unless the “rats” can be successfully shown how they’ve been treated and then resent the treatment enough that they lash out against it.

    – MJM

    • Frank Davis says:

      BY ITSELF the gvt may not be able to do it, BUT, if there’s enough money floating around for the activists to be able to their part in the world of the media, it can combine with the governmental effort to produce a devastating effect.

      But the media world is itself only part of the culture I was talking about. And it’s not very difficult to insulate oneself from the media. You just switch it off.

      Going back to the 1960s (a time that now seems oddly comparable to the present), long-haired dope-smoking hippies (like me) were subjected to a denormalisation programme, and their drugs demonised, and drug dealers imprisoned. It was a pretty dark time. And the response then (as now) was to form a subcultural underground in the face of official disapproval. We didn’t watch TV or listen to radio. We formed an enclosed subculture, insulated from the larger ‘straight’ culture. And we survived.

      It’s much the same now. This is also a pretty dark time. It’s simply that now it’s tobacco that is being demonised (and also alcohol and sugar and salt, etc, etc). But unlike the new hippie subculture of the 1960s, the tobacco-smoking subculture is a long-standing one. It’s the ‘straight’ culture which is being demonised. And I have insulated myself from the media in more or less exactly the same way as I did in the 1960s. And, much like in the 1960s, I see smokers everywhere, carrying on smoking.

      I find it rather amusing that I’ve been subjected to two persecutions. One at age 20. And the other at age 60. But the first one gave me enough experience to be able to meet the second with rather more equanimity than back then.

      • Emily says:

        But correct me if I’m wrong, as I wasn’t alive in the 60’s, but wasn’t there a strong community back then of those who enjoyed marijuana, and consciously fought the denormalization, at least amongst themselves? At least where I live, there is no community of smokers. Most smokers I know are ashamed of smoking and don’t really talk about it. They go outside their own houses to smoke and huddle in alleyways. They are not consciously aware of the denormalization.

        • Frank Davis says:

          But correct me if I’m wrong, as I wasn’t alive in the 60′s, but wasn’t there a strong community back then of those who enjoyed marijuana, and consciously fought the denormalization, at least amongst themselves?

          Yes. And also no. Despite many similarities with the present, there are a lot of dissimilarities.

          One big difference is that the 60s’ culture had its own music, its own cultural icons, and its own literature. And it was an emerging new culture.

          Today, I’m living in an old, established culture which is disintegrating under attack.

          At least where I live, there is no community of smokers. Most smokers I know are ashamed of smoking and don’t really talk about it. They go outside their own houses to smoke and huddle in alleyways. They are not consciously aware of the denormalization.

          It doesn’t seem to be quite like that where I now live. There’s one pub I know where the smokers congregate at tables outside, and drink and smoke and talk. They’re not ashamed of smoking. There’s nothing furtive about it. And at home they smoke indoors.

          I imagine it varies from place to place.

        • Marie says:

          “At least where I live, there is no community of smokers. Most smokers I know are ashamed of smoking and don’t really talk about it. They go outside their own houses to smoke and huddle in alleyways. They are not consciously aware of the denormalization.”

          Emily, its exactly the same, where I live. And I have FB-friends, who hide the fact, that they are smokers.

        • beobrigitte says:

          At least where I live, there is no community of smokers.

          I seem much luckier; the scousers continue to smoke and going by what I see, the number of these smokers is steadily increasing.

          Most smokers I know are ashamed of smoking and don’t really talk about it. They go outside their own houses to smoke and huddle in alleyways.

          Again, I can’t say that the smokers I meet are ashamed of smoking. However, a lot of them do go outside to smoke simply because they have a partner who having been successfully vaccinated by tobacco control&friends’ constant media nonsense nags them all the time.

          They are not consciously aware of the denormalization.
          They are becoming rapidly aware of what this DENORMALISATION actually is. Better even, it was the anti-smokers’ fear of vaping “renormalising” smoking and e-cig ads re-introducing tobacco ads that opened peoples’ eyes.

  3. Actually, I believe this is the full 15 minute clip of the TV show. The amount of time everyone spends laughing is a bit annoying, but otherwise they did a good job of things!


    • Harleyrider1978 says:

      Mike I don’t know if my comments on KC.COM can be seen but a girl asked why tobacco companies don’t fight back.

      Press Release
      July 1997


      Defining the choice to smoke as “a chronic disease” and declaring “no value” to the use of cigarettes, a panel commissioned by the President and congress has proposed an Orwellian “blueprint” for “control”– on an international basis– that exceeds all boundaries of democratic tradition says Wanda Hamilton, Vice President of the Florida Smokers Rights Association.

      The Commission, headed by ex-FDA czar David Kessler and ex-Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, has seriously proposed the immediate implementation of what clearly must be seen as totalitarian means– backed fully by the power of police-state enforcement– to achieve an almost classically totalitarian goal, a kind of mandated behaviorism. Or to use their own words, “the goal is to change the behavior of smokers.” Not only in America but all around the world.

      Their prescriptions include (but aren’t– unfortunately– limited to) the following:

      ¶ Smoking bans in all public places in America, indoors and out. And eventually in all public places in the world. (Indoors and out.)

      ¶ Smoking bans in all homes “where children… live,“ such fiats to be legitimized by “legal protections” designed “to protect children from parental tobacco smoke.”

      ¶ “Sustained” anti-smoking “educational programs,” not only for children but also for adults, not only in “the schools,” but also “in homes.” (“All aspects of society need re-education.”) Yep. Their word (and Mao’s): “re-education.”

      ¶ Research to be done on “the effect of subliminal messages in early childhood.”

      ¶ For current smokers: “a mix of intensive services… provided in hospital settings, psychiatric and drug treatment facilities and in-patient nicotine dependence centers.”

      ¶ Political surveillance “at all levels of government” to “expose tobacco campaign contributions, tobacco lobbyists, and ethically compromised government officials and lawmakers.”

      ¶ An executive order from the President to all cabinet departments and trade representatives instructing them essentially to blackmail foreign governments into accepting, embracing, enacting and enforcing these “tobacco control standards” within their own countries. Implementation to be paid for with U.S government funds.

      ¶ Also to be paid for with U.S. government funds, the “surveillance, prevention of”– and punishment for– illicit international trade in tobacco including, of course, “smuggling.”

      The full report is available at

      11. The broad array of strategies and tactics used
      by the tobacco industry to interfere with
      the setting and implementing of tobacco control mea
      sures, such as those that Parties to the
      Convention are required to implement, is documented
      by a vast body of evidence. The
      measures recommended in these guidelines aim at pro
      tecting against interference not only by
      the tobacco industry but also, as appropriate, by o
      rganizations and individuals that work to
      further the interests of the tobacco industry.
      12. While the measures recommended in these guideli
      nes should be applied by Parties as
      broadly as necessary, in order best to achieve the
      objectives of Article 5.3 of the Convention,
      Parties are strongly urged to implement measures be
      yond those recommended in these
      guidelines when adapting them to their specific cir

      Click to access article_5_3.pdf


      • Harleyrider1978 says:

        …..write (or sign ghost written) letters to the editor, etc. (pages 31 & 33)

        …..submit at least two letters to the editor each month during the campaign, under the names of different authors”. (page 33)

        …….Nothing can ruin a campaign faster than public disclosure of financial wrongdoing (intentional or unintentional) ? something your opponents would love to expose if given the opportunity. (page 34)

  4. Some other Tom says:

    Yes, indeed! Brilliant post, as usual. Only government has the power to use force, legally (and by their own permission), to accomplish goals and to set in place agendas. That is the reason I’ve always longed, and voted, for the stupidest, slowest, least creative politicians on the ballot. I loathe the idea of activist politicians in any way, shape and form.

    It isn’t just culture that comes from the bottom up, it is groups, ‘collectives’ that naturally form from the bottom up. Neither exists as an entity in and of itself. It is, and only can ever be, a collection of individuals. Ideally, with liberty and freedom, it is a naturally occurring thing, which is chaotic and unpredictable and prone to fragment and evolve at any given moment. It’s no surprise that governments, especially activist sorts, seek to define the ‘greater good’ and the collective as bigger and more meaningful than the individuals, groom them to fit in it, and punish with force when one doesn’t.

    But you are correct, I believe, that they always lose. Individuals with desire are far more crafty and resourceful than beauracracies, and thugs. Individuals will to do anything, whether it is smoking, or drinking, or eating foie gras, they truly desire. They will never disappear. For some, the more difficult the endeavor, the more determined the lot becomes.

    It is a shame though, when you think that truly bright and determined people are caught up in battles over things like smoking and drinking and eating foie gras, when they could be doing some thing totally different. It’s a shit pile that they’ve created, a war they waged that people get sucked into. It’s a drain and a drag on the brilliance that is there, which might be otherwise doing something else… That’s the real shame.

    They haven’t denormalize anything except themselves by perverting what it means to govern or represent individuals. Everyday they pervert and defile that meaning a little bit more, and everyday the cleft grows…

    • Harleyrider1978 says:

      Tom they’ve thrown their denormalization plans into wharp speed as something is afoot and in a big way.

      Obamas voting base is the Government projects and theyre now saying if you don’t stop smoking we will kick you out of housing!

  5. Marie says:

    Nearly all my friends are non smokers, or they have become non smokers, because 1/3 of them are exsmokers. They have become used to being together with no one smoking. They found out, it was nice. When a smoker is there occasional, he/she goes outside smoking. They think it is nice – it has become normal for them with no smoke in the room and normal to see smokers go outside without being asked to. Thats a change. Isn’t it?
    It has become normal to talk about, that smoke smells bad. Ten years ago, they did not talk about that.
    They rob it off on each other, and now this is normal?

    • Marie says:

      And when I was young in the 60th/70th it was normal to smoke, and I was often the only non smoker. But because it was normal, I did not think, that it was bothering, and I was really not bothered, because nobody told me to be. And those were my best friends or my boyfriends. Eventually I became normal – a smoker like most of them. I had a few non smoking friends, but we were never talking about the others smoking, we just did not notice, it was not important.
      Now it seems to be very important.

    • Emily says:

      Yes, my experience is the same. I think I’m one of the few smokers I know who still smokes in my apartment. Now I too, am becoming worried about this because the trend now is leaning towards landlords and condo boards banning smoking indoors. I haven’t had any problems yet but even I am growing more furtive about it because of the uneasy feeling that I should be low-key and not flaunt it. In Boston and Cambridge, smoking has already been completely banned in public housing.

      • Marie says:

        Emily, I am a landlord myself (Denmark), and I let two small apartments in my house, where I live myself too. When I get new tenants, they often boast, that they are not smoking, but I tell them, that in my house, its allowed to smoke. It annoys me to see, when they send their smoking friends out on the street to smoke, and suggest them to at least give their guest an ashtray. But of course they don’t do that ;)

        • Emily says:

          “It annoys me to see, when they send their smoking friends out on the street to smoke, and suggest them to at least give their guest an ashtray.”

          You’re amazing! I wish I lived in Denmark so I could be your tenant :) My lease does not specify I cannot smoke, but I have never raised the issue at all with my landlord, as I prefer the “don’t ask don’t tell” approach in this case. I’ve not had any comments yet, but who knows what will happen. Due to the bans and propaganda people have now become hyper-sensitive to the smell of smoke.

        • Marie says:

          I don’t know, where you live, Emily, but in DK its not allowed to change the lease contract or to ad something to it, when it is subscribed! But of course better not to say anything, if your landlord don’t like it.
          Often I think people are smoking outdoors, is because they are scared, it will cost them some money, when they move out or when they sell the apartment.
          The two flats I let, scare a bathroom in the cellar, so unless, you are a very young student, you didn’t want to rent one ;)

  6. All good points Marie, Tom, Harley, Cherie! :)

    When Frank wakes up in a few hours he’ll find a longish post from me with about a half dozen links that support the general idea for any newer readers here!


  7. waltc says:

    MJM’s comments aren’t yet on board but so far. unfortunately, I agree with Marie.

    Most people I observe, including many smokers and most of the Ex’s, now think it’s NOT-nice ( shocking, offensive, at best “inconsiderate”) to smoke in “polite company.” Most Ex’s now don’t want smoking in their homes. Try it at a dinner party and watch what happens. l’ve heard about smokers– even those who live alone– who’ll “step outside” to smoke because, all of a sudden, they don’t like the smell or don’t want their visitors to walk in and Know. Surely, they’ve incorporated the new definitions of Normal and Nice.

    3/4s of the smokers I’ve known have now quit. Most, shamed into it by wives or children (young ones brainwashed in elementary school; older ones refusing access to their homes or contact with their children) or shamed by ubiquitous denormalization and visions of an immanent duel with the Reaper. (It’s not just from gov’t; the message is everywhere, in articles, ads, editorials, etc.) And some of those left talk about someday planning to quit, and disliking the smell. (A pure “fashion statement” since according to the 1950 Dichter survey that smokervoter quoted, the majority of nonsmokers enjoyed the smell of smoke.)

    When I was doing petitions against the city’s proposed bar ban– after the restaurant ban was in place– I’d only approach people who were smoking on the street or inside a bar. Yet a lot of them would say, “A bar ban’s too much but I can really understand not-smoking in a restaurant…” Until i’d press them further and learn (and make them learn) that they were parroting fashion; saying something they didn’t mean. When I was doing Frank’s survey, I’d only approach people who were smoking in the street, a few of whom actually looked me in the eye and said, “I don’t smoke.” or “I don’t really smoke.”

    So, yes, It’s effective. And certainly effective on the never smokers who now clamor for a smoker-free Everywhere On Earth and feel free now to characterize smokers as scum.

    But No, Smoking hasn’t and won’t disappear (and I agree that if the bans were repealed, would burst forth) but I’d say it’s no longer a part of the culture, it’s a sub-culture now.

    OTOH, today, being a sunny day, I sat on a bench for the duration of a smoke and counted the passing smokers; 1 old lady, 2 businessman in suits, 2 guys who worked in a grocery store, 1 limo driver, and 5 (count em) knock-out 20-something babes.

  8. magnetic01 says:

    From Bayer & Stuber
    “…..In the last half century the cigarette has been transformed. The fragrant has become foul. . . . An emblem of attraction has become repulsive. A mark of sociability has become deviant. A public behavior is now virtually private. Not only has the meaning of the cigarette been transformed but even more the meaning of the smoker [who] has become a pariah . . . the object of scorn and hostility.”

    This change from fragrant to foul has not come from the smoke which has remained a constant. The shift is an entirely psychological one. Unfortunately, the way the shift is manufactured is through negative conditioning. The constant play on fear and hatred through inflammatory propaganda warps perception. Ambient tobacco smoke was essentially a background phenomenon. Now exposure to tobacco smoke (SHS) has been fraudulently manufactured into something on a par with a bio-weapon like, say, sarin gas. There are now quite a few who screech that they “can’t stand” the “stench” of smoke, or the smoke is “overwhelming”; there are now those, hand cupped over mouth, that attempt to avoid even a whiff of dilute remnants of smoke – even outdoors. There are those that claim that, arriving from a night out, they had to put all of their clothes in the washing machine and scrape the “smoke” off their skin in the shower. There are even those that claim they are “allergic” to tobacco smoke. Yet there are no allergens (proteins) in tobacco smoke to be allergic to.

    And it didn’t stop with just the smoke. Cigarette butts – heretofore unheard of – suddenly became a “monumental problem” too – akin to improvised explosive devices, requiring drastic action. These are all recent phenomena born of toxic propaganda; it is an expanding hysteria. It says nothing about the physical properties/propensities of tobacco smoke. These people are demonstrating that they have been successfully conditioned (brainwashed) into aversion. They are now suffering mental dysfunction such as anxiety disorder, hypochondria, or somatization. Typical symptoms of anxiety disorder are heart palpitations, chest tightness, shortness of breath, headache, dizziness, etc. These capnophobics (smokephobics) are no different to those irrationally attempting to avoid cracks in the pavement lest their mental world come crashing down. Questionable social engineering requires putting many into mental disorder to advance the ideological/financial agenda. It is the antismoking fanatics/zealots/extremists and their toxic mentality and propaganda that have long been in need of urgent scrutiny.

  9. Ingrid says:

    “Denormalisation” is more a type of murder, without the blood. It’s social ‘murder’. They can’t change it, but they (think they ) can kill it.
    Read this for example:

  10. You may not have heard of Ken Macintosh.

    I’ve met him two or three times. He was my MSP when I lived in East Renfrewshire. A more robotic useful idiot you couldn’t hope not to meet. I first met him very shortly after winning his first election and the MP, Jim Murphy (who you’re more likely to have heard of as he was a Labour minister last time), was sitting with him to teach him how to react to the proles coming through the door.

    Actually, Murphy was far more ‘normal’ in those days. Rather likeable. He wasn’t long an MP.

    On a subsequent visit with Mackintosh, sans Murphy, I was having problems with benefits, if memory serves, and after discussing that I moved onto the plans to introduce civil partnerships or some other major topic of the time and all I got back was party rhetoric like he’d had a chip implanted in his brain which rendered him unable to answer a direct question in his own words.

    I agree with your post on some levels and disagree on others. We know that prohibition doesn’t work, so, yes, people will find a way round it and likely receive inferior, potentially dangerous products and the treasury will lose billions and the mobsters will make fortunes.

    But our culture has been changed beyond recognition due to the Ken Mackintoshes voting on all these subversive, culture-destroying ‘initiatives’.

    I think you’re right that people are the sum of the others they have met and experiences they’ve had, but we’ve lived through more normal times and met people with their heads screwed on properly, so we can appreciate what is ‘normal’ as opposed to the madcap, obsessive, eugenically-driven social engineers handing out the orders today. (Although the engineering probably started a century or more ago.)

    Your quote from Walt yesterday,

    The question for us– who historically knew freedom as a tangible substance– is will we, as peoples, forget what we knew? And/or, will our children be taught to unlearn it?

    What chance do the children have to discover reality or understand freedom or truth when they are in smaller families and where the main influences are the telly and the schools and any older person who possesses wisdom is laughed at?

  11. margo says:

    Marie’s experience reflects my own. Once, it was normal and polite for even non-smokers to provide ash-trays in their homes in case a visitor wanted to smoke. If you lit up in those days, nobody took any notice. Now, smoking is not socially acceptable. There are even some smokers who visit me occasionally and insist on going outside to smoke even though I’m smoking indoors. (How weird is that!)
    Tobacco Control have succeeded in de-normalising smoking. What amazes and shocks me is how easy it was for them to change the public mind-set. I used to wonder how the Nazis in the 1930’s got the bulk of German citizens to see Jews as vermin. Now I know it was probably quite easy. With lies and well-managed propaganda you can make people think and do anything, absolutely anything – because humans are, above all, ‘social’ creatures and extremely anxious to conform to whichever group they’re in. Independent thinkers are very few and far between. Even people who think they are independent thinkers usually turn out not to be when the chips are down, because the price to pay is loneliness and exclusion. I find it very, very, depressing.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I used to wonder how the Nazis in the 1930′s got the bulk of German citizens to see Jews as vermin. Now I know it was probably quite easy. With lies and well-managed propaganda you can make people think and do anything, absolutely anything – because humans are, above all, ‘social’ creatures and extremely anxious to conform to whichever group they’re in.

      I used to wonder exactly the same. And now I can also see that it was quite easy. But it relied upon (very new) mass media that reached into every home and cinema and school. These mass media allowed a single message to be broadcast to millions of people, with no answering back. But with the rise of the internet over the past 25 years, it’s become possible for there to be conversations between widely-separated people, and for alternative ideas to be given currency. The internet undermines megaphone mass media, and makes it less easy for one single message to hold sway.

      If Tobacco Control established a certain hegemony, it did so in the mass media era that came to an end circa 1990 – 2000, and a plurality of opinions became available. Tobacco Control is now being questioned in ways it never could have been in the old mass media era, when whoever owned the radio and TV defined the message they sent. TC is running on capital it accrued during the 20th century.

      • nisakiman says:

        I used to wonder how the Nazis in the 1930′s got the bulk of German citizens to see Jews as vermin

        When I was living in the south of Greece in the 90s, the bulk of the expat community in the area (there weren’t many, but they were there) were German, and I spent quite a lot of time socialising with them, and was also for a while in business partnership with a German guy. And I too used to wonder how a whole generation had adopted such insanity, given that my friends were a million miles away from that mentality. Indeed, I think the German people are very similar in their approach to life as the English; far more so than the French, for instance.

        And Margo has it right – propaganda is a powerful tool in the right hands, and can turn opinions through 180° when skilfully deployed.

        Although it is true what you say, Frank, that the internet allows access to alternative views, you must search for those alternative views. They aren’t obvious. For the vast majority of people, the internet is also dominated by the MSM and the orthodoxy that they propagate, and they will rarely, if ever, see anything on the internet which will gainsay what they have read in the Daily Mail or whatever. So the anti-tobacco message is still the dominant one, and people, even internet savvy people, will not find an alternative message unless they actively seek it. And they won’t seek it unless they feel they have good reason to do so. And they have been conditioned to accept that the word of TC is truth, so why look for different opinions?

        So I’m afraid I don’t share your optimism about the internet bringing the truth to the masses, Frank. Not as things stand, anyway.

        • Frank Davis says:

          I’m afraid I don’t share your optimism about the internet bringing the truth to the masses, Frank.

          Did I say that? I think that the internet is at very least an important and universal new information medium, on which alternative opinions can be found. It’s no longer somebody’s monopoly. And the most important thing is that it’s two-way.

          With the old mass media, you tuned into BBC1, BBC2, ITV, or Channel 4, and you imbibed their message. If you go online and simply go to BBC or Channel 4, you’re not using the capabilities of the internet, and staying with the old media model.

        • Reinhold says:

          Indeed, I think the German people are very similar in their approach to life as the English

          Well, we are related somehow, aren’t we?

        • Marie says:

          The angel saxon ;)

      • margo says:

        The Internet is covered, Frank, to a large extent by the very general belief that “you can’t believe what you read on the Internet”. That’s the usual reply I get if I pass on to an anti-smoker any information I got from the Internet!

        • Frank Davis says:

          “you can’t believe what you read on the Internet”

          Indeed. But it must include what you read on the BBC or the Daily Mail.

          I’m all for scepticism!

        • Margo, click on the opening to my “Author’s Preface” at and you’ll see how we arrived at a similar conclusion re 1930s’ Germany.

          – MJM

        • beobrigitte says:

          The Internet is covered, Frank, to a large extent by the very general belief that “you can’t believe what you read on the Internet”.

          Nevertheless, if you are looking for information, e.g. “climate change” you will find that some of it is not easy to find.
          I typed in ‘ILOK factor’ (which the EU politicians apparently happily ignore when promoting biofuel/biogas) to get more of an idea about this so called “green” energy.
          This ILOK – factor accounts for the e.g. CO2 locked into the soil/trees being released on deforesting the Rainforests for the production of e.g. rape seed/palm oil as biofuels for Europe. For this the endangered species of animals living in these areas all of a sudden do not matter.

          What I do find about wind farms and solar panels is that both – just as the above – serves the European Politicians to claim that they are actively doing “their bit” to stem “climate change” (this terminology also allows errors to be brushed under the carpet!) occurring whilst happily destroying the livelihood of people in the developing countries.

          Then, there is also an increased reversal to using coal, thus releasing a massive amount of CO2 into the atmosphere. The CCS research by now shows that more power plants are required to capture, compress and deposit the CO2 released by mining/burning coal deep in the earth’s surface.

          In the meantime, if the media speaks the truth for a change, the Chinese are giving Thorium reactors a go.

          People hear the word “REACTOR” – and they go into melt down.
          “Think of the ENVIRONMENT!!!!”
          ( This somehow does remind me of: “Think of the poor CHIIIILDREN”)

          The drive to DENORMALIZE about everything politically incorrect seriously damages scientific credibility.
          Progress is only being made in the field of dumbing down the population. Perhaps no more fluoride is required to be added to our drinking water?

        • “you can’t believe what you read on the Internet”. Heh, next time you hear that, adopt a puzzled expression and ask in return, “Well, I was reading this Journal Of The National Cancer Institute Study on the Internet. Does that mean they just make those medical studies up?”

          And then for the study you can cite:

          Journal Of The National Cancer Institute, Vol 90, 1440-1450, Copyright © 1998 by Oxford University Press

          “Multicenter case-control study of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and lung cancer in Europe.” Authors: P Boffetta et al.

          BACKGROUND: An association between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and lung cancer risk has been suggested. To evaluate this possible association better, researchers need more precise estimates of risk, the relative contribution of different sources of ETS, and the effect of ETS exposure on different histologic types of lung cancer. To address these issues, we have conducted a case-control study of lung cancer and exposure to ETS in 12 centers from seven Euran countries. METHODS: A total of 650 patients with lung cancer and 1542 control subjects up to 74 years of age were interviewed about exposure to ETS. Neither case subjects nor control subjects had smoked more than 400 cigarettes in their lifetime. RESULTS: ETS EXPOSURE DURING CHILDHOOD WAS NOT ASSOCIATED WITH AN INCREASED RISK OF LUNG CANCER (odds ratio [OR] for ever exposure = 0.78; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.64- 0.96). The OR for ever exposure to Spouse ETS was 1.16 (95% CI = 0.93- 1.44). No clear dose-response relationship could be demonstrated for cumulative Spouse ETS exposure. The OR for ever exposure to workplace ETS was 1.17 (95% CI = 0.94-1.45), with possible evidence of increasing risk for increasing duration of exposure. No increase in risk was detected in subjects whose exposure to Spouse or workplace ETS ended more than 15 years earlier. Ever exposure to ETS from other sources was not associated with lung cancer risk. Risks from combined exposure to Spouse and workplace ETS were higher for squamous cell carcinoma and small-cell carcinoma than for adenocarcinoma, but the differences were not statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate no association between childhood exposure to ETS and lung cancer risk. We did find weak evidence of a dose-response relationship between risk of lung cancer and exposure to Spouse and workplace ETS. There was no detectable risk after cessation of exposure.

          Copyright © 1998 Oxford University Press.

          (Note that the capitalization in “RESULTS: ETS EXPOSURE DURING CHILDHOOD WAS NOT ASSOCIATED WITH AN INCREASED RISK OF LUNG CANCER (odds ratio [OR] for ever exposure = 0.78; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.64- 0.96).” was added by me for emphasis. Note also that while the “author’s interpretation” of the childhood figures was simply “no association”, these WERE in fact the only SCIENTIFICALLY SIGNIFICANT (i.e. with a confidence interval not including 1.0) results found. Imagine the publicity this study would have received if the results had been in the opposite direction! Note also that exposure from “other sources” {e.g. BARS AND RESTAURANTS!} also showed no association!)

          – MJM

        • Marie says:

          But those people have all their informations from the internet, i.e. from the cancer and health organizations all over the world. Its all the same they come up with in different languages.

    • Emily says:

      “Even people who think they are independent thinkers usually turn out not to be when the chips are down, because the price to pay is loneliness and exclusion. I find it very, very, depressing.”

      Me, too.

      • cherie79 says:

        I am not so much depressed as frightened at just how easy it has been to virtually outlaw what was perfectly normal a decade ago and wonder what will be next? I just carry on as normal and will not take any nonsense from the antis and I speak as a long cancer ‘survivor’ hate that word but can’t think of another. I have told my Drs. if they can tell me why my generation who grew up with people smoking everywhere and all the industrial pollution are the longest lived ever I will stop smoking! No answer yet they refuse to see the evidence in front of them.

      • margo says:

        Thanks, MJM. I want to buy your book. Where’s the place for me to do that from?

        • cherie79 says:

          I still check in on a lung cancer forum which was very helpful when I was first dx and knew nothing about all the various kinds. I have noticed that most new members are non smokers, some never smoked and some gave up decades ago. The never smokers tend to be much younger and female, I wonder what caused it in them? No answers there either.

        • Margo, your best bet is or for single copies. If you can do it, I’d recommend getting both Brains and TobakkoNacht, as Brains really outlines a lot of basic stuff about the tricks with language and such that the Antismokers have used over the years. It’s sort of the “philosophical underpinning” for the more recent TobakkoNacht. Amazon usually delivers pretty quickly, even if you choose their “free shipping” option!


        • beobrigitte says:

          Margo, start with “dissecting anti-smokers’ brains”, then move to “Tobakko Nacht”. (I did it the other way round and found some answers to some things mentioned in “brains”!)

          Can recommend the books, even though I have to attach a warning:
          DO NOT read in work breaks. Your boss will kill you as you will extend your break because ‘I just to read the end of this bit’… (I got myself into trouble, hence I read the books after that only at home…)

      • beobrigitte says:

        “Even people who think they are independent thinkers usually turn out not to be when the chips are down, because the price to pay is loneliness and exclusion. I find it very, very, depressing.”

        It is a price to pay when organisations/people spread lies about you in order to get what they want.
        You have two options:
        1. get depressed, withdraw and disappear into self-pity.
        2. stay, be prepared to answer the even most awkward question as truthfully as you can.
        2.1.: as a thinker you will have kept things that seemed a little “odd” on separate
        hard drives.

        To this day I am still waiting for some awkward questions to be asked from people who decided against me without knowing me. Guess what?
        The power of the ones with the ‘gift-of-the-gab’ is great! Just as good as tobacco control!!!

        Emily, NEVER give in to becoming depressed, less even allow anyone to drive you into loneliness. The world needs a backbone, not a wishbone!
        (I do not know your age – but then, this isn’t important. It is not about how many times you get knocked down, it is about HOW MANY TIMES YOU STAND UP AGAIN!!!!)

        • Barry Homan says:

          Reminds me of that little line from Batman Begins:

          Q: Why do we fall?
          A: So we can pick ourselves back up again.

  12. Reblogged this on artbylisabelle and commented:
    Masterfully written reality gets voted up.

  13. The Lonesome Fumer says:

    If denormalization of a minority is condoned by the State so be it
    If a smoker is considered to be a leper we can assume he has the right to shun the company of
    Blacks,Gays,Catholics,Jews,Disabled,Red Indians,Dwarfs for the sake of their health ,of course.
    The Liberal elite endorsing apartheid,who would have though it……..

  14. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Obama behind smoking bans at colleges and housing projects

    • Harleyrider1978 says:

      I don’t think this is going to sit well with Obama voters from the Hood. The only thing Obama hasn’t done yet is outlaw Menthols!

      Lakeland Housing Authority to enforce smoking ban in public housing

      The agency said the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has been pushing local agencies to enact the rule to promote health and also to save money. It can cost thousands of dollars to prepare a unit for a new tenant after a smoker has lived there.

      “You have to replace the carpet if a smoker lived there, and that’s a minimum $2,000 cost,” LHA Director Ben Stevenson said.There is also the cost of repainting ”

      Then From the KCSTAR

      A great opportunity exists here for Kansas City. What happens next could become a national model. The federal government is pushing for housing authorities to go smoke-free, largely for health reasons. It makes sense, especially given that half of the local residents are children who suffer under secondhand smoke.

      Then here Obama’s government yet again

      The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced an initiative to ban smoking from college campuses last month. This is part of the HHS goal to create a society free of tobacco-related disease and death, according to their action plan released by the HHS in 2010.

      Colleges who fail to enact campus-wide smoking bans and other tobacco-free policies may soon face the loss of grants and contracts from the HHS, according to the plan. Western receives grants through a subdivision of the HHS called the National Institutes of Health, Acting Vice Provost for Research Kathleen Kitto said.

      Forced to do isn’t that something Hitler did with bayonets when the Jews didn’t comply!

  15. ““You have to replace the carpet if a smoker lived there, and that’s a minimum $2,000 cost,” LHA Director Ben Stevenson said.There is also the cost of repainting ”

    Nonsense. It MIGHT have some truth if you had a heavy smoker who’d lived there for a dozen years, OR if you had a cat owner whose cat had the normal number of urinary accidents, OR if the tenant was big on frying a lot of food and an owner who skimped on kitchen ventilation, OR … any number of other things that go on in apartments over a period of years of occupancy. How many years of tenant changing does the LHA normally allow to occur before it cleans or changes the carpeting? How many years between repaintings?

    – MJM

    • Harleyrider1978 says:

      Mike my buddy did move out rehab work on apartments in Nashville. The only things they did were based upon damage. Normally every 2 years carpet is replaced and the walls are simply spot painted. You will notice that for generations complexes utilize a low cost maintenance plan and that means the same color wall paint for every unit. Then when a moveout occurs the walls are washed and spot painted where need is. A total paint out usually only occurs in the kitchen especially around the stove and fridge areas. I know Ive helped do a few of them at times.

      The costs to maintain are small for the most part. But pet deposits are truly where carpet costs come from,not normal wear and tear and certainly not from smoke smell. The food and body odor smells,pet are the worse. The cig smoke actually covers up the smells and the stagnant odor that’s in all apartments. Heavy smoking as in a living room is where you may find the yellowing these pimps of Pubic health scream about. But that’s always been a constant and it was never a point of expense to maintain as the painting is always done regardless!

      • Harleyrider1978 says:

        BTW the average apartment size is a 2 bedroom consisting of 2 bedrooms a single bath a hallway and dining room with a susper small kitchen. Rougly 800 square feet if that much.

        They use economy semi shag or berber carpets Generally around 3-4 dollars a square yard when they buy in bulk rolls. Tear out and install is usually about 300 to 600 per unit.

        That’s if their maintenance man and his helper don’t do it themselves each time. But some companies give special rates to get the contract if out sourcing is done.

        Today in Nashville they have a Consortium that runs and maintains over 800 complexes in the Middle tenn area. They keep their own wharehouse full of water heaters,carpet, paint, plumbing,lighting fixtures and the like. They’ve got it down to roving maintenance crews on salary each team with expertise as needed.

        But since when did the government ever run a business and be profitable or cost efficient!

    • margo says:

      On that carpet-cleaning theme, MJM, I once came over a bit funny and decided to give myself a treat and get a proper painter-decorator in to do out my living room. (It hadn’t been done for 20 years.) He arrived to have a look at the job, quoted me a reasonable-sounding price, then sniffed the air and asked, ‘Do you smoke in this room?’ I said ‘Yes’. He then added a third on ‘for a special product to clean the nicotine off the walls’. I told him to sod off. One day, when I come over funny again, I’ll do the room myself.

      • Harleyrider1978 says:

        Margo an enamel or oil based paint you can just take 409 and wipe the walls clean. Latex based paints just absorb the dirt. Just paint em and forget it!

      • Marie says:

        Nicotine or what it is, that make the walls yellow/brown can be easy removed with just water! I did it on my ceiling in the living room.

        • Marie says:

          My ceiling and walls are painted with water based plastic paint (Copolymer emulsion).

        • Marie, I remember the church I went to while growing up had these big, very dark paintings off to either side of the main altar. The images were almost invisible and I’d always just thought they were painted that way. Then, when I was in high school, the parish renovated and cleaned up the church, and as part of that renovation they cleaned the 75 or so years worth of soot from votive candles and incense off the paintings…. to expose bright, vibrant colors!

          There’s nothing magical about tobacco smoke: it’s simply particulates from burning organic matter. You get basically the same sort of stuff when you’re cooking, burning incense, or even (though to a lesser extent) when you’re burning tiny bits of rope encase in wax (candles)!

          Are candles deadly? Well, if you want to use the sort of thinking the Antis use, you could set up an experiment where you lock someone in a closet with fifty feet or so of burning rope from a shipyard. Come back in an hour and you’ll find a dead person. So, obviously, candles are deadly! Light one in your flat and you’ll exterminate every living being in your apartment complex!

          – MJM

        • Marie says:

          Nice story about the church, Michael :) When my young tenants, who are for some reason nearly all non smokers but use a lot of candles, move out, the white walls have a
          GRAY color. But mine are yellow/brown ;) ;) Nicotine?

        • Marie, my guess is that the healthy sunshiny yellowish color is from the bright happy nicotine in the tobacco, but I could be wrong.

          Heh, see, it’s all a matter of how you look at things!


        • Marie says:

          Exactly the same color, my fingertips had many years ago, when I was rolling my own cigs without filter :)

        • beobrigitte says:

          Marie, you sound the landlady from heaven!!! Can’t you advertise your flats with the sentence: ‘smokers are welcome to apply’?

          I am toying these days with a (small scale) SMOKERS/VAPERS ONLY old people’s home.
          As for staff: people objecting to smokers need not apply, smokers/vapers are welcome to apply.

          If 90-odd year old smokers can be evicted from apartments they have rented for many years (I believe it was Harley who raised this issue), surely a SMOKERS/VAPERS only old folks home is equally acceptable.

        • beobrigitte says:

          As for my walls and ceilings; I have mainly pure WHITE walls and ceilings, although 2 walls are now sand coloured. (They were terracotta until last year)

          The bathroom/kitchen pure WHITE paint is great!!! Lasts years!
          (I don’t wash down walls, it’s quicker to paint them!!)

        • Marie says:

          Brigitte, my arthritis doesn’t allow me to paint the ceiling, but it became quite nice offwhite, when I washed it down with plain water ;) The walls are light ochre, a color, which allows at good deal of smoke-patina ;)

        • Marie says:

          And as to the advertisement. There are so many things, that are important, when you have tenants in the house, where you live yourselves. I don’t advertise, but only take somebody, who knows somebody, I know. I have had awful tenants – smokers or non smokers. So I am very careful with many things.

        • beobrigitte says:

          I have had awful tenants

          I have heard many stories like that. I now do no longer rent out but sell. I am getting older, too, and can’t be doing with the hassle, although I have to say, that the smoking couple were the best tenants ever! Paid by standing order, created a lovely place for themselves (with my permission) and I would have loved to keep them. But by now they have saved up enough for the deposit for their own place…..

        • Marie says:

          “and I would have loved to keep them. But by now they have saved up enough for the deposit for their own place…..”
          Exactly. I would like to keep the good tenants, but thats what they do, when they have finished their education. This girl who leaves now, was my caretaker, and had a cheaper rent. And she did the tasks all of herself to perfection, that means a lot.
          My house is a listed 120 year old terraced house (with 3 apartments, one double, which is mine on the top) in the city – with a lovely garden. Because it is so old, of course it is no so well isolated as new houses, and I can smell, when the girl underneath me is baking buns, which she often does, and of course she will be able to smell too my smoke. She is an asthmatic, and of course, if she thought it harmed her, she would move out. But she does not. So much for that SHS danger in apartments ;)

      • beobrigitte says:

        and of course she will be able to smell too my smoke. She is an asthmatic, and of course, if she thought it harmed her, she would move out.

        Asthmatics…. My youngest has been asthmatic since he was a baby and I did receive lectures about the child mortality rate of asthma at the hospital he ended up in about every 8 weeks until he was 2 years of age….
        By now he has grown up – and he rolls what I call “snobacco” when he feels an attack coming on. He states that smoking helps better than anything else: “It numbs the lungs and I can breathe ok” is his answer. However, he gets fed up with people in work scrounging his tobacco…

        • Marie says:

          I have really heard that often from asthmatics, that smoking helps them. So far I know, doctors back in time prescribed smoking. This girls mum doesn’t dare to smoke in her daughters apartment. ;)

        • cherie79 says:

          Must be something in that, a friend was dying from stage 4 lung cancer and swore having a cigarette helped her breathing, her nurse confirmed that. Jeanne said her last words would be, “have I time for another cigarette” a girl after my own heart! She nearly made it too.

        • Frank Davis says:

          I’m not surprised. Before the antismoking madness gathered momentum, many doctors prescribed smoking for asthma.

  16. garyk30 says:

    From yesterday: ideas like ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’

    I would add the concept of ‘Truth’.

    I am certain that you can not have freedom and democracy without a strong, total commitment to ‘Truth’ by science and govt.

    Govt without ‘Truth’ can not be trusted.

    Science that is not commited to ‘Truth’ can not be trusted.

    It seems to me that, these days, there is way to much reliance on opinions and agendas.

    • Harleyrider1978 says:

      Truer words were never spoken Gary………….ya nailed it!

      Govt without ‘Truth’ can not be trusted.

      Science that is not commited to ‘Truth’ can not be trusted.

    • beobrigitte says:

      I am certain that you can not have freedom and democracy without a strong, total commitment to ‘Truth’ by science and govt.

      This used to be the case. Nowadays people feel conned and stop believing in governments.

      I have started to sum up my research about “climate change” – as a nature lover I would always do the best I can to keep my garden soil fertile, as well as look into using the energy available to me “responsibly”. I feel CONNED by my government and this EU-dictatorship. Some of the things I came across in my months of search for answers are just too bad to mention.
      THIS IS NOT THE EU I used to think of as a good idea!!!

      Why would I believe the rest they peddle?

  17. Edgar says:

    Ask the Jews whether a government can denormalize smoking, or make other changes to a culture, Frank. Or the Cambodians. Or those Chinese who (probably only just) remember the country before Mao. Things are serious – maybe much more serious than you seem to think.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Indeed, Israel has a smoking ban!!!
      In Israel girls also do military service, after which the girls then take a couple of month to travel before then settling down at home.
      One such girl was met by one of my offspring in Ireland in 2010. She did add England to her list and stopped a night in my house. A really nice, quirky girl, except for her acceptance of government dictated agendas.
      This bit really made my heart sink.
      As it was my house I do not know her attitude towards smokers – she does not smoke but she also did not give me the impression that she minded staying in a smoker’s household. However, the cherry stuff (no green leafy stuff added!!!)she had for the water pipe was amazingly lovely!

    • beobrigitte says:

      Or those Chinese who (probably only just) remember the country before Mao.

      The old Chinese traditions? I doubt that. However, the Chinese appear much more progressive that the various lobby infected West; If what I read is correct, the Chinese are the first to give Thorium reactors a go.

  18. waltc says:

    I studied Nazi propaganda in college– saw most of the short films– the equivalent of commericials– that were shown, along with previews of coming attractions, in every movie theater for years. Saw the posters. Read a lot of what Goebbels etc had to say. The parallels are exact and the techniques work because they were– and are– based on a profound understanding of the worst of human nature, its emotionalism and tribalism, which are seemingly hard-wired and eternal. Movies like The Triumph of the Will show but one example of how to bind people into a mob, moved by mob psychology; and from there, go on to know that people in mobs are capable of unreasoning brutality in ways that would shock them as individuals. (An individual w/o the strength of mob backing would be incapable of evicting 92 year olds or depriving mental patients or ordinary hospital patients of final comfort, or sending their visiting friends into the snow, or any of the thousand acts of cruelty that are now respectable.)

    Once again I recommend a book, “Propaganda” by Jacques Ellul– cheap paperback @ Amazon. More about Stalinist propaganda in specific but it’s a general anatomy of how and why propaganda works. You can skim it, but you’ll get a lot either way. All propaganda is based on a manipulative understanding of human nature. Stalin’s propaganda, he says, was based on Pavlov and Hitler’s on Freud, but they attained the same goal.

    • Harleyrider1978 says:

      5 Propaganda Techniques

      Propaganda techniques are commonly encountered in commercial advertising but these techniques, or variations of them, are used by political campaigns and nearly every other organization that needs to persuade the public. The five techniques are known as bandwagon, testimonial, transfer, repetition and emotional words.


      The bandwagon technique seeks to convince people that “everyone” is doing something, or likes something and you should too. This method plays on an individual’s need for social acceptance. One example of this is seen in political rallies with large cheering crowds, waving flags and cheering or booing in unison. In advertising it is common. Examples include a 1959 Elvis Presley album titled “50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong: Elvis’ Golden Records, Vol. 2” and any TV programs that claims to be “the show America is talking about.”


      Testimonials use people to persuade other people of the value or importance of something. This is most frequently done with celebrity endorsements but it is also done with experts or average people. In politics, this can be as simple as having the president or another popular political leader endorse an idea or point of view. In advertising, examples include Jenny Craig having celebrities talk about their diet plans in commercials and any advertisement that uses a doctor or someone dressed as a doctor to say something is healthy.


      The transfer technique involves using symbolism to give virtues to a product or idea. This is sometimes done with celebrities, such as putting athletes on a Wheaties box or putting Michael Jordan’s name on sneakers. Sometimes placing, for example, an American flag next to a product can convince people that it is somehow patriotic. Products also might be placed in a hospital setting to give the impression that a product is healthy or somehow endorsed by medical workers. This type of propaganda is most frequently found in print advertising


      Repetition is the most frequently used propaganda and advertising technique. Repetition works under the assumption that the more often people hear something the more likely they are to believe it, even on a subconscious level. In politics this is known as “staying on message.” A politician, during a campaign, speaks to different groups of people every day, but always includes the same handful of points that they wish to make. In advertising, it works basically the same way. An advertiser will attempt to convey the same handful of points about a product in all of their advertising including television, radio, print and digital.

      Emotional Words

      The emotional words technique uses strong language to attempt to persuade people. This can mean an impassioned speech but relates more often to key words that trigger emotion in people. For example, putting the word “free” in an ad causes it to be looked at more closely even if the product is not free. Putting the word “important” or “urgent” at the top of a page will make people more likely to look at it. In politics this technique is used almost constantly. Referring to an idea as “left wing” or “right wing,” “liberal” or “conservative” automatically triggers certain responses to the idea. Calling a foreign government a “regime” automatically implies certain attributes about that government.

      Read more:

      • And you see ALL those propaganda techniques used by the Antismokers ad nauseum.

        Brigitte… re reading my books at work: LOL! You’ve warmed m’heart m’lady! :>

        Walt, yes, Ellul is great reading! It’s almost TOO great: you kind of feel like there’s so much important thinking in there that the book should be, all by itself, an entire college course! Re: Triumph of the Will: one of the segments I developed in our college Peace Studies program involved showing students Triumph, and then, afterward, Night and Fog.

        – MJM

    • Marie says:

      Excellent and precise, Waltc!
      Goebbels was very fond of Edward Bernays Propaganda and so were the ASH, which he was working for, as Frank has made a wonderful post about.
      But you must know much more of this.
      The most compelling is, that it doesn’t depend on peoples IQ, how easy they are manipulated.

  19. Ingrid says:

    I just read this:
    Noted the reverse phrasing: “reduce the normalisation of smoking” – that was a century ago, I think?

  20. Pingback: Abscess Makes the Heart Grow Fonder – Library of Libraries

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