The Emerging New State Religion

H/T Rose for this news from Seattle:

The city dropped its plan to fine smokers in parks, but is replacing it with something more painful.

Now instead of that we have as official city policy something called “de-normalization.”

“Why a smoking ban?” asks a memo from Seattle Parks and Recreation. “It is about de-normalizing tobacco use, especially for young people.”

De-normalization, as one researcher described it, is the use of rules to put societal pressure on “those who fail to aspire to a specific preferred image of the future self.”

With outdoor smoking, the argument is no longer that the smoke physically harms bystanders. It’s that seeing people smoke is corrupting. De-normalizing it means shunning smoking from public view.

The smokers themselves also might benefit if it’s made clearer that their behavior is no longer socially acceptable.

So the plan to levy $27 fines was dropped because the fines would land too heavily on the poor. Instead, the ban now will be an educational opportunity — or as the city actually called it in its official documents, “an intervention.”

Here’s how an intervention might go, according to the city, when a park ranger sees a person smoking:

“You might not be aware, but all Seattle parks are now smoke-free,” the ranger says. “So I’m going to have to ask you to put your cigarette out and dispose of it safely in the trash can.”

(Our park rangers talk like Ranger Rick, I guess.)

Then, producing a card printed with anti-tobacco tips and stop-smoking hotline numbers, the ranger goes on:

“If you are interested, we have a resource card with information about the policy, and resources for help in quitting tobacco. There are a lot of free resources available.”

“Those who fail to aspire to a specific preferred image of the future self!”

It’s become a religious doctrine. Why the fuck should anyone aspire to a specific preferred image of the future self? What if they prefer something else? You’re not only to not smoke, but you must also have the right set of goals in life.

This moral crusade has now completely shrugged off any pretence that this is about ‘health’. It’s now about having the right values and beliefs. To aspire to some image of a future self is no different from, say, wanting to go to heaven, with all the doctrinal baggage that goes along with that. And the police are co-opted as the enforcers of the new doctrine, and required to deliver sermons.

I’ve often wondered what the result of the decline of Christianity in the West would be. I think I can now see: the old religion will be replaced by a new religion. The old bunch of bishops and cardinals will be replaced by a new bunch, preaching a new set of beliefs to which all must conform.

What are these new beliefs? Clearly the belief that tobacco smoke is the most toxic substance on the planet is one item of dogma. As also is the accompanying belief that is wrong to inhale anything at all, including vapour. In fact, there is an obsessive concern about anything that is inhaled, drunk, or eaten. We can probably safely say that the new religion will be teetotal and vegetarian, perhaps even vegan.

To that we must add that other toxic substance that we all inhale (and exhale) – carbon dioxide. For another dogmatic belief is that human-generated carbon dioxide is causing global warming.

That this is a religious belief is underlined by the adoption of the environmental agenda by the Roman Catholic church:

WHY POPE FRANCIS WILL SAY SAVING THE PLANET IS ‘A MORAL AND RELIGIOUS IMPERATIVE’

This isn’t anything new. The Pope is the current incarnation of the Roman Pontifex Maximus, the high priest of the College of Pontiffs (Collegium Pontificum) in ancient Rome (a post that was once occupied by both Julius Caesar and the emperor Augustus). The College of Pontiffs has changed its spots a number of times, and is perhaps doing so once again. It may now be re-positioning itself for a new era, with a new set of beliefs.

Nor is it anything new that when the ruling political class changes its beliefs, the state religion changes along with it. The Roman empire became a Christian empire when the emperor Constantine adopted it as the Roman state religion, and the once-persecuted Christian cult promptly started suppressing and persecuting rival cults.

And climate change denialists are, like smokers, among  the new heretics to be persecuted under the new state religion – a religion that seems to have rapidly gained a great many adherents:

The United States and United Kingdom are leading the way in climate change scepticism, according to a recent survey which has found that one in three Americans and one in four Brits don’t believe climate change is a serious problem. By comparison, just four percent of Chinese and two percent of Malaysians agree.

What else might be said about our emerging new state religion? It is godless. In fact, in keeping with our feminazi era, it may only have a goddess, in the form of Gaia, our modern Great Mother. And it abounds with new demons: tobacco, alcohol, meat, sugar, salt, carbon dioxide. Its theology may be a bit hazy, but its demonology is already well-developed.

And who are the new clerisy of the new religion? They are the ‘experts’, of course. Experts of any kind whatsoever, but primarily doctors, researchers, university professors, who are currently very busy building a new ‘consensus’ which will be the credo of the new religion, much like the Nicene creed adopted at the Council of Nicaea, which was convened by the emperor Constantine in 325 AD.

COP21 , the conference on climate change to be held in Paris later this year, might best be seen as a modern Council of Nicaea:

When asked what is at stake in next December’s COP 21 conference on global warming, Nicolas Hulot quotes a participant at a recent climate change gathering in Morocco.

“In Paris, you will decide who will live or die,” the woman told Hulot, who is French president François Hollande’s special envoy for the protection of the planet.

It may now be clearer why COP6, held in secrecy in Moscow in October 2014, was much more important than the Ebola epidemic raging in west Africa. They weren’t deciding on merely the next raft of antismoking measures: they were writing a new creed.

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About Frank Davis

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21 Responses to The Emerging New State Religion

  1. jaxthefirst says:

    You’re absolutely right, as ever, Frank. Healthism is a new religion. For every element cited as a sign of a religious “cult” – strong, authoritative leaders; insistence on absolute belief in the those leaders’ personal interpretations of “the message;” persecution of “doubters” and punishment of “unbelievers;” social pressure to be seen to be “believers” (even if one entertains private doubts); and the discouragement of rational analysis, i.e. “blind faith;” no exceptions, and no forgiveness except to the “re-born,” á la “there is no way to God except through me” – there’s an equivalent in the new cult of Healthism.

    But don’t you get the impression (and perhaps this is true of all new religions in their infancy), that there’s an element of chaos about this new “religion?” For sure, in the very early days those few early “preachers of the word,” i.e. the anti-smoking movement, had a very clear vision of how the new religion would work out, and that was, by and large, pretty much just non-smoking. Anti-smokers didn’t much care about alcohol, or sugar, or salt, or saturated fats, or overweight people. But, like many new religions, once it looks as if it might be set to be the next “big thing,” everyone wants a slice of the action. Everyone wants to be the “new Tobacco Control,” which is why the phrase “the new tobacco” crops up time and time again. So now, we are bombarded with competing interests to convert us to their “cause” by giving up whatever it is that they don’t want. It must have been very similar in the post-Christ days of Christianity. Which is probably why we now have a multitude of different versions of Christianity (and, of course, of Islam and Judaism and, no doubt, many of the other major religions), many of them actively hostile to each other, because each one secretly wants to be the Top Dog within that particular religion. And so it is with Healthism.

    It all tends to back up the rather controversial statement that someone famous (David Attenborough, I think, but I wouldn’t swear to it) once made, that, effectively God was created by Man, rather than the other way around, simply because we as humans have to find a reason for even the most seemingly inexplicable things – it’s part of our curious nature which makes us human – and, in our simpler days, with zero technology and almost-zero scientific knowledge, the only way to explain things like the weather, and volcanoes, and earthquakes, and birth and death and disease, and good harvests and bad harvests was to simply shrug our shoulders and assume that “a higher intelligence” had worked it all out. We couldn’t know about those things because we simply weren’t smart enough. But no worries – God knew what was going on and was, indeed, controlling it all on our behalf.

    Of course, as we have discovered more and more about the true reasons behind all these “mysterious” things, God has, perhaps inevitably, lost something of his mystique, and people no longer needed him as their catch-all explanation for anything they didn’t understand, hence the decline in traditional religions. But there are still some things that we don’t know about – and the diseases which still strike humans are one of them. So perhaps that’s why doctors and the medical profession and Healthism have started to take the place of God and religion in guiding our lives. Because, for a lot of people, if they can’t – in the back of their mind – rely on God, ultimately, to look after them, they have to find someone else to do it instead.

    It is, essentially, a sad indictment on the state of mind of most people in the world that, just as in previous years they couldn’t trust themselves to make up their own minds about what was right or wrong morally or practically, and had to be guided by an ancient book to tell them, these days they don’t seem to be capable of making up their own minds what is right or wrong for them physically, either, so that they have to rely on the words of self-appointed “experts” to tell them that, too. But then, if, as “new converts” one of the first things they did was give up smoking, then they’ve probably largely lost the facility to question the words of the “new leaders” – the so-called “experts” – in the way that smokers are still able to do, and so they probably do need those “leaders” to tell them how to live their lives “properly,” because they simply are no longer capable of doing it for themselves.

    • Frank Davis says:

      But don’t you get the impression (and perhaps this is true of all new religions in their infancy), that there’s an element of chaos about this new “religion?”

      Oh yes! It’s a complete farrago of nonsense.

    • Frank Davis says:

      An additional thought:

      Of course, as we have discovered more and more about the true reasons behind all these “mysterious” things, God has, perhaps inevitably, lost something of his mystique, and people no longer needed him as their catch-all explanation for anything they didn’t understand, hence the decline in traditional religions.

      I think it’s also that we humans are no longer living “in the lap of the gods” in the way we used to. For almost our entire existence, we’ve been at the mercy of the elements. We’ve endured storm and drought and flood and earthquake and famine and plague, all totally beyond our control, that have come spinning out of nowhere, but almost certainly under the control of Something or Someone.

      Now, however, we know when storms and hurricanes are going to arrive. We know where earthquakes are likely to happen, and where volcanoes are likely to erupt. We know the causes of many diseases, and so how to prevent them. We’ve become expert farmers, and have more or less banished famine. And we now have running water on tap.

      There’s a lot we still can’t predict, of course. We might know where earthquakes are likely to happen, but we usually don’t know when. And so on.

      And as our scientific understanding has grown, our older ‘religious’ explanation of the natural world has retreated. And in the process our scientists have become the new clerics, who are now believed much more readily than popes and bishops. Hence the rise of The Experts, who have taken over the role of moral guardianship from the old religious authorities.

      The trouble now is that a lot of ‘science’ is in fact fraudulent, concocted by people who want to be moral guardians of society much more than they want to understand the natural world. And these people are now the greatest menace we face. They pretend to scientific knowledge, but actually all they want is control.

  2. jaxthefirst says:

    On second thoughts, I think now that it might have been Desmond Morris in his book The Naked Ape who made the statement about Man inventing God. Still not sure, though.

    • waltc says:

      Great stuff, Jax. Doesn’t matter about getting the citation right. A lot of thinkers have figured out that man created God (and before monotheism , gods) for exactly those reasons. Two elements you elided. First, the moral dimension: the idea of misfortune (whether drought, monsoon, or cancer) as a punishment for sin, and second, the retributive dimension: drought, monsoon or cancer as payback from angry gods for insufficient sacrifice. Or its corollary: good weather and good health as a reward for sacrifice. (Agamemnon gets the wind on which to sail to war after– but only after– sacrificing his daughter; Incans throwing virgins off cliffs to get harvests. Sacrificial sons and lambs all over. The act of Shunning; the Scarlet Letter; Puritanism; Mormonism; nuns and priests sacrificing sex; Lenten renunciation of something–anything at all–that gives pleasure.)

      All that, too, applies to the new religion . You (or the planet) are sick because of your horrific sins or your lack of sacrifice. Your refusal to give up your (sinful) sugar, alcohol, steak, tobacco, SUV, is your moral, mortal sin, the rationale for your ex-communication from society, and the reason for your punishment.

      And to the list of vegetable and mineral villains in the new –what Frank called “feminazi”– vision, I’d have to add Men. Campus rapists, every one. Warmongers. Patriarchal oppressors. Testosterone-fueled brutes. And which sex, I ask you, is more likely to eat meat, drink whiskey, smoke tobacco, kill Bambi and drive Jeeps?

  3. Lepercolonist says:

    With outdoor smoking, the argument is no longer that the smoke physically harms bystanders. It’s that seeing people smoke is corrupting. De-normalizing it means shunning smoking from public view.

    This is why I can no longer attend outdoor sporting events at our local schools. I am corrupting the youth with my habit of smoking ? They will not allow any smoking areas. As an homeowner, I am paying thousands every year in property taxes for schools.
    Fucking joke.

    However, it is permissible to watch teenage athletes receive concussions from contact sports ? These concussions may lead to lifelong neurological problems. I want to see them try to ban high school football games. This is more pressing than imaginary toxic SHS wafting over 50 yards to the stadium. Hypocritical bastards

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Leper you just answered why it wont last much longer………………….The claim outweighs natural commonsense.

  4. Rose says:

    Today’s statement from Anti-tobacco in brief.

    Peter Kellner, “British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK have come together with Ash (Action on Smoking and Health) and more than 120 public health organisations”

    And want to charge you an extra 25p a pack.

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jun/10/ten-million-britons-smoke-tobacco-industry-levy-to-fund-quitting

    Peter Kellner admits that for every 12 billion the government gets in tax and vat the manufacturers only get 1bn but for the extra 25p per packet they hope they will get £500m to spend on drugs and anti-smoking adverts.

    “for a mass-media campaign to motivate smokers to quit and discourage young people from taking up smoking. It would also fund cessation services providing support and medication,”

    You will be surprised to know that the government’s 10bn pounds in profit is entirely offset according to ITV, by something described as “costs to society” though I can’t imagine what they could be.

    “Each year smoking costs the NHS at least £2 billion and a further £10.8 billion in wider costs to society, including social care costs of £1 billion.”
    http://www.itv.com/news/update/2015-06-10/tobacco-firms-should-be-made-to-pay-quitters-tax/

    • smokingscot says:

      This would be an extension of the much leaked “Parliamentary launch of the report” that was compiled originally for the new Labour government.

      However it seems such a shame to waste all that effort, so simply get “Bob Blackman MP for Harrow East and Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health” (in other words he’s taken over from Stephen Williams – the ex-Lib/Dem MP we loved to loathe) to do the honours.

      Guido’s on the case fro a while:

      http://order-order.com/2015/06/09/the-minister-the-lobbyists-and-the-charity-fat-cat/#_@/cgL1Nz-5mbdc1g

      The comments are enlightening and from one I conclude that CRUK has seen a reduction in their income in absolute terms over the past five years, yet their expenditure on staff rises, as does their cost of raising funds. Seems that less than 40% of what they get actually gets spent at the pit head. (And that’s pathetic).

      I assume the BHF is probably in a similar position, so it’s really a case of using the proposed 25p levy to shore up their finances.

      Of course there is a conundrum here. They want us to quit, so as we quit (or at least quit buying UK duty paid) so their take goes down with it. So another 25p gets slapped on in about two years and so on it goes, sort of similar to what they’ve done in NZ – and why it costs close to £45 to buy 50g of rolling tobacco there.

      Once it’s enshrined in law, they’re home free.

      Vomit inducing.

  5. harleyrider1978 says:

    Miss Rose or anyone else do we still have the study on smokers surviving AMI and low oxygen levels during resuscitation. I recall it having to do with CO levels and the like.

    • Rose says:

      Here’s what I’ve found Harley, there may be others. I hope you are feeling a bit better.

      Cardiac resuscitation
      The ‘smoker’s paradox’ after in-hospital cardiac arrest
      20 May 2014

      “A retrospective, observational analysis of data from a large US hospital database has shown that smokers have higher rates of survival and lower rates of poor neurological status after in-hospital cardiac arrest (IHCA) than do nonsmokers. This ‘smoker’s paradox’ of improved outcomes has been recognized in patients with acute myocardial infarction for 25 years,”
      http://www.nature.com/nrcardio/journal/v11/n7/full/nrcardio.2014.73.html

      Smoker’s Paradox’ Seen in Cardiac Arrest Data

      “Among patients treated with therapeutic hypothermia after a cardiac arrest, smokers had better outcomes than nonsmokers, a single-center study showed.”

      Half of smokers survived to hospital discharge with a good neurological outcome compared with only 28% of nonsmokers (P=0.003), according to Jeremy Pollock, MD, of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and colleagues.”
      http://www.medpagetoday.com/Cardiology/Arrhythmias/41671

      “Smoker’s Paradox” in Patients Treated for Severe Injuries: Lower Risk of Mortality After Trauma Observed in Current Smokers
      2014

      “Background: Studies evaluating the effect of smoking status on mortality outcomes in trauma patients have been limited, despite the fact that survival benefits of smoking have been reported in other critical care settings. The phenomenon “smoker’s paradox” refers to the observation that following acute cardiovascular events, such as acute myocardial infarction and cardiac arrest, smokers often experience decreased mortality in the hospital setting. The objective of our study was to determine whether smoking imparts a survival benefit in patients with traumatic injuries.”

      Conclusions: Patients who smoke appear to have a much lower risk of in-hospital mortality than nonsmokers. Further investigation into biological mechanisms responsible for this effect should be carried out in order to potentially develop therapeutic applications.”
      http: //ntr.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2015/03/04/ntr.ntv027.abstract

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        TY Miss Rose,Im feeling tons better and actually was able to get to sleep at 6pm last nite until 3 am this morning. The best nites sleep in a month. Just took me half a loritab and a zanax .5mg…………. off to bed again. I have no sleep rhythm right now its just whenever those damned cracked ribs and sternum don’t hurt so much getting into a comfortable position. But it feels like they are starting not to hurt as sever as when I got home off the morphine. That stuff make me an animal literally. I ended up being tied to the bed and my fists put into cotton styled boxing gloves to keep me from hitting more hospital peronall.

        I told then later it felt like I was a captive in a pow camp and everyone was being tortured and I was fighting back against them hurting me and my fellow prisoners. Ive never been a POW. Just somehow I got into that frame of wild mind.

  6. Rose says:

    “Those who fail to aspire to a specific preferred image of the future self”

    Reading those words reminded me of a word I’d come across in previous searches. I’m sure someone will correct me if I am mistaken in its meaning.

    Gleichschaltung

    “Among the goals of this policy were to bring about adherence to a specific doctrine and way of thinking and to control as many aspects of life as possible.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gleichschaltung

    • Reinhold says:

      That’s correct, Rose.

      And about modern Gleichschaltung of the media, see here:

      Title post: “Woe betide anyone who still denies that we have press diversity!” :-D

      The term Gleichschaltung appears at least three times in the comments (once as “gleichgeschaltet” = past tense of verb).

      • Reinhold says:

        Oh oh oh! “This Facebook post is no longer available”???
        I tried it out just a minute ago.

        Tried it again, still works fine here, without being logged in myself.
        *shrug*

      • Frank Davis says:

        I must remember this word.

        Concepts series. Nazi Gleichschaltung
        By Dr Edgar Feuchtwanger. new perspective [ISSN 1352-6359] Vol 7, No 2

        As a totalitarian regime the Third Reich developed its own language, a perversion of the German language. The control of hearts and minds, to which totalitarian political systems aspire, necessitates such a perversion of the normal use of language. Meaning is twisted and distorted in such a way that the citizens of a totalitarian state can no longer distinguish truth from falsehood. They are reduced to such a state of confusion and impotence that they can be fully manipulated by the dictatorial government. George Orwell’s famous books 1984 and Animal Farm are the classic fictional statements of this aspect of totalitarianism. In 1984 there is a Ministry of Truth, modelled on the Ministry of Propaganda and Popular Enlightenment established by Goebbels.

        Gleichschaltung is an example from the early days of the Nazi dictatorship of this use of language to manipulate and confuse. It is a word rarely to be found in older German dictionaries. ‘Gleich’ means equal, ‘Schaltung’ means switch, as in an electrical switch; Gleichschaltung therefore means switching on to the same track or wavelength, or, to put it in one word, alignment or co-ordination. It became, in 1933, the word for the process by which all organisations and associations existing in society were nazified and some, such as the political parties and the trade unions, were simply suppressed. The word was meant to hide the fact that what was going on was in flagrant breach of all previous notions of freedom, civil rights and self-government. It was a way of glossing over the threat of terror and violence that compelled individuals and organisations to come to heel. People could say that their organisations had been gleichgeschaltet (aligned, co-ordinated), when what had really happened was that former colleagues, who had become politically or racially inconvenient, had been brutally thrown out and often subjected to physical violence. The word Gleichschaltung made it easier for those, the vast majority, who had condoned such treatment, to salve their consciences. There was already, in the early weeks and months of the Third Reich, a sizeable minority of committed and even fanatical Nazis, who welcomed these developments. They took an active part in the violence and accepted the Nazi ideology that declared individual rights an outmoded aspect of the now defunct liberal age. What mattered was what was good for the Volk and the Führer was the sole judge of that.

  7. beobrigitte says:

    It may now be clearer why COP6, held in secrecy in Moscow in October 2014, was much more important than the Ebola epidemic raging in west Africa. They weren’t deciding on merely the next raft of antismoking measures: they were writing a new creed.

    A new creed which has no place anywhere except in history.
    For that new creed >8000 people had to die of the Ebola epidemic and nothing about the starving children (whose parents died of Ebola) has ever been published. The GLEICHGESCHALTETE media just isn’t interested.

  8. Pingback: Excuses, excuses | Manx Low Life

  9. Pingback: The End of Truth | Frank Davis

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