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.