Why Are People So Susceptible To Alarmism?

H/T Joe L:

Tax meat until it’s too expensive to eat, new UN report suggests

Meat should be taxed at the wholesale level to raise the price and deter consumption, says a new report from the UN’s International Research Panel (IRP). This will (supposedly) save the environment and prevent global warming.

“I think it is extremely urgent,” said Professor Maarten Hajer of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, lead author of the report. “All of the harmful effects on the environment and on health needs to be priced into food products.”

Hajer and other members of the IRP assert that livestock creates 14.5 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

I think one thing that this goes to show is that one form of alarmism – meat alarmism? – is strongly dependent on on another form of alarmism – global warming alarmism.

In fact, it’s really that one form of alarmism spawns secondary forms of alarmism. Alarmism breeds alarmism, in a spreading wave.

I can well imagine that global warming alarmism has spawned numerous secondary alarmisms like meat alarmism. And because these secondary alarmisms depend upon global warming alarmism, it can’t be allowed to die out, even if most ordinary people remain pretty unalarmed about it.

I think that there’s a case to be made that global warming alarmism was itself a secondary alarmism that grew out of secondhand smoke alarmism. After all, once you’ve managed to get people alarmed about trace amounts of tobacco smoke in the atmosphere doing one thing, it can’t be too difficult to also get them alarmed about trace amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere doing something else.

How come so many people are so susceptible to so many different kinds of alarmism these days?

I had a thought this morning which offered one explanation. It goes like this:

The drugs of choice for my parents’ generation were tobacco and alcohol. But the drug of choice for my boomer generation was principally cannabis. And cannabis is a quite strongly psychotropic drug. It’s a drug that affects the way people think. It’s a drug of imagination that allows people to have any number of wonderful, amusing ideas. I should know – I’ve smoked enough of the stuff in my time. Alcohol and tobacco aren’t really like that at all. I don’t drink beer and smoke cigarettes to have funny ideas: I use them to relax and get a bit happy. And in particular I use tobacco to concentrate and think clearly.

So what happens in a society in which the principal drug becomes cannabis, and tobacco smoking is condemned and made illegal – upturning the way things were 20 or 30 years ago? Well, you get a lot of sensible, down-to-earth, well-grounded tobacco smokers being replaced by suggestible, over-imaginative pot-smokers who are open to any number of wacky ideas.

And it’s among precisely these sorts of people that imaginary fears about tobacco smoke and carbon dioxide are likely to catch on. It’s also among these sorts of suggestible people that cults of one sort or other are likely to catch on. These are exactly the sort of people who will believe that secondhand tobacco smoke is lethal, and that carbon dioxide causes global warming, and now, today, that meat-eating needs to be taxed out of existence.

My parents were both pretty sensible, down-to-earth people. They tended not to cultivate imaginary fears about anything. Neither of them ever joined any weird cult. Pretty much everything they believed was straight-down-the-centre normal. And I doubt that either of them smoked any cannabis or tried any other drug, or even dreamed of ever doing so.

My father died over 20 years ago, but I feel sure that if he were to return and learn about all the crazy things that some people now believe, he’d probably say “The world has gone mad”. And perhaps it has.

I’m not about to suggest that cannabis is a dangerous drug. It’s actually a very useful one. What I am instead going to suggest is dangerous about the current situation is that there are fewer and fewer ordinary, sensible, well-grounded people (e.g. placid pipe-smokers), and more and more suggestible, over-imaginative people (e.g. over-imaginative pot smokers) who can – and do – very easily get caught up in any number of bizarre ideas and beliefs.  And the war on tobacco is pushing matters more and more towards over-imaginative suggestibility, to the detriment of calm, simple, ordinary common sense.

About Frank Davis

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23 Responses to Why Are People So Susceptible To Alarmism?

  1. Roobeedoo2 says:

    I don’t think cannabis is to blame. Setting the bar so low with smoke alarm, I’m mean it’s pretty much benign, means everything is dangerous. Schools have been indoctrinating youth with the ‘Smoking Kills’ line for such a long time now, more than one generation has grown up without the ability to assess risk, And the MSM has been doing a sterling job of re-educating the rest of the population.

    The Tobacco Template works, that’s why it’s been rolled out again and again and again.

    • waltc says:

      Actually I think Meat Kills started long before Global Warming was invented and closer to the invention of SHS Kills. But GW becomes another convenient rationale for anti-meat. Nice if you can link your irrational fears. They’ve also tried selling smoking as contributing to global warming.Then too, smokers are more likely to be meat eaters–yet another reason to hate them. See? All ties together.

      I too don’t attribute the rise of irrationality to pot. I’d imagine there were proportionally more pot smokers in, say, 1969 than there are now. But if I wanted to indulge in fanciful speculation, I might (tho I don’t) attribute it to the increasing numbers of cranky, restless former smokers. Asceticism, too, is addictive–one form leads to another (tobacco, booze, sugar, salt, meat, and from there to private cars and air condtioning) — and ascetics in the wilderness are prone to evangelism as well as to End Of The World scenarios

  2. Harleyrider1978 says:

    It’s all imaginary fears approved by government Nazis!

  3. sackersonwp says:

    I think it’s simply evolutionary instinct. Fear is stronger than desire, because failing to get something you fancy usually doesn’t kill you, but in a state of nature even injury can lead to death (infection, or starvation, or predation). I realised this when I saw film of a tiger gingerly crossing a stream – I thought he’d leap about, boldly Tigger-ish, but of course if he slipped and broke his foot there’d be no tiger ambulance service.

  4. Lecroix says:

    Reblogged this on Contra la ley "antitabaco" and commented:
    Magnífica entrada en toda su extensión, con dos puntos principales:

    1. Como era de esperar, “expertos” de las Naciones Unidas proponen subir los impuestos de la carne hasta que sea tan cara que la gente no la pueda comprar. Consideran que con esto se mejorará la salud de las personas, se cuidará el medio ambiente y se podrá combatir el “calentamiento global”. Los expertos de las Naciones Unidas consideran que las flatulencias del ganado son responsables del 14.5% de las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero que contribuyen al “cambio climático”. Parece ser que han logrado emitir este informe, sin descojonarse en ningún momento. Tiene su mérito.

    2. La progresiva sustitución en la sociedad del fumador de tabaco sensato,centrado y realista por el fumador de cannabis, desenfocado, dado a imaginativas fantasías (“colocado”, hablando claro) y crédulo.

  5. prog says:

    The misinformed/ill educated (i.e the majority it seems) are more likely to be irrational and prone to superstition, with the clear-minded, unemotional and logical thinkers more likely to be condemned as dangerous heretics simply for pointing out the ‘elephant in the room’. As during the medieval period.

  6. garyk30 says:

    Just a couple of thoughts.

    First, the professor from Holland, wants to tax livestock; but, apparently seafood would be not taxed.
    Maybe the good prof’s family owns a fishing boat?

    Life/nature is and always has been random and unpredictable.
    People have always been alarmed by the fact that there is no way to know what is going to happen to whom.

    There have always been people willing to pander to that fear of the unknown for personal gain of one sort or another.

    Fearful people have always been willing to follow those that claim to have a cure/answer or remedy for the randomness of life.

    Animals and people have been sacrificed, behavior or foods have been proclaimed taboo, and the demands of the elite are never ending.

    Today, much of what people fear are invented fears.
    Invented by those seeking control or money.

  7. garyk30 says:

    Another tactic is that of making folks feel ‘guilty’ about what happens to other people.

    Criminals are not by nature bad, their behavior is the fault of society.

    Poverty occurs because wealth is not shared by all.

    Buzz words; such as, ‘social justice’ and ‘affordable housing’ and ‘a livable wage’ are tossed about as tho they had a real definition or meaning.

    We are told that ‘black lives matter’ and the rich should ‘pay their fair share’ of taxes and that there should be ‘free healthcare’ or ‘free college’ for all.

    Guilt-guilt-guilt must be felt by all that have worked for what they have and what they have earned must be distributed, thru taxes, to those that, in most cases, are to lazy to work.

    Fear and guilt are the tools of the trade for the elites that seek control and power.

  8. DICKR says:

    If meat becomes too expensive we will have to kill and eat vegetarians .

    • nisakiman says:

      That’s not such a bad idea, actually.

      It’s not for nothing that our meat-eating habits tend to confine themselves to herbivores. Meat eating animals carry more risks of infection and the flavour of the meat is, apparently, much stronger than that of herbivores, and not to the taste of most.

      So when the Warble Gloaming catastrophe strikes (as we are assured it will), and we are all sent back to hunter gatherer status, it’s the vegetarians and vegans we need to look out for. I imagine they’ll barbecue very nicely.

  9. jameshigham says:

    In fact, it’s really that one form of alarmism spawns secondary forms of alarmism. Alarmism breeds alarmism, in a spreading wave.


  10. mactheknife says:

    The root cause is national and and supranational goverments (let’s face it, that’s how the UN sees itself) with no real work to do. They justify their existence with displacement activity, i.e. endlessly cooking up new and exciting ways to make rest us of as miserable as possible.

    Of course, they see themselves as shimmering crusaders, riding to the defence of helpless Gaia, but those of us who worked for a living are getting increasingly fucked off with their endless virtue signalling while riding on our backs.

    My keenest hope for Brexit (Glory and Joy upon such a blessing), is that it’ll herald our parliament becoming a place of late nights and hard work, attracting a better quality of politician again. Or to put it another way, changes in such a way as to make the current crop of bums and dags find hastily arranged sinecures in the midden that is the Third Sector.

    At any event, I hope that one day, to an impassioned wail for another impost on the masses, the reply comes back, “Be serious, we’ve got fucking work to do”…

  11. harleyrider1978 says:
  12. harleyrider1978 says:
  13. slugbop007 says:

    Thought you folks might like this:

    Mississippi just banned all bans: http://watchdog.org/264021/losing-more-than-liberty-in-the-nanny-state/

  14. harleyrider1978 says:
  15. smokingscot says:


    So UKIP have chosen to shoot themselves in the foot by refusing to allow Steve Woolfe to stand for leadership of the party.


    I’m useless at betting odds, so guess it’s a kick up between Diane James & Lisa Duffy.


    So it looks increasingly like we’ll have at least 8.5 years of Ms. May.

    Better than 3 of Cameron and 5.5 of Osborne. But not much.

  16. prog says:

    I think cocaine is closer to the heart of the problem – it’s more likely to be the drug of choice of the wealthy, privileged egotistical bastards that fill peoples’ heads full of crap and paranoia. And has been for the last 30-40 years.

  17. jaxthefirst says:

    I think there are a couple of things at work here. Firstly, as many on here have pointed out, the PTB have discovered that scaring the wits out of gullible people is a very effective way of controlling them and making them do exactly what they (the PTB), for whatever reason (usually personal preference or some individual bee in their bonnet) want them to do. But also, as the number of smokers has fallen and the number of remaining smokers buying their tobacco from abroad or out of the back of a van has increased, they are now desperate to make up for the decreased take in tobacco duty through other forms of taxation. They’ll never admit it, of course, because to admit that there is any downside to their “successes” in getting people to stop smoking is tantamount to admitting failure, but the bottom line is that they are simply incapable of tightening their spending belts in the way that normal people have to when their income drops – they’re far, far too addicted to their over-inflated income to do that. Hence the reason why we now have a plethora of calls for taxes on all number of different things, fines for things that never used to be illegal, and charges for things that used to be free. Red meat is just the latest of these “try outs” to see if the public will swallow it (no pun intended). And you know what? I think they probably will. Provided whoever wants to impose these taxes/fines/charges can rustle up some tenuous connection to it being for the sake of health, for the sake of the planet, or for the sake of the cheeeldren, a gullible, easily-led public will simply bend over and take it. Just like they always do.

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