Failing Social Engineering Programmes

Antismoking campaigns are social engineering programmes. But they are just one of many such social engineering programmes. We’re knee deep in programmes of this sort.

Anti-obesity, anti-fat, ant-sugar, anti-salt are also attendant social engineering programmes. Global warming/climate change is another large scale social engineering programme. The EU is yet another very large scale social engineering programme.

And these social engineering programmes are run by elite groups who decide among themselves what the aims of their various programmes will be. They decide that people are not to smoke or drink or get fat. They decide what people should eat, and how much of it, and how often. And once they have decided what people must do, they set out to persuade and bully and bludgeon them into doing it using all the machinery available to them to do so.

Who are the members of these elites? All the great and the good. The political class. Senior members of all the professions. Journalists, newspaper editors and proprietors, radio and TV writers and producers. They make up what is sometimes called the Establishment of right-thinking people. And they very often hand out awards to each other: Grammies, Baftas, Oscars, Nobels, Knighthoods, and so forth.

I’m not a member of this elite. I don’t move in their circles. I don’t even know any of them. Because I disapprove of all their social engineering projects. Because I don’t think that people should be engineered. I think cars and buildings and ships and computers should be engineered, but not people. I think cars and buildings and ships and computers should be engineered for the benefit of people, so they can do with them whatever they want to do, not what some elite wants them to do. I think that once you start to engineer people, you may as well not bother to engineer cars and buildings and ships and computers.

And I think that all their various social engineering projects are doomed to failure. Because nobody wants to be engineered. Nobody wants to be bent into the shape that these elites want them to be. And in the end, people will revert to being what they really are. And it seems to me that we are actually seeing all their social engineering projects displaying all the signs of incipient failure.

The EU giga-social engineering project is perhaps the one in which the signs of decay are becoming the most pronounced. For across the EU the established political elites are losing their grip on the populations which they are trying to engineer. The elites want one thing (e.g. Muslim immigration), and the people don’t. And the people are slowly becoming more and more vocal in their disagreement. And they are starting to vote in more and more non-elite, anti-establishment representatives.

The global warming/climate change social engineering project is also in trouble. For there has arisen a powerful sceptical movement which denies the validity of many of the claims made by the engineers. And the President of the United States, the most powerful man in the world, is one of the sceptics.

One might also say that the very long term anti-smoking social engineering project has run into trouble. For it really ought to be recognised that the totally unexpected invention of completely new ways of smoking – using e-cigarettes – represents a catastrophic failure of the project. And the stubborn persistence of a hard core of smokers in carrying on smoking also represents another failure. And the emergence of a small resistance movement is another failure. And the increasingly loud and hysterical health warnings printed on tobacco products points to yet another failure: somehow or other the engineers are no longer able to get their message across. Why else do they think they have to shout?

And this is perhaps where the failure of all the various engineering programmes originates. For they all all required that the engineers have complete control of all communications, and be able to shape all mass media messages to advance their various social engineering goals. They needed to be in control of the press and TV and radio. And for many years they were. In Britain the BBC has been a state-controlled mass broadcast media outlet for pretty much the past 100 years.

But all that started to change with the arrival, circa 1990, of the internet or World Wide Web, which allowed more or less anyone to publish whatever they liked on the web, without first going through the usual hoops of top-down editorial control.

And I’m one of those people who have been using the web to publish what I think, rather than what they think. I started with Idle Theory back in 1998. And I continue today with the blog that you’re reading right now. There is no editorial oversight. Nobody from WordPress has ever censored anything I’ve written. And I’m one of thousands – nay, millions – of people who have been doing the exact same thing, even if all they have done has been to add comments and ‘likes’ on one website or other. The result is that a whole new online culture has gradually emerged over the past 30 years.

And the most important feature of the new culture is that the elite engineers with their various social engineering programmes are unable to control the content of the information appearing on the web. They no longer control the message. And also more and more people are drifting away from the old top-down-controlled broadcast media – newspapers, TV, radio – and towards new online media organisations.

And there’s almost a state of war between the old media and the new media these days, with accusations of “fake news” being thrown to and fro between them. And the upshot of this is that it is no longer possible to shape the message being broadcast in ways necessary to advance the various social engineering programmes. So, for example, if there are lots of TV shows on which nobody smokes (and on which smoking has been successfully denormalised), there are now internet sites – e.g. the Smoky Drinky Bar – where smoking is being renormalised. And the same applies with the global warming engineering project, because if there are a great many media outlets which promote climate alarmism, there are now just as many that promote climate scepticism.

The elites have lost control of the communications media, and they perhaps did so as soon as those media ceased to be one-way broadcast from a single source – i.e. a single printing press, or a single radio or TV station -, and started to be two-way broadcast between multiple sources.

And when the elites lost control of the communications media, they lost their ability to shape the public mind, to be opinion leaders. And they lost their ability to successfully promote all their various social engineering projects. And that’s why all their projects are on the rocks.

And I myself am in the odd situation that the elites have no way to get their message to me. For I don’t buy any of their newspapers, and I don’t listen to any of their radio, and I don’t watch any of their TV. Increasingly I simply pay attention to the people who comment on my blog, or who write other blogs, or who appear in the Smoky Drinky Bar. And I get all my news from multiple (often rival) sources on the web. About the only messages the elites successfully reach me with are through the shrieking warnings they print on my tobacco packets (and often in languages that I can’t read).

But they still seem to believe that they can influence public opinion:

Angela Merkel’s right-hand man Wolfgang Schäuble has said he hopes the poisoning of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal will persuade the United Kingdom to reverse Brexit and stay in the EU.

The Bundestag president, who has been accused of inflicting punitive measures on weaker EU member-states and disregarding elections during his long tenure as Germany’s finance minister, made the comments to the Funke media group.

Schauble, one of the most powerful politicians not just in Germany but in the entire Eurozone for years, was expanding on his previous comments that “In the Brexit campaign, the Britons were endlessly lied to and deceived and when they happened to be successful, the ones who did that ran away because they said they can’t take responsibility for that.”

He suggested the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, an alleged double agent for MI6 who was released in exchange for Russsian spy Anna Chapman in 2010, would somehow persuade Britain to stay in the European Union despite the Brexit vote, saying the incident proved “Europe works”.

“I do have hope that the Brits will remain in the EU,” he told journalists, claiming the poisoning proved “how good it is to not stand alone in the world.”

But my own take on Skripal is that he was probably poisoned by somebody who wanted to engineer a confrontation with Russia, by pinning the blame on the Russians. And I think that they wanted to engineer this confrontation in order to get the peoples of Europe to unite against a common (Russian) enemy. And who would want to do something like that, other than elite European politicians… like Wolfgang Schäuble?

So, in my case, this new social engineering programme has completely backfired. They’ll never get any support from me for a conflict with Russia which Russians don’t want, and most Europeans don’t want, and which only the European political elites could possibly want, in order to shore up their failing EU project.

And Wolfgang Schäuble is, I think, completely deluded about the continuing ability of state-controlled mass media to shape public opinion. Those days are over. And they ended with the arrival of the internet and all the new social media that emerged out of it.

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31 Responses to Failing Social Engineering Programmes

  1. Frank Davis says:

    Totally On Topic:

    …Beijing’s ambitious attempt to create a Social Credit System (SCS) by 2020 — that is, a proposed national system designed to value and engineer better individual behaviour by establishing the scores of 1.4 billion citizens and “awarding the trustworthy” and “punishing the disobedient”….

    Like the other 7 million citizens deemed to be “dishonest” and mired in the blacklist, Mr Liu has also been banned from staying in a star-rated hotel, buying a house, taking a holiday, and even sending his nine-year-old daughter to a private school.

    And just last Monday, Chinese authorities announced they would also seek to freeze the assets of those deemed “dishonest people”.

    Bonus points for donating blood and volunteer work

    As the national system is still being fully realised, dozens of pilot social credit systems have already been tested by local governments at provincial and city levels.

    For example, Suzhou, a city in eastern China, uses a point system where every resident is rated on a scale between 0 and 200 points — every resident starts from the baseline of 100 points.

    One can earn bonus points for benevolent acts and lose points for disobeying laws, regulations, and social norms.

    According to a 2016 report by local police, the top-rated Suzhou citizen had 134 points for donating more than one litre of blood and doing more than 500 hours of volunteer work.

    In Xiamen, where the development of a local social credit system started as early as 2004, authorities reportedly automatically apply messages to the mobile phone lines of blacklisted citizens.

    “The person you’re calling is dishonest,” whoever calls a lowly-rated person will be told before the call is put through.

  2. RdM says:

    Yeah, well, a totally misguided and misunderstood idea of “Nudge” theory potentially to be applied here, if nobody says anything, submissions still open to the tax working group.

    But re the Skripal incident, scroll way down, 1/2 way? in this blog for sensible IMO comments:

    • RdM says:

      By which I mean that your comment
      “But my own take on Skripal is that he was probably poisoned by somebody who wanted to engineer a confrontation with Russia, by pinning the blame on the Russians. And I think that they wanted to engineer this confrontation in order to get the peoples of Europe to unite against a common (Russian) enemy.
      kind of allies with his deconstruction of the diplomatic language used, & etc.
      And other comments.

  3. magnetic01 says:

    With their prohibition crusade stalled in the 1970s, it was antismokers that suggested pursuing “safer” cigarettes, i.e., low-tar/low-nicotine, to stay in the “game”. By the early-1980s, it shocked even antismokers how easy it was to manipulate people to antismoking by claiming that nonsmokers were being endangered by ambient tobacco smoke. This was the avenue to prohibition. They dropped everything else, including “light cigarettes”, claiming that this, too, was just another conspiracy by the [evil] tobacco industry.

    Claiming [erroneously] that smoking is due to “nicotine addiction” put nicotine under the jurisdiction of the pharma-dominated, antismoking Federal Drug Administration (FDA). It was something that the misocapnists/capnophobes were trying to do early last century in America without success. This time the antismoking nut cases managed to bamboozle their way to success.

    Well, the FDA is now ready to act on tobacco. And guess what they’re going to do? They’re going to lower the nicotine level of cigarettes such that the only cigarettes that will be available will be light cigarettes, the very same light cigarettes [erroneously] condemned by the antismoking nut cases as a tobacco industry “conspiracy”. You couldn’t make up this stuff.

    • Rose says:

      If they’ve found a way to stop the tobacco plant adding putrescine to the niacin to make nicotine it might even be an improvement.


      “But two chemicals that have really earned their names are putrescine and cadaverine, both bacterial breakdown of amino acids. These names sound like a joke. That is until you open the bottle. Then you will get a pretty good clue about where the names were derived: decaying flesh or meat.

      Putrescine and cadaverine are almost chemically identical. The only difference is that putrescine has 4 carbon atoms (red stars) between the nitrogen atoms while cadaverine has 5 (green stars). Even though the two are very similar chemically (they differ by one CH2 (methylene) group and both stink to high heaven, they are biosynthesized from different amino acids.”

      “Nicotine is formed primarily in the roots of the tobacco plant and subsequently is transported to the leaves, where it is stored (Tso, Physioloqy and Biochemistry of Tobacco Plants, pp. 233-34, Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross, Stroudsburg, PA (1972)).

      The nicotine molecule is comprised of two heterocyclic rings, a pyridine moiety and a pyrrolidine moiety, each of which is derived from a separate biochemical pathway.

      The pyridine moiety of nicotine is derived from nicotinic acid.

      The pyrrolidine moiety of nicotine is provided through a pathway leading from putrescine to N-methylputrescine and then to N-methylpyrroline.”

      Or put more simply

      “Nicotine is produced in the roots of tobacco by the linking of compounds derived from nicotinic acid and putrescine.”
      http: //

      No wonder it deters animals from eating the plant.

  4. magnetic01 says:

    For the last while the e-gizmoists have been playing the “harm reduction” card. Spewing standard antismoking slogans, their demand has been for a legalizing of e-gizmos that they may be “saved” from “terrible” smoking.

    One fact that has been overlooked is that while it’s impossible to overdose on nicotine with cigarettes, it is possible to OD with nicotine liquid. The assumed proviso has been that e-gizmoists would start at a nicotine level comparable to the cigarettes they smoked and then possibly lower the amount in steps.

    But now there’s word of a new gizmo that can ratchet up the amount of nicotine delivered.
    JUUL craze getting teens hooked on high levels of nicotine, health officials fear
    It’s the latest smoking craze that has teenagers buzzing on social media — and public health officials warning of a new nicotine-addicted generation. … Similar to vaping, JUUL is a brand-name e-cigarette that has outpaced its competition thanks to its sleek, discreet shape — many compare it to the size and look of a thumb drive — and its unique vaping formula of flavored nicotine and salt.

    on Twitter, Instagram and other online forums, young people have put up funny posts about using, losing or being addicted to their JUULs. Some post videos of themselves in classrooms or locker rooms using their JUULs and playing with the smoke.
    Sam, 17, who goes to school with C., said JUULs are associated with a “kind of delinquent culture.”
    “Almost like you’re trying to appear cool,” he said.

    “But vaping isn’t JUULing,” C. said. “JUULing is more intense.”
    That intensity is the rush of nicotine into the system from the company’s unique liquid formula. At 5 percent nicotine per volume, one JUUL cartridge, or pod, is the equivalent to a pack of cigarettes.

    And The Children™ love them…… ah, The Children™. It seems the move might be towards pushing the “buzz” envelope with higher levels of nicotine [and OD’ing]. And this is while the FDA is proposing to minimize nicotine content of cigarettes.

    WHAT A MESS!!!

    • RdM says:

      In normal circumstances, it’s self regulating,
      You know when you’ve had enough.
      (for the time being, at least!)

      Just as with caffeine.
      With either nicotine or caffeine, you get all hot and flustered or otherwise overcome, a little bit dizzy, too overexcited, you should know and learn that that’s about enough, or in fact, almost too much.

      (Some) People may need to learn this for themselves, before they’ll believe or understand it as fact, in my opinion.

      Learning by exploring the limits…

      It’s a pity there has been such false information put about so that it appears to be forbidden fruit.

  5. Tony says:

    Does anyone know what’s happened to ?

  6. I’m not as sanguine as Frank about all social engineering systems being “doomed to failure.” That thinking could lead do a lot of standing around on the sidelines as one’s way of life is being more and more circumscribed.

    • Barry Homan says:

      I tend to agree. And now we got a ugly little cu…err, runt in glasses trying to pass a law that says smokers can’t walk on the streets anymore.

    • Rhys says:

      I’m with you. The Reich that would last a thousand years didn’t, but managed to do a truly impressive amount of damage while they ruled. People tend to forget that ten years is a long, long time, especially if you’re living under a repressive/insane regime.

  7. Dmitri says:

    “They’ll never get any support from me for a conflict with Russia which Russians don’t want, and most Europeans don’t want, and which only the European political elites could possibly want, in order to shore up their failing EU project”: thank you, Frank. I expect a lot of interesting developments on the poisoning case. One of the wonderful episodes was a recent Moscow joint TV show by Litvinenko the father and Lugovoi, accused in Britain of Litvinenko Jr’s murder. They entered the studio, embraced and began to talk about some funny similarities of two poisoning cases – polonium and novichok ones. In both cases we see a propensity to leaving traces of extremely expensive and unique stuff everywhere, and generally to use something that no spy would even think of using, and to blame Russia for that. It was obvious that Litvinenko Sr. has almost adopted Lugovoi as a stepson, by now. And Lugovoi is on his second book about all these poisonings.
    On a separate subject, namely the crumbling control over media: I began my career in The Pravda newspaper under Brezhnev. It was in that newspaper itself where all kind of opposition to stale Communist brainwashing was brewing. We didn’t even communicate between ourselves, it’s just that everyone knew that old correctness was on its way out. When, after 1991, we discovered that there were 2 real, real Commies among us, we couldn’t believe it at first. And kinda respected them for being so weird and exotic. It was the same in Izvestia and the rest of the “mainstream, State-controlled media”.

    • Frank Davis says:

      The whole poisoning thing stinks. If the Russians had done in it, they wouldn’t have used a nerve agent with a Russian origin. They’d have used something else. So this has to be a false flag, intended to frame Russia. Who wants to do that? Well, the European political class seems as good a candidate as any, particularly since they all jumped on it immediately. Just a shame that Trump seems to have too. Not sure if he’s been bounced into it.

      And re the media, I think we in the West have probably been far more thoroughly and effectively propagandised than Russians ever were. And we used to believe it!

      • Joe L. says:

        Just a few hours ago, after all the bold statements from government leaders claiming that Russia was “without a doubt” responsible for the poisoning of Skripals, the UK Ministry of Defence has admitted that there is actually no proof that the Novichok poison used actually came from Russia. I have a feeling some more good scientists are going to lose their funding and their jobs for being honest.

        Salisbury poisoning: UK experts cannot prove novichok nerve agent used on Skripals came from Russia, MoD says

        • RdM says:

          I did post this general link earlier, rather than pick out individual blog posts within it – you need to scroll right to the bottom to pick up his starting remarks on this affair, and work back up (and since there’s now a recent post with a promise of follow-up, pretty soon maybe even have to go to “Older Posts”, page 2) – well worth reading!

  8. Smoking Lamp says:

    Here comes another ‘salami slice’…

    Antismokers call for statewide smoking ban in aftermath of New Orleans ban. “Proposal could force all Louisiana bars and gaming facilities to go smoke-free” at

    Recall the opposition to the NOLA smoking ban was censored and only the antismoker position presented by the local press…

    In Los Altos, CA, which just passed a comprehensive citywide ban, it has been disclosed that there were only 5 complaints about smoking over the 6 months leading up to the ban: “City got few complaints about smoking before passing ban”

    Sounds like the antismoker totalitarians seized the day.

  9. waltc says:

    Here’s another CA city that’s thinking of outdoor and apartment unit bans. (Click within this page to read their proposed ideas.) They’ve also got a survey that allows you respond as a ‘visitor” to the city. There are also slots in which you can add comments. Suggest at least some of you who respond remind them that no science exists to show health effects from outdoor (or next door) smoking. If you’ve got any links to useful studies to back that up, you might include them

  10. smokingscot says:

    Quite a pleasant start to a morning. The anti’s have run out of money in Scotland, so they arrange for a plaintive article in a national newspaper with details carefully spoon fed to an obscure “reporter”.

    However the comments are, by and large, not going the way they’d like them to go!

    Do feel free to wade into the debate, they’re actively trolling it, without much success.

    • Commented the following: I’ve smoked for many years & have found the habit comforting & pleasurable, especially at times when I’ve been anxious or depressed. I’ve know many people who quit and whose health did not improve, others who never smoked and sadly died young, and still others who’ve happily smoked into their eighties & nineties. I hope we never see a Scotland where no one enjoys tobacco. It would be a very boring, sterile place indeed.

      • Smoking Lamp says:

        I notice the site has been deleting comments. As always the astroturf antis seem to dominate.

        • smokingscot says:

          Correct. First comments were largely against more money to the anti’s and remarkably relaxed about us. It went to more than 70.

          These were all deleted about 12.00 hrs GMT.

          So start all over again and their lot attempted to change the topic toward the health risks, that was until DP posted his tweet and link, then we gained the upper hand with some impressive arguments displayed.

          Frank’s comment is currently the one with most up ticks (they don’t allow down ticks).

          As the whole thing’s a blatant attempt to influence decision maker’s, it’s not gone the way they’d hoped. Somewhere in The Scotsman newspaper as well as tobacco control, they now know that these attempts to show broad public support no longer work.

          Best they stick to contrived polls, private meetings, emails and compiling dossiers on politicians they seek to influence.

          My thanks to you all who took the time to assist. I don’t use this handle on disqus and was in the first lot.

        • RdM says:

          I was going to comment, reply, had to sleep;- and now I see one comment that

          B030G123 • 2 hours ago
          All comments disappeared.

          I’m trying to reply, difficult login, and then can’t alter my text,

          I just noticed that too.
          However, the last time I looked, on another PC, it had 27 comments.
          I saved that page as a PDF.

          But at least that went through.

          So maybe we can start again on this supposedly ‘blank slate’?

        • RdM says:

          By which I mean, all comments had been deleted, and there was just one new one noting that, to which I got in a tiny reply, but found I couldn’t edit it much after starting it.
          So they really do seem to have purged all the earlier comments!

          I’ll have to see where I can post this pdf record of 27 comments… any ideas?

        • Frank Davis says:

          I’m quite enjoying this. After my comment yesterday was deleted, I’ve added a new one:

          I’m very glad to hear that the money “ran out”. I hope that the money supply is never re-instated. Smoking cessation campaigns are a complete waste of money. And the people working in them are just a worthless bunch of killjoy spongers with nothing constructive whatsoever to add to society.

        • RdM says:

          My saved PDF of 1st 27 comments, I think, trying this out:

          Need to check if it worked, is useful… it seems to work.

        • Frank Davis says:

          Someone wrote:

          Smokers “need to address the reason why they smoke in the first place and then decide to quit.”

          And I wrote in response:

          The reason I smoke is because I enjoy smoking.

          Just like the reason I drink is because I enjoy drinking.

          Just like the reason I eat cheese and onion crisps is because I enjoy eating cheese and onion crisps.

          Just like the reason I play pool is because I enjoy playing pool.

          And when they’re all done at the same time, they’re even better!

  11. Smoking Lamp says:

    Interesting essay on Tobacco Control’s illusion of consensus:


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