Forging An Identity

Something I came across this morning:

Identity Politics Is Tearing Society Apart

Forget the old battles between the left and the right. Welcome to the era of ‘identity politics,’ where loyalties are owed not to class or political party, but to groups defined by gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

It goes on:

The identity politics movement tells people that their experience as a member of a particular group is what ultimately defines them and gives their lives meaning. This message is destroying society’s broad sense of the common good, increasing antagonism and fragmentation in our society.

These days I’m fully engaged in identity politics. But not a politics defined by my gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation (male, white, hetero). My politics is defined by me being a smoker. And it’s almost completely defined by me being a smoker.

Example: Why am I anti-EU? Simple: because the EU is antismoking.

I’m 71 years old, and for the first 60 years of my life I didn’t think of myself as a smoker. It’s only relatively recently that I’ve gained an identity as A Smoker. And I only gained this identity when smoking got banned almost everywhere.

And this is how you get an identity. You get an identity when you get singled out for maltreatment. You gain an identity when you get persecuted. You acquire an identity when you’re singled out for being something that not everyone else is.

It goes way beyond gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation. You can be singled out for anything. You can be singled out for being too fat, or being too thin. You can be singled out for eating some things and not others. You can be singled out for speaking one language and not another. Or for having one accent and not another. Or supporting one football club and not another. And so on. The list is endless.

But from time to time the scale of the persecution reaches an intensity that ensures that it lingers on in memory for centuries or millennia. It’s going to take a very long time for the Jewish Holocaust or Shoah to be forgotten. And Christians still remember being thrown to the lions in the Colosseum in Rome. And it is perhaps that Christian and Jewish identity was born from out of their persecution.

It may also be that my English identity is the product of living in a country that was conquered by the Romans, and held as a Roman colony for about 300 years. And then being variously conquered by Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and finally Norsemen (aka Normans). And then having to fight off Spanish and German invasions.

Perhaps all identity is the product of these sorts of impacts. You only know who you are when you’ve had enough stones thrown at you.

And the persecution of smokers has reached an extraordinary intensity. What’s extraordinary about it is that it’s a global persecution. It’s happening everywhere. And it’s an organised global persecution. It’s been organised by doctors in the World Health Organisation. It’s a bureaucratically-organised global persecution. There’s never been anything quite like it in human history. Because for the most part if  you’re being persecuted for being something, you can usually go somewhere else where you won’t be. But increasingly for smokers, there’s nowhere to run. With a few exceptions, it’s the same everywhere. There’s no Israel in which smokers are welcomed, and to which they can flee.

Such is the intensity of this new persecution that it is now forcing people like me to identify themselves as being Smokers. And perhaps even identify first and foremost as Smokers. The current global persecution of smokers is forging a new identity: the hardened, veteran Smoker. It’s doing what persecution always does. And these Smokers are going to appear all over the world, more or less simultaneously. And when that happens, it will be the beginning of the end for Tobacco Control, the WHO, the medical profession, and much else as well.

And in fact it may already be happening. For to my eyes the current global “nationalist-populist” revolt against globalism and global elites appears in large measure to be a revolt by smokers against global smoking bans. It’s just that nobody is recognizing it as that – not even the smokers who are leading the revolt (Farage, Le Pen, Salvini, Bannon). Yet it’s a global revolt that is coming at about the right time, ten years after smoking bans were imposed all over the world. It takes time for the response to come. It takes time for things to sink in. People are slow to anger. The antismokers are always gleeful when their smoking bans don’t cause immediate riots, but really they should wait and see what happens much later.

If I’m right, it will mean that the current global “nationalist-populist” revolt is just going to get stronger and stronger, because it’s the reaction of people to the same stimulus applied everywhere.

But I could be wrong. It won’t be the first time.

About Frank Davis

smoker
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4 Responses to Forging An Identity

  1. smokingscot says:

    I don’t think you’re wrong. Nor do I think Nigel was lying when he said the doctors had got it wrong. Nor the Norwegian health minister, who more or less said things had gone way too far.

    I am gradually, but very cautiously, beginning to sense that some politicians are aware of the feelings amongst many smokers, what with UKIP stating they support all smoking and all no smoking pub and clubs – and by extension, smoking rooms.

    In addition Forest’s talking head posted recently about 2 people who have supported Forest in the past.

    And in Cyprus the Green Party has initiated every restriction on us. Contrary to what happened elsewhere in Europe, they bombed and lost their MEP. (Same in Malta).

    As I say Frank, it could all be down to coincidence. However I shall be keeping an eye open for which party would like to woo the 3.6% who voted UKIP last week.

  2. Clicky says:

  3. beobrigitte says:

    It’s only relatively recently that I’ve gained an identity as A Smoker. And I only gained this identity when smoking got banned almost everywhere.
    We smokers cannot avoid this identity. But I don’t mind. I’m proud of it. After all, passive smoke didn’t kill me as a baby/child and so far after 50 years of active smoking I’m still here. Do I still need to be here when all the youngsters in politics are praying for my death and label me “bed-blocker”? Not really. I suspect smoking isn’t the killer it’s portrait to be. The baby-boomers are still here – and have to wait for their state pension.

    It may also be that my English identity is the product of living in a country that was conquered by the Romans, and held as a Roman colony for about 300 years. And then being variously conquered by Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and finally Norsemen (aka Normans). And then having to fight off Spanish and German invasions.
    Guess what? I’m still here and intend to stay. (Couldn’t resist that). But then, I have been adopted as “aar german scouser”, so my “invasion” is going good!

    Perhaps all identity is the product of these sorts of impacts. You only know who you are when you’ve had enough stones thrown at you.
    As a German national here I haven’t but as a smoker I have. Funnily enough, my German nationality is never an issue, my smoking became one over the last (nearly) 12 years. And smoker hatred has no nationality.

    If I’m right, it will mean that the current global “nationalist-populist” revolt is just going to get stronger and stronger, because it’s the reaction of people to the same stimulus applied everywhere. Do we need a nationalist-populist revolt? No. We need a smoker revolt.

  4. waltc says:

    Beginning with the bans, I stopped identifying as a New Yorker and the increasing political correctness and “progressive” intrusions in all manner of things by the city council and the crazy mayor have led me to want to leave if I could think of a sane place to move to. So, too, my identity as an American dwindles as I observe the prevailing blind and increasingly irrational progressivism and snowflakism that’s invaded the whole place. All of it seems antithetical to what once was the openness, actual “diversity” and sheer fun of the city and the individualism that was once the hallmark of the country.

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