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.