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Posts Tagged ‘Stigmatization

The Malevolent Stigma Towards Tobacco Users

with 4 comments

In July of this year, my post on overcoming smoker’s guilt got picked up by people on reddit. The reddit thread can be viewed here. I thought I’d revisit the subject, as it apparently gathered some attention in that dark corner of cyberspace.

In the original post, I detailed how social engineering, fostered through public policy, has created a secondary class of people who are addicted to tobacco, victimized through mental torture, and I explain how the gang of anti-smoking activists feel justified in destroying the lives and mental health of people through social stigmatization, because they don’t like smoking and find it a flaw of character so repulsive that it deserves public ridicule. There is a deep disrespect for fellow human beings and an anti-humanistic world view that enables people to treat others with such contempt. It reveals itself in a total disrespect for differing values and sources of happiness in life. It is anti-individualistic and evil. That was the basis for my argument. This obviously flew way over the head of these reddit debaters, as is blatantly apparent from the thread title “Proud Smoker: How Dare You Try to Guilt Me Out of Giving Myself Cancer!?” An argument out of compassion is hence portrayed as whines from an insecure smoker. Little do they know.

This becomes apparent in the way the they conjur up personal attacks and attempts to portray the author as a person who is nothing but a chain smoker trying to rationalize his addiction; a person who is careless about his health; an insecure person who yearns for sympathy; a person who ignores the deaths and misery that tobacco has caused many users and their family members, and by doing so they must unsurprisingly distort the argument that is made. The OP starts it all off by picking out quotes from my original post and commenting on them, true to the mission of upholding the stigma:

Am I simply a counter-cultural social contrarian? No, not at all. Being so would be irrational. None of my motivations for smoking tobacco came from this wish to simply do the opposite of what the wise overlords are telling me to do.

“I’m not just doing this to be a contrarian” – said every contrarian ever. But later:

As a result, tobacco smoking in itself has many more potential positive effects than negative ones… The stigmatizing propaganda by the nanny statists is something you should rise above, as overcoming such stigmatization is imperative to a healthy individualistic life.

So acting contrary isn’t just one of the benefits of smoking; it’s essential for a healthy life! But this isn’t one of his motivations for smoking – oh no – it’s just a happy coincidence that it makes him feel superior to everyone else.

It begins with a cheap gag that is undressed by its blatant ignorance. Delving into the history of humanity, by learning how a recreational substance has been cultivated and enjoyed for hundreds of years, and to enjoy the flavors and notes of a product that has attracted millions of people to its fruits, in order to proudly enjoy and become a part of something that has shaped humanity and modern society – for better or for worse – is not to be a contrarian. If it were, then we are all contrarians at all times, always. It renders the word meaningless. A contrarian has a counter-cultural ideal at hand, in order to do simply what is opposite of what is the authority of the times. These are not the same. For anyone interested in the underlying argument, this distinction could be meaningful and appreciated. For someone who is lead on by an irrational anger over dissenting views, it obviously falls on deaf ears.

Continuing, what is essential for a healthy, individualistic human life is to overcome stigmatization, discrimination and anti-humanistic bickering from people who possess a world-view that entails a complete disrespect for fellow individuals – simply because these individuals find a different source of happiness in life. Acting contrary is simply not the point. If a tobacco smoker finds joy and meaning in his recreational activity, it is imperative for his happiness to not be affected by the anti-humanistic and anti-individualistic sentiments of others. To not suffer from their hatred, you will have to strengthen your own identity and purposes in life. For a smoker suffering from smoker’s guilt, that means to either stop smoking or to overcome said smoker’s guilt. Believe it or not, someone enjoys their tobacco, and for them I offered a solution to said problem, based on my personal experiences and gathered testimonials.

I can imagine their chantings: “Oh, to believe that someone would have compassion for people who enjoy tobacco!? How obscene! How ignorant!” No, not obscene at all. And neither is it about shutting yourself away from the knowledge available. There is nothing in overcoming smoker’s guilt that entails a complete disregard of medical research. On the contrary, the issue is to ensure the well being of fellow individuals. To take the position that smokers are inherently too stupid to factor medical advice into their lives is, if anything, self-glorifying and cynical. It’s a better-than-thou snobbery that reveals a dark and cold view on humanity. Stigmatization is an evil force in social life – one which fuels the ruination of the mental health and happiness of others, thus it can have detrimental effects on the lives of its victims. Those who feed and uphold this stigma will never care for the souls they break. In their ignorance, they claim to worry about passive smoking, yet could not give a flying toss over the negative consequences of their dehumanization of smokers. How ironic. I find such hypocrisy distasteful at best.

The comment ends by speaking of “superiority”. Who is the one guilty of possessing thoughts of superiority over others: The person who wishes that people can seek out different sources of happiness in their lives without being ridiculed, hated or dehumanized for their choices, or the person who glorifies himself to a moral high ground, from where he feels compelled to stigmatize and push people over the cliff, belittling their choices with his megalomaniac authority on what is decent or indecent, in order to socially force them into his own behavioral patterns?

The same user goes on in another comment:

I noticed that this guy brags about using cigars and pipes, as if this makes smoking more organic and wholesome. But isn’t it actually way worse because of no filtration?

Of course an anti-smoker wouldn’t understand why anyone would choose to smoke. There’s not even an attempt at understanding what smoking means for people. No compassion, no empathy. Organic? Wholesome? Worse because of no filtration? Obviously, the person doesn’t know how different tobacco products differ in their uses and contents, and neither does the person have any clue about how people enjoy and cultivate their different recreational tobacco uses. Needless to say, the lack of such insight leads one to see differing behaviors as mere bragging and identity issues.

This is the heart and soul of the typical anti-smoking nincompoops. It reveals a narcissistic, anti-humanistic and anti-individualistic world view. It’s just another evil to overcome for those who suffer from all the rampant social stigmatization in the world, as if the world didn’t have enough. This applies for smokers as non-smokers alike, because here comes the big surprise for the reddit users in that thread: Smoking was never the main issue. The main issue was the evils of stigmatization. This is the message that flew way over their heads. The reddit thread is a micro-cosmos of these evils. Behold as they foster and mold.

An ending message to smokers and other victims of stigmatization: Seek out happiness in your life. Stay informed in your life-decisions, but let your decisions be your own and be proud of them. Cultivate them! Enjoy them! Let them be a source of happiness! Do not let the evils of others bring you down. After all, it’s your life, not theirs, and it’s a beautiful life worth enjoying.

Written by Morten Rolland

December 6, 2013 at 4:08 am

The Dangers of Exclusion and the Evils of Collectivism: Why Individualism Is the Remedy Against Terrorism

with 3 comments

On July 22nd, 2011, Norway was struck by an act of terrorism and witnessed an unfathomable slaughter of innocent children and young adults on an island in East Norway. We have all read the news and we have all heard the tales of the evil that was brought upon innocent people that day.

Most people in Norway are still mourning the loss of their dear ones, and the wounded are still fighting to make it through. All our thoughts are with them in these tough times, and the sorrow they endure is something we hope no one will have to endure ever again. That is why we need to learn from what has happened and become stronger because of it. We need to fathom the unfathomable. As we are able to get some sort of distance to it all, and been able to reflect over the tragedy, we do see a glimpse of what the truth is in all of this. A manifesto (basically a cut-and-paste collection of many intellectual and meaningful works and pieces of literature – some of them even very good, others very bad) has been released. The manifesto is a collection of many incoherent ideas and opposing schools of thought, put together in a collectivist and conspiratorial way by one man and his world view.

In this scrap book of thoughts and influences, among the many over-lining topics that he focuses on, there are some parts that show the biggest inconsistencies, and that I feel needs to be brought up. He sees himself as an anti-collectivist, and he also do make some references to very good libertarian, classical liberal and objectivist literature (although it should be noted that he also references a lot of neo-conservative and even some communist and socialist literature, but that’s not the topic now). Does this mean he was a terrorist actually working in the name of individualism, or is he mixing up his terminology, just as he’s mixing up his influences in his creation of his own world view?

I think it’s a distinct quality of collectivism and a collectivist world view that enables a man to fully identify himself with some greater force, and to then feel justified to wage a war between the one force and another. In Anders Behring Breivik’s case, he thinks of himself as part of a pan-European mono-ethnic force that is under attack by Islamic colonists and their Marxist collaborators. He theorizes about a possible civil war between these two forces, and he thinks of himself as a pioneer in this war, and is certain he will be remembered as a hero in the future. Knowing this, you’d have a hard time arguing for him being a true individualist. He is 100% a collectivist by any measure of the word. It makes a lot more sense to me that when he speaks of anti-collectivism, he puts that in context of anti-globalism and anti-multiculturalism – he does not want his own collective sharing anything with other “enemy” collectives under a broader regulatory welfare collective. As such, he does not seem to understand the true meaning of the word, and he most certainly is not an individualist.

An individualist could turn to self-defense and could in such a situation take the life of someone, sure, but an individualist would be completely unable to launch an attack against an imagined class or group of people, in the name of his own imagined class or group of people, because that’s not the way individualists see the world. You can probably find killers in any society (and some more so than in others), and I’m certain there can still be deadly crime in an individualist world. We’re all still human. But only collectivists can be mass-murderers and terrorists, because a collectivist world view is a very distinct quality of a mass-murderer and a terrorist.

Now we can make an attempt on a remedy (which I wasn’t able to see in the middle of this tragedy, but after reading an article by Norwegian blogger Onar “Onarki” Åm it all became very clear and obvious to me, and I was able to structure my own thoughts in this article because of it): Having an open society that is able to include all sorts of opposing, alternative and even extreme opinions. That does NOT mean agreeing with them all, but simply to let them be heard in the public sphere, bring them into the conversation and always meet them with rational and logical arguments. I know us libertarians and classical liberals have a really hard time being heard in the modern socialist power house that is the world today, and some of us have felt how it is to be squeezed out, vilified and stigmatized. This was the content for my Bachelor Thesis in Sociology, Spring 2011 (I focused on people identifying themselves as classical liberals and objectivists), and stigmatization of political minorities is very much a reality, especially in Social Democratic Norway. People who are not among the general majority of political opinions will always experience a stigma that is to some unbearable. If you push them far enough and hate them enough, there will come a time where they will “snap”. This have happened with Islamist terrorists, and this have now happened with a guy in Norway, who have long tried to speak about his distaste for Muslim immigration to Norway and Europe, but has never been heard – not even been talked to. A crusader-fixation was his desperate and twisted way of being heard. It’s like a stigmatized nation getting hold of Nuclear Weapons in order to be taken seriously.

Now, as I mentioned, there is a very good reason why true individualists (like libertarians, classical liberals and objectivists) cannot become terrorists in such a situation of stigmatization that we find ourselves in. Our own opinions and world view inhibit us from thinking in such directions. Individualism makes us morally unable to, and it’s also completely against our own self-interests. We will always continue the long and hard road ahead of us by trying to spread the word of liberty and freedom in peaceful terms, and hope to turn a few over to our side as we go along. We are wired that way, and we would not be individualists if we weren’t wired that way. A collectivist, however (and perhaps also altruistic as such), can see it as both justified and in his own self-interests to take a bunch of lives (and maybe also his own) for his own warped imagery of the greater good. To him, one life does not matter. To him, the unalienable rights of fellow men and women does not exist. All he see is the greater good and people as pawns in a game much greater than themselves. All individualists must reject any such notion, and as such becomes the greatest opposite to acts of terrorism.

It’s certainly a pity that Breivik brings a bad name to good literature on his way into the history books, and it’s just another way for the majority to put a stigma on more minorities through guilt by association, and let me just make it clear that it’s a completely natural answer to such atrocities, but it’s also the wrong answer. More openness, inclusion and debate is the real answer! If we were to believe our Prime Minister here in Norway, this is actually what we’re gonna work for, but if we were to believe all newspapers and many individuals in Norway, we will see a stigma put on the backs of many innocent people in the years to come. I can see that the work for libertarians and classical liberals in Norway will become much harder, as we’re far outside the political majority, but hopefully we will be able to show that we are right in the end. I know I will fight even harder for individualism, liberty and freedom, because I know it’s the real remedy against such atrocities that we have endured, and I do not ever want to see them happen again to anyone.