I was rereading Isaac Asimov's The Naked Sun
written in 1956. The background to this SF murder mystery is that 2 cultures, that of Solaris and Earth are psychotically crippled and have no future.
Solaris is immensely wealthy with enormous numbers of robots where people live without human contact. Indeed having been brought up by robots they are incapable of human contact.
But they aren't so psychotic that they believe it possible to bring children up to healthy adults without being willing to spank them as every human culture has since forever.. Indeed an explanation of the "psychological" training a robot has to undergo to be able to smack a child is discussed.
Earth's psychosis is that everybody lives all the time in giant enclosed cities and the people are incapable of leaving or even looking at nature in the raw or gaze on the naked Sun.
But at one point the hero, to relieve the stress of having to tell his boss of the psychotic nature of Earth's culture, TAKES OUT HIS PIPE AND SMOKES IT RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM. The people of Earth are clearly not so psychotic as to get uptight about "passive smoke" less than 1/10,000th* as dense as smoked smoke.
Like so much science fiction must inevitably be Asimov is clearly extrapolating/satirising trends in the culture of the time by projecting them many centuries into the future. Yet in a mere 55 years we have developed and made politically correct and legally enforceable psychoses perhaps even stranger and arguably more debilitating than the ones foreseen.
Never disciplining children must mean that in very many cases, they will grow up without self discipline. We have never had such a society but it is a dangerous experiment to run. Criminalising passive smoking itself may not be so damaging but the sort of society where everybody is constantly subject to such pointless and vindictive rules clearly is.
To really see yourself you have to stand outside yourself which is why self awareness is so difficult. Thus looking through the prism of the inherent assumptions of past societies helps.
*Taking the cubic capacity of a mouth as about 5 inches and the volume of a sphere being 4/3 piR^3 a sphere of radius 32 inches is 10,000 times larger so anybody constantly around 2'8" away is going to get only 10,000th as much smoke as a smoker breaths out. That is pretty much elbow to elbow and in most cases people are much further apart. It is clearly therefore lunatic to suggest, without evidence, that passive smoking is a real risk as the BMA
and most politicians do.
Suggested other psychoses in British Society
That any sort of change to the planet is bad. I don't mean objecting to pollution but that any change in temperature/the number of polar bears/butterflies/CO2 levels/snail darter fish/plant DNA etc etc is inherently awful.
That any level of actual sort of pollution is utterly unacceptable, no matter what the ancillary benefits. An example would be Paul Ehrlich using an expected rise in sulphur dioxide emissions in China as "proof" that things were getting worse irrespective of the massive rise in Chinese living standards, or indeed reduction of pollution of indoor wood smoke or or feces.
Health and safety - from the assumption that humans should not go into space in case anybody dies, even though far fewer have done so than in polar exploration - to people being prevented from moving their desks in offices or change a light bulb.
Scare of all sorts which depend on numerical illiteracy.
Attempts to legislate, for health, reductions in the level of "contaminants" to where they run into laws requiring the presence, for health, of such levels "trace elements"
The Linear No Threshold anti-nuclear theory, which has certainly reduced humanity's standard of living, on its own, by over 50%
People who don't want to go into space and cause "ecological damage" there until we have totally "cleaned up" the Earth.
The criminalisation of any judgement of anybody about anything based on information about them of their race, gender, ethnicity, age etc. Prejudice is literally pre-judgement and everybody has to do it to some extent all the time. When you put salt on your food without a chemical analysis you are prejudging that it is virtually certain to contain salt rather than cyanide.
Not being willing to execute murderers even when it is known it will, net, save lives
If anybody has other signs I would be interested to know.The list is almost certain to be incomplete because we live within the same society. However once stated they appear logically indisputable.
Kipling had something to say about societies that behave psychotically. I happen to think that our scientific progress gives us much more leeway than he expected but he had a point.
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!