A guest post by John Watson
The anti-tobacco campaign of the Nazis: a little known aspect of public health in Germany, 1933-45
Hitler was a smoker in his youth but at some stage he became aware of its health hazards and, when in power (perhaps with the zeal of a convert), appeared to detest tobacco, which he called "the wrath of the Red Man against the White Man, vengeance for having been given hard liquor." But the antismoking campaign reflected "a national political climate stressing the virtues of racial hygiene and bodily purity" as well as the Fuhrer's personal prejudices. The same could be said of Nazi efforts to discourage drinking and encourage a better diet.
There seems to me to be some confusion over the term Anti in the context of the smoking debate.
To provide some background as to why this this article has come about we need to look at a comment posted in my blog post entitled Welcome to the Fourth Reich.
and also here:
(Courtesy of Pat Nurse and many thanks for the links to both Pat and Leg-iron btw,) where a gentleman posting under the name of Baz clearly objects to the terms Anti and Nazi as applied within that article. Of course it is his right to express his point of view and it is not for me to deny him that right but to rebut his point of view.
And so onto the business at hand. The following definitions are taken from Wikipedia and the Wikipedia dictionary.
Pro is a Latin preposition meaning for. It is the opposite of contra, which is very frequently abbreviated to con, another preposition.
As can be clearly seen, and no pro-choice advocate would disagree, the term pro-smoker is accurate, that smokers are for smoking and those who are in favour of freedom of choice are pro choice, Pro choice smokers are therefore in favour of smoking inside pubs and clubs, most are willing to accept smoking rooms or smoking pubs/clubs, allowing non-smokers venues where they may enjoy their leisure hours free of smoke, a choice that as a pro choice smoker I (or the law of the land) have never sought to deny them and as it is clearly shown on every forum the tolerant non-smoker does not seek to deny smokers rooms or pubs in which to spend their leisure hours as a social group.
Anti (plural antis)
- A person opposed to a concept or principle.
Clearly then the fact that someone is anti smoking does not make them the devil incarnate or Nazi or anything other than the fact they are tolerant non smokers who believe that smokers should have the freedom to smoke inside a pub or club and accept that smokers lounges, tap rooms or what ever you wish to call them are a reasonable option, even that small pub landlords should be allowed to choose for themselves something that is meeting with great success on the European mainland.
The true hardcore Antis are the ones that say no, not inside pubs, not outside pubs in beer gardens when the weather is nice and I want to be outside without smokers, the ones that having got their law preventing smokers from smoking inside pubs now want them cleared from the streets, from the parks even from inside the car which the smoker paid for and owns!
Which leads on to principles:
Principle as scientific law“Laws Physics. Laws Statistics. Laws Biological. Laws of nature are those that can not be proven explicitly, however we can measure and quantify them observing the results that they produce. (Vague or unclear statement).”
Vague or unclear statement sums it all up, the use of tobacco has been proven as far back as Ancient Egypt, its leaves have been found in pyramids, many cultures have been using tobacco in one form or another for millennia in its natural form, even today the tobacco produced by Native Americans is natural tobacco used in a natural way as it has been for generations. The laws of nature are such that many lethal biological species of Flora and Fauna are beneficial in small to moderate doses, Digitalis is a natural product highly poisonous but in trace doses can be used in heart medication, many snake venoms are now being used or researched, looking for anti coagulants and even Cancer treatments, get bitten by a Mamba death comes within hours if no treatment is available, Rattlesnakes kill less frequently but leave horrendous scarring and tissue wastage.
Natural tobacco has many benefits, not least of delaying or even preventing the onset of diseases like Alzheimer's, it may well be the case that the additives put into refined tobacco could cause damage but that is opinion not fact, just as scientific claims about harm are scientific opinion not fact, after all there are thousands of scientific documents already peer reviewed that say otherwise, and today it is almost impossible to get a smoker friendly scientific report peer reviewed!
Principle as a juridic law
“It represents a set of values that inspire the written norms that organize the life of a society submitting to the powers of an authority, generally the State. The law establishes a legal obligation, in a coercive way; it therefore acts as principle conditioning of the action that limits the liberty of the individuals.”
As is clearly shown here legislation is nothing but coercion, who among us believe it right judicially for a minority lobbying on behalf of one business to dictate a law that is destroying 40 other businesses a week, that legitimises threatening behaviour which the article that brought this piece about condemned, that places vulnerable groups in danger from predators contrary to Health and Safety Act.
Of course there should be laws to protect us but when those laws prove to be counter productive as the Health Acts clearly are, when they place the people in jeopardy, their livelihoods at risk, and allow bigotry free reign then that law is clearly wrong, immoral and unjust.
Principle as moral law“It represents a set of values that orientate and rule the conduct of a concrete society. The law establishes an obligation in the individual's conscience that belongs to the cultural field in which such values are accepted. It supposes the liberty of the individual as cause, that acts without external coercion, through a process of socialization.”
I said that the Health Acts are immoral, above is the justification for that stand, those who have read some of my work know that I believe the Health Acts to be the equivalent of the Nuremberg Decrees, history tell us this legislation was designed specifically to target a minority group, so do the Health Acts. The Nuremberg decrees targeted the Jews, the Health acts targets smokers, that is a fair comparison.
The Nuremberg decrees forced Jews into ghetto housing in the most appalling sanitary conditions sometimes 20-30 people in a small room, over 100 people in a standard terraced house! The Health Act forces smokers outside in all weathers into shelters that it is illegal to keep a pig in, in some cases there is no shelter at all just poorly lit pavements where the smoker is tethered like a goat for a tiger, for any predator to assault rape or murder at will. That too is fair comparison.
The Nuremberg decrees also encouraged publications like the Deutsche Beobachter and Der Stuermer* ( whose editor Julius Streicher was hung at Nuremburg for war crimes after printing such articles) to print anything they liked so long as it vilified Jews, they were said to be criminal, dirty, smelly, it was said that they eat babies (to be fair baby eating Jews has been around since medieval times and is not confined to Nazi Germany!). It implied they would abscond with children for god alone knew what purposes, in short Jews were painted to be the very scum of the Earth, any Jew will tell you this has always been so, especially since Christ was crucified, and Christ was a Jew, brought up in the Jewish faith and definitely not a Christian!
So what do we see in today's media, smokers cause (almost) every disease known to mankind, they are likely to be the cause of some yet to be invented, they too are vilified as criminal, as dirty, smelly, French Advertisements liken smokers to Paedophiles, on some newspaper forums there already calls by anti smokers to incite violence against smokers, In fairness to the Newspaper concerned they removed the comment after objections were raised and to date it has not been reinstated, but then their moderators should not have allowed it to be posted in the first place, smokers have not yet been accused of eating babies but are accused of child abuse for indulging in a perfectly legal activity this too is a fair comparison to the Nuremberg decrees.
Today too we find that the smoking principle is being expanded to the drinkers and the obese, like Nazism was not restricted to Jews but enabled against Gypsies, the mentally ill, the disabled, homosexuals, even the churches and political opponents of the regime so this Healthism is expanding its territory into every facet of our lives.
There is I believe more than enough evidence provided to indict those who recommended this law, those who enacted (voted in favour of) this law and those who support this law as Nazis.
So Baz by definition you are an Anti, there is no way out of that fact, as for being a Nazi, well that is up to you, it depends solely on your response.
If you are one of those tolerant non smokers, if you are one of the majority of non smokers that although Anti by definition have proven themselves to be reasonable tolerant people who wish to see fairness, equality and free choice, you are indeed decent human beings, with whom I have no quarrel.
You will note that I have deliberately left the choice as to how Baz wishes to regarded in respect to Nazism to him, I will not judge him here, I would rather that he be judged by his own words not mine, let the people and posterity judge him.
*Streicher wanted Der Stuermer to appeal to the common man, to the worker with little time to read. Thus, Der Stuermer's articles used short sentences and a simple vocabulary. Ideas were repeated. Headlines grabbed a reader's attention. And the cartoons were easily understood.
Julius Streicher (Editor of Deutsche Beobachter) is a martyr to some.