The First Anti-Smoking Nazis – Literally

Because Hitler and the Nazis make such great archetypal villains, something like a freaky Bat Man nemesis like the Joker or the Penguin, dropping a “you’re a Nazi” bomb in an argument is now fairly standard practice.  This seems to mainly be a shortcut for the mentally lazy.  And sometimes beyond laziness, it is often a sign of all-out mental confusion – as when someone who actually opposes things like Racial Preferences is called a “Nazi” – when I think the Nazis were actually pretty big into the whole racial preference thing.

The problem with making the Nazis these cartoon characters to be pulled out in failing arguments is that people too easily forget the small incremental steps that actually led a nation to do some pretty horrendous things.  One major contributing factor to the viciousness of the Nazi Regime was the way in which the unopposed government grew to control nearly every aspect of its citizens lives.

I’m thinking about the Nazis this week because on February 1, 2008, my home state of Maryland will impose an all-out indoor smoking ban, including bars and restaurants.  Now, probably like most people, I am personally happy about the ban.  It is going to be great to take my kids out to dinner at bars/restaurants and not have to worry about smoke.  It is also going to be great to leave a bar without having to immediately put my smoke laden clothes in the laundry.  Not to mention that it is just going to be great just to be able to breath in a bar (especially without worrying about obnoxious cigar smokers).

Anti Smoking NazisBut at the same time, I fear that this is just the sort of incremental government intrusion into personal liberties that can lead to far worse policies.  Once a government can dictate what is healthy for you, they pretty much have free reign to stomp out anything they don’t like.  It seems to be the same concept as censorship but working on the other 3 senses – instead of censoring what you see and hear, it is what you taste, smell, and feel.  Is there any aspect of a person’s life that can not be linked back to some public health aspect?  And how long before we have a regiment of “Physical Jerks” as mandated by the government in 1984.

Oh and another thing, “you’re a Nazi” if you support smoking bans.  You see the Nazis were one of the first governments to attempt to ban smoking – read all about it here.  Call me lazy, but its true.


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