Can’t Explain

Last night’s Tall Story grew out of me trying to explain the problem with the smoking ban in some new way. Essentially, if you discriminate in favour of one social group (in this case, short people) you’re bound to discriminate against people who don’t belong to that group (i.e. tall people). I could have used men and women, blacks and whites, just as easily.

But the trouble with using short and tall people is that, unlike smokers, they can’t help being that way. There’s nothing they can do about it. Although it seems that while people can’t be blamed for their vertical dimensions, the same doesn’t apply to their horizontal dimensions. If people are ‘too fat’ or even ‘too thin’, it’s felt that they can do something about it. The same, of course, applies to smokers: it’s a choice of theirs, even if they are addicts. So while people might sympathise with helplessly-tall people being discriminated against, they feel less sympathy for people who have chosen to be the way they are. Like smokers.

And also in the case of smokers, there has been 60 years and more of belittling them and excluding them and slowly making them into social pariahs. That has been happening to tall people. So that now more or less anything can be done to smokers, and hardly anybody will bat an eyelash. Smokers, it is felt, deserve whatever they get. They have been converted into an underclass.

The parallels with the Nazi war on Jews and Gypsies are quite obvious, even if smokers have yet to be gassed en masse. Even the eugenic motivations are more or less identical, of ‘cleansing society’. Furthermore, the Nazis provided the much of the intellectual foundation for the modern war on smokers (Lickint, Muller, etc). But, somehow or other, hardly anyone can see it. Or hardly anyone can bring themselves to see it. Perhaps that’s because smokers aren’t actually being gassed, or because their persecutors aren’t actually wearing black uniforms with death’s heads on their peaked caps. But it’s gone far enough down that path that a few more people should have woken up to it by now. But they haven’t.

There’s also Godwin’s Law, of course, by which anyone who mentions Hitler or the Nazis is deemed to have ‘lost the argument’. I sometimes wonder if perhaps it was by invoking Godwin’s Law that Hitler and the Nazis rose to power in the first place.

For myself, however, the modern war on smokers has served to newly illuminate the Nazi era. I now suspect that most Germans simply didn’t notice what was being done to Jews, in more or less the same way that most people now simply don’t notice what’s being done to smokers. Everyone can see the smokers standing in the cold outside the pubs, and has been seeing them for the last four years. But they ignore it. They’re only smokers, after all. They’re a minority they’ve been taught to despise. They’re weak-willed drug addicts, slowly killing themselves and everyone around them. They don’t deserve any sympathy, or any consideration.

In addition, just as the war on smokers has been going on for 6o years (if not a good deal longer), so also much the same was true of Jews: they were hated and despised long before the Nazis ever showed up. The Nazis just took an existing age-old antisemitism to its logical conclusion. Our modern antismoking zealots are very much like the Nazis (and perhaps even functionally identical) in this respect, and are also continuing where their predecessors left off. They judge (correctly it seems) that smokers have now been so diminished in public esteem that ‘harsh measures’ won’t provoke a backlash. And furthermore, smokers’ self-esteem has been more or less equally reduced in the process, so that many of them feel that they are worthless, and have become too apathetic to fight back. They will no more resist being freighted to the gas chambers than their Jewish predecessors did.

In this respect, a new perspective of the modern Jewish state of Israel also emerges. It’s a state which is fiercely determined to defend itself, and perhaps all the more because so many of their forebears did not defend themselves. The Jews have already been through what smokers are only beginning to experience, and are absolutely determined not to repeat it. Furthermore, the Jews know quite well that modern Europe (and America) is not really very much different from Nazi Germany, and that antisemitism has never really gone away. Nor eugenics either. Nor ideological science. Nor mass propaganda. Nothing has really changed. There just aren’t any swastikas any more.

I sometimes wonder whether the final outcome of the war on smokers will be the emergence of a smokers’ state – a bit like Israel – in which smoking is the national religion, and the right to smoke is defended with a ferocity as great as any Israeli defence of Israel. Do we have to have a new state each time some social group is persecuted? Perhaps we do.

But I still remain surprised at the more or less complete indifference of most people to the exclusion and demonisation of smokers. Of course, as in Nazi Germany, it’s not happening to them as non-smokers, and they’re not too bothered about anything that isn’t happening to them.  Yet I don’t think I’ve ever really managed to explain to a single friend of mine what it’s like to be a smoker these days. And I have tried. But their eyes just glaze over, and as likely as not they come out with some antismoking mantra that has been drummed into their heads over several decades.

I used to regularly visit one friend of mine (of some 35 years standing), and sit smoking in her kitchen. She smoked too. So did her late husband. When the smoking ban came into force, she was one of the few friends I continued to visit. She knew that the smoking ban had affected me considerably. Nevertheless, when I saw her last year, she announced that – after 35 years! – she was banning smoking in her house. I was gobsmacked. And next she’ll be wondering why I will never visit her again.

The strange thing about her was that she was, by origin, both German and Jewish, and would have been about 10 years old in 1940. She was just lucky enough to be born in America, where her parents had gone to investigate the possibility of emigration on behalf of the rest of the family in Germany. She was lucky. Her relatives in Germany were not. None of them survived the Holocaust. One would think that someone like that would have a keen awareness of anything even faintly Nazi. But not a bit of it. She’d noticed absolutely nothing. And everything I had said to her about the smoking ban had gone in one ear and straight out the other. And she’d now even joined in the demonisation of smoking.

So it seems to be curiously impossible to explain to people how obscene, how vile, how utterly Nazi, the modern war on smokers has become. Because they simply can’t see it.

Which was why, last night, I tried to explain it in a new way.

Unsuccessfully, as ever.

For try as I might, it seems I simply can’t explain.

About Frank Davis

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53 Responses to Can’t Explain

  1. Junican says:

    Hi, Frank.

    First, I hate to preach to someone who knows 100 times more than I do about HTML etc, but I wonder if you know how to move ‘widgets’ around in your sidebar? I discovered by accident how to do it, and it is dead simple. Appearance – Widgets. In the ‘sidebar’ on the right, simply ‘grab’ (that funny arrow thing) whichever widget you want to move and move it. Thus, if you wish, you could move the ‘e-petition web button’ to the top of your sidebar.You can also get rid of the stuff like ‘categories’ by clicking the little triangle thing (a sort of ‘down arrow’) and clicking ‘delete’ in the box revealed. Sorry if I am teaching granny to suck eggs!

    As regards your post, more perhaps tomorrow. Right now, late as it is, your perplexity is understandable. But there is a weird petition on the petitions website. It says (words to the effect), “deprive rioters of their benefits”, and it has 200 000 sigs. Is that not a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction? I mean, how do you know that the rioters were on benefits? May it not be true that the reason that these youths were rioting and looting was because they had been ‘sanctioned’ and DEPRIVED of benefits?

    This gives us a clue as to the motivation of smokerphobes. In the same way that people signed that petition in their thousands without thinking, so do smokerphobes react.

  2. Reinhold says:

    If I won’t forget it, I (as a German born in the fifties) possibly can tell you about Nazi Germany and why you all perfectly have the right to compare the actual situation to that time and situation, and what the Jews who I know think about it. Tomorrow. Alas, for today I’m just to tired.

  3. Magnetic says:

    You may be interested in this anti-tobacco billboard.

    “The use of tobacco, in any form, is a dirty, filthy, disgusting, degrading habit….
    You have no more right to pollute with tobacco smoke the atmosphere which clean people have to breathe than you have to spit in the water which they have to drink.
    …. use of the filthy, nasty, stinking stuff [tobacco]”

    Sound familiar? These are the sorts of sentiments that are common amongst contemporary antismokers. Interesting is that the quote above is from an anti-tobacco billboard (photo circa 1915) on the road leading into Zion, Illinois, USA. When considering the sentiments appearing on the billboard, it must be remembered that this was many, many decades before the concoction of secondhand smoke “danger”.

    Zion City was a “utopian” community established in the early-1900s by John Alexander Dowie representing a so-called “Christian” sect (Christian Catholic Church). Tobacco, alcohol, and gambling were banned within Zion.
    http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/whi/fullimage.asp?id=55422
    http://yeskarthi.wordpress.com/2010/03/27/1915-anti-smoking-sign-zion-illinois/

    Serious, dangerous fanaticism/extremism was rife in America right up to WWII. The Temperance (religious leanings) and Eugenics (physicians, physicalists) Movements, both having dictatorial tendencies and a delusional emphasis on and obsession with physical health, wreaked considerable damage in America. The EM was by far the most influential in America and eventually produced catastrophe in Nazi Germany with global consequences. The Temperance and Eugenics Movements shared the anti-tobacco sentiments in the quote above. While they attempted to change society with destructive consequences, Dowie chose to create his own “protected” community.

  4. George Speller says:

    We all know the comparison with the Nazis usually breaks down – to some extent – when the retort is made that the Jews were being persecuted for their genetic status, over which, of course, they could not exercise any choice – and it was just this that made the Nazis “bad”. But I read on a blog somewhere (yours, Frank? I forget) that Jehovas Witnesses were sent to the concentration camps. Now religious status is clearly a matter of choice – like (I believe) sexual orientation. So it turns out that the Nazis persecuted people for a lifestyle choice – this, and the fact that it took years for this discrimination to culminate in actual action means that Godwin’s rule can safely be set aside. On the other hand if smoking is not a free choice, as some antis claim, then Godwin’s law falls again.
    I wrote to our local paper about the smoking ban some time ago. I used the word “fascists”. In my text without quote marks. The paper inserted quotes because they thought I meant “like fascists”. I wrote and explained, and insisted that they removed the quotes and republished. And, bugger me, they did!

    • Frank Davis says:

      Jehovah’s Witnesses were indeed sent to the camps, because they particularly resolutely rejected Nazism. All sorts of people were sent, including “asocials” (I’m not quite sure what they were, perhaps people who didn’t fit in), homosexuals, and so on.

  5. smokervoter says:

    On the contrary, I think you can and do explain quite nicely. I recycle your stuff in conversation pretty often actually. And I urge neo-prohibitionists I meet not to bother showing up on election day to vote, explaining that they’ve already won the battle. I sometimes wish I had a little business card with your URL on it to hand them.

    Afterall, a smokervoter is a natural predator to the smokerphobe.

  6. Brigitte says:

    So it seems to be curiously impossible to explain to people how obscene, how vile, how utterly Nazi, the modern war on smokers has become. Because they simply can’t see it.

    They KNOW it – and they don’t want to see it! And, what is scary, in Germany the war against smokers has been taken to the vilest level possible. Whilst it is “unenglish” to cross a certain politeness threshold the anti-smokers in Germany assume the right to do so.
    Comments like this: [these are from a collection from the site “Rauchernews” (Smokers news)]
    http://www.rauchernews.de/news/trollwiese/

    Name: Die Dolly
    Kommentar: Hitler hat weniger umgebracht, als bisher durchs rauchen gestorben sind. Das ist Fakt! Nur seid ihr zu blöde um das zu kapieren!

    (Hitler killed less (people) than until now smoking did. You are just too stupid to understand this.)

    Name: Raucherhasser
    Kommentar: Euch Pack sollte man alle vergasen!

    (You [smokers] should all be gassed!)

    are nothing unusual. And when someone points to the Nazi-anti-smoking propaganda you can expect comments like this:

    Name: Ökologe
    Kommentar: Typisch, diese Juden!!!
    (typical jew)

    Name: Dolly
    Kommentar: Aha, der Adolf mal wieder…. was bist du nur für ein dummes Arschloch!

    (Ah, Adolf again … you are a stupid arsehole!)

    And whilst Germans find comments like this very distasteful, not many say so. The health-brainwash-machinery (“healthy living”; WHO etc.etc.) has taken it’s toll.

    (Quote: Reinhold)…If I won’t forget it, I (as a German born in the fifties) possibly can tell you about Nazi Germany and why you all perfectly have the right to compare the actual situation to that time and situation

    • Reinhold says:

      Thank you very much, Brigitte, but I’m a German born in the fifties myself. ;-)

      • Reinhold says:

        Just a joke, Brigitte.
        Because it looked like it was part of your comment.
        Now, a few minutes later, i find my joke stupid, but I can’t remove it again.

      • Brigitte says:

        No problem, Reinhold, I did see it as a joke.

        And everything you wrote (below) is what I remember. The generation of my parents did happily believe that the Jews would be repatriated; the rumors about the gas chambers were too cruel, no-one wanted to know.

        Do you remember that in 1970 someone decided that the holocaust should be taught in school? And sure enough, it was. Very graphically. I still remember the orange bound workbook for the subject of history. It gave me nightmares. I really could not understand why people could not see what was going on.
        I guess, I, too, adjusted to the feeling of collective guilt.

        Last year I had a young Israeli girl staying. My son and his friend had met her traveling through Ireland. I did ask her about life in Israel. From what I gather the whole of the country is in permanent “defense mode”; even the girls are conscripted to the army.
        Instead if getting answers to things I found hard to understand now I would have even more questions.

  7. Magnetic says:

    That there is a choice, as with smoking, does not diminish the fascism involved. The ultimatum and consequent persecution is fascist: Do what we tell you….. conform…. quit smoking, or we’ll make life very difficult for you. So, there is Salvation® through conformity; there is a seeming “choice”. But if you don’t make the “right” choice, the persecution will come. It should also be noted that what really irritated the [health] fascist mentality was that smoking was also viewed as a symptom of western “degeneracy”, particularly the idea of individual autonomy. As Hitler noted, smoking seemed to indicate an “alien mentality”. And alien to health fascism it would be which demands uniformity, conformity, collectivism, ideological subservience.

    In the case of the Jews, the situation was entirely straightforward. Since the persecution was based on ethnicity/heritage, there was not even the pretense of “choice” involved or required.

    • harleyrider says:

      I guess its best we all buy a gun for those who dont already have one and be prepared for the next comming of the jackboots! If history is an indicator of whats to come,the least we can do is take a few of the bastards with us to hell!

  8. lleweton says:

    I think there’s a tacit agreement when I’m with my non-smoking acquaintances – and that includes everyone I know – not to discuss the smoking ban. If it does come up, the friendly atmosphere is ruined. At best a coolness and at worst a row develops, even before it is possible to address the question of fair play for and tolerance of minorities. To be fair, perhaps in the past my anger at the persecution of smokers has registered more than the point I have been trying to make. For that historical reason it is difficult to launch and maintain a reasonable discussion. As I write I wonder how anyone, smoker or non smoker, can see a lone figure outside their place of work, staring into space as they smoke a cigarette , or an elderly patient wheeled by a friendly nurse from a hospital ward so that she can light up, and not feel rage that such a point has been reached – even though there are times when expressing it is counter-productive.

    • Frank Davis says:

      These days when I get chatting to smokers outside pubs, I don’t mention the ban. Sitting outside the pub, we’re living the ban, and there’s no need to mention it. To do so is to state the obvious (although perhaps it wasn’t in the first few months of the ban, when it was all rather new). Furthermore, people are trying to enjoy themselves and forget their exclusion, and they don’t want to be reminded why they’re sitting outside.

      • harleyrider says:

        Ahh but Frank,talking a lil treason amongst friends over a cold one is demanded these days!

        We’re all talking treason these days since the ban and a complete loss of respect for soverign authority is whats been made in the entire world these days!

        Anarchy is already here and we are its victims. Should we not hold the sane voice and restore liberty and rights to the world yet again!

  9. Magnetic says:

    It’s interesting that the antismokers invoke “Godwin’s Law” to dismiss any analogy to Nazism. They obviously don’t like the [reasonable] analogy. But, typical of the antismoker mentality, it will distort whatever is necessary for antismoking to still appear “reasonable”. Godwin’s Law is no exception. The “Law/Rule” is actually not to be taken literally. It was simply an observation that the longer a comments section went, the more likely that some Nazi analogy would be introduced, and probably a long-stretch/absurd. The “Law” doesn’t pretend to address the legitimacy of such analogies. The antismokers’ contortion of this “Law” is to dismiss any Nazi analogy to contemporary antismoking as nonsensical, which is not what the Law suggests.

    Concerning antismoking, it’s highly likely that a comments list doesn’t need to go all too long before a reference to Nazism occurs because a direct connection exists. It is eugenics (healthist fascism) that directly connects the antismoking of earlier last century (America, Nazi Germany) and currently. There is no “long-stretch” here. The connection is entirely direct and legitimate.

  10. Magnetic says:

    Godwin’s law (also known as Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies or Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies)[1][2] is a humorous observation made by Mike Godwin in 1990[2] that has become an Internet adage. It states: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1 (100%).”[3][2] In other words, Godwin put forth the hyperbolic observation that, given enough time, in any online discussion—regardless of topic or scope—someone inevitably criticizes some point made in the discussion by comparing it to beliefs held by Hitler and the Nazis.

    Godwin’s law is often cited in online discussions as a deterrent against the use of arguments in the widespread Reductio ad Hitlerum form.[citation needed] The rule does not make any statement about whether any particular reference or comparison to Adolf Hitler or the Nazis might be appropriate, but only asserts that the likelihood of such a reference or comparison arising increases as the discussion progresses. It is precisely because such a comparison or reference may sometimes be appropriate, Godwin has argued[4] that overuse of Nazi and Hitler comparisons should be avoided, because it robs the valid comparisons of their impact.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law

    • Frank Davis says:

      I think you’re quite right about this. One might say that sooner or later any conversation will arrive at subject X (where X can be anything you care to imagine), much like a couple of dice will eventually come up with two sixes. But the way the ‘law’ is used these days is as a way of silencing people.

  11. Magnetic says:

    For anyone interested, also relevant here is Stanley Milgram’s 1960’s famous experiment (which we seem to have forgotten) on Obedience to Authority (and the abuse of authority).
    Starting point:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Milgram
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

  12. Fredrik Eich says:

    I created a google gadget version of the smoking ban epetition, although it completely disappeared off the search list for a few days and then turned up again. At the moment it is still visible under the search terms “smoking ban epitition”. I thought it may help to have a searchable gadget available.

    • Junican says:

      Very impressive, Fredrik!

    • Frank Davis says:

      Why are they all squashed?

      • Fredrik Eich says:

        Sadly, I only did it in my lunch break on Friday, I probably could have made a better job of it, if I had
        A, knew what I was doing in the first place. I don’t really know much about Google gadgets.
        B, had more time,
        I could have made a better job of it. The image cropping (I used GIMP2 badly) is very tatty around the edges and I should have created a correctly sized thumbnail.
        I think it’s really only relevant for those with GMail/IGoogle accounts because you can access it easily from there, (possibly it is now accessible from goggle blogger on search for gadgets) when on external sites I would think DP’s link is fine depending on
        where the image is linked to … etc.

      • Fredrik Eich says:

        I remember now, the thumb nail has to be a standard 120×60 px , which meant I would have to change DP’s image and post that as well as the big image, which no longer appears in the preview , which it did before! GRRR.

  13. Kevin says:

    What a breath-takingly ignorant piece! Is it really a surprise to you that someone who has family experience of the holocaust cannot accept that your idea of ‘persecution’ has any way of being compared to the reality of what happened in 30’s Germany? Are you really expecting them to treat you with sympathy, or want to have anything more to do with you? All this brings out is how thoroughly unpleasant and self-obsessed you are, and how trivially you treat the fate of the victims of fascism.

    • harleyrider says:

      SMOKERS were victims of hitlers facism too,I suspect that a good number of jewish smokers were fried too! Frank makes a good point on how radical ideologies cover an ever expanding space of victims,either by race or activities…..the end result is the same!

      The term. first they came for the smokers isnt a wasted statement. It drives straight into what can happen when governments are allowed to overstep their bounds and continue an assault that can and does eventually lead to a Hollocaust like what happened with the JEWS and others…….to this end we fight!

    • Frank Davis says:

      …cannot accept your idea of ‘persecution’ has any way of being compared to the reality of what happened in 30′s Germany

      On the contrary, it’s entirely comparable to what happened in Germany.in the 1930s, during which time there was a mounting campaign of public vilification of Jews, and they were refused jobs and homes, and quite often physically attacked. The eugenic motivation of public/racial health was also the same.

      What it’s not comparable to is what happened in the 1940s, which is when the Holocaust really got under way.

      It would appear that it’s not me who is ignorant, but you.

      • Brigitte says:

        @Kevin:
        I AM German (born in the 1950s) and have many, many memories of ASKING WHY people in the 1930s believed all the, to me, obvious LIES.

        Is it really a surprise to you that someone who has family experience of the holocaust cannot accept that your idea of ‘persecution’ has any way of being compared to the reality of what happened in 30′s Germany? Are you really expecting them to treat you with sympathy, or want to have anything more to do with you?

        WRONG…. WRONG…. WRONG!
        There are members of my family I have never met – simply because they were married to Jewish people, or descendants of. And they were the lucky ones who escaped (most of them to America).

        And the “Reality of the 1930s” is here again – is this realization getting a little uncomfortable for you?

  14. Magnetic says:

    Kevin, that’s some interesting disassociation. We’re obviously not at the point of a “smoker holocaust”, nor will it necessarily ever come even close to that. But does it have to reach such an horrific point for a serious problem to be acknowledged? Even in Nazi Germany, the Jewish persecution didn’t begin with the holocaust. There was a progression of much smaller, seemingly “palatable”, steps that were first applied.

    Consider was has already occurred with smoke/smoking/smokers.

    * Smoking has been banished from indoors in social/work places, smokers having to go outdoors in whatever weather to smoke;
    * Smoking is being banned in outdoor settings, smokers having no option to smoke – without breaking the law (and with possible jail time);
    * Smokers have been refused the possibility of fostering and adopting children;
    * Smoking status has been used to determine child custody in divorce;
    * Smokers can be terminated from employment or are ineligible for employment;
    * People have lost businesses due to smoking bans;
    * Smokers, including the elderly, have been threatened with eviction or refused housing tenancy;
    * Patients that smoke have to endure the barrage of antismoking cultism in hospital settings, and must walk off hospital grounds and onto the street – even in their nightwear – if they want to smoke;
    * Mental patients will be physically and/or chemically (sedation) restrained rather than have them smoke a cigarette;
    * Smokers have been denied medical treatment;
    * Socializing for many smokers, particularly the elderly, has all but been removed.

  15. Magnetic says:

    (cont’d)

    Smokers have been slandered no end; it has been an incessant barrage. They have been referred to as ‘just addicts’, filthy, killers, abusers of children, polluters, disease-carriers/spreaders, etc., etc. Just a fraction of such slander directed at any other social group would attract immediate condemnation. Yet, with smokers, it is state-sponsored bigotry advanced as “health” promotion which many accept without question. Those who smoke would simply refer to themselves as people who happen to smoke. Antismokers would have people believe that because people smoke, they are not like “normal” people that should not be accorded access to “normal” society if they insist on continuing to smoke. Antismokers want smoking banned everywhere in public. They particularly don’t want the children to see people smoking. The message is that smokers are so pathetic, so pitiful, such wretches of human beings, that society should strive to ensure that not one more person becomes one of these “dreadful” people who smoke. And antismokers expect those who smoke to think as poorly of themselves too.

    So, Kevin, do you see any problem here? The antismoking/bigotry bandwagon really got rolling from the mid-1980s. Kevin, do you think that the above could have happened in the late-1970s, or even the 1980s? No, it couldn’t have happened. It required a whole series – a progression – of smaller steps. So something quite dramatic, when the steps are summed, has occurred over the last few decades, i.e., denormalization, that makes palatable now without question what would have been entirely unacceptable just a short while ago. And it has been allowed to get to this point because of apathy on the part of both smokers and nonsmokers. So how much further do you think it could go?

  16. harleyrider says:

    Frank our Nazis at the UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY in Lexington are well on the right road to the goose step dance:

    This summer, a group of University of Kentucky students and staff has been patrolling campus grounds — scouting out any student, employee or visitor lighting a cigarette.

    Unlike hall monitors who cite students for bad behavior, the Tobacco-free Take Action! volunteers approach smokers, respectfully ask them to dispose of the cigarette and provide information about quit-smoking resources available on campus.

    Colleges To Smokers: ‘You’re Not Welcome’
    http://www.kxly.com/nationalnews/29035846/detail.html

    But Hey thats not all,Now the UKentucky has banned freespeech for its own newspaper!

    National journalists’ group calls UK action against Kernel ‘reprehensible’

    The University of Kentucky athletics department engaged in “reprehensible conduct” in revoking the university student newspaper’s access to a basketball media event, a national journalism group said Tuesday.

    The letter from Associated Press Managing Editors to UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart was part of a wave of regional and national criticism heaped upon UK in the wake of a disagreement with the Kentucky Kernel over interview practices.

    Read more: http://www.kentucky.com/2011/08/31/1863283/national-journalists-group-calls.html#disqus_thread#ixzz1WcfFWvgf

  17. Pat Nurse says:

    I wonder if kevin is the anon smokerphobic who popped over to my blog to be abusive and have a go in similar fashion.

    If he had bothered to read my piece properly he would know that I questioned this analogy because of the absolute terrible things that happened to Jews compared with our own experiences but the truth is the campaign against Jews began by saying they were dangerous to other people’s health in the same way the campaign against smokers began.

    The parallel of the Nazis enforcing their ideology by stigmatisation, maginalisation and denormalisation by encouraging public hatred, revulsion and fear for public health is no different to how the anti-smoker industry achieves the same today. The rifts, divisions and injustices it has caused has been felt by many of us. I’ll bet kevin hasn’t got a clue what exclusion is. I’ll bet he’s never been denied the opportunity to apply for a job or been sacked from his job because of who he is or what he does out of work.

    I also said it is perverse to think that the anti-smoker industry with Govt backing would throw our babies into fires or us into gas chambers as the Nazis did with “undesirables” – but in some cases they are taking children from smokers in the rifts they cause with their fear-mongering propaganda and they are promoting smokers as child abusers and dangerous to children. All unfounded but I’ll bet repeated parrot fashion by the likes of Kevin – the gullible that do the work for them.

    The Nazi parallel is also relevant because Hitler invented the term Passive Smoking and ordered the results he wanted from his scientists which was later picked up by the anti-smoker industry when it needed more than its own paranoia to get Govt backing for it’s wet dream of a smoke free world. VGIF also reports that Hitler’s Govt had the same plans for those who would not quit smoking. Smokers were the first in hitler’s Germany to lose their academic jobs alongside their Jewish friends.

    What we are discussing here is facism, prejudice and hatred but as kevin has all three qualifications, I guess the debate goes over his head.

    I know well from experience about the Jews. We touched that generation. Those who entered the camps came home and told us what they found, we watched it week after week on TV – made to sit each Sunday and watch The World at War with Brian Inglis, we learned it in school daily well before the National Curriculum decided what our children should learn, and one of our teachers was Jewish from that generation. And I will never forget hearing first hand the harrowing experience of the real mother who Nazis forced to choose between her children, decades before Sophie’s Choice was made into a film.

    I recall my mother telling me about what happened to a Jewish family in the small Italian village she lived in when the Nazis occupied it. My dad and my granddad both fought against that kind of hatred and fascism for a better more equal future world and we had it until that world was turned upside down on its head by bigots like kevin and the anti-smoker industry. It’s mumbo jumbo turned the concepts of fairness and tolerance upside down and changed the meaning of “equality” to “selective”.

    Kevin – with his self obsession that no one in the world should ever do that which he dislikes, and if they do they should be treated with revulsion and not dare complain about it, makes assumptions about all of us based solely on his own intolerable prejudices.

  18. Rose says:

    OT

    Just in.

    I don’t know whether to be flattered, scream with exasperation, or just fall of my chair laughing.
    They never give up do they?

    Smoking After Menopause May Increase Sex Hormone Levels: Elevated Sex Hormone Levels Associated With Chronic Disease Risk

    ScienceDaily (Aug. 31, 2011) — A recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM) found that postmenopausal women who smoke have higher androgen and estrogen levels than non-smoking women, with sex hormone levels being highest in heavy smokers.

    Previous studies have shown that high levels of estrogens and androgens are potential risk factors for breast and endometrial cancer as well as type 2 diabetes. Cigarette smoking is a well established risk factor for chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but earlier studies examining the relationship between smoking and sex hormone levels have yielded inconsistent results.
    This new cross-sectional study in a population-based sample of postmenopausal women suggests that sex hormones may provide one plausible mechanism through which cigarette smoking influences chronic disease risk.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110831093937.htm

    So what happened to the loudly proclaimed benefits of HRT?
    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/health-update-a-new-way-for-hrt-to-get-under-your-skin-2325063.html

    The hidden cost of HRT
    “WHEN hormone replacement therapy first gained popularity in the 1970s, many women were thankful that, at last, there seemed to be a solution to the debilitating effects of the menopause.
    Some even touted it as the most liberating medical advance for women since the discovery of the oral contraceptive. But in the ensuing years, HRT has courted increasing controversy.

    The results of the latest study – which sampled more than one million women – backed earlier studies which showed that women receiving combined oestrogen and progestagen HRT have a substantially greater risk of breast cancer.

    The study also confirmed previous suggestions that any type of HRT increases the risk of developing breast cancer and this increases the longer the therapy is used.

    Delyth Morgan, the chief executive of the Breakthrough Breast Cancer charity, summed up the mood of many in the sector when she said: “This is a very disappointing day for all women.

    “There has been a strong suspicion that HRT is implicated in breast cancer for many years and the results published today confirm our worst fears.”
    http://news.scotsman.com/hrt/The-hidden-cost-of-HRT.2450641.jp

    OK, so what are they trying to say here?
    Smoking mimics the benefits of HRT? Or just trying to get out of paying compensation to victims of HRT by blaming their illness on their smoking?

    So glad I avoid Doctors.

    • Brigitte says:

      Rose, you are just brilliant!

      • Rose says:

        Pennsylvania Court Reinstates HRT Lawsuits – 2010

        “The Superior Court of Pennsylvania has decided that lawsuits filed by 14 women against Pfizer’s Wyeth and Pharmacia units over links between breast cancer and hormone replacement therapies were incorrectly dismissed by a lower court. And the ruling (read it here) could restore as many as 1,000 mass tort lawsuits to the docket in Phildelphia Common Pleas Court.

        At issue was whether Elizabeth Coleman could have reasonably known that her breast cancer was linked to one of the HRT meds she was prescribed prior to the 2002 disclosure by the Women’s Health Initiative showing the drugs can cause the afflication. A lower court determined Coleman should have known or had reason to investigate such a link even before the WHI study was released. The ruling backed Pfizer, which aruged a two-year statute of limitations in which to file a lawsuit had expired.

        However, the Superior Court decided that Coleman – and 13 other women whose lawsuits indicated they were all diagnosed with breast cancer between 1998 and 2002 after taking an HRT – could not be expected to have made such a link.”
        http://www.pharmalot.com/2010/09/pennsylvania-court-reinstates-hrt-lawsuits/

  19. Bill Brown says:

    Hi Frank,
    Don’t want to hijack the thread but, I did a piece on the Nazi comparrison last year.
    Maybe you’ll find it useful in attempting to explain.
    http://inconvenientliberty.blogspot.com/2010/09/nazi-comparrison.html

    • Frank Davis says:

      So, short of wearing an armband and being forced at gunpoint onto a cattle car, when is it OK to scream NAZI!?

      Well put.

      It’s not hijacking if it’s on the same subject.

  20. Pat Nurse says:

    And it isn’t just smokers who have noticed these parallels :

    “Stigmatised, marginalised and treated with no sense of proportionality, British smokers are being reduced to the perilous and irrational status that a number of minorities suffered in Germany around 1934 and 5.”

    Dr Helen Evans, Nurses For Reform

  21. Reinhold says:

    Here’s what I announced to say. (Sorry in advance if parts of it consist of unreadable English. It was hard work for me and I post it now unregarded if all that stuff is already said in all the many postings that are now above; I’ll read them after. :-)

    Since I’m reading a bit in English-language blogs, too, I notice that the methods of anti-smokers and German Nazis repeatedly are compared.
    Paradoxically in Germany, where the parallels should be as plain to see as nowhere else, this comparison is almost a taboo. I’d like to explain this phenomenon, if you don’t mind.

    During the Nazi period, most Germans didn’t know what happened to the “disappeared” Jews. And they rather didn’t want to know, and even if someone should have wanted to know it was healthier not to ask, because it was too late and too dangerous to ask such questions. That’s why in the post-war period it was said so often: “Resist the beginnings!”

    After the war, when they knew about it all, they wanted to know even less. Let alone to talk. It was just too horrible. You could hardly tell your children: “Listen, kid, you belong to those who murdered six million Jews.” So there was a lot of taciturnity, and even we children were scared to speak out the word “Jews”. It was feared to be a sin, because the adults used to flinch at it.
    Growing up, of course we knew some more year by year and were horrified. How could this happen? How could the adults around us – seeming to be ordinary, decent people – support that or at least allow it to happen? It’s the question that occupied every German of my generation for a lifetime. How Nazi madness could spread was totally incomprehensible.

    Until a few years ago.

    Until the day when the media began to give chase to the smokers.
    A year before, a smoker still was a blameless citizens, now suddenly he was something nasty or even a criminal. And everybody was allowed to scoff at him and insult him arbitrarily.
    We learned that there’s no need to bring the media in line by force. They do it themselves voluntarily. If they think they have backing by a presumed (though controlled) zeitgeist, they happily rain blows on fellow citizens.
    Assisted by the “science”. Here in Frank’s blog, I don’t need to say more about this, we all know the tale about the dead assassinated by SHS and the heart attack miracles all around.

    It was so simple. With headlines and “studies” a group of citizens can easily be declared to be undesirable, and folks don’t mind. It works now as it worked then. And after, you can do what you want with that group, step by step. All that matters is that the rest of the population is somehow to be “protected”. And obviously it doesn’t only work in Germany.
    Here, however, it’s good to think twice before you say: “Wait a minute … didn’t we have exactly this kind of behaviour pattern once before?”
    Because after all the smokers are not being killed (yet). Especially not for something unchangeable: A smoker might become a non-smoker at any time and thus escape the persecution.

    So, this significant difference is brought into play very quickly when someone in Germany compares the anti-smoking movement with Nazism. “How’s that – you don’t want to say that protecting non-smokers has anything to do with all those cruelties in former years, do you? Are you insane?”, you are told – or like this: “If you compare that, you yourself are the greatest Nazi, because you trivialize the Holocaust”.
    Any discussion is quickly dropped this way.

    But surprisingly there are relatively many Jews who do not shun the comparison.
    I e.g. met more Jews in the four years that I’m now offering resistance to the discrimination of smokers than I met in my entire life before. Jews, who also see parallels in social development. And they surely know what they are talking about.

    The majority of the people, however, will not notice what’s going on, I’m afraid. The sham “protection” is tricky and powerful.
    And so the “Resist the beginnings” thing unfortunately couldn’t really work yet, neither in Germany nor elsewhere, and I wonder what comes next.

  22. Junican says:

    I am beginning to wonder if there is a smoking ban in Israel.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I think there is, judging from this 2001 article in the BMJ:

      In three months, when the new restrictions take effect, smoking will be banned in all hospitals and medical clinics, public areas of shopping malls, public corridors or waiting rooms, lecture halls and celebration halls, and facilities used for performances. Separate, ventilated smoking areas will be designated for smokers’ use.

      In all these cases, the owner of the facility may ban smoking altogether. In addition, smoking will be banned in all restaurants, cafes, and cafeterias, except for a completely separate ventilated room where smoke does not reach the rest of the facility.

      Wonderful, isn’t it?

  23. Jax says:

    I am beginning to wonder if there is a smoking ban in Israel.

    Yes, there has been since 1983, but the law wasn’t very well enforced and often ignored, so they tightened it up in 2007 and made bar owners (like pub landlords) liable for smoking on their premises, accompanied by some pretty heavy-duty fines. Which is a bit surprising, really, given Hitler’s rabid anti-smoking stance and their own very personal history with him and his regime.

    But then it has always surprised me how often the most persecuted of groups can so thoroughly and enthusiastically embrace persecution themselves once the boot is on the other foot. Maybe it’s an intrinsic element of human nature – the need to feel better, stronger, more powerful, more righteous, somehow more deserving – than some other group, which politicians use to their own advantage. Perhaps that’s why there’s always been persecution down through the ages and maybe always will be.

    In fact, the only persecuted group I know of who do seem able to appreciate that there have been, and may be in future, others in the same position as themselves is – ahem – smokers. Perhaps that’s why other anti-persecution groups of all types have been so silent in the face of increasingly open and state-supported discrimination against smokers. Maybe they’re afraid that smokers’ vocal and unashamed empathy with the targets of the burgeoning anti-alcohol and anti-obesity movements highlights their own extremely self-interested natures.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I must say that I find it distinctly odd that Israel bans smoking. Have they learned nothing?

      But I’m heartened that Reinhold (above) has been meeting Jews who can see the Nazi parallels. It’s been heart-warming today to have a couple of Germans posting comments here. Maybe one day there’ll be a few Jews as well.

  24. One very important thing to remember: In 1933, in 1935, even in 1938, if a German Jew would have predicted Auschwitz, people – even other Jews – would have reacted exactly the same way as they do now if someone tries to compare what the year 1933 oder 1935 meant for the German Jews to what the year 2007 oder 2011 meant for smokers. What happened 1941ff. seemed unbelievable some years before, even to those who had read “Mein Kampf”.

    But it is impossibe in Germany to discuss seriously what 1933 in the view of Jews has in common with 2007 in the view of smokers, because we all know how the story ended in 1941ff. for the Jews, while nobody knows how it might end for the smokers in 2025 or 2040 – exactly like nobody knew in 1933 for the Jews. We know now, because it has already happened. They didn’t know then.

    But imagine being a Jewish lawyer or a doctor or a shop-owner in 1933. Would everything that happened to them in this year – it must have been a horrible year for each of them – and the next years have been justified, if Hitler would have been killed in 1939 or would have changed his mind about the Jews in 1940 or if for some other reason the Holocaust would not have happened? I don’t think so.

    It is impossible to compare anything to what happend to the Jews in the end. But this end would never have happened without a lot of other steps in the years before. I was told at school that it was my duty to watch carefully what happens in my society, becouse something like this mustn’t happen again. If it is considered as forbidden to compare these earlier steps to something that happens here and now, because nobody knows how it will end, then everything they tought me about Nazi-Germany was a lie.

    • Mia Holl says:

      “rauchverbotbayern” = Mia Holl. ;-)

    • Frank Davis says:

      Well, yes. We have the benefit of hindsight. And the Jews in 1933 did not have such hindsight (although there had been plenty of pogroms against Jews going back centuries).

      The point, however, is that essentially the same eugenic logic is now being applied to smokers as was applied to Jews, right down to the pseudoscientific studies claiming to show what a terrible threat they pose to everyone else. This eugenic logic, carried to its logical conclusion, must lead to their complete expulsion or extermination.

      Apart from the benefit of hindsight (and of logic) there are other differences. Smokers comprise a far larger fraction of the population than Jews ever did in Germany. I believe there were only about 200,000 Jews in Germany in 1933 or so. The antismokers have set out to denormalise and exclude something which is in many cases like a third or more of the population. Jews were very often too few in numbers to fight back. Smokers exist in such numbers that it would be astonishing if they did not. Also smokers can become non-smokers in ways that Jews could not become Gentiles (and conversely, non-smokers can become smokers). They can melt away, and re-form in ways that Jews could not.

      In the end, what happened to the Jews is a warning from history. Enough has happened already to smokers for them to be angry at what has already happened, never mind what might happen. Smokers can stand on their own feet.

      • Mia Holl says:

        523.000 Jews lived in Germany 1933, about 0,75 % of the German population. In November 1938, after more than five years of legislature to exclude them more and more from society, Jews finally didn’t have the right any more to be owner of a business. There were still about 350.000 Jews in Germany at that time, and a lot of them had been people of wealth and influence only five years before. (At the end of 1939 there were about 200.000 Jews in Germany, many of them eldery people – after the pressure had become VERY serious, everyone, who was able to emigrate, did it at last. But it had become very difficult and very expensive.)

        I remember reading that it seemed impossible in 1933 even to the Nazis to get the Jews out of the economic sector in which they represented a very much higher percentage (I have no exact numbers, sorry). If they had done it all at once, the economy simply would have collapsed, and especially because the economic relations to other countries would have been seriously damaged.

        I read about New Zealand (22 % smokers in 2009). They want the country to be “smoker-free” in 2025 – 14 years. I wonder what will happen in 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024 with the smokers that are left, if they are successful enough to make the smokers a minority of, let’s say, 5 % until then.

  25. lleweton says:

    Step by step. Thus denormalisation is – and was – normalised.

  26. Pat Nurse says:

    And in the same way they stripped Jews of their business then, they are stripping tobacco companies of the legal right to their own brands now http://patnurseblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/battle-of-brands.html

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