William F. Buckley Jr.: Tobacco Prohibitionistby Doug Mataconis
The founder of National Review, who has called himself a libertarian conservative in the past, calls for tobacco prohibition and makes the most absurd Nazi analogy ever in the process:
Stick me in a confessional and ask the question: Sir, if you had the authority, would you forbid smoking in America? You’d get a solemn and contrite, Yes. Solemn because I would be violating my secular commitment to the free marketplace. Contrite, because my relative indifference to tobacco poison for so many years puts me in something of the position of the Zyklon B defendants after World War II. These folk manufactured the special gas used in the death camps to genocidal ends. They pleaded, of course, that as far as they were concerned, they were simply technicians, putting together chemicals needed in wartime for fumigation. Some got away with that defense; others, not.
Those who fail to protest the free passage of tobacco smoke in the air come close to the Zyklon defendants in pleading ignorance.
The biggest problem with Buckley’s analogy, of course, is that people who smoke cigarettes do so voluntarily and, given the attention the health effects of smoking have gotten over the years, with more than enough information to lead to the conclusion that, in the long run, smoking is bad for you. Despite that, they choose of their own free will to light up on a daily basis. The victims of Zyklon B didn’t exactly have a choice.