Dennis Prager

The question is not rhetorical. Of course, the Postal Service would.

This is all new. As recently as 1982, the Postal Service issued a stamp honoring President Franklin D. Roosevelt that showed a profile of the president and his trademark cigarette holder.

The Disney Corporation has done this to characters in its films -- even the arts are falsified because of the totalitarianism of the anti-smoking movement. In its 2000 re-release of the 1948 film "Melody Time," Disney removed the cigarette from the cartoon character Pecos Bill. (Instead of a cigarette in his mouth, kids now see him holding a gun by his mouth!)

In his newest book, "June 1941: Hitler and Stalin" (Yale University Press), historian John Lukacs notes that Hitler, the original anti-smoking zealot, had a cigarette removed from a photo of Stalin that Nazi Germany circulated when it signed its non-aggression treaty with the Soviet dictator. Hitler felt it was bad for Germans to see such a "statesman" (Hitler's term) with a cigarette between his fingers.

And Stalin, of course, was the father of doctoring photos, removing rival Bolshevik Leon Trotsky from all photographs in which Trotsky had appeared. (In one such photo, Stalin's photo changers failed to remove Trotsky's shoes, leaving Stalin amid a group of early Bolsheviks standing next to a pair of shoes.)

In 2001, the Salt Lake City newspaper Deseret News altered a photograph of James Dean to remove an unlit cigarette from his lips. To its credit, once this doctored photo was exposed, the paper's managing editor told the Associated Press, "It was a mistake . . . We did want the cigarette to be less dominant, but when you start messing around with a picture, that's wrong."

Exactly. That's wrong. In fact, it's worse than wrong, it's totalitarian.

Those who want a fully secular America don't care about what the Left is doing to America's Christian history. And those who loathe cigarettes don't care about what the anti-smoking zealots (again, usually folks on the Left) are doing to photos and films. But, as Shakespeare said about a rose, totalitarian behavior by any other name smells the same -- and that is a lot worse and a lot more dangerous than even cigarette smoke.

Dennis Prager

Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”

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