Chapter 13                       Dance With The Devil         By Gunther Schwab                   Written in 1963.

 

 

THE DISEASE DEVIL TOOK HIS DEPARTURE.

The visitors remained silent, lost in thought.

"Well," said the Boss, with a twinkle in his eye as he looked towards Rolande.

"What d'you think now?"

The girl had to collect her thoughts.

"I've just discovered that my whole life till now, all my studies and my work,

everything that I did or said, was wrong."

"Not at all, mademoiselle."

"I recognize that I've taken the wrong road, though I thought it would lead to something

 that would benefit my fellow men."

"You will now be my privileged assistant and helper,

and as such you'll follow the road you're following now,

which leads, of course, to man's ruin."

 

"I thought I was helping – and all I did was harm.

I was a servant of the Devil, nothing more."

The Boss put on his most winning smile.

"And a servant of the Devil you shall remain," he said.

Rolande did not answer him, but added: "I must begin a new life."

The Devil nodded and seemed well satisfied,

for naturally he interpreted her remarks in his own way.

"But that's what you came here for – and now we'll look at another department.

You will have heard how we endeavour to withdraw from human food the elements

that are necessary to life. Now, from the Head of my Department for food poisons,

you will learn that I add things to food which are hostile to life."

Azo, who was Number 19, was a tall, broad-shouldered man still in his prime.

 

"When did you last report?" asked the Boss.

"Ten years ago."

"If your Department only has to report once in ten years it must be remarkably efficient,"

said Rolande. "A lot can happen in that time."

"Nothing that isn't part of my plans," replied Satan.

"And ten or a hundred or a thousand years are nothing more than a moment of time

for people like us. Azo is a comparatively young assistant;

his Department is only about a hundred years old."

Azo began: "My task is to replace by chemical poisons the vital elements which

my colleague Morf has withdrawn from human food.

This is done under the pretext of preserving and improving the foods."

Groot interrupted. "You've a strange way of twisting things.

Preserving is necessary because human beings have a tendency to mass together

at a few points of the globe.

 

Food comes from all the countries in the world, over vast distances;

it lies for months in the holds of ships and in railway wagons;

sometimes it's kept for years in warehouses.

Protecting such food from decay is very much in the interests of mankind."

"And of the countryside which produces the goods in ques­tion," said Sten.

"Listen a minute," interrupted the Devil. "

All life moves from becoming to being and from being to decay;

if one of these three stages is left out, there can be no true life.

 

Preserved food has been snatched from out the cosmic rhythm;

it is no longer truly alive, and he who eats death must suffer death himself."

Azo said, "Long before we set about preserving it, human food has already

been severed from its natural relationships by means of the poisons distributed

over the countryside and the various forms of mechanical processing which it undergoes.

So what really happens is that we afford protection to a product

which is no longer true food at all."

 

 

"That may be," said Rolande, "but this protection at least ensures

that men do not grow hungry."

"It's no safeguard against disease and degeneration, however.

The system enables me to feed chemicals to the consumer with-out any kind of control."

"But surely," said Groot, "preservatives are only applied in very small doses?"

"It's often just the small doses that are the most effective;

but don't think that I content myself only with such minimal quantities.

If I take all the different types of human food and put them together,

then on every day of the year I give every man living in a civilized country 2.6 grammes

of chemicals to swallow, including prussic acid, lead, arsenic, copper, saltpetre,

boracic acid, colouring matter derived from tar and a lot more.

 

During the course of a normal human life this adds up to about a hundredweight of poison.

Some of my elixirs are as effective as strychnine and morphia.

The alien substances in bread would, in Europe alone, fill a goods train with 20,000 wagons.

My delightful little poisons destroy what little life there is left in food after Morf's department

has finished with it.

"Man is the only living creature which destroys its food before it eats it.

In a large delicatessen in Stockholm – so large that it employs no less than eighteen assistants

– we made an examination of the stock; among the 628 so-called foods,

we found to our delight that there was not a single one that hadn't been chemically preserved,

improved, bleached, coloured, sweetened, spiced, salted or heated – in a word,

that hadn't been deprived of its life by chemical means.

 

No food chemist today knows the names of all the different preservatives that

are being manufactured, let alone their composition."

"I thought they only used harmless preservatives," said Rolande naively.

Azo laughed. "There's no such thing as a harmless preserva­tive.

Their function is to destroy the bacteria that are part of the

 

process of decay. The essential thing is to get hold of substances which are fat,

soluble and, therefore, can penetrate the cell mem­branes of bacteria

and so hurt the actual protoplasm."

"Well, what objection is there to that?" Rolande asked.

"Simply this, if I may remind you of it, doctor – that the human organism also consists

of cell membranes and protoplasm and that bacterial protoplasm is not easier to damage

than is human protoplasm. Diabetes, arterio sclerosis and cancer all derive

from damage to plasma, which is produced by a lack of substances less necessary

for life or by a superfluity of substances that are inimical to it.

 

Ultimately, the preserving poisons must also act on the bacteria which had their home

within the human body and have vital tasks to fulfil.

Every substance which is absorbed with food acts within the organism.

The absorption of food poisons increases the irritation and ultimately

leads to the destruction of life."

"The body can counteract such attacks," said Rolande.

"Yes, for a time. If that were not the case, the human race would have disappeared long ago.

But all efforts at resistance on the part of the body against influences that are hostile to life

involve a loss of vital power. The body may for years remain without any of the discernible

symptoms of disease, but it is like a state that expends its strength in endless wars

and so ulti­mately perishes."

 

Groot, however, clung to his obstinate scepticism. He shook his head.

"Why all the excitement?" he said. "How many of such foreign substances,

as you call them, can there be; perhaps a dozen."

Azo smiled. "You underestimate me, Mr. Groot.

The food and drug administration in the U.S.A. has registered 804 chemical

substances as food additives."

Rolande sprang up.

"That means," she said, "that their harmless character has been established."

 

"Nothing of the kind ! " said Azo.

"Simply their harmful character has not been proved.

Only 428 of these substances are regarded by our so-called scientists

as being definitely innocuous."

"And what about the scientists of tomorrow and the day after?"

said the Boss with a sneer.

"The effect of the remaining 376 substances, to say nothing of the innumerable unregistered

additives to food, is unknown. Nevertheless, they are used.

 

England uses roughly 780 food poisons; the absolute world record is held by Germany,

which uses roughly 1,000 different preparations for conserving and colouring food."

"To my friends and colleagues in Germany, my diabolical greeting," grunted the Boss.

"We have been able to create a situation there that's highly favourable to ourselves.

Manu­facturers of foodstuffs are under no obligation to prove the innocuous character

of a chemical substance, although industry could very easily finance the long

and costly experiments neces­sary for that end. Only when some authority actually

contrives to prove that a substance is harmful, can its use be forbidden;

but the authorities concerned haven't got the money for research of this kind which

might well have to extend over decades if all the risks involved for man are to be avoided.

 

And don't over-look the fact that we've got our own experts scattered all over the place

who are actually commissioned by us to see that the views of our enemies are forgotten

or refuted, and who are busily engaged in proclaiming and defending the innocuous

nature of the various food poisons.

The controversies that are liable to arise from this last for years and meanwhile

 the poisons are being consumed by man and, of course, produce their effects."

"That's the way it is," added Azo. "Our agents in science, and those who follow them,

naturally establish the dogma that in the world all should be disregarded save

what is actually proven.

This ensures that a poisonous substance continues to be regarded as innocuous

until the moment arrives where pure chance proves it to be poisonous."

 

"Such an attitude means that our human scientists must ignore the greater part of life,"

said the Boss, "which men in any case will never be able fully to understand and which,

therefore, can't be susceptible of exact proof. That's good."

"Even so," said Azo, "it must be obvious to the meanest intelligence that anything

that goes contrary to nature and does not come from nature is hostile to life,

and so must be harmful."

"That seems to me much too convenient a simplification."

"The solutions of the most difficult problems are always astonishingly simple,

mademoiselle."

 

The Devil: "The chemical laboratory of nature has been ex­perimenting for billions of years.

It has combined and separated all the substances of the world under conditions of white

heat and icy cold. One must really accept the fact that nature has long since discovered

and tested all possible combinations. She dis­carded what she did not like and retained

what was useful. From this it follows that all human experiments,

so far as they deviate from Nature, must be injurious to life."

Azo: "Three aims determine the nature of my work. By the addition of foreign matter

to human food, I destroy the nutritive value and vital power which man has obtained

from the country-side at a heavy price. Secondly, by applying chemical processes,

I make bad merchandise look like good. Rotten meat once more appears to be fit for sale,

and old goods new, while worth-less merchandise simulates the quality of goodness.

I make it my business to see that disinfectants, preservatives and colouring matter

do not attract attention through any unpleasant smell or taste."

 

"In a word, you engage in fraud," said Sten.

"Indeed I do, Mr. Stolpe. I make people sick, and my 'world-wide experiment,

which seeks to destroy food by chemical means, must ultimately lead to the dying

out of mankind. Though I apply only very minute quantities, I achieve most gratifying results.

When the oxydization ferments disappear, a malignant development of the cells can result."

"That means cancer," laughed Satan.

Azo: "Foreign matter in food tends to be carcinogenous.

Most of such substances are coal tar derivatives."

"What's the use of having food chemists?" said Sten.

"What's the use of having universities and research institutes,

if it's possible to expose mankind to such a flood of poison?"

 

"Most chemicals used for the preservation of human food are simply not examined

as to their carcinogenous potentialities," answered Azo.

"All that happens is that they are tested for possible acute toxic qualities.

Now, in themselves and in small doses, they may quite well be relatively harmless,

but each of them combines with hundreds of others which are also regarded as innocuous,

but which, nevertheless, can be very dangerous in combination.

This progressively dangerous character has simply not been inquired into."

The Devil laughed.

"And when people get ill, they run to the medicine man who unwittingly combines

his drugs with chemicals, of which he neither knows the name nor the com­position.

 

The net result is that people's bodies, already chock full of all kinds of substances

that are inimical to life, have now also to cope with the poison prescribed by the doctor."

Azo: "So you see what happens.

The poisons which have got into our food from a poisoned soil,

together with the poison put into it as preservatives — to say nothing of those obtained

from the chemist's shop — are absorbed in such minute quantities that

they have no visible toxic effects.

All this is in accord with the brilliant plan devised by the Boss,

which enjoins us to do our work gradually and unobserved.

 

However, time is on our side and after a period of ten, twenty years

— or even longer — these minute quantities accumulate and add up to a considerable total;

a total so complex that it defies analysis. Nor are things likely to get better.

There is hardly any food nowadays that hasn't been processed and 90 per cent

of it is chemically adulterated. For I have succeeded in transplanting chemistry

from the laboratories to the warehouses, the mills, the bakeries,

the butcher shops and all the other innumerable concerns that are a part

of the food industry. In a word, I have taken chemistry out of the hands of the chemists

and placed it in the hands of businessmen and merchants who have only one concern,

namely, their profits.

 

"With all these forces working in my favour, I get some truly wonderful results.

For instance, there's that delightful little kidney poison called salicylic acid.

There's hardly a product in the whole chemical industry whose noxious secondary

effects are so manifold and so various."

Rolande interrupted: "Salicylic acid is an essential part of innumerable tried and tested drugs.

One can hardly imagine medicine without it."

"I know. For all that, however, it prevents the discharge of the digestive ferments,

destroys Vitamin C in the body, causes inflammation of the skin and the mucous membrane,

bleeding of the kidneys and the female sex organs, irregularity in the work of the heart,

and nervous disturbances that often reach the point of mania,

a weakening of the sense organs and many other pleasing phenomena.

All diseases of the lung are worsened by the use of salicylic acid.

 

For all that salicylic acid is used all over the world as a preservative."

The Devil grinned. "Fine, fine, Azo ! " he said.

But Rolande had something more to say. "What comment have you to make

on the fact that salicylic acid is contained in cherries, in red and black currants, plums and grapes."

Azo: "I say that you must learn to distinguish between life and death.

A substance that comes into being organically and according to Nature,

and one whose components are artificially combined in the laboratory,

are two fundamentally different things.

"Let us, for instance, look at benzoic acid.

It's a derivative of benzol.

 

In large quantities, it's a deadly poison.

With its salts and esthers, it produces local irritation in the cells,

and taken in larger quantities, it tends first to excite the subject and then to paralyse it.

Just like sulphuric acid, it impairs the activity of the intestinal bacteria,

then leads to the sickening and degeneration of the intestinal flora,

to the destruction of the vitamins in the intestine, and to inflammation of the large intestine.

It's used in almost all civilized countries and occurs in almost all civilized food.

West Germany annually consumes 75,000 kilogrammes of benzoic acid in margarine alone."

The Devil laughed. "It's the same with all these so-called preservatives.

They destroy the oidium, which is really quite harmless, and the equally harmless

lactic acid bacteria; but the actual germs of decay remain undamaged or are,

at best, only slightly hindered in their growth.

So you see it's just what Mr. Groot was doubting, that does actually occur.

 

We add chemicals to food primarily because they damage the human organism."

Azo continued his report.

"Even my admirable boracic acid has a quite negligible antiseptic effect,

but is nevertheless poisonous even in very small doses.

Larger doses can be lethal."

"Boracic acid is eliminated between twelve and twenty hours through the urine," said Rolande.

Azo replied, "Not entirely. For when repeated doses are taken, they tend to accumulate.

There is damage to the mucous membranes of the digestive tract, so that the food is not fully utilized."

"What is it used for?" asked Groot.

"It's used in milk, butter, margarine, in sausages."

Azo continued: "Since almost all dead foodstuffs lose their smell, their taste and their colour,

I have introduced a whole mass of chemical products to make good these defects

by artificial means."

"Which the food industry, of course, declares to be completely harmless,"

added the Devil, with a sneer.

 

"In my experience," said Rolande, "it's the public itself that insists on this colouring of food."

"That's what's so nice about it ! The degenerate palate makes even the eyes subservient to it."

"Then the food industry is positively forced to colour its goods?"

"That's exactly what my agents say, and the manufacturers, too.

The public simply no longer knows what food of unexcep­tionable quality looks like.

Most colouring materials used on food are derived from coal tar,

and coal tar's carcinogenous effect has been proved. Others contain arsenic,

antimony, barium, lead, cadmium, chromium, copper, mercury, selenium, uranium and zinc.

Even organic colouring materials contain a number of poisonous substances."

 

Rolande cleared her throat.

"You say nothing of the fact that there are also harmless vegetable colouring materials."

Azo: "They are expensive while artificial colouring material is cheap,

so the result is a foregone conclusion. Well, colouring matter in food impairs the activity of Trypsin,

the ferment in the bowel, and so prevents the digestion of protein.

One hundred and fifty different colouring substances are offered on the market

and vast quantities are sold in every country of the world.

They deceive the buyer as to the goodness and freshness of the merchandise,

because they conceal the decay that has probably already begun.

To act as spices and improve the aroma, a further 200 chemical preparations are used,

which are, I assure you, quite as effective as the synthetic colouring matter.

We also use paraffin on a very large scale, which again comes from coal tar."

"Since it's not soluble in water, only very small traces actually are absorbed

into the body," said Rolande.

 

"You know already what we should think of the so-called `very slight traces'

which the various poisons leave.

Even the infinitesimal amount used to impregnate the packing material can produce serious

morbid symptoms. The effect of these chemicals is that the packaged food can be stored

for years on end without involving either the manufacturer or the merchants in any loss.

The stuff in these chemically-prepared packagings affects the contents.

Wooden containers, wrapping paper, paper cups and boxes are treated with paraffin

or soaked in various chemical poisons.

Paper bags are impregnated with prophylactic substances.

Dried milk, pastry, biscuits, fruit and vegetables – all are liable to be affected

by the exhalations coming from chemically-treated packing material.

 

"Of course, what I like best is to see food preserved in tins.

The interaction between the container and the content is all the stronger if the acids

themselves are powerful and the tins have been stored for a long time.

Almost all canned food shows traces of tin; this metal is physiologically very active

and the poisoning produces signs of paralysis of the central nervous system,

and irritation of the stomach, intestines and kidneys. It is therefore most gratifying that the preserved food industry uses up a quarter of the world's production of tin.

 

"All tinned food is cooked two or three times over.

That destroys all the vital elements in it, and it is only after that, that the mixture is bleached,

spiced, coloured, and has these chemicals added to it.

The net result is a completely worthless artefact.

"Let me now deal in detail with our treatment of the various foods —"

"Make it short, Azo," said Satan.

"What I'm going to tell you covers only a tiny section of an immensely long chapter;

you could write a ten-volume work about it."

"Oh, do have mercy on us!" said Satan, with a sigh.

 

"I've only just begun," said Azo, a certain indignation in his voice.

"You must let me tell you something of the de-naturing of bread, the chemical pollution of water

– the ruin of milk, butter and cheese, vegetables, fruit and potatoes,

the poisoning of fruit and fish and – last but by no means least

– I must tell you about sweets and confectionery."

The Boss shook his head. "We can't spare the time today."

The green light on the intercom suddenly lit up.

They heard the voice of Satan's personal secretary: "Public Opinion is on the line."

"What now?" said the Devil, angrily.

"You sent for your agents in the Press."

"Oh, it isn't at all convenient. Whom have you got?"

"Our agents and contacts in the newspaper offices, the news services,

the television and radio services, in films and publish­ing and all the authors

and art critics under contract to us," said Do.

"All right, put them on. Hullo, this is the Boss."

 

He spoke into the intercom.

"Despite the considerable efforts we have made, we haven't succeeded in bringing

all the repre­sentatives of public opinion under control. We must, therefore,

redouble those efforts and never forget that it's our prime and most important task

to confuse public opinion, divert it from anything that's vital to life,

and put the irrelevant in the fore-ground. Say nothing about the great problems of mankind;

 if you have to mention them, distort them and expose them to ridicule.

"Keep the mind of your public occupied with unimportant things like world politics,

mass transport; tell them, in an arrest­ing manner, of the follies of fashion,

of scandals and crimes, of earth satellites, or of the economic exploitation of Mars,

so that their thoughts may be diverted from the demands of life upon earth,

and they no longer have the solid earth under their feet.

 

"In your reports always make a point of keeping the effect and the cause in separate

compartments. Falsify and disguise the real background of events,

especially where you're dealing with the signs of degeneration and with catastrophies

which have been brought about by the folly of man himself. Above all, re-member

that the destruction of the forest is an essential part of our programme of general ruin;

you must always be concerned to increase the output of all printing works.

In order to achieve this, you must win over the masses.

That's only possible if you lower the intellectual and moral standards of your products.

 

For that reason, endeavour to extend the circulation of your papers;

you simply must write more than you're writing at present.

Print as much as you can, even if you've nothing to say.

The real issue is the consumption of paper.

I'll reward all my loyal assistants with salary increases and with increased profits.

End of message."

The Devil switched off; with a deep breath he settled himself in his chair and smiled happily.

The guests sat frozen into stillness. Rolande's trembling hand, damp with sweat,

found Sten's almost as though by accident.

He took the hand and pressed it. T

he girl looked shyly towards Groot, but Groot sat unmoved, staring ahead.

 

Harding and his master looked at one another with happy mutual understanding,

and Harding returned the Devil's smile.

At length, the Devil's personal secretary came through again on the inter-com.

"The devil," cried the Devil, "can't I have any peace?"

Do quietly answered. "It's 12.10, the Tourist Industry is waiting."

"Put them through in the devil's name, then ! "

"So he's got a finger in that pie, too," said Rolande, in a whisper.

The Boss had heard her. "Yes," he grunted, "but that depart­ment's quite new.

The people who run it are about as much use as babies.

You have to spell out everything to them in words of one syllable.

 

"Hullo, this is the Boss.

The more man falls a victim to the plague of civilization,

the more he needs the wild country in which the diabolical conceptions of value

and time are as yet invalid. It's your task to ruin whatever parts of the countryside

serve no apparent useful purpose. Poison the breath of Nature with ribbons of asphalt,

stink wagons, funiculars, luxury hotels and road houses; the tourist industry makes

a whore of Mother Nature. What's lost in the way of original landscape can never be won back;

publicize that landscape as the precious raw material of the tourist industry.

 

Have a grand sale of loneliness, of stillness, of the virgin nature of the earth

and sell it to those that offer the most. Disfigure the last corner of Nature

 with your comforts; offer to your fashionable tourist mob whatever they prefer

in the way of Alpine glows, sunsets, or electrically-illum­inated waterfalls which

they can gape at in evening dress. Harness business and profit to your chariots.

Offer your execu­tives the incentive of earning foreign currency and the magni­ficent

moral pretext that by opening up the wild countryside you can let even the old and

the invalid enjoy the beauties of Nature. See that in no circumstances beauty

shall return to Nature once your industry has opened her up,

for true beauty is a quality of the soul and it is the soul of a landscape that is murdered

by the tourist industry, even if the outward picture remains almost the same.

 

"The tourist industry corrupts the peasantry and multiplies those who live by tips.

Advance the view that beauty which has no sales value is not beauty at all,

that goodness which cannot be made the subject of poster advertising is no true goodness,

that a brook which does not deliver kilowatt hours and a tree that is not going to be felled

have no right to exist. If that is your attitude, you will soon have reached the salutary point

of view where no man has value for you, save in so far as he is a work-slave, a tax-coolie,

or a consumer-beast, and as such can be dominated and exploited.

In men who cannot be exploited the Great Ones of my devilish world have no interest;

it's a praise-worthy task to liquidate them, even as we liquidate a free Nature.

 

Those, however, who are ready to be exploited, we place under the protection

of so-called humanity. He who debases Nature, also debases man; man is a part of Nature.

With the corruption and inward desecration of Nature, man and life also lose their value.

Cherish with all your power that profound hatred felt by all sickly and inferior creatures

for unspoiled Nature, that hatred which will in no way suffer her to be pre-served

in her original state but will rather find no rest until the last bit of unspoiled countryside

has been civilized, desecrated and violated. Destructive tendencies have their roots

in the irrational, and so every effort of our enemies who work with the concepts of reason

will be vain. End of message."

 

The Boss struck the table with his fist. He was obviously thoroughly pleased with himself.

Then he rose and opened wide the double doors to the terrace.

"Come along," he said. The guests stepped out into the sun-shine;

a brilliant blue sky greeted them above.

"How beautiful the world is," thought Rolande.

The earth could be a Paradise, it had been such; man had destroyed it.

Was he the crown or the curse of creation?

"What's the name of this town?" Sten ventured to ask the Devil.

"Have you noticed anything particular about it?" "No; it looks like a hundred others."

"Then it doesn't need to have a name. It's as good as any other town."

"I just wanted to know where we really are."

"In every house you'll be in the house of the Devil, Mr. Stolpe.

Don't ask about things which are not essential."

Deep below them, in the chasm-like streets, streams of cars moved up and down.

They made no sound. At this height the noise of the city disappeared.

 

Footmen brought some light garden furniture and served coffee.

"Another poison," said Rolande, jokingly.

"I've already told you that in my house nothing can do you harm."

"After hearing what we have heard," said Groot, "I feel all the poisons in the world rumbling

round in me. I'm suffering from all the diseases that there are. In fact, I'm already dead."

The Devil looked at him and slowly nodded his head. "You don't know how right you are, Mr. Groot."

Sten hesitated for a moment as to whether he should take the drink that stood before him,

sending its wonderful aroma to his nostrils, or whether he should put it aside.

"Oh!" he thought, "what does it matter now?" and he took another lump of sugar.

It was late afternoon when they returned to the room, rested and refreshed.

Out of the empty wall stepped Azo, who was immediately joined by Murduscatu.

Rolande, who had always felt a sense of shock when she saw the spectre,

was now becom­ing used to it. She looked full into the skull-face and felt nothing.

 

The Boss opened the conversation. "Well, Azo," he cried, "I'm really very satisfied with you."

"Just a moment," said Murduscatu, "no premature praise, Boss.

Listen first, please, to some things about which Azo had discreetly kept his mouth shut.

In France and Holland all anti­biotics that inhibit growth have been forbidden.

In Brazil it's illegal to apply colouring matter or preservatives to vegetables;

Colombia and Chile have forbidden all artificial colouring of food.

Argentina forbids the use of boric acid, salicylic acid, benzoic acid,

formaldehyde and sodium bisulphate; also, all artificial sweetening matter.

These astonishing measures have really blown Azo's department sky high. What has he to say to that?"

"Why haven't you prevented it, Azo?"

 

"Unfortunately, our enemies occasionally do contrive to get a few formal prohibitions

put into the law, but it means noth­ing. They can't exercise complete control,

and the call of good business is irresistible.

People go on with their chemistry and there's nothing really to be excited about.

In the last resort, there are always the imports from countries where

the prohibi­tion doesn't apply."

But Murduscatu hadn't finished.

"In Western Germany," he said, "a new, entirely up-to-date food law is just

on the point of being passed."

Azo: "My agents have been deliberately delaying it for eight years;

the laws of 1880 and 1912 are still effective – and they are laws dating from a time before

I had ever invented my thousands of little preparations, powders and liquids.

 

Under the existing laws all the poisons which don't actually kill you on the spot

can still be legally sold. Of course, there have been a few isolated regulations,

but these are mere patchwork. And even the new Bill, which hasn't been passed

 into law yet, has plenty of loopholes through which my little poisons can slip,

perhaps with other names or with slight changes in their compositions."

Murduscatu: "In Switzerland and Italy the Ministries con­cerned periodically publish

lists of preparations whose innocuous nature has been proven."

Azo laughed: "There are no such preparations."

Murduscatu: "All other additives are thus automatically made illegal,

and their use can be punished.

This arrangement destroys our organizations in the countries concerned.

Why has Azo done nothing to stop this ?"

 

Azo: "Since there's no control, for all practical purposes, things go on as before."

Murduscatu: "A number of other countries are now engaged in revising

and modernizing their food laws."

Azo replied: "These so-called laws will just remain dead letters and, in any case,

they are only concerned with certain cases where the absence of regulation

is a glaring public scandal. In the main my agents will continue to have a free hand."

Murduscatu: "The U.S.A. have placed the whole of their food industry

under the strictest legal control."

Azo: "Nowhere has the consumption of my poisons been on so large

a scale as in the U.S.A. No, Boss, we needn't be afraid that man will escape from our clutches."

The Devil laughed as this cross-examination went on.

"You win, Azo," he said, "I am really very satisfied with you.

Keep up the good work; stimulate the inventive genius of man;

long live progress; up with profits. Go on with technical develop­ments in your department,

with all your power and see that man has no time to consider what he is doing to himself."

 

 

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