Thursday, May 01, 2003

An update on the smoking ban

The other day, in the paper, there was an update on the smoking ban. It didn't add very much to the story that had run the day before, but it did include a really disgusting comment, which I believe was made by the mayor. In regard to the debate on the smoking ban, he said something along the lines of "We shouldn't debate about rights, we should be thinking about the public's health." Unfortunately, that part didn't appear on the web posted story for some reason.

Anyway, if he did say it, then he's a total ass-clown. It shows that the government has lost its way when it's no longer a protector of the people and their rights. Instead, the government is the omniscient mother-figure that knows what's best for the community. The mayor doesn't seem to realize that every single issue ever considered by the government should be addressed first with the question "Does this violate anyone's rights?"

Once government officials decide to ignore the rights of citizens in their deliberation on various issues, then we truly are set up to become just another terrible statist nation- another Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, or countless other tyrannical, statist governments that decided that political issues couldn't be sullied with petty concerns like individual rights.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Proposed city-wide smoking ban

Lately, a lot of "health-advocacy" special interest groups have been pushing a smoking ban. Sure, smoking can lead to health problems, but that doesn't necessitate an actual ban on it. According to Dr. Fernando Guerra, "I think it's time, and we owe it to this community." However, Dr. Guerra fails to address the issues of who owes it to the community and why.

The coalition is aiming for a ban on smoking in all public places, including restaurants and bars. It would be much stronger than the current ordinance, which requires only that restaurants seating more than 50 people have segregated smoking areas.

This is an example of blatant context-dropping. Restaurants and bars are open to the public, but they are not public places. This proposal fails to take into account the fact that a bar, like a person's house, is private property. If the owner of a bar or restaurant wants to allow people to smoke within their property, why shouldn't it be allowed? This question is addressed with the following bit of specious reasoning:

Even some smokers agree they don't want secondhand smoke wafting across their table while they are eating in a restaurant.

"I'm for nonsmoking in public places. I just don't like sitting in a restaurant and having smokers nearby," said Heath Hadley, 32, a cigar smoker.

"I used to be a smoker," said Brenda Kurth, 47, who smoked for 15 years and doesn't like to be around smokers now. "I know how annoying it is to the nonsmokers."

Personally, I hate the smell of smoke, and would hate having it blow across my table while I was eating. Though, to solve the problem, I don't bitch and whine to the city in an attempt to violate the property rights of restaurant owners. Instead, I don't eat there. If you don't like a business establishment's rules or practices, then you are free to take your business elsewhere. No one's forced to inhale the smoke, because they're not forced to eat at any particular restaurant. If I said that all of the crazy crap on the walls at some restaurants made my eating experience less enjoyable, and I pushed for government action to force the restaurant to remove it, everyone would think I was crazy, and tell me to take my business elsewhere. So why don't they apply this same principle to smoking?

Dining at private institutions is a voluntary action- if you don't want to deal with their rules on their property, then you don't go.

Some 53,000 nonsmokers in the United States die each year of lung cancer, emphysema or heart disease, conditions that can be caused by secondhand smoke, said Suzanne Lozano, a nurse and health care administrator who is chairwoman of the coalition.

"Secondhand smoke alone is the third-leading cause of preventable deaths," she said. "Secondhand smoke is considered a carcinogen, just like asbestos."

Car accidents could be labeled "preventable deaths," so why not outlaw cars? The fact is that a lot of deaths are preventable, but it doesn't mean that the state has the right to force people to do what it sees fit in order to prevent them. No smoker forces you to inhale their second-hand smoke. You can either persuade them to leave, or move away from them, and the problem is solved. Once again, it's a voluntary action.

It's sickening enough to see the ban's supporters spout off these illogical arguments, but it'll be truly disgusting if the ban actually passes. I should go complain to the city about the mental-health effects of their stupidity.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Animal Rights Leader Wants to Be Barbecued

That's crazy, man. All that peace-pipe use went to her head.