Monday, October 01, 2007

The ban begins

The smoking ban that still shocks me in this State where tobacco still hovers as the number one and number three cash crop takes effect today. As a non-smoker (I do enjoy an occasional cigar, but only once in a great while), the ban doesn't really concern me on a personal level, but I am concerned about the loss of freedom that is the result of this kind of legislation.

In reviewing comments so far this morning on the News-Sentinel story on the issue, the non-smokers appear to be gloating. "We no longer have to put up with a smoking section," they are saying. Some of these same people claim to favor the repeal of dry laws and the liberalization of other blue laws in this State. Ye hypocrites!

I have said all along that if a business owner wants to ban smoking in their establishment, they are certainly free to do so. In a free market, people vote with their feet and their dollars. If more people are frequenting businesses that do not allow smoking in their establishments, proprietors will eventually get the message. But alas, we have traded an ethic of freedom for the safe climate of legal paternalism.

The public smoking ban that takes effect today may very well become something that we as a people eventually become acclimated to, as its proponents suggest. The widespread acceptance of a minor tyranny does not make the strafing of freedom involved in such a law a good thing. This is a republic, not a raw democracy. Simply because the majority believe that something is good does not make it so, nor does it make removing liberty acceptable because the majority like the idea.

In accepting the smoking ban, the State of Tennessee is starting to travel down the same dangerous road that much of the rest of the country has already embarked upon-the notion that the State can better care for us than we can for ourselves.

It is an inherently UnAmerican way to think.



At Monday, October 01, 2007 11:50:00 AM, Blogger Sour Persimmon said...

The real tyranny here is not that the people of Tennessee have, through an act of their democratic representatives, liberated themselves from shouldering the lung cancer risks of citizens who smoke; it is that all these constraints on smoking have been enacted without science determining whether the risks of smoking are inherent in the burning of the tobacco leaf or a product of the additives introduced during cigarette manufacture. What if pure tobacco smoke is no more dangerous than hickory smoke? What if tobacco farmers are suffering for the sins of the cigarette industry?

At Monday, October 01, 2007 6:49:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

No disagreement on the issue of tobacco smoke vs. additives and the cigarette industry. Quality cigars have far fewer additives if any, and you don't here of people who smoke Arturo Fuente's going before their time.

It is not the job of the State, however, to be the personal health police. Were this the case, it could be argued that we ought to still have prohibition because drunk driving is a scourge.


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