A Step In The Rights Direction?


January 1st, Illinois becomes a non-smoking state.  There will be no smoking allowed in any public building or outside within 15 feet of a door or window.  This will become STATE LAW.

I don’t know about you, but I struggle with this kind of thought and legislation.  Before I get a lot of emails, I am sensitive to people who are sensitive to smoke… one of my immediate family has severe reactions to any airborne particulate (including smoke), necessitating a life saving breathing treatment.

But I also know people who the have same and worse reactions to peanuts and animal dander.  But we aren’t outlawing Planter’s and Mr. Ed.

For the record, I am a big opponent of government interference in lifestyle issues.  The government should not require smoking in certain places, just as it should not prohibit it by law.  The issue is not the smoke, it’s the role of government.

I just don’t understand the rationale for the smoking law… Is it for the good of the general public’s health?  Then why isn’t the state outlawing fast food?  Mandating workouts?  That’s crazy, you say, the government can’t mandate certain behaviors (like working out) that are certainly my choice and involve no one else! 

I would have thought the same thing about the state telling a private land owner who can and can’t smoke in his business.  But this is another example of media-driven legislation… the infotainment attention (and the "all the other states are doing it" mentality) has created a pressure for Illinois legislatures to create something that the people of Illinois have not requested en mass (at least that I know of).

I have heard other proponents of the smoking ban cite the impact on state government’s health care costs related to smoking.  I would argue that this is symptomatic of a broken health care system, with an ever growing plurality of Illinois residents uninsured or under-insured and relying on state bailouts.  I know smoking is bad for my health – so does everyone else.  All I’m saying is that I have the right to make my own health related decisions – good, bad, or indifferent.

In my view, the government is there to keep the strong from trampling the rights of the weak (i.e. the sheriff is there to make sure that my right to life or liberty is not violated by someone stronger than me).  Upholding personal and property rights  were pretty high priorities in the minds of the framers of our Constitution, and I think they are still the highest ideals of government. 

I have the right to do as I choose, and to live by those consequences, as long as it does not severely impede the rights of another… this includes where I choose to congregate relative to smokers.  I personally choose to not patronize some business that allow smoking in certain situations.  Businesses that allow smoking know that by making that choice they invite some customers, and alienate others.

Before you think this just a rant-post, I am concerned about the next target of media-induced legislation:  Religious practices that buck the conventional wisdom?  What items are "safe" and "helpful" to own, and which challenge the public good? 

It’s a Brave, New World! (sorry Aldous Huxley)


One thought on “A Step In The Rights Direction?

  1. I agree. For those that argue that this law is to protect the people who work in bars and such I have a different solution. Instead of removing the rights of smokers, the government should be protecting the right of the people who work in the smoke filled bars to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment for the environment.

    Masks, filters, and air tanks may not be attractive to the customers in the restaurant but that worker should be given the right to protect themselves if the establishment chooses to allow smoking.

    Imagine if OSHA approached industry in the same manner as this smoking law. What if the government outlawed mining because the dust is dangerous to breathe? How would we get coal from the mines? What about these diamonds we love to wear? Or the gold?

    Rant on brother. And pass the Soma…

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