[Ed. note: The following post is in response to Glenn's comments on my previous post, but it's so long—and significant to me—I moved it from the comment section to the main page. While the initial impetus was about smoking restrictions that failed in Cave City, KS and already enacted in Dallas, NY City, California, and even Austin, TX this is only part of the issue for me.]
I agree individuals have the right to smoke in their own home and their own car. I also agree with your unspoken statement, they have the right to allow others to smoke in their home and car and this is true whether or not they personally smoke.
I also need to say after years of thought I understand civil law to be a body of rules regulating conduct between “legal entities;” a construct able to sign contracts and own property (home and car), or make commitments and take responsibility, et cetera. The ability (or society’s permission) to do these things is part of what differentiates a child from an adult.
Part of my problem with your argument is you allow freedom for some legal entities (me) while also allowing for legislation limiting the choices other legal entities (businesses) on the very same issue. As a business owner I want to ability to serve my customers in the manner I see fit. As a legal entity I see this regulation as an encroachment on my rights.
As a business I can, and probably should, market my products to a specific niche. I should be allowed to choose the niche of poker players who smoke. Now maybe the niche is too small or cannot support my overhead. Maybe it's an untapped niche that will provide my grandchildren with wealth untold. If I make the wrong choice it is my responsibility to suffer the consequences of the decision. Either way, as the head of legal entity I resent the encroachment of the legislation disallowing my customers to smoke (a legal act, mind you) within my establishment.As an aside, I want to say a couple other things about tobacco and smoking.
- It is ridiculous for us to be supporting tobacco farmers with subsidies while concurrently restricting the use of their products due to safety concerns.
- If smoking is truly bad for individuals and needs to be controlled then I am all for classifying it as we do drugs. Make it a controlled substance and pull it from the market. (Note: Cocaine is no longer a part of the recipe for Coca-Cola.)
But let me back-up a minute, because it is my statement this issue is just one item within a larger picture, and the picture is what causes a problem for me. As the conservative movement has taken a larger part of the political discussion they are restricting my choices by pushing more limitations into my life. This is in start contrast to what I see as two of our country’s greatest traditions: (1) allowing me the freedom to pursue life, liberty, and happiness and (2) limiting government intervention into my individual pursuit. It is my contention this is a new version of the temperance movement, a failed attempt to legislate morality.
Maybe I'm wrong, maybe I've overreacting, but I think this is just one example of where the argument and pressure for change from voters is having an effect, and the end result will not be a better place to live, but a worse place.
Years ago I heard Bill Gothard and someone asked him about restricting cults, back when cults where a much bigger concern than they are today. In his wisdom he stated Christians should not work to outlaw cults. In my recollection he stated diversity was important, and moreover, outlawing cults would result in restricting religious expression and potentially outlawing the very religion his audience practiced. I don't see much difference between cults and smoking. And the restriction of either one is a dangerous road for us to travel upon.
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. ~Benjamin Franklin