Saturday, August 13, 2005

Finally! (part 2)

[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.
  1. It is ridiculous for us to be supporting tobacco farmers with subsidies while concurrently restricting the use of their products due to safety concerns.
  2. 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

6 comments:

Glenn said...

Jeffrey wrote:
I don't see much difference between cults and smoking.

Glenn's response:
Someone else's cult at the next table over doesn't change the taste of my meal, burn my eyes, or make my coat smell like an ashtray. :D

ABCD II said...

Glenn -
You should eat somewhere else then. Why are you entitled to eat where ever you like under the conditions you desire? I find it sad that so many people can be so indignant because life doesn't give them what they demand. This sort of attitude is hardly "mature."

Jeff-
The conservative movement might like to keep you from marrying another man, but this issue is largely pushed by illiberal Liberals. The right has never had a monopoly on fascism.

Glenn said...

ABCD II said...
You should eat somewhere else then. Why are you entitled to eat where ever you like under the conditions you desire?

Until a city passes a smoking ordinance, every restaurant has a "smoking section". This "separate" section is usually separated from the rest of the restaurant by the half-high wall that magically prevents the air above it from moving through the room.

If a smoker can't go 45 minutes without puffing on a cigarette, too bad. I'm not asking smokers to pick different restaurants any more than I'm asking a cultist to. I do ask that the cultist not bring his religious pamphlets *to my table* and I am asking the smoker to not bring his smoke *to my table*.

Since restaurant owners (and businesses in general) only restrict as much as they "have to" because of our highly litigious society, I can't find a restuarant willing to go smoke free. So I ask my councilman to make it easier. Smokers... go 45 minutes without a cigarette. You can do it. I have faith in you.

ABCD II said...

Glenn, the smoker isn't bringing the smoke to *your* table. The table belongs to someone else. Also, the restaurant isn't *yours*. It also has an owner. Does this mean nothing to you?

Why are you entitled to eat at any restaurant? And from whence does this sense of entitlement come?

From a mature society stand-point, don't you think we'd all be well served by each of focusing on what our personal responsibilities are, as opposed to what we are entitled to? Or what we can get our councilman to legislate others to do?

The glibness with which you are willing to force others to do things your way is a little disturbing.

Glenn said...

Why are you entitled to eat at any restaurant? And from whence does this sense of entitlement come?

It is not an entitlement to eat at *any* retaurant. It is a sense of entitlement to be able to go out without having to breathe someone else's smoke.

I am all for individual liberties. But someone else's liberties end at the edge of my nose. And when someone lights up a cigarette in the same room I am in, that smoke enters my lungs, affects the taste of my food, and makes my clothes smell like an ashtray. The smoker is impinging upon my liberties. It is well within the government's responsibility to protect those liberties.

I don't ask that the smoker be banned from the restuarant.
Just the smoke.

Jeffrey Davidson said...

I think you have missed my point. As a business owner, I should have some rights too. I claim that those rights include the opportunity to allow smoking in my establishment even if it means I lose your business. I do not understand how a patron's desire to have a smoke-free environment should trump the business' desire to cater to a smoking patron. To disallow my business services or market segmentation entirely is an anathema to me.

To the extent I want to be reasonable and ensure the entire community has access to related business services, I can see how a city might determine that no more than XX% of business may cater to a given class of patrons, but anything more than this seems closer to fascism than capitalism.