November 30, 2005
Busybodies Keep Running for Office
kill you. That's why I don't smoke, and it's why you shouldn't,
just done the only things that should be done in a free society
to stop people from smoking: I've told you that it's dangerous,
I've urged you not to do it, and I've even set a good example.
If you'd like other people to be healthy, you should also discourage
But if you'd
like to be free, and you'd like your neighbor to be free, that's
all you should do. It isn't my business to come into your home
or business and stop you or your guests from smoking. If you like
smoking so much you're willing to give up years off your life
-- 6.6 years for the average man -- that should be your choice.
I have no right to force you to stop.
however, want to force you to stop. When they get themselves elected,
they can. Sadly, it's the busybodies who most often run for public
office. Most of us want to run our own lives, and help people
by selling them things, or offering them charity or advice --
any of which they can take or leave. People who want to run other
people's lives are ... different. They are the people we should
be most worried about.
I once interviewed
the mayor of the tiny community of Friendship Heights, Md. He
got his town to pass the most stringent anti-smoking law in America.
It banned cigarette smoke outdoors.
elected to promote the general welfare, and this is part of the
general welfare," he told me. After I interviewed him, he
was arrested for touching a 14-year-old boy's genitals in a bathroom
at Washington National Cathedral. The village council finally
repealed his law. Finally, we know what it takes to get an anti-smoking
the busybodies keep running for office and, once elected, keep
imposing new restrictions on our freedom.
they haven't prohibited smoking entirely. So far. But Tom Constantine,
who ran the Drug Enforcement Administration under President Clinton,
once told me: "When we look down the road, I would say 10,
15, 20 years from now, in a gradual fashion, smoking will probably
be outlawed in the United States."
the road we're moving down. New York and California already ban
smoking in restaurants and bars. All but two counties of West
Virginia have some sort of anti-smoking law. Two cities in Georgia
have, like Friendship Heights, banned smoking in public parks.
This week, Chicago's city council may ban smoking in most public
is secondhand smoke. But there's only flimsy evidence that secondhand
smoke is harmful. Studies were done on people who lived with smokers
and were exposed to huge amounts of secondhand smoke at home and
in cars. The idea that restaurant patrons are threatened is silly,
and it's even sillier to fear exposure outdoors. But the politicians
have become zealots.
secondhand smoke is a nuisance. But so are many other things.
If I don't
like secondhand smoke -- and I don't -- I can choose to go to
restaurants that don't have smoking, just as I can choose restaurants
that don't have bad music. If I don't want to work in a smoky
place, I don't have to.
the politicians ban smoking in bars, people who actually like
old-fashioned smoky bars are stopped, by force, from enjoying
the kinds of establishments they like. Smoky bars cease to exist.
Workers who don't mind smoke are deprived of jobs. Can't the smokers
have some bars?
don't smoke. If we make it clear we want smoke-free restaurants,
many existing businesses will choose to go smoke-free and new
ones will open. That's a much better idea than politicians imposing
force on everyone.
think the government must decide everything. But when government
decides, minorities, even large minorities, lose rights.
get to make our own decisions, we don't all have to make the same
decisions. Some of the time, at least, we can all get what we
want -- even when we don't all want the same thing.
JFS Productions, Inc. Distributed by Creators Syndicate