Monday, January 25, 2010

Nanny, Nanny, Nanny

Our local litter-box liner is back on its usual bleat, pressing for passage of yet another law that would limit people's freedom -- in this case, the right to enjoy a legal product in public.

HB1131 would prohibit employers from allowing smoking in any enclosed place and likewise the customers in any "enclosed area in which the public is invited or permitted." About the only places you could smoke would be -- hey, la -- casinos, racetracks. etc., thereby demonstrating that they've got effective lobbyists.

Dear Mr. Editor is all over this plan, which he thinks a a peachy way to save us hapless rubes from the deadly dangers of secondhand smoke (which are apparently so deadly just to be near that no ventilation system could do the same service -- and never you mind about all the other, more toxic fumes Teh Gummint ain't saving you from. Use drain cleaner any?).

It's the usual Nanny knows best idiocy; never mind that I and many other non- and ex-smokers find the smell of smoke so annoying that we are moved to avoid it; never mind that some bars, in the old days of smoky bars, were able to whisk the stuff away; nope, the use of a legal product has just got to be banned (and after all, the paper observes, 26 other kids states have jumped off that cliff).

Move over, drug war; scoot down, Prohibition. You're getting a new neighbor, inch by inch by snotty for-your-own-good little inch. Anyone think it will work out any differently this time?


Scott said...

Have you notice the same people that danced in the mud eating the brown acid are the one that want to cuddle us to death. Whats up with that?

Roberta X said...


Don said...

Illinois has had a prohibition on smoking inside "public accommodations" or whatever the term of art is for a couple of years now. To be honest, I don't smoke and don't really notice the difference. Just about all I've noticed is that the bars seem emptier (but I never spent much time in bars, either, and the nannies insisted that a smoking ban would actually increase business for the bars, so what do I know?) and that every bar, tavern, dance hall and many restaurants have sprouted big "smoking gardens" that range from tasteful-but cold cedar-partitioned patios to warm-but-trashy porch areas enclosed with plastic sheeting.

My favorite restaurant in my hometown has been smoke-free all my life because the owners of the joint wanted it that way, and it never seemed to cause a problem, so I was always skeptical that the rest of the businesses couldn't do the same . . . . except that nobody wanted to be the first to jump, because all politician kidding aside, they all figured they'd be in trouble if they slapped the smokers.

og said...

Funny you mention drain cleaner. I wonder if those people realize that its an essential ingredient in hominy, green olives and pretzels?

Ed Skinner said...

Hmmm... Decidedly a complex issue.

On the one hand, by "freedom" I mean that I am free to do as I please and you are free to do as you please AS LONG AS what you do doesn't infringe on my ability to do as I wish. But another's "freedom" to make the air vile to the smell, if it's air I need to breathe, well, that infringes my freedom.

With that thought in place, it is true that the smoking ban in Arizona has, if you will, opened the door to a couple of bars I am now frequenting (most notably, an Irish bar with live amateur music). Before the ban, it was just too awful for me to go there. Today, I really enjoy it.

But it's also true that many of the customers sneak outside for a smoke (and stop playing).

When one person's freedoms start to infringe upon another's, well, I guess it's a question for the bar owner to decide whose freedoms he will honor and whose he will deny.

So there, I've talked myself into repealing Arizona's smoking ban. (And I gave up smoking several decades ago, at that.)

What'd'ya know!

JC said...

I went down the soaps/detergents/cleaning supplies aisle at the local grocery. Massive sneezing fit. Who do I sue? I could have gotten to the beer by another route, but I'm special!

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

It really isn't a complex issue.

Any business that wants to allow smoking should do so. If this turns customers away to seek alternative smoke-free accommodation, that is their free choice, and if that causes his business to suffer, the business owner is free to offer a smoke-free alternative.

Let the marketplace decide!

And I say that having just been diagnosed with bronchitis for the second time in a month due to having visited a local smoking-allowed bar last Wednesday night. I didn't have to eat in the bar; I could have eaten in the smoke-free dining room. But I made that choice freely, and it's my own damn fault that I'm back on antibiotics.

I'm sick and tired of all the restraint of trade practiced by governments, disguised as "it's good for the public" nannyism. And I'm sicker and tireder of Dennis Ryerson, who needs to be run out of town on a rail along with his worthless newspaper.

og said...

There are dust/fume collection systems used in laboratories where incredibly minute concentrations of some substances are instantly fatal. it is not difficult nor particularly expensive to engineer an adequate smoke removal system, and if this was about the public safety, that's what they'd have mandated. It is not, it is about control.

Tam said...


"But another's "freedom" to make the air vile to the smell, if it's air I need to breathe, well, that infringes my freedom."


Neither your freedom to not wrinkle your nos in disgust nor my freedom to feed my tumor is at question here: It's the business owner's freedom to determine how stinky his premises will be that has been trampled.

You have always been free to not go if it stunk, just like I have always been free to not go if they wouldn't let me smoke.

But feel free to gloat: using the Hammer Of The Law, you are winning. Just remember to take my guns away BEFORE you take my smokes, 'kay? Getting that backwards could get messy.

Underground Carpenter said...

Hi RX,
It's hard to defend somebody's right to do something that makes me want to retch, but it's necessary. Good job.

Good point, and I am definitely going to make a serious effort to not piss you off.