Sunday, March 18, 2007

Health & Morality Are NOT Related

In my view, there are two fundamentally incorrect issues upon which all anti-smoking and clean-air legislation are predicated. The first mistake is for legislators and the public to accept the notion that PRIVATE BUSINESSES are PUBLIC SPACES: they are not! Government buildings, "Public" Transportation, and any non-outdoor space where people do not have a reasonable choice to be are PUBLIC SPACES. Otherwise, Americans, and Citizens of Earth have inalienable rights to CHOOSE where they are or where they are going. If you don't like smoke, don't patronize establishments that allow it, don't seek employment there either if you have a problem with it. But it is not any one's right to determine what legal practices are allowed inside private businesses. I choose not to patronize loud bars and/or nightclubs, and I even avoid boisterous college-like drinking environments. This is my personal preference. For me, these are unhealthy and/or unpleasant environments. I fully support people's rights to go out and behave like idiots and I wouldn't expect my legislative representatives to pass a law against it just because I don't like or approve of it. But with smoking, 75% of the population is determining the rights and freedoms of the unpopular 25%. (This refers specifically to cigarette smokers. While the National Cancer Institute says that there are no known negative health consequences from moderate cigar and pipe consumption (less than one per day), the word "Tobacco" continues to be used when specifically referring to cigarettes. Sadly, this mis-use of the language besmirches the reputation for all tobacco. But this posting is not about luxury tobacco, it is about freedom.)

The second, and biggest fundamental flaw with anti-smoking zealots is the position, whether overt or covert, that smoking is immoral. I just read an article where a PA legislator said that "smoking is dirty" and the obvious extension of the statement is that Smokers Are Dirty. This is the prevailing mentality of the society we live in: Smoking is dirty and unhealthy. The population is convinced that any exposure to environmental tobacco smoke is going to kill you. Legislators often use the argument that "if it save just one life it is worth it". But this mentality is absurd: it is a cancer on our society. I have said it before, but I will reiterate: In the name of the health and welfare of the population, they can take away every right and freedom we have.

We need a society and laws that help educate and enlighten people, not laws that restrict our freedoms. People should have the right to CHOOSE. Choose what you eat, where you live, who you associate with, if you smoke, what to drink, etc... But our legislators enact laws limiting our choices and actions. The right to make personal choices and to define your own life is central to the American philosophy. As long as your freedoms do not hinder another's, there should be no laws standing between me and my choices. But I digress...

Ultimately, what you smoke, eat, drink, think, and do is your own business. It is only immoral if you infringe upon or hurt someone else in the process. Currently, the greatest societal immorality of all is when legislators enact laws that limit our choice and freedom. The tide will turn one day and we will realize that we have whittled away the American dream in an effort to pass feel good laws under the pretense of protecting people. What we really need is protection from those who are taking away our freedoms. I'm waiting for the greatest minds of our generation to step up and fight real injustice............. still waiting....

Here is a link to the article which prompted this posting. While the article was flattering to me, it is sad that the politicians who propose this smoking ban are getting exactly what they want: more feel-good publicity.

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