Thursday, November 23, 2006

Addicted to Government

It is only a matter of time before a ban on smoking is proposed for Racine's bars and restaurants. And lets face it, smoking causes harm to smokers and can cause discomfort and possible harm to those near to smokers. For many, this is all the justification needed to ban smoking.

I also suspect that many smokers are addicted to cigarettes. Addictions are bad. Just about anything can be addicting. Like an excessive reliance on government intervention. Some people just can't get enough. As soon as one law is passed, they will seek another. If no new laws are passed, they will become irritable. Soon hysteria sets in, followed by dementia. We need to help these people. There should be a law.


eric said...

I find myself often attracted to libertarian ideas, but ... since grade school I have carried the notion that the expression of rights becomes limited when it infringes on someone else's rights. My general pursuit of happiness does not include breathing the smoke just exhaled from another's lungs, nor having all the food I am about to pay for taste like smoke when I ordered it plain. For 48 years I have avoided establishments that allow smoking when I could. I lived in Scotland for a year in the 70's where you could almost float on the smoke in the pubs it was so thick - amazingly Scotland banned smoking last year and they seem to be surviving. I understand the argument to let the owners decide, but what other behaviors are owners allowed to sanction that allow one group of customers to harm another group of customers?

A final pet peeve on the smoking subject. In the 1960's the nation executed a pretty good campaign to cut down on littering. It seemed to work pretty well - except with a significant portion of smokers who leave millions of cigarette butts on public and private property daily.

So how does this one go again, the right to simultaneously pollute the air and land while slowly bringing on suicide?

PS - Kenosha seems to have worked a fair compromise: smoking is allowed in restaraunts but in totally separate, sealed off rooms.

Denis Navratil said...

Eric,implicit in your support for a smoking ban in bars or restaurants is a kind of quasi-ownership by customers. The only rights a customer should enjoy, with repect to the operation of a business, are the right to patronize a business and the right not to. If customers or government gain or take additional rights, they are debasing the very meaning of ownership. Your present options with respect to businesses are more than fair. If you don't want to breathe cigarette smoke, you have every right to stay out of those businesses that permit smoking. If you want to open a smoke-free bar or restaurant, you are free to do so. But if you decide that you want to use government power to force businesses to cater to your preferences, then I must sadly conclude that, on this issue at least, you are addicted to government.

Anonymous said...


So a business has no responsibility to the society in which it exists?
A movie theater can open with no fire exits, a resturant can serve rotten meat, a business can deny service to Jews, blacks, Christians, tall people...etc. if it likes, and this would all be OK with you Denis?

Denis Navratil said...

To anon, no, I would not advocate that businesses be allowed to sell rotten meat, as that would probably constitute fraud. Of course, if the business was clear with its customers and sold rotten meat, to let us say J-Wax, because they had to feed large numbers of flies for their various experiments, then selling rotten meat should be OK, don't you think? So it depends on circumstances. As for the discrimination on the basis of physical characteristics, I would say that that is morally wrong, and that it would be harmful to the business. As such, I don't think that allowing discrimination would have much if any discernible impact, as it would not be in the interest of businesses to discriminate on the basis of physical characterstics. I am not suggesting, anon, that we should move to eliminate all regulations, but I do think that we should move in the direction of fewer laws and regulations.

Anonymous said...

Denis you said, in part " I don't think that allowing discrimination would have much if any discernible impact, as it would not be in the interest of businesses to discriminate on the basis of physical characterstics"

For over 100 years right here in America blacks were free but not free to go into many business. The econimic pressure was to keep it that way not to change it.

Denis Navratil said...

Anon, I own a business and would lose money if I discriminated on the basis of color. It would be wrong in my view to discriminate on that basis, and it would cost me money. Yet I will discriminate on the basis of behavior. For example, I will ask someone to leave my business if they walk in without a shirt on while smoking a cigarette. I will ask someone to leave if they are swearing. Again I don't think there would be a discernible imact on society if racial discrimination were legal. Yet I do think it is wrong.