I know that some people are very anti-smoking. But as a minimum, we need to take as a lesson from this how "the system" works. How it is that one group of people, a minority of as many as 25% of the adult population, are having their liberties taken from them for the "good of the majority".Now personally, I am a former smoker. I could care less about the effect of smoking laws. I do find it nice to be in restaurants that are smoke free. I have moved from my table because of smoking, and I've asked smokers to not blow it in my direction. (My mother used to wave her menu around and cough loudly... (I always wanted to become very small. ) But the point of this post is not about the "end", the smoke free environment, it's about the "means".
Within a government, laws almost never go away. You almost never get freedoms back once they are usurped.
Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty—power is ever stealing from the many to the few…. The hand entrusted with power becomes … the necessary enemy of the people. Only by continual oversight can the democrat in office be prevented from hardening into a despot: only by unintermitted Agitation can a people be kept sufficiently awake to principle not to let liberty be smothered in material prosperity.
WENDELL PHILLIPS, speech in Boston, Massachusetts, January 28, 1852.
—Speeches Before the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, p. 13 (1853)
Years ago, I was having a friendly debate with someone over gun control; I took the extreme position that the citizenry ought to be allowed to have bazookas. After all, I argued, the intent of the 2nd amendment was not to allow for the citizenry to protect themselves from each other, the intent was to have a militia of the people to protect themselves from governments.
I went on to argue about Germany, and did the Jewish citizens of Germany have the right to defend themselves from the concentration camps? Of course they did. When did that right begin, as they were already naked and in line at the gas chambers, or did it begin when the soldiers were banging down their doors? Did they have the right to protect themselves from being physically seized by the government without having committed a crime? Sure, looking back we say "Of COURSE!", as hindsight is 20-20. Only a very few did, such as in Warsaw, and the resistance of the few in Warsaw probably saved thousands of lives.
He argued back that Germany was a special circumstance, and it could never happen here. I disagreed, but in the end we agreed to disagree.
A friend of mine, overhearing the discussion came to me and said that I had missed my rebuttal. It DID happen here with the internment of the Japanese during WWII. Should the Japanese have had the right to defend themselves with deadly force from being deprived of their liberties? After all, how did they KNOW they wouldn't be dealt with in similar fashion to the Jews? If the Jews had known, don't you think they would have fought back a little more?
We all see that as a mistake now, right? It could never happen again, right? Suuuuuuuuure. Why aren't we seeing the holding of American Citizens incommunicado as a mistake now? Personally, I think that we came within another terrorist act or two of rounding up anyone of middle eastern descent and interning them. Who'll be next?
This is all part of the same problem; it may sound extreme to be linking restaurant smoking bans and concentrations camps, but while the outcome is quite different in the repercussions, the process is the same. We need to RECGONIZE THE PROCESS whenever it occurs and not allow it. This process is occurring on many fronts; sometimes it's the majority that doesn't like the result, other times it's the minority.
Let me just list a few of the issues in the last decade or two;
Seat belt / motorcycle helmet laws
Drunk driver checkpoints
Gay marriage laws
Tail docking laws
Real estate eminent domain laws
End of life issues, such as
=> Assisted suicide
=> Removal of life support
=> Right to die
Beginning of life issues
=> Stem cells
I'm sure if I go on long enough, I'll find some area that YOU care about. It's the process. The process the slow and incessant intrusion of government into everything. For when the government comes to take YOUR liberties, who will speak for you?
When Hitler attacked the Jews ... I was not a Jew, therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned. Then, Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church—and there was nobody left to be concerned.
Martin Niemller (1892–1984), German Protestant pastor, theologian.
--attributed in Congressional Record, vol. 114, p. 31636 (Oct. 14, 1968).
Could this be rewritten as
When the Government came for the smokers, I was not a smoker, and therefore, I was not concerned...?
|Excellent point and well made.|
|Unfortunately, not all people can be trusted to be reasonable and respectfull of others, so ALL people need to be governed.
We vote in the folks we feel will do the best thing for US. If we are not happy with what the outcome is it is our own fault for voting them in. Now, I do realize that sometimes the choices are pretty slim pickin's , but whatever..
If people are not happy about the way things are being done then they can do something about it.
|Well put, Ron!!!|
|I agree with Nicole. It is a government of the people and the people voted for the government, whether they like it or not. Sure, it's not perfect, but like I said in another post, you can never make everyone happy.
I don't understand why people are so angry with 'the government.' Is that a leftover hippie mentality? Hate 'the man', 'don't trust anyone over 30'?Or why they are so upset with having laws to govern. Yes, in a perfect society people would use common sense about many things that they do not, and with people becoming increasingly busy and increasingly inconsiderate, I'm fine with rules being made for people like that.
|Sometimes we just need to be saved from ourselves!!!!!!!!!!!|
Tasker's Mom wrote:
Sometimes we just need to be saved from ourselves!!!!!!!!!!!
I put my salvation in the hands of God, not the government. Sometimes we do need to be protected by the law, but sometimes its those making the laws that we need to be protected from.
|i think the purpose of law is to ensure that peoples rights are protected. we have rights so long as they do not infringe on others.
smoking, like pollution, infringes on the rights of others to not be negatively affected by the air they breathe. i think smoking is banned in restaurants and bars, because it is a place in which people gather and they cannot avoid the second hand smoke. speaking in terms of policy, it is more important to protect people from second hand smoke than to give people the right to smoke in areas in which people cannot avoid the smoke. i think if there were an altogether ban on smoking, that would be different. i think people should have the right to smoke so long as they are not affecting other people (in their homes, outside, and designated smoking areas).
as for the other issues (especially assisted suicide, seatbelts, abortion, stem cell research, right to die) ithink the government has gone way too far. the basis for the arguments making these things illegal are moral or protective, which is fundamentally opposed to the point of a democracy (or republic which we have) that protects freedom.
|I like that we have a law student getting to use her knowledge of laws, etc here!|
I like that we have a law student getting to use her knowledge of laws, etc here!
|the funny part is that im making these posts during class!!|
Lil Walty wrote:
the funny part is that im making these posts during class!!
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, I'm posting when I'm supposed to be working!!!!!!! (my afternoon pt didn't show up)
The marvels of modern technology!!
Why can't there be "smoking" restaurants and "non smoking" restaurants? If it's about people congregating, ok, perhaps at a public event or in public buildings where people must enter to conduct business with the government or a utility or some monopoly, I can understand that.
But what about if I want to open a store that caters to smokers who want to buy rock music? Why can't I open a "smokin' rock music store"?
See YOU think the government has gone to far in some areas, I may think it's gone too far in other areas. I think that WE need to prevent the government from going too far in ALL areas.
|i think the fear is that if no one was forced to open a nonsmoking restaurant, there could plausibly be no place for nonsmokers to go out and eat or for waiters/waitresses to work without being subjected to second hand smoke.
i think the government is ensuring an enviornment in which we can enjoy our right to not breathe second hand smoke.
i do however see the merit in promoting radical freedom.... but then it leads to things like, "well if we live in a free capitalist society, why can't i open a restaurant in which i dont serve black people, because i am promoting a restaurant where white people can eat in peace?"
i guess the point is that we do not live in a radically free society, just like we dont have pure capitalism. the government most be moderated, and we must give up certain things in order to protect ourselves from others.
Lil Walty wrote:
i think the fear is that if no one was forced to open a nonsmoking restaurant, there could plausibly be no place for nonsmokers to go out and eat or for waiters/waitresses to work without being subjected to second hand smoke. i think the government is ensuring an enviornment in which we can enjoy our right to not breathe second hand smoke.
The vast majority of the people on this site prefer to eat in non-smoking restaurants. So what makes you fear that no one would open one if left to their own devices? The government doesn't mandate organic restaurants or vegeterian restaurants. Yet people open them, and people who prefer to eat organic vegetables find them and patronize them. If all waitresses refused to work in smoking restaurants, it would be prohibitively costly to run one.
I believe that the government has gone way too far in the regulation of every day life. I don't want all this regulation, and it ticks me off that I am taxed to pay for it.
When the Government came for the smokers, I was not a smoker, and therefore, I was not concerned...?
The government is already coming for pet owners with breed specific legislation. Some day they may outlaw large dogs because they are potentially hazardous to people's health. The tide is turning against junk food manufacturers, and some day you may not be able enjoy your right to eat a chocolate bar when the government outlaws snack food because it's not healthy.
I'd prefer to make my own choices, and the price for that is to accept the choices of people who disagree with me.
|Many people think that the second-hand smoke issue is just a means to the end of stopping smoking; that is if you make it nearly impossible for smokers to smoke, many of them will quit.
Many also suggest openly that cigarrettes should be extremely heavily taxed, as there is a correlation between the price of cigarettes and the number of smokers. Others try to pass this off by saying that the taxation is merely recompense for the health costs that the smokers cost the government.
That last argument is baloney. People are mortal, and they will get sick and they will die, regardless of their smoking status. In fact, since people who smoke on average die many years before non-smokers, they tend to save the government about $100,000 in Social Security payments, and who knows how much in Medicaid-paid nursing home costs at $84,000 a year. Give or take.
|i will concede on this issue, i think you guys are actually right.
i was just attempting to provide some logical reasoning for the ban. i think it is important to keep a ban in places like sporting events, airports, and places like that... but restaurants and bars are very different.
|There is a place for goverment control of things. There are good things that the government can do, and has done! I just feel that we need to keep our eternal vigilence up, we must fight government intrusion into things that the government has no business regulating.
As it happens, I think that tobacco is an area where the government might actually belong, but not the way it is being done now. I think it is good that there is a "pro-smoking" lobby that works hard to fight against the government's intrusion into smoker's rights. I also wish we could change the conversation on the issue; take a different route.
It's kinda funny that I am so opposed to smoking on a personal level, and angry with myself (and, perhaps irrationally at the cigarette companies) for ever having been a smoker. I was fully aware of the dangers of smoking, but I was NOT aware that nicotine was a physically addictive drug, and that nicotine levels were manipulated by the companies to find a maximum smoking addiction level. I started smoking at age 12 by stealing cigarettes from my brother. I became a "real" smoker around 15-17, somewhere in that range.
Why is it funny? Because here I am, arguing against government intrusion into this. The government may have saved literally millions of people from developing lung cancer, heart attack and/or stroke, adding tens of millions of quality years of life. That's a very very good thing.
I have strongly mixed emotions about it. Is smoking "one of those things" that we should really allow the government to regulate or ban? Yes. Personally I think so. However, we need to be honest with ourselves and the government needs to be honest about what we are doing and the way we are doing it.
So let's change the conversation. Instead of sneaky fits and starts and clumsy attempts to put a patchwork of rules together as the public interest in protecting their own liberties waxes and wanes, perhaps we should set a goal of becoming a truly smoke free nation by a date certain. Let's outline the process of doing that; a series of taxes, increasing bans, medically supervised quitting, paid for, in part or in whole, by the increased taxes. Then something will have to be done to ensure that tobacco doesn't become just another illicit drug in the "war on drugs", I don't know what that is.
Then maybe I would be able to support what the government is doing about smoking. I want to. I really do.
The government may have saved literally millions of people from developing lung cancer, heart attack and/or stroke, adding tens of millions of quality years of life. That's a very very good thing.
...Then something will have to be done to ensure that tobacco doesn't become just another illicit drug in the "war on drugs", I don't know what that is.
I believe in many of these cases that heavier government regulation forces delinquency. There will always be "vices" and the people who want to use them or profit from them will ALWAYS find a way to do so. Prohibition is a classic example...as is illegal drug trafficking and the advent of home-based highs like sniffing glue, whippets, etc etc blah blah... These substances now become even more dangerous because they're being made in people's basements, and not in a factory somewhere - a government approved factory...where at least things like cleanliness, and some semblence of "standard" are maintained.
of course this begs the question of how far into the pocket of government is the hand of big tobacco? and what has big tobacco done to influence those so-called "protective standards" (especially with regards to the content of cigarettes), and for the most part, government has been fairly lax in their enforcement of such standards...like the loophole in the Master settlement agreement that says if Phillp morris and RJ reynolds lose a certain portion of their market share, they no longer have to fund research and promotion of cessation...oops.
I guess my point is that I'd like to see a less reactive government, and a more proactive one. I don't believe that heavy or oppressive government influence ever helps (much like training a dog, i suppose...you get better results if you're positive than if you're abusive.intimidating). I think the government would have much better results if they took a more proactive stance on things like nutrition, exercise, social conciousness, etc.
Then, it becomes the responsibility of the individual to maintain their own "obedience" to the social laws, rather than the oppression of the big government. E.g. I am a smoker...i do not ever smoke in restaurants. As a matter of politeness to my fellow patrons (and as an ex-waiter). It's my choice, but i think it comes from being taught early to understand social harmony and do it out of a positive "community" attitude as opposed to doing it out of fear of what might happen.
Like i said before, even with government interraction, someone's going to find a way, and that way will most likely be much more harmful.
Maybe i'm way off topic...sorry. I get worked up about this.
|People get angry when they hear someone disagree with gay rights, abortion, smoking, etc............
But, they overlook the most important part of the so called "rights". When the government gets involved, makes a ruling and a new law, they took the rights (freedom of choice) away from someone else.
That makes one group happy, but it also gave the government "control" over the issue. The government is not suppose to take that freedom of choice, but they do it constantly.
Like Ron said, the list goes on and on. Our sexual behavior, the rearing of our children, our moral standards, our personal habits (good or bad), etc............
But, they don't DO the jobs they are legally suppose to do. All the while we sit by and do nothing, well some of us do. Its our country, we need to rise up like the MinuteMen have, and take control of our government. They work for America!
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