“We lay it down as a fundamental, that laws, to be just, must
give a reciprocation of right; that, without this, they are
mere arbitrary rules of conduct, founded in force, and not in
— Thomas Jefferson (Notes on the state of Virginia, 1782)
Hi, My name is Guy, and I am a smoker. I have been dancing with darling nicotine since 1971. Should I stop? Perhaps. For a fact it would allow my lungs to operate in a (much) more efficient fashion. It would allow for a sharp drop in my over all chances of succumbing to either lung cancer and or a heart attack in what ever alloted time is left me on this earth. My clothes (and I) would generally smell a whole lot better. The actions taken by my state (and 23 others … if one believes the propaganda) would not directly effect me as I would no longer feel the need for a smoke while having an adult beverage at a bar or after a meal (or cup of coffee) dining out.
Everything stated in the above paragraph is true … except for the last sentence.
The actions taken by the Peoples Republic of Illinois does effect you wheither or not you smoke or have never seen tobacco in its processed state in your life.
Some religions in their doctrine condemn/forbid/strongly admonish the use of intoxicants (of which, tobacco is one). That is their belief/choice. If I belong to any one of those, I have the choice to either follow said doctrine or not, and suffer the consequences for doing so.
For reasons of safety, smoking is prohibited in certain businesses/areas. If you deal with oxygen, for example, it is not a bright idea to be smoking in the general area. In the military you do not smoke while on watch (that lit butt makes a great target).
Courtesy/civility/rules of decorum dictate, if one has any social etiquette/manners at all, that you refrain from smoking during a number of social gatherings/occasions. As a rule, one does not smoke in church (at the very least during services/mass). At formal gatherings of civic/fraternal organizations you will not be allowed to puff. It is polite to ask (or it was, when you could still smoke in restaurants) the patrons next to you, if they mind if you smoke. It was not required, but was the civil thing to do.
In short, the almighty state has decided for you, what is not only in your best interest, and by implication, that it knows better then you do what is best/socially acceptable/morally-ethically correct. That you do not have a choice as an individual to manage your affairs be they physical/social/mental/moral/business related/leisure related.
No, smoking in and of itself, may not be the best thing one can do. But it IS a legal substance (for adults). The state is hypocritical enough to realize this and tax the substance accordingly … to make a tidy profit off the sale of same.
I am more concerned about the precedence set here. (And a strong argument could be made this was already started with the helmet/seatbelt laws of years past.) We all are, as fully functioning adults allowed to make choices. Some may not be the best (no seatbelt for example) but the bottom line is we as citizens of a supposed free society are supposed to be able to make these choices… and then live with whatever consequences are the result of these actions. This is not, nor has it ever been, the responsibility of the state to make these choices for us. Or why even establish a legal majority (the age of 18 or 21 depending on location) if the state seeks to be the final abater in all matters.
For the sake of this post we will stick to smoking. If I am an owner of a bar and I decide to restrict smoking on my premises, then I should be able to do so and financially live or die with that choice. My patrons will dictate as to wither or not it was a smart business move. Conversely, if I elect to allow smoking the same should apply. If enough people are going to frequent my establishment to drink and smoke, then I will make money. If not, then perhaps I need to back up and regroup… re-think my business plan … and go from there. But (assuming it isn’t illegal) it is not any of the states business to tell me how to run my business. And this goes for all laws which dictate (short of those dealing with safety issues … fire codes/food prep/storage and the like) same.
The more we allow for the state to intrude into our personal affairs, in the long run, the less freedom we will have. The less freedom of choice. The less we will be able to be adults. We will become wards of the state. Bowing to their will.
The first of this year the bar was lowered, yet again, regarding personal freedom. Another of your choices as to how you desired to live (enjoy?) your life was taken from you. It may have been for all the best intentions. But the next time the state cares to intrude (and rest assured there WILL be a “next time”) it has become that much easier for the state to do so.
Need an example:
“I am sorry Mrs. Smith, I would love to sell you the super size fries with your order, but your body fat card says you don’t qualify for them.” No, the state would never go after over weight people … would they????