One small step towards giant kick in the ass to freedom

By Scott Carpenter
web posted January 24, 2000

As of January 1st, 2000, British Columbia has banned smoking from all businesses that operate within the province's borders. And while smokers moan on about this violating some unknown right to smoke (smoker's rights they're called) the B.C. government and the Workman's Compensation Board get away with one of the grossest violations of individual rights to ever occur in the collective comradeship of Canada.

If there is no such thing as smoker's rights then what possible violation could I be speaking of? The new anti-smoking laws are in fact a property rights violation. That's correct folks, the B.C. government and WCB have stomped on one of civilizations most fundamental laws: he who owns the property makes the rules.

I can hear the massive thud as the head of every meddling health fascist and statist thug hits the table in shock. "Egad!" they will say... "how can you say such a thing???"... "what about the health of those poor workers in those wretched smoke filled bars? Don't you care about their health?"

To this I can only reply "They don't so why should I?" Listen people, everyone knows smoking isn't good for you so given this fact why do people who are afraid of the health risks go to work in places where people smoke? This is the same as going to work as a firefighter and complaining about the chances of getting burned every time you get a call.

The reality is that people choose to work in these places and while the idea of a smoke free environment may seem appealing to workers and those of us who don't smoke we all have the choice to not patronize these privately owned establishments. Forcing these places to "butt out" is the moral equivalent of the government walking into your home and telling you how to organize your furniture so as to maximize the safety of the household for any potential guests.

How does this relate to property rights though? Well that's actually very simple. You see smoking is not an illegal activity, people engage in it out of choice (sure you get addicted but you smoked knowing full well that it might happen) and since restaurants, bars etc. are privately owned establishments telling the owners what they can and cannot do there with regards to lawful activities is a violation of property rights. It's the state sticking its ugly bloated nose in where it doesn't belong.

The more extreme will say "There is no such thing as property rights in Canada; the Supreme Court of Manitoba said so." To this I can only say "Get a brain you thoughtless moron." The courts can and have been wrong. Property rights, although not recognized by our somewhat inept - socialist legal system, are an absolute necessity in the maintenance of any free nation.

Perhaps though this reveals a very ugly truth: we do not live in a free nation.

On the one hand I am disgusted by this barbaric law and its total disregard for the human right to own and manage one's property as one sees fit. On the other I see a society that is getting what it deserves: a police state offered up to us on a platter served for "our own good." We have been allowing these sorts of laws to be passed for decades in somewhat less conspicuous ways. The last round of gun control legislation is a good example. Unfortunately not everyone owns a gun so banning a few "toys" that the majority didn't own or see a "need" for seemed inoffensive enough. The point everyone missed (including the gun lobby) is that once the government has its foot in the door it will soon want the whole damn leg in. Indeed, when you make a compromise with evil only evil will benefit. In short, we reap what we sew.

Scott Carpenter is the founder and editor of Liberty Free Press.

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