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Anti-smokers wage war against private property In Pennsylvania

By J.J. Jackson
web posted March 24, 2008

Recently here in Pennsylvania the anti-smokers have been on the march waging their usual campaign against private property rights.  On radio they have been running ads featuring two fictitious anti-smokers sitting in a restaurant having a nice chat, ordering waffles and bemoaning how they like the food but hate the evil, vile, disgusting smokers that the owners have the gall to allow in the restaurant and breathe the same air as they are.  They then revert to the typical canard of the government should "do something".

We've heard this argument for years; smoking causes cancer. The commercials even cite the Attorney General as saying so.  And because smoking "causes" cancer, and everyone knows it, the government should step in and take care of the problem.

These claims are made, of course, despite years of actual research and clinical evidence which shows no such thing but rather that there is only an increased risk of cancer among smokers rather than an absolute link that smoking or exposure to second hand smoke results in you getting cancer.  This is akin to the obvious conclusion that if you get in a car you increase your chance of being in an automobile accident. 

Medical records are abundant showing people that have smoked their entire lives or that have been exposed to second hand smoke as children and who never get an ounce of cancer, suffer from asthma or contract any disease smoking "causes".  So much for the cause and effect the Attorney General's claims.

But the anti-smoking alarmists don't care about the facts.  They don't even really care about smoking all that much.  Oh sure, some of the foot soldiers being lead around by the ring in their nose do, but those leading the movement don't.  The movement itself is more about the destruction of private property rights and liberty than anything else.

The basic argument of the anti-smoking crowd is that they like to go somewhere, but because they hate the smokers that also go to that same place then government should ban smoking in these places like restaurants and bars.  Ok, so maybe we can apply that same twisted and tortured "logic" to other situations too.

You neighbor has a beautifully landscaped and spacious backyard.  It gets the perfect amount of sunlight for you to work on your tan.  Your yard however doesn't get much sun and you would love to go to the neighbor's yard and sunbathe.  However your neighbor doesn't much like you coming over uninvited and just laying out in his backyard.  You like to go there and work on your tan but your neighbor has set up some rules on his property (i.e. that he doesn't want you on it) that you don't like. He also has a particularly nasty cuss of a dog that is very protective of that yard and would certainly be hazardous to your health if you tried to go there without permission.

So if you abide by the anti-smokers and their argument put forth above you would also agree that government should have the right to force your neighbor to get rid of his dog and allow you to come over and lounge around on his property.  Why?  Well simply because you like going there and he and his dog impair your potential enjoyment of his property.

Or maybe one of your fellow workers has a really nice luxury car with heated leather seats and a kick butt stereo system.  So one day you just hop in his car, sit there and partake of said luxury and are generally enjoying your time.  When he comes down and finds you in his car he gets upset particularly because you have hotwired the car since you don't have a key.  He asks you to leave, but because you like being there you believe you are entitled to sit in his car.  So he draws his trusty revolver and scares you out of the car with the implied threat that you health will suffer if you don't.  Caring about your "health" you obviously decide to flee.

If you think that the anti-smokers have a "logical" argument then you would run to the government and demand a law that would force your coworker to get rid of his gun and to allow you to partake of his luxury accommodations.  Why?  Well, it simply boils down to nothing more than your assertion that you like being there and that you should be allowed to do so on terms you set.

Are you seeing how silly this is by now?  If you are a thinking person you are.  If you are a rabid anti-smoker then you probably are not.

Why would you have the right to run to government to dictate how someone else must manage their private property and forbid them from allowing otherwise perfectly legal activities just so you can enjoy it?  If you like the food at a private restaurant but don't like the smokers then the obvious answer is don't go there.  You don't have the "right" to tell the owners they cannot allow smokers no more than you can tell your neighbor to get rid of his guard dog or your co-worker to get rid of his gun.  You don't have the "right" to tell the restaurant that they must accommodate your desires any more than you can tell your neighbor that he must let you sunbathe on his property or your co-worker that he must let you sit in his car.

If you feel so strongly about smoking being harmful don't go there.  My God what a concept!

Maybe you could even open up your own smoke free version of the restaurant right across the street.  But as long as we live in America, where smoking is legal and will remain legal due to the ginormous amounts of taxes it brings in for government bureaucrats, you can't tell the restaurant owner that they cannot allow it on their property just because you feel inconvenienced or threatened.

And if the anti-smokers succeed in getting restaurants, bars and other private establishments to be "smoke free" then they have also laid the ground work for making your home "smoke free" as well.  No, I'm not joking.  If government is allowed to establish rules for smoking in private businesses then there is no roadblock to them doing the same for private residences.  Some cities in America have already taken these steps.

The anti-smokers will certainly enjoy that prospect.  Until smoking is illegal everywhere that is.  And when smoking is illegal everywhere government will have to replace those taxes on cigarettes by taxing something else instead.  Either that or services will be cut.  But we all know that government never cuts services.

So get ready for your taxes to increase right along side of your loss of private property rights.

The bottom line is this, people like those supporting these smoking bans and that pretend to care about you and me really don't care about you and me.  They really believe that you and I are too stupid to make our own choices without their help.

We already tried prohibition once in America.  It was championed by nebby do-gooders who thought the same ways as the anti-smokers do today.  It was a dismal failure too.  But as we often see, those on the left who seek government control over our lives have a broken rearview mirror and cannot learn from history.

So they will continue on, trumpeting their same old "solutions" to the "problems" that they think you are too dumb to handle on your own. ESR

J.J. Jackson is a libertarian conservative author who has been writing and promoting individual liberty since 1993 and is President of Land of the Free Studios, Inc. He is the lead editor of Conservative News & Opinion – The Land of the Free and also the owner of The Right Things – Conservative T-shirts & Gifts. His weekly commentary along with exclusives not available anywhere else can be found at http://www.libertyreborn.com.

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