Bill Ferguson has one of those pro-nanny state articles up that tries to explain how we have to ban smoking…of course. But what gets my goose is that he’s claiming to be a libertarian all the while:
That’s why this libertarian supports efforts to restrict smoking in public places not clearly designated as smoking zones. Smokers should have the right to smoke, and I should have the right to breathe clean air. That means no smoking in generally accessible areas like workplaces, restaurants, and stores, except in clearly designated, and separately ventilated, areas.
[...] Perhaps it is time to put the weight of law behind a child’s right to grow up without being exposed to toxic fumes by adults who cannot or will not curtail their smoking habit around children.
So I sent him the following email:
This email is in regards to your latest column. If you want to be an anti-smoking advocate who wants to tell me how to act on my private property, that’s one thing… but don’t try and claim that you’re libertarian all the while because that’s just plain lying. This is nanny-state supporting behavior and you know it… and no libertarian wants *more* government intrusion in their lives.
I would attack your argument in full… but you masquerading as a libertarian has me more fired up than the article itself. But here goes: you claim smoking around a child is abuse is just about as stupid and laden with slippery slope implications as you could want. Who’s to say letting your child eat too much of X is abuse, or playing around too much Y? We can all come up with ideas for legislation that protects children, but the fact is that it’s the parents’ job to do that, not the government’s.
You see, when you take the decision-making abilities away from the parents and put them in the hands of the government, it may lead to *some* good change, but the nature of government is to continue growing into these areas in pervasive ways. And eventually the most minor cut or boo-boo will get a child taken away. If you are truly a libertarian as you claim, you would know this… but for the life of me you seem more like a nanny-state republicrat here.
You’re free to send your own email to him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Update: Sean Lynch over at Catallarchy claims that. My point here isn’t to say there should be smoking allowed everywhere, just that the choice needs to stay with the property or business owner not with government (oh, and he totally ignores that whole child abuse canard). Lynch is free to pick his battles and I’m free to pick mine. I don’t want government coming into my business (in my case, my home office) and telling me that it’s a no-smoking zone for my own good. And I don’t want them bossing parents around through legislation.
Anyways… if they keep raising cigarette taxes the way they do now, I’ll be a non-smoker soon enough anyways (though I won’t be one of these anti-smoking pricks who wants to tell everyone else how to run their business or bar).
Another Update: Radley Balko imparts his usual wisdom on the:
The case against public smoking bans was never based on how risky secondhand smoke actually is (though it’s certainly worth pointing out the exaggerated claims from the other side). The case against smoking bans rests on property rights, free association, and allowing people to manage and navigate their own risks, without all-knowing politicians and public health fascists doing it for them.