Or at least, it should.
An “interesting” (read: “wrong”) op-ed piece was just written by one Sheila Evans regarding a proposed smoking ban in New Hampshire. Titled “Distorted libertarianism killed restaurant smoking ban”, she chronicles the failure of Free State nannystatists to ban smoking in bars. From her abortion of an opinion piece:
RECENTLY, a Hudson citizen traveled to the State House to participate in the Senate deliberations on the issue of secondhand smoke. She had never testified before, but felt compelled to share her story. Karen Lindquist is 33 and has never smoked a day in her life. She had, however, worked as a bartender in the past. Now she is undergoing chemotherapy treatments as she battles lung cancer.
Her doctor told her she is suffering from the same form of lung cancer as a smoker. Karen waited hours in the Senate Finance Committee room for her turn to speak. Her composure impressed everyone, and her appearance belied her status as a chemo patient, until she clarified it in a very personal way.
At the end of her testimony, Karen reached up and removed her wig, allowing a roomful of strangers and the senators to gaze at her bald head. It was a powerful moment, and the silence in the room was broken only by the sniffles of those moved to tears by this young woman’s story. Three of the senators who witnessed her action recommended the very next day to kill the bill to remove second-hand smoke from every New Hampshire restaurant and bar.
Objections to the legislation arose from a vocal few who relied upon a distortion of libertarian principles. John Stuart Mill wrote of the freedom of the individual in opposition to the claims of the state. He is most famous for his principle that people should be free to engage in whatever behavior they wish as long as it does not harm others. Mill understood well the tension between the rights of the individual and the need to prevent harm.
Smoke exhaled in enclosed spaces harms others. A smoker has every right to indulge until his or her smoke enters someone else’s nose.
Now, what I see here is two things. First, I’m seeing some emotional crap cited, about a woman that was perfectly free not to work in a smoke-filled environment. Next up, we’ve got someone quoting a liberal (not quite libertarian, though he did agree with us often) philosopher out of context and trying to tell us how we have our own philosophy wrong.
However, anyone who’s well-versed in libertarian philosophy would agree insofar as the smoke was being forced upon someone else’s nose. However, this is not the case-the bar owner voluntarily decided to allow smoking, the bartender voluntarily decided to work there, and the bar patrons voluntarily decided to drink there.
Sheila Evans, you have liberalism all wrong. You have the bleeding heart down pat, but you missed out on the whole “intellectual” thing. Liberals are supposed to be well-read, and be up on their political philosophers. I’m afraid you just don’t make the cut, you’re no Noam Chomsky. Maybe a Michael Moore, though.