Monday, January 23, 2006

There is no freedom from other people's freedom

I hate the smell of diesel exhaust. Gives me a headache. Makes me gag. If I find myself behind a bus or diesel truck, I will drop back in traffic or risk a ticket to speed past it. No doubt those big vehicles are spewing carcinogens that aren't doing my lungs or the rest of my body any good.

It never occurred to me that I might get my Town Board, County Board or state Legislature to ban diesel engines.

I don't smoke. Tried it once at 16, hated it. But what some well-meaning fascists are doing to smokers is just outrageous.

The state of New Jersey is in the process of forcing business owners to ban smoking on their premises. It's not enough to segregate smokers, it's not enough to warn the public that smoking is allowed on the business owner's private property. No, allowing patrons to light up is about to become a crime.

I don't even know why I'm bothering to write this. I'm either preaching to the converted or inviting the fascists to attack me with irrelevancies. "Obviously you've never had an asthma attack triggered by someone's use of tobacco." "Obviously you've never suffered through a loved one's horrible death by lung cancer." Nope, you're right. Should we criminalize every product and every behavior that can be blamed for someone's health troubles? Ban peanuts. Ban fatty foods. Ban diesel engines.

The assault on smokers is not the most blatant example of the ham-handed mugging of our liberty. It's just one of the most irritating, probably because the proponents of smoking bans simply fail to comprehend what they're doing. "I have a right to be free from tobacco smoke." No you don't, no more than I have a right to force the truck driver and the bus driver to turn off their engines.


Blogger Vache Folle said...

They can take away my fatty foods when they pry them from my cold dead fingers.

It is tempting to want to turn one's pet peeves into criminal behavior. I have sometimes secretly wished for a ban on chewing gum. I have not acted on this secret wish, however.

1:26 PM  

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