Wednesday, September 13, 2006

How Monday's hearing on the smoking ordinance went

By Nelson Peters' own count, there were 38 speaking against the new ordinance and 33 speaking in favor of it. Most of those speaking in favor were health professionals, most speaking against were bar and restaurant owners. I pretty much gave the speech I said I was going to give on my blog and managed to mention that I was running for state rep. Everyone who was against the ordinance got louder applause that those who were for. When Nelson Peters went up to use the bathroom, someone joked out loud that he had to "go burn one". One lady brought an American flag with her and made a patriotic appeal that tied in with the date, September 11th.

Folks, I want to make it clear that I believe that both life and liberty, both health and freedom are equally important. Without one, the other means little. There is no such thing as striking a balance between the two. As long as you are free, you have the power to make healthy choices. If you grant the government the power to make healthy choices for you, you also give them the power to make unhealthy and even fatal choices for you as well. The government did not ask anyone if it was okay before they dumped zinc cadmium on Fort Wayne during the Cold War. Back then, men were considered possible draftees, and women were considered possible wombs for creating future generations of draftees. When the government assumes responsibility for your health and safety, you become little more than chattel....


  1. Jeff Pruitt6:34 PM

    I don't think your analogy is fair. The government isn't deciding whether or not I smoke. They are only regulating WHERE you can smoke and they SHOULD weigh in on the side of public health.

    The argument (not suggesting you are making it) that it hurts business is false and only used to confuse misinformed citizens...

  2. How about this for an analogy then? A food company can sell you whatever kind of junk they want as long as they put the ingredients on the label. Frito Lay will tell you what's in that bag of Cheetos. You don't have to eat them and probably shouldn't.

    How about a restaurant have a warning sign at the door? WARNING: THIS PLACE SMELLS LIKE A CIGARETTE BUTT DIPPED IN STALE URINE. You would know that is not a good place to take your kids. But that sign would probably attract the kind of people that you and I would not want to hang out with. Those people do have the right to peacefully assemble and associate.

    Let's look at the definition of public and private for a moment as well. A public building is any building operated by the government, like a school, library, or post office. Everyone should have equal access to these types of places. Smoking should not ever be allowed in those places.

    But a private business is different. A business may not discriminate based on sex, race, religion, physical disability, etc. These are things that one cannot help. But when ever you walk into a business, you enter on the terms set by the owner. A restaurant may have a dress code. A movie theater may prohibit talking during the film. There are things that you are allowed to do in a gay bar that you are not allowed to do at McDonald's, etc. Since a private business is allowed to forbid or restrict certain behaviors, it should also follow that it is allowed to permit other kinds of behaviors.

    I did propose that smoke-free restaurants advertise their healthy atmosphere.

    I did in fact make the argument that it would hurt business. You can say that this isn't so. Who is to say who is right? But the restaurant and bar owners who are at risk of losing their livelihood do think that it will hurt business, so I prefer to leave the decision up to them.

  3. Jeff Pruitt12:26 AM

    C'mon Robert - did the California economy collapse when they outlawed smoking? What about NYC? What about the other 70+ municipalities?

    Of course you can SAY whatever you want but "who is to say who is right?" is not a scientific approach to the problem. You have a hypothesis and you test it. This has been done via several impact studies

    El Paso

    Or just apply some common sense. If all businesses are affected equally then there will be no impact. Smokers don't just go to a restaurant to smoke. It's ridiculous to think that smokers will quit dining out if they can't smoke...

  4. Jeff Pruitt12:29 AM

    Also, there's more to business regulation than simple discrimination laws. Businesses are regulated in many different ways. And you do NOT walk into a private business on the owner's terms. That business ONLY exists because the state allows them to - you might not like that but it's how the system works...

  5. You have it backwards, Jeff. The State exists because the People allow it to.

    "That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

  6. To be sure, businesses cannot exist without the consent of their costumers.

    The economic realities of the areas you've indicated are far different than Allen County. Bud Hall testified at the hearing that all the restaurants that he had to close due to falling sales were nonsmoking. Will the County compensate any restaurant that goes under because of this bill?

  7. Jeff Pruitt11:36 AM

    The states exists because of the people and the business exists because of the state - that's the heirarchy.

    There will be no businesses close due to this - it's common sense.

    Neither you or Bud Hall can produce anything but pure speculation about this happening. This is a typical scare tactic. You have no evidence to back up your assertion but people should just believe you? That might be how politics works but it shouldn't and it doesn't have to. The facts are on my side. And personally I think it's inherently dishonest for you to spread this innuendo of businesses being hurt by the smoking ban w/o offering up any evidence whatsoever...

  8. Jeff, I will concede that I cannot predict the future. Neither can you. You have your set of facts, and I have my set of facts. I suspect that the only people who will agree with the conclusions that can be gleaned from our respective sets of facts are those who already agree with our respective positions.

    I do not smoke, nor do I own a restaurant, nor have I accepted or solicited a single contribution from any restaurant owners. I don't even get to go out much. I have nothing at stake here. You have nothing at stake as well, since you plan on leaving Allen County anyway. The two of us should stick to arguing on the basis of principle.

    You say that businesses exist with the permission of the state. If a newspaper or TV station fails to serve the interests of the state, should they be shut down? If a private university refuses to allow the military to recruit on its property, should the Army seize and occupy the campus?

    I believe that property rights are an extension of personal liberties. If I do not have the right to do as I please with what I own, then the 40 hours a week that I spend earning what I have is wasted. You may think that my anologies are extreme, but if I do not draw the line here, then there is no line.

  9. Jeff Pruitt10:04 PM

    Why do I have nothing at stake? I'm planning on leaving Allen County? I'm not sure what you're referring to here. That's news to me.

    I understand your point about the state and business. I was only suggesting that businesses must meet many state regulations and laws or they will no longer be allowed to operate. I did not mean to insinuate that the state has the final say about how every facet of a private business is run.

  10. My mistake. In a previous post, an person posting as "jeff" said he was moving out of Allen County to avoid annexation. I thought it was you, but I guess not.