The anti-smoking jihadists gain stronghold in Australia

Well no sooner do I get through praising Australia for the stand taken by its leaders relating to Islam in Australia, when I see the rise of the Anti-smoking jihadists in the Land of Oz.

According to an article in the BBC, the anti-smoking jihadists have obtained a stronghold in Australia, despite the efforts of reasonable-thinking Aussies to keep “Big Brother” at bay.

A parliamentary inquiry will look at the effects of passive smoking on passengers, particularly children.

Supporters of the proposal have admitted, however, that enforcing such a ban would be difficult.

Smokers in Australia have already been squeezed out of bars and restaurants, as well as some beaches and most other public places.

Now Fred Nile from the Christian Democratic Party has drawn up a private member’s bill that makes cars the next target.

His idea will be investigated by a parliamentary committee.

The plan appears to have the support of the state government.

A spokesman said that tough action should be implemented to stop the small number of irresponsible people who smoked around youngsters in their cars.

It seems to me that everyone in the world, except, perhaps, for a few who have been living in caves in Pakistan, know the dangers of cigarette smoking. Why is it that government feels the need to intervene?

In other words, if smokers (Disclosure: I do not smoke cigarettes, but enjoy the occasional cigar), knowing the dangers, want to smoke, why not let them? Why not have bars or pubs where smokers who feel that having a pint is not the same without the accompanying cig have the ability to enjoy smoking? They can be designated as smoking bars, and those who have an aversion to smoke can go to those bars that are designated non-smoking bars. It seems to me to be an easy solution without having the smoking police have to enforce unenforceable laws anyway.

To those who say that the employees of the smoking bars would be subject to second-hand smoke against their will, I say “Baloney!” If they don’t want to work in a smoking bar they can get a job in a non-smoking bar. Everyone who goes to work for a smoking bar can sign a waiver stating they understand the “risks” and are choosing to work there of their own free choice. By the way, the evidence that second-hand (passive) smoke causes cancer is inconclusive.

My point here is that we have too much government. Government doesn’t have to be in every part of our lives nor does it have to protect us from ourselves. If one chooses to engage in risky behavior, why shouldn’t he have the right to do so? What goes on in our houses or our cars, so long as it is not causing harm to others should not be the purview of government.

5 thoughts on “The anti-smoking jihadists gain stronghold in Australia

  1. Hi Gary,I sympathize with your objection to government mucking around in the lives of people who want to engage in risky behavior. I really do. This subject nags at the libertarian in me.Being the thoughtful citizen that I am, I realize that no one is an island. Virtually everything I do affects those around me one way or another. One example is the helmet law for riders of motorcycles. Why should they be forced, by law, to wear something they don’t want to wear? Don’t they have the right to engage in this risky behavior?No, not really. Because it’s proven that motorcycle riders who have accidents have a higher propensity for serious brain injuries. The costs associated with those kinds of injuries, regardless of whether the rider has insurance, are borne by everyone. The rider’s insurance has its upward limits, after which the state takes a medical and fiduciary responsibility. That’s you and me, Gary.The state, sometimes, has an overriding interest in protecting people against their own bad judgment. The libertarian in me cringes when I hear this argument. It rebels! But it also relents. Because it just plain makes sense.Ditto with the issue of smoking. I’m an ex-smoker (the worst kind of anti-smoker, so I’m told). If the govt is going to make a law about indoor air, why stop there? What about outdoor air? This, too, is where the libertarian in me screams, “Damn right! Leave us alone!”But it comes back to the no man is an island argument. Smoking causes cancer. Second-hand smoke, arguably not quite the direct causal link as smoking itself, still can’t be healthy. But do you really believe that it’s HEALTHY to be around other smokers, Gary? I suspect you don’t, tough ol’ righty Bear that you are. I think you’d grudgingly agree with this point.This issue puts me square up to the line of liberalism, probably crosses the line, the guy who doesn’t trust his fellow citizen to look after himself. I admit it. On the issue of smoking, I want the govt to be a kind of big brother and look out for me when I’m about to do something stupid. The same way the govt gets in my face and says I have to wear seat belts.Because there are overriding economic, medical and community reasons to do so. It makes sense, Gary. It’s good public policy. It’s moral public policy.The libertarian in me rebels, and I sympathize. But I respectfully disagree.


  2. Why stop with helmet laws and seatbelt laws and smoking laws?Why not pass federal laws specifiying how much food people can eat and how much exercise they must do? We could protect them from their own bad judgment and save society a lot of money.And while we’re at it we can ban alcohol since some people don’t know when to stop drinking. If a bar owner wants to allow smoking in his own establishment, no one is forced to go in!Everytime we say that the government knows best for us, we make big government bigger, we give government more power, we lose more of our individual rights and its just one more step down that road.


  3. Stitches, you are soooo right. I agree with you 100%.Howard, I see what you are saying from your point of view. It is the mindset that we need “government” to protect us from ourselves and to “protect” society that distinguishes the left from the right. We want to see less government and we think people are capable of making their own decisions. People are not children who need “Daddy Government” to protect them.The right has faith in the individual collective wisdom of the people and the left doesn’t. The left has faith in the wisdom of the government and the right doesn’t.But let’s keep in mind that we are all Americans. We just have different approaches to life and government.


  4. Gary and Stitches,I think you’ve both framed the situation correctly. The right tends to have faith in the individual, the left in government.But it’s not absolute. We draw lines over behavior all the time and sometimes it’s in favor of the individual (the right to consume alcohol, the freedom to practice your won religion) and sometimes in favor of the state (issuing drivers licenses and permits to own a gun, for example).We do this based on a perception of the common good. Public policy sometimes requires us to give up individual freedoms for the good of society (you can yell at a neighbor when you disagree, but you can’t shoot him with a gun or stab him with a knife). The state has an overriding interest in maintaining public decorum.I maintain that smoking is an issue that nags at my individual rights sensibilities, but that the good of society over rules those sensibilities in this instance. You disagree, and that’s perfectly okay.My overall point is that I think it’s a mistake to allow our commitment to an ideology to blind us to reality, to edit what’s really happening just to remain true to a belief.Howard


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