Wednesday, November 15, 2006

We're back! That was a scary couple hours. And just in time for this delightful headline:


Belmont to be first U.S. city to ban all smoking
http://www.smdailyjournal.com/article_preview.php?id=66988


Aka, "Belmont Passes Smokeasy-Creation Act."

Not a Canadian headline, but still caught my eye as similar laws were on the drawing board in my home town of White Rock BC, proposing the banning of all tobacco sales within the city limits. Property rights, shmoperty rights! The story is ably covered by our CBC welfare media here:


Tobacco sales ban eyed in BC community
http://www.cbc.ca/news/story/2006/07/12/bc-tobacco.html

Though in BC, the results would be even funnier. Forget smokeasies, bring back underground selling rings, petty organized crime, increased prices, and all the delightful trappings of prohibitionism! One must admire the purity of motive in demonizing a group exercising unpopular rights, that Councilman Matt Todd knows few will dare defend in the public square, and are thus open to all manner of abuses for the purposes of scoring political capital. Courtesy of the NDP!


From the eminent Mr Todd's website:
http://www.matttodd.ca/wordpress/

It is becoming better known that tobacco smoke kills over five times as many people as the sum of all car accidents, suicides, murders, and illegal drugs every year in Canada. Though historical tolerance makes us blind to it, nicotine addiction has a very serious and significant negative impact on our quality of life. Research proves smoking bans as the most effective tool for preventing exposure to smoke, and the second best for reducing smoking rates.

...And when cornered, the wild leftist resorts to it's natural battle call, "Aw, just force them already!" The magnificent sophistication of the leftist deductive process. These are our best and brightest, folks. But Todd's just playing by the well-trod rules established by his betters.


Like so much politics, the cultural success and acceptance of the regulatory jihad on tobacco depends heavily on successfully maneuvering majority public opinion into antagonism against a minority. A unique challenge, considering the minority that the smoking population constitutes, and the natural inclination of everyone else to think 'Why should I care?' Hence, the PR campaign in recent years has carefully shifted from focusing attention on smokers outright, to endless dubious statistics on the perils of second-hand smoke, and why draconian legislation is far preferable to you moving to the next table.



















Side effects may include a slight case of DEATH!!! *

* if irresponsibly used several times a day for 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50 years. Results may vary.
But it's still worse than Hitler, and so are you.



It's about convincing you that your right to unlimited convenience takes precedent over the rights of a smelly and unpopular minority; which we're usually only too-eager to believe anyway. It's a marketing strategy absolutely essential in emotionally involving and accomplicing segments of the population who would ordinarily, share a justifiably profound disinterest in the activities of individual smokers. Hence, the well-marketed insistence that the mere awareness of smoke on outdoor patios is shaving years off your life. And even if it isn't, you have a legally enforceable right to not have to deal with it.

The fact that you can walk away, sit in a non-smoking area, ask someone to extinguish their cigarette, or -heaven forbid- patronize an establishment with a privately determined, family-friendly non-smoking policy, is all apparently lost on poor Todd and the regulatory cavemen. Asking citizens who dislike exposure to tobacco smoke to take even the meagerest steps to avoid it themselves is unthinkable! Unconscionable! And in general terms, unspeakably un-progressive. Todd being the Marxist dinosaur he is, the subtlety of private solutions, and the necessarily accompanying trust in the capacity of citizens to manage their own affairs baffles and irritates him to no end, like a joke in smart company that's gone over his head.













PROPERTY RIGHTS CONFUSING! OG WANT GIVE ORDERS!


Your descendents are more than equal to the task, Og. Pity to see a beautiful town like White Rock with Mao Magoo at the helm though.




-Nick

2 Comments:

Blogger Matt Todd said...

Thank you for your interest in my efforts to reduce nicotine addiction in BC.

I share your concern about pushing tobacco use underground. Clearly prohibition has never worked. It didn't work with alcohol and it isn't working with marijuana.

The important difference between prohibition and the range of options I presented for discussion is that none would make the possession or use of tobacco illegal.

I appreciate your fervent defense of personal rights (I'm assuming that's what you really mean, though you keep referring to "property" rights in your post). Nothing I have suggested would infringe on anyone's right to own or smoke tobacco. What I was working towards is further strengthening existing laws that are intended to prevent children from purchasing tobacco and protect people from exposure to tobacco smoke.

This is important because we know that over 80% of adult smokers started as children or teenagers. So, if we are concerned about the fact that tobacco is the leading cause of premature death in Canada (nothing else comes even close), then the solution is to prevent children from becoming addicted in the first place.

The reality is that wherever smoking bans have been imposed, smoking rates dropped. That is an indisputable fact.

I know it may be hard for a healthy person to appreciate the potential impact of tobacco smoke. It might even seem silly, which I assume is why you ridicule the very idea in your post.

What you might not fully appreciate is how harmful secondhand smoke can be to people with asthma, heart conditions, and children. As the science on the effects of tobacco grows, it becomes closer to impossible to accept that we should continue to feel guilty about inconveniencing the hapless nicotine addict.

This isn’t about an oppressive majority imposing its authoritarian will on a weakened but noble minority. This is about drug addiction and its impact on the health and freedoms of people in our community.

So, as you suggest that someone who is bothered by tobacco smoke should take it upon themselves to remove themselves from the area, I suggest to you that I value a person's right to be concerned with their health over a nicotine addict's right to get their fix wherever they so choose. Whose right to travel freely should take precedent, a person with asthma, children or a heart condition, or a nicotine addict?

Following your logic, I should be disappointed by the arrest of someone exercising their God-given right to unlimited convenience to drive drunk without a seatbelt and the hassles of stopping at a red light. Do you challenge the quality of life afforded by such “draconian legislation” attempting to prevent people from operating heavy machinery on public streets with impaired judgment, force people to use restraints that dramatically reduce personal injury in the remote incident of an accident, and reduce risk of collision by ensuring order and certainty of priority for traveling vehicles? It might be argued that these regulations severely restrict personal freedoms, or it could be argued that the resultant increased safety actually affords a person a greater and more valuable freedom – the freedom from injury or death caused by inevitable human error or someone else’s selfish behaviour.

Just as our freedom from flinging asbestos in people’s faces or spraying benzene around a restaurant patio is restricted, so is our freedom from burning tobacco. These examples are absolutely ludicrous. Why would anyone think it acceptable to put the health of fellow citizens at risk by exposing them to materials known to cause illness? But yet, although tobacco smoke is no less dangerous, it’s regarded with sympathy. Would asbestos or benzene be given the same forgiveness if they too were associated with a highly addictive drug, allowing its users to rationalize the obvious dangers?

While you mock my "magnificent sophistication of the leftist deductive process", after reading your post I am left wanting for something, anything that is remotely remarkable or sophisticated or even rational that challenges my arguments. If you have anything to offer the debate aside from than empty rhetoric, I'd love to hear it.

What is truly sad in your post, and your rude and disparaging caricature of me, is that you’ve clearly demonstrated a complete ignorance on the issue you’re discussing and disregard for the very values you claim to champion.

5:30 AM  
Blogger Matt Todd said...

Thank you for your interest in my efforts to reduce nicotine addiction in BC.

I share your concern about pushing tobacco use underground. Clearly prohibition has never worked. It didn't work with alcohol and it isn't working with marijuana.

The important difference between prohibition and the range of options I presented for discussion is that none would make the possession or use of tobacco illegal.

I appreciate your fervent defense of personal rights (I'm assuming that's what you really mean, though you keep referring to "property" rights in your post). Nothing I have suggested would infringe on anyone's right to own or smoke tobacco. What I was working towards is further strengthening existing laws that are intended to prevent children from purchasing tobacco and protect people from exposure to tobacco smoke.

This is important because we know that over 80% of adult smokers started as children or teenagers. So, if we are concerned about the fact that tobacco is the leading cause of premature death in Canada (nothing else comes even close), then the solution is to prevent children from becoming addicted in the first place.

The reality is that wherever smoking bans have been imposed, smoking rates dropped. That is an indisputable fact.

I know it may be hard for a healthy person to appreciate the potential impact of tobacco smoke. It might even seem silly, which I assume is why you ridicule the very idea in your post.

What you might not fully appreciate is how harmful secondhand smoke can be to people with asthma, heart conditions, and children. As the science on the effects of tobacco grows, it becomes closer to impossible to accept that we should continue to feel guilty about inconveniencing the hapless nicotine addict.

This isn’t about an oppressive majority imposing its authoritarian will on a weakened but noble minority. This is about drug addiction and its impact on the health and freedoms of people in our community.

So, as you suggest that someone who is bothered by tobacco smoke should take it upon themselves to remove themselves from the area, I suggest to you that I value a person's right to be concerned with their health over a nicotine addict's right to get their fix wherever they so choose. Whose right to travel freely should take precedent, a person with asthma, children or a heart condition, or a nicotine addict?

Following your logic, I should be disappointed by the arrest of someone exercising their God-given right to unlimited convenience to drive drunk without a seatbelt and the hassles of stopping at a red light. Do you challenge the quality of life afforded by such “draconian legislation” attempting to prevent people from operating heavy machinery on public streets with impaired judgment, force people to use restraints that dramatically reduce personal injury in the remote incident of an accident, and reduce risk of collision by ensuring order and certainty of priority for traveling vehicles? It might be argued that these regulations severely restrict personal freedoms, or it could be argued that the resultant increased safety actually affords a person a greater and more valuable freedom – the freedom from injury or death caused by inevitable human error or someone else’s selfish behaviour.

Just as our freedom from flinging asbestos in people’s faces or spraying benzene around a restaurant patio is restricted, so is our freedom from burning tobacco. These examples are absolutely ludicrous. Why would anyone think it acceptable to put the health of fellow citizens at risk by exposing them to materials known to cause illness? But yet, although tobacco smoke is no less dangerous, it’s regarded with sympathy. Would asbestos or benzene be given the same forgiveness if they too were associated with a highly addictive drug, allowing its users to rationalize the obvious dangers?

While you mock my "magnificent sophistication of the leftist deductive process", after reading your post I am left wanting for something, anything that is remotely remarkable or sophisticated or even rational that challenges my arguments. If you have anything to offer the debate aside from than empty rhetoric, I'd love to hear it.

What is truly sad in your post, and your rude and disparaging caricature of me, is that you’ve clearly demonstrated a complete ignorance on the issue you’re discussing and disregard for the very values you claim to champion.

5:38 AM  

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