Ban the Ban in D.C.

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From InstaPundit: "BAN THE BAN is a weblog devoted to fighting D.C.'s smoking ban. Check it out."

I did check it out. They want to pass a smoking ban in D.C. much like the one California has. (Too bad it doesn't look like California's ban will be rescinded any time soon.) Some commenters there who support the ban have some really odd notions of rights and justifications for the ban (just like here in California).

My comments on some of the wilder statements left in response to "If You Were in the Service Industry..." (Nov. 6) -

"James Resinquist" says:

"but jill, you work IN the industry. that makes you a horrible advocate for the ban. you are an INSIDER."

Yeah, she's one of the people who would be most seriously affected by the ban; we wouldn't want *her* opinion about it to be heard.

"ultimately all you guys see is the government appealing to abuse your rights. what you dont see is how this might benefit both you and your health."

Yeah, like it's *ever* okay for the government to trample on smokers' right and business owners' rights. An infringement rights is an infringement rights, period. I don't care what "benefits" you think it might have.

"nobody is restricting people from damaging their bodies with addictive pollutants. you can do that at any time. just not ANY place. and i feel that is an important step into resolving human rights."

"Just not ANY place" loosely translates here in California as "just about NOWHERE" - 1) your home, 2) your car, and 3) outdoors. NOWHERE else. "Human rights" don't exist unless individual rights and property rights are respected, which smoking bans totally disregard.

"what is funny is that you all push for the rights of smokers."

Yep, sure do - we'd like to think we still have some.

"what about non smokers who cant stand for ciggarette smoke? should we be limited to certain and very few clubs just because the majority of popular clubs allow smoking?"

The "limit" is in your head. Somewhere along the way you got this notion that businesses (clubs) should be run the way you would run them. As for the non-smokers who don't like cigarette smoke - stay out of clubs that allow it. Really freakin' simple. The majority of clubs allow smoking because they make more money when they do.

"what i see within this page is a lot of people with a very narrow range of vision. of course the industry is going to be affected in the short term. but look further than that."

Uh huh. If everyone just thought and felt the same way I did, everyone could get along.

"it is ridiculous to think that people will stop staying out because they are discomforted from smoking any place they feel."

You are ridiculous if you think you can speak to how smokers will behave. I *have* stopped "staying out" and generally do not frequent any restaurant or club, because the smoking ban here in California is just plain too much of a pain in the ass to have to deal with.

"drew antarctic" follows up with these comments:

".....even a few of my smoker friends say they actually prefer the clubs now, even though they are discomforted by the task of either having not to smoke or going outside."

This is pure and utter BS. See how they like it when winter comes around.

"but i want to talk about my rights for a minute, especially the right to breathe clean air. i feel that this specific RIGHT far outweighs the PRIVELEGE to smoke. to argue that i have should be segregated to non smoking bars is not effective strategem. i should have the right to go anywhere i choose on a friday night and breathe clean air. airplanes, places of business, my home, and clubs and bars alike."

Nobody is twisting your arm and making you go into a smoke-filled club. The government is not "segregating" you to non-smoking bars - you are by personal choice, and that choice is yours to make. It's a whole different issue when it's the government doing the choosing and segregating.

And why is it that you should have a "right" to go into someone else's business and have things your way, regardless of what the other patrons or the business owner wants?

"lets take it a step further. imagine i were actually deathly allergic to cigarette smoke. this means i can not go to any popular club or bar in dc. i can not see my favorite bands perform ANYTIME. so why should a smokers right errode mine?"

If you really were "deathly allergic to cigarette smoke", you would not be prohibited from going to clubs or bars or seeing bands perform. It would be a highly unwise thing to do if you ask me, but your rights would not be infringed upon in this case. If you really *had* to go despite this risk, put yourself in one of those huge bubbles so you are protected.

"you can see quite easily how a smokers lifestyle can equate to the loss of rights for others."

Only when you make up imaginary rights and arguments.

"the right to clean air, clean water, clean food, clean land should not have to be argued."

And none of these have anything to do whatsoever with a ban on smoking.

"smokers rights have superceded the rights of people who appreciate thier health for much too long already."

Hardly. It more like non-smokers want to impose their imaginary "rights" on smokers and have not been able to do so until recently.

"by joining this bandwagon you would be advocating for discrimination against non smokers who finally want their basic rights respected."

The "discrimination" is against smokers - non-smokers want to impose their choices and preferences on smokers with the force of law. The "rights" that non-smokers claim they want respected do not exist, but they want them passed into law anyway.

"this is an arument against rights versus privelege. clean air is a right. smoking is a privelege. it is a very simple concept to grasp."

Actually, smoking is a right too. Just because it is regulated does not mean it is not a right. What should be a simple concept to grasp is this: If a club or restaurant owner is OK with me smoking there, why does your opinion matter?

"drew antarctic" then comments further:

"i am tired of having my health used as a barrier to keep me from venues."

No one is using it other than you. Freedom of choice is one of those fundamental rights that everyone has. If you don't like the choices available, tough. Just because you don't like the options doesn't mean you should be able to force someone else by law to provide you with a choice you like.

"what elludes me the most about this argument is tha fact that it is the non-smoker who should be restricted through his non-participation. forget the simple fact that there are smoke free bars now. in a year there will be smoking bars."

Not if the ban passes, because smoking bars would be illegal.

"your argument to me could be easily turned around to you, and since you are arguing the point to me, you should easily accept it yourself. through participation in smoking it is understood that you SHOULD be the one to go out of his way and not preclude that others should be discomforted for a seriously bad habit."

Your "understanding" that those who smoke should be the ones who go out of their way mis-states the goal of the ban. Non-smokers don't want smokers to go out of their way - they want them to *go away*. Your opinion of what constitutes a bad habit is not relevant here either.

And yet more from "drew antarctic":

"acting humanely would be to make for cleaner environment so those of us who want one can enjoy more of it. it is simply not inhumane to tell a smoker, hey man, do that somewhere else or some other time. smoking is not a neccesity. you dont HAVE to smoke right now."

Stretch that "clean environment" argument to include the inside of a restaurant or a club! And with regard to "smoking is not a necessity, you don't HAVE to smoke right now" - there's no necessity for you to be around right now either.

"i dance at clubs. my lungs require a good amount of oxygen because i dance for lengthy periods of time. oten hours straight in smoky, unhealthy environment. i know ciggarette smoke damages my health because oftentimes i wake up the next day with a sore throat, sometimes a bit sick, sometimes very sick. but always only after i dance a smoking club and always with a bad, smoky taste and feel in my lungs. i dont need research to conclude that second hand smoke is harmful to me. i am councious enough of my body, eat enough healthy food and try to maintain a healthy enough lifestyle to know when my body is upset and why."

You need to work a little at drawing conclusions. From what you described: sore throat - screaming too much over loud music at club, being sick the next morning - you drank too much the night before. And if you really believe that it is second-hand smoke in clubs that is making you this "ill", and you are so health conscious, why do you keep going back there?

"being able to go to a bar or club as a youth proved to be a perfect safe haven as a teenager. it induced the freedom to smoke, although the choice was ultimately mine. the point here is that, had there been a smoking ban, my ignorant behaviour would have been much more limited, though it was already illegal for me to smoke."

Yeah, pass more laws to protect stupid people from themselves, which as you said ("though it was already illegal for me to smoke."), didn't work for you anyway.

"Aaron Bergman" has this to say:

"I don't see this as being about rights."

It's amazing how someone that's in favor of forcing people to do something they don't want to do doesn't see this as involving rights.

"I would just like to able to go out and not suffer through the cigarette smoke, I'd like to be able to see bands I like, go to bars I like and socialize with people I like. Cigarette smoke inhibits my enjoyment of these activities. For others, it practically proscibes them."

And because Aaron wants it, a law should be passed forcing everyone else to provide it for him.

"So, what do we do about it? Say fuck you? Well, first of all, that's pretty damn rude. You can smoke where it doesn't bother me. I can't very well go to see a band I like at a club where they're not playing. Is it all that undue a hardship to go outside for a smoke?"

Well, I would say that. While I can go smoke where it doesn't bother you, you can go somewhere else too. Can't see a band at a non-smoking venue? Waaaaaaa! Who cares? And yes, sometimes it is a hardship (a real pain in the ass) to go outside for a smoke.

"And one more thing to the property rights people:"

"Was it OK for the government to ban smoking on airline flights?"

"If so, how do you distinguish that case from the present?"

Nope, and I don't.

1 Comment

since the ban in california, i have given more thought to the non-smokers..although I still am apt to choose bars that either allow smoking (and there are a few) or bars that have outdoor seating with heaters for the winter. I too don't like going outside to smoke a cigarette, I want to enjoy my beer with a cigarette. Bars in NY will adapt if there is a ban on smoking and the bars that do adapt will probably have alot more potential income because smokers will find them over the bars that have you go outside to smoke.