I completely disagree with John McIntire about smoking bans. (He's all for government goon squads kicking down doors to stop the BINGO ladies from enjoying a Carlton. I'm against it. That's paraphrasing, of course. But snark is allowed, I think.) Still, I admire his honesty. Here's what he had to say about recent developments:
Despite my longtime advocacy of a local smoking, I will concede a statewide ban is preferable. I just thought we'd need some local bans to wake the legislature up. Plus I'm tired of stinking when I leave a bar. I hope the county appeals, but even if they do and they're successful, it could take forever.
Well, I'm tired of driving my car into a ditch everytime I drink a bottle of Wild Turkey. So is the solution for the government to ban alcohol in Wild Turkey, and to fine anyone who chooses to drink the real stuff? Or would it be better for me to just stop drinking it? Or let's say I am tired of my ears ringing every time I leave the dance club. Should I lobby my congressman to ban loud music? Or should I go somehwere where they play music at a volume I like?
Now, McIntire has told me in e-mails that he really does worry about the health of workers. And that he thinks second-hand smoke is "poison gas." OK. But sorry. Not good enough. Almost everything is poison to some degree or another. And the questions is whether SHS more of a danger than other risks we allow other workers to face. 9Is tending bar in a smoky restaurant really as dangerous as logging? No.) And there are a lot of reasons to doubt that SHS rises to that level. If you read the studies. Maybe he has. But most people don't. Because they are basing their support of the ban on the same thing McIntire says in his blog post: They don't like how it smells.
That, friends, is a slippery slope. Lots of people don't like lots of things.
Still, we all know that McIntire will eventually win this one. Good for him, I guess. But don't be surprised when someone bans whatever it is you like. Heck, I would suspect that a lot of people with a lot of political power are tired of hearing bad words on the radio every time the go past McIntire's show.
It's going to happen.
What people are "tired of" is a really crappy basis for a law. And silly. Even if the person who's tired of it is John McIntire. Maybe you don't have a "right to smoke." But you don't have a right to not be so fatigued of stinky shirts, either.