Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

February 27, 2008

I Don’t Smoke — But ‘My Character’ Does!

by Brad Warbiany

Bars in Minnesota are finding interesting and creative ways to get around the state smoking ban:

What started as a quirky idea to get around the statewide smoking ban appears to be spreading like wildfire.

Dozens of bars are expected to stage “theater nights” this weekend in which patrons are dubbed actors. The law, which went into effect in October, permits performers to smoke during a theatrical production. “Two weeks ago, we had one bar doing this,” said Mark Benjamin, a criminal defense attorney who launched the theater-night idea. He estimates 50 to 100 bars could be on tap for theater nights this weekend based on phone calls, e-mails and requests for the how-to-stage-a-theater-night packet that he’s devised. And many bar owners are passing on the information quickly among themselves without getting in contact with him.

When people are this drawn to smoking, especially in a place so brutally cold as Minnesota, where it was -9 degrees F the last time I was there, is it any surprise that they’ll find *any* way to get around this nanny state idiocy, even if it eventually means blatant violations of the law?

I’d say that perhaps these advocates of a smoking ban should simply drop the veil, show their true colors, and declare that they wish to see smoking made illegal nationwide. I would hope that this would lead to widespread outrage among Americans in favor of individual freedom. But in modern times, where the Constitution and its protection on individual rights has been replaced by worship at the idol of democracy, I think there wouldn’t be much resistance at all. After all, I live in California, where I think there’s more social acceptance of marijuana than there is of tobacco. The biggest fight would not come from individual citizens, but from the beneficiaries of government largess paid for by cigarette taxes.

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  • http://poppychop.net/ Nitroadict

    The companies would do well to clean up the side-effects of second hand smoke. That is the only reason I know of that many people would oppose smoking itself.

    However, it’s correct that it’s also not the companies moral responsibility (fiscally, maybe) to pursue smokeless products, etc.

    And sadly, people will be fooled into thinking they are winning a fight against the evil corporations that force smoking upon people, rather than waking up one day to realize they became apologists for the Nanny State.

    If/When more politicians showed their true colors concerning nationwide smoking bans, I will staunchly advocate smokers coming up with non-smoker bans of their own.

    When I get my bartender’s license, I will probably get to know quite an amount of people who love the idea of non-smoker bans!

  • monkeyboy

    “You told me you were single!!!”

    “No, babe, that was just my character.”

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    monkeyboy,

    Good one :)

  • http://trumpetbob15.blogspot.com/ trumpetbob15

    Nitroadict,

    Second-hand smoke is a smoke-screen used by people too incompetent to come up with an actual excuse for their statist views. I hate smoke and being in a smoky place, be it a bar or my aunt’s house, for too long makes me sick. Without having to take away anyone’s cigarettes, I have found a way to stay healthy: avoid those places. The people who use second-hand smoke arguments don’t care about second-hand smoke; they just are against tobacco, plain and simple.

    When I get my bartender’s license, I will probably get to know quite an amount of people who love the idea of non-smoker bans!

    Great idea! That is the way to make money off of individual preferences. Now if only you didn’t have to get some license to do so….

  • http://poppychop.net/ Nitroadict

    It’s a bit of a generalization to say people who use second-hand smoking arguments are all simply just against tobacco, but obviously valid in some cases.

    I try and raise awareness whenever I hear a friend or aquantince mention the smoking bans, and overall it seems to me less of defaulting to that argument out of Statist intentions rather than just out of good intentioned ignorance of the importance of the State’s power over themselves thereof. At least, that’s mostly the cases that I’ve come across.

    But anyways, yes. If the State wants to enforce smoking bans in public, I see no reason why certain establishment’s can’t counter it with a good old “eye for an eye” non-smoker ban for their bar/restaurant/whatever.

    Alas, like me becoming a bartender, this would probably involve paperwork in getting a license, and inevitably, red tape. I wonder how long the theater loophole will last :) before the Mr. Bureaucracy kicks down the door and busts the kids for just trying to have a good time?

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/ Brad Warbiany

    trumpetbob,

    I wouldn’t say it’s that they’re simply anti-tobacco. It’s that they think their “right” to avoid smoke in certain establishments is more important than the private property rights of the owners of those establishments.

    They simply believe that they’re justified in telling other people what they can and can’t do on their property.

    That is why people like you or I, who are educated on property rights yet hate being around smoke simply avoid those establishments instead of trying to go crying to the nanny state to tell them what to do.

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    I wouldn’t say it’s that they’re simply anti-tobacco. It’s that they think their “right” to avoid smoke in certain establishments is more important than the private property rights of the owners of those establishments.

    It’s both. Some of them are selfish like you say and others are trying to save the people they’re coercing. Some are doing both.

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