1.25.2007

The Road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions

Why don't we just ban cigarettes completely? After all, that is in essence what Gov. Doyle and Sen. Risser want, isn't it?

If smoking is so horribly damaging to those who do it, and if second-hand smoke really can kill you, why is it even legal for stores to sell this deadly drug? Can anyone think of some other product that kills so many that is still sold so easily?

Think about it for a minute. With the rhetoric coming from the Governor and others in the legislature like Sen. Risser, it would seem that cigarettes are the worst, most deadly plague on society in our history. If they are truly serious about a statewide smoking ban and a tax increase that would be the 4th highest in the nation, then why not take it one step further and ban cigarettes?

Well, all that tax revenue that the evil smokers generate would disappear and we all know that once a government finds a reliable source of tax revenue they will never give it up. Besides, smokers are the one group that politicians can routinely use as whipping boys without any fear of a backlash from them or the public at large.

However, the hypocrisy of the Governor's proposals is not what troubles me the most. What really gets me is that it is now okay to tell legal adults engaging in a legal activity (smoking is for the moment still legal remember) when and where they can light up. Sure, I don't like the smell of cigarettes, in fact it drives me nuts, but I make a conscious choice whether or not to go to a bar that has smoking in it. It is the choice of the bartender or waitress whether or not to work in a heavy smoking environment. It should also be the choice of a privately owned business whether or not to allow smoking in that establishment.

This is simply not the role of the government.

Ask yourselves, what's next? Certainly the act of cigar smoking (something I enjoy) will be next on the chopping block, but then what? Alcohol is certainly a dangerous drug. Many thousands of people are killed each year in alcohol related incidents, should we reinstate prohibition? After all people die from alcohol who never even drank (think drunk drivers). Who knows, many people find certain perfumes and colognes offensive, some people even have violent allergic reactions to the scents, surely perfumes and colognes must be banned as well.

You may think that all of this is pure nonsense, but really where does it all end? At what point do we say enough is enough? When will government regulate so much of what we do that we really have no choices?

I don't think that 5 or 10 years ago anyone thought it would be possible to even consider banning trans fats. Think about it.