Wednesday, May 30, 2007

No Stinking Way

In regard to a smoking ban last week, Tbone at Redstate, never being one to dance around a point when kicking it in the teeth would do, asked :

Do I have the right to carry around a dead fish of three days passing?
That question presumes a public interest in regulating and assuring the pleasantness of life, not merely some vague public interest in regulating the indoor air quality in a place of business, which is to say, on private property.

Does a business owner have the right to allow his customers to stink like dead fish? And if it's really a problem for customers and employees, why would a business owner not put out a sign
  • No Stinking

and wait for the customers to start streaming in?

As a ruthless ex-smoker, I yield to no one in my distaste for cigarettes. And yet, without offense to Tbone, I am even more offended by those who would use the power of the state to deny people the right to stink, on their own property, or to charge others for the opportunity to smell bad as part of a business plan. As long as no one is force to endure stench or smoke, let us not grant government the power to dictate taste.

As for that waitress who claims that cigarette smoke at work gave her lung cancer: that's a bad deal. However, to the extent that she didn't think she would get cancer, neither did anyone else. That lack of knowledge played an equal part, therefore, in the thinking of the business owner and the waitress (even if one would have weighed it more heavily than the other). Any business owner from this point forward will have the spectre of cancer looming over his decisions.

By attempting to use this special case to ban all smoking in all work places, the anti-smoking crowd is using the government to limit our right to expose ourselves to long-term risk for short-term reward. How long before we're not allowed to drive vehicles for delivery, because that is too dangerous, too odorous, or too noisy?

Not long.

Are people allowed to smell like rotted fish? We can only hope! To paraphrase Voltaire, I may detest your stench, but I defend to the death your right to stink it.

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