You Agree to Stop Smoking, and We Agree Not to Fine You

The city of Belmont, California, is moving ahead with an ordinance that would prohibit residents from smoking at home. In your face, Clean Air Calabassas!

On the bright side, the smoking ban won't apply to people who live in detached, single-family homes, and the city council seems to be leaning toward allowing smoking in some outdoor locations, though not on bar or restaurant patios, in ATM lines, at bus stops, or near building entrances. Ban backers insist that police will not be raiding the apartments and condominiums of illicit smokers—unless someone complains:

The council said it wants enforcement of the smoking law to be complaint-driven, much like a noise ordinance.

In other words, a neighbor of a smoker in an apartment complex could contact authorities if she was bothered by the smoke drifting into her unit, and police or code enforcement officers would respond and either mediate an agreement or issue a citation.

"It's not that you shouldn't smoke, it's that you shouldn't bother someone with your smoke," said Council Member Dave Warden, perhaps the most vehement anti-smoking voice on the council. "If someone is enjoying a cigarette wherever they are and not bothering anybody, they should be allowed to do that."

The fair-minded Warden also has taken a stand against banning smoking in cars, which he says could be unfair to motorists who are driving through Belmont, unaware of the city's zero tolerance policy on secondhand smoke. But I'm not sure I understand how police will "mediate an agreement" between a resident who has no right to smoke in his own home and a neighbor who insists that he stop smoking.

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  • Jennifer||

    I have this sudden urge to move into a Belmont apartment complex and burn an entire box of incense at once.

  • ||

    Since most smokers learned the habit in a boy's bathroom in junior high, I predict this will change little.

  • ||

    Sounds like Belmont will be a good community to live in if you don't like smoke, and a bad one to live in if you do.

    Good thing there are many towns across our country with a variety of smoking policies competing for residents.

  • ||

    It is this kind of shit that is goind to turn us into a totalitarian state, if we already are not one. If you can't do an otherwise legal activity in your own home, what freedom do you really have? What is next, banning drinking at home? I bet it will be, at least in homes where children are present.

  • ||

    Scenario 1:
    Government: You have the freedom to smoke and be fined, or not smoke and be free of fines.
    Scenario 2:
    Employer: You have the freedom to try and organize a union here and be fired, or you can not organize and have a job.
    First scenario: Libertarian outrage at the restriction of choice inherent.
    Second scenario: Ahh, sweet freedom preserved!

  • ||

    And before someone types the libertarian cop-out, well that fellow was free to go to another employer, I'll add, that fellow in the first scenario was free to vote a different government into office, or barring that to move to another locality with like minded folks.

  • stephen the goldberger||

    Dan T's right. There will always be a demand for gov't infringing on my neighbor's rights. Hence why...I don't know...Libertarianism exists?

  • ||

    Sounds like Belmont would be a good place to live if it is your business what your neighbor does inside his own home. Good thing, oh nevermind.

  • ||

    Ken,
    you are so confused

  • ||

    Because there aren't enough ways the law favors the wealthy.

  • Brian||

    I am pushing for a ban on motorcycles in my neighborhood. Every morning a couple of my neighbors wake me up on their way to work with the noise. It really bothers me and I'm a big fucking whiner.

  • Rhywun||

    otherwise legal activity

    Don't worry, someone's working to correct that oversight.

  • squarooticus||

    And before someone types the libertarian cop-out, well that fellow was free to go to another employer, I'll add, that fellow in the first scenario was free to vote a different government into office, or barring that to move to another locality with like minded folks.

    Problem is that I can't vote a government into office. I am stuck with whatever the majority decides. This simple point seems to elude almost all non-libertarians, and even most non-anarchist libertarians.

    Can we finally destroy the meme that "democracy equals freedom"? Even the Iraqis can't be fooled into believing something so obviously false.

  • ||

    One of the differences, Ken, is that I can, by myself, switch employers. I can't singlehandedly change the govt I live under.

    Also, you do realize that your line of argument could be used to support any sort of govt intrusion.

  • ||

    Note - there is no distinction whatsoever between the government allowing you to live in your house in peace and an employer contracting you to work.

  • ||

    Democracy is NOT equal to freedom. It is possible (however unlikely) to have more freedom under an enlightened dictatorship (Hong Kong under the British) than under an illiberal democracy (Venezuela, Iraq).

  • Jennifer||

    Can we finally destroy the meme that "democracy equals freedom"? Even the Iraqis can't be fooled into believing something so obviously false.

    Democracy with no protection of minority rights is just oppression in pretty packaging.

  • ||

    Crimethink: I don't want to minimize the difference you mention, it is important. But compared to employees there really are only a handful of employers. It's a limited pool too(especially in some areas, like rural ones) and that's my point. I mean, theres a handful of governments within commuting distance where you live too...

  • ||

    Crimethink: I'm not sure my argument supports any form of government intrusion, though I'm open to you showing me how it does. I hope it does not, since I'm actually against government intrustions into my life (now my employers life, that's a different story sometimes, like the times when an intrusion on his life makes for more opportunity in mine).
    I was trying to show that there is more sin in this world than government restriction of rights; other institutions, like employers, can limit folks freedom pretty effectively. My wife once worked for a place which had a policy of counting keystrokes of their employers. Now THAT's totalitarian!

  • ||

    Because there aren't enough ways the law favors the wealthy.

    Well put, Warren, very well put.

  • Robert||

    I'm not sure I understand how police will "mediate an agreement" between a resident who has no right to smoke in his own home and a neighbor who insists that he stop smoking.

    Usually some sort of payment works for that sort of thing.

  • ||

    Radley'll have something to write about soon enough... after a SWAT team, executing a no-knock warrant issued to investigate a report, from a confidential informant, that there is a "cigarette smoker" in Apartment 4B, kills another grandmother burning off a Marlboro Light in the bathroom.

    CB

  • ||

    Problem is that I can't vote a government into office. I am stuck with whatever the majority decides. This simple point seems to elude almost all non-libertarians, and even most non-anarchist libertarians.

    What law says you have to live in Belmont or any other community where you don't like the rules?

  • ||

    One of the differences, Ken, is that I can, by myself, switch employers. I can't singlehandedly change the govt I live under.

    Except you can move.

  • ||

    I am pushing for a ban on motorcycles in my neighborhood. Every morning a couple of my neighbors wake me up on their way to work with the noise. It really bothers me and I'm a big fucking whiner.

    This gentleman is definately city council material. Pay your dues to the Nanny, oops, make that Democratic party. Brian, you're a shoo-in.

  • ||

    Democracy with no protection of minority rights is just oppression in pretty packaging.

    But not as oppressive as outsiders telling a community how to best govern themselves.

  • ||

    ken:

    Why do you feel there is a distinction under the law between you and your employer? You are fine using the force of law to create more opportunity for yourself at someone else's expense based on what exactly? Job opportunity is created by employers, what if your actions to create more opportunity for yourself limit the growth (i.e. the number of jobs) of your employer such that 100 other people get screwed?

  • ||

    Hmm... I didn't realize that Ken and Dan were in such favor of The Free State Project.

  • ||

    "But not as oppressive as outsiders telling a community how to best govern themselves."

    So, you acknowledge no rights whatsoever? That is, everything is up for a vote?

  • ||

    The arguement that someone can just move to another local-government relies on the assumption that the government (local, state, federal) has some right to your property. If the apartment building owner wanted to only rent to non-smokers and impose penalties on those that smokes, most libertarians would have no problem with this because it is the right of the property owner to manage their property the way they see fit. In order for that same logic to apply to a whole township, you have to assume that the government in some way "owns" it.

  • Jennifer||

    Libertarians deserve the callous reputation we have. Every time you feed a troll, you steal food from the mouth of a hungry child.

    Stop starving little children, Jason.

  • ||

    But not as oppressive as outsiders telling a community how to best govern themselves.

    You twit! You just completely destroyed every bit of trolling you've built! Let me show you:

    "But not as oppressive as outsiders (aka federal government, state government, etc.) telling a community how to best govern themselves."

    It's like.. the ultimate argument for limited and small government and YOU just made it! HA! My day is turning out better than it previously looked.

  • ||

    The arguement that someone can just move to another local-government relies on the assumption that the government (local, state, federal) has some right to your property.

    Well, yes. My front yard is owned by me but it is not an independent nation.

  • ||

    So, you acknowledge no rights whatsoever? That is, everything is up for a vote?

    Of course, Dan and Ken do not see a difference between the government violating your rights to privacy, private property, etc... and an employer excersing a contract clause. Because after all you are only free to do what the government says, otherwise you are violatin the 'social contract'.

  • ||

    "Job opportunity is created by employers, what if your actions to create more opportunity for yourself limit the growth (i.e. the number of jobs) of your employer such that 100 other people get screwed?"
    Job opportunity is created by employers of indentured servants, what if your actions to create more opportunity for yourself and other indentured servants limit the growth (i.e. the number of indentured servitudes) of the employer such that 100 people get screwed?
    The same fun can be had by inserting child laborer (in fact, I've noticed that the same neo-classical economic theory which has been used on this thread many a day to oppose minimum wage, OSHA, etc., can be used to argue against child labor laws, I mean, if these kids and there parents want GROWTH and CONSUMERS WANT CHEAPER PRODUCTS and we want ECONOMIC EFFICIENCY lets put these 10 year olds to WORK!).

  • ||

    So, you acknowledge no rights whatsoever? That is, everything is up for a vote?

    I wouldn't go that far - I'm fine with the idea that civilizations adhere to a basic set of human rights. The most important one really is the right to leave any community that you don't wish to be a part of.

    One point I'm getting at here is that if you say "everybody has the right to smoke" then you're also saying "nobody has the right to live in a smoke-free area". Either way some people lose.

  • ||

    You twit! You just completely destroyed every bit of trolling you've built! Let me show you:

    "But not as oppressive as outsiders (aka federal government, state government, etc.) telling a community how to best govern themselves."

    It's like.. the ultimate argument for limited and small government and YOU just made it! HA! My day is turning out better than it previously looked.


    In that case, Reason's complaints that towns like Belmont should not be allowed to ban smoking is the ultimate argument for large and obtrusive government.

    I'm really not a fan of "big government", believe it or not. But I do recognize the concept of community liberty in addition to personal liberty. The trick is to find a balancing act between the two.

  • Rhywun||

    other institutions, like employers, can limit folks freedom pretty effectively

    In my experience, unions limited my freedom far more than employers ever did.

    what if your actions to create more opportunity for yourself limit the growth (i.e. the number of jobs) of your employer such that 100 other people get screwed?

    This reminds me of the NYC cops' union who recently gave themselves big fat raises in exchange for cutting the salary for new recruits to barely above minimum wage--with the entirely unsurprising result that recruitment dropped by two-thirds.

  • ||

    ""Job opportunity is created by employers, what if your actions to create more opportunity for yourself limit the growth (i.e. the number of jobs) of your employer such that 100 other people get screwed?"
    Job opportunity is created by employers of indentured servants, what if your actions to create more opportunity for yourself and other indentured servants limit the growth (i.e. the number of indentured servitudes) of the employer such that 100 people get screwed?
    The same fun can be had by inserting child laborer (in fact, I've noticed that the same neo-classical economic theory which has been used on this thread many a day to oppose minimum wage, OSHA, etc., can be used to argue against child labor laws, I mean, if these kids and there parents want GROWTH and CONSUMERS WANT CHEAPER PRODUCTS and we want ECONOMIC EFFICIENCY lets put these 10 year olds to WORK!)."

    Er, Ken. I need you to focus here. We started out with you wanting to use the law to create more opportunity for yourself. If the only argument you can muster in favor of OSHA and child labor laws is that they create opportunity for you, then, yes all of those laws should go. I don't think that is the argument you want to make, though.

  • Dan T-roll||

    Feeeed meeee!

  • ||

    Ryhun: Yeah, and no private employer EVER uses seniority for wages, eh? Or nepotism? Read some history, I teach criminal justice, look at how police recruits and officers were dealt with before police unions (like what brought on the Boston strike). In a union you have a vote, without you have what exactly? Are you gonna blow the police captain like in Police Academy?

  • Jennifer||

    One point I'm getting at here is that if you say "everybody has the right to smoke" then you're also saying "nobody has the right to live in a smoke-free area". Either way some people lose.

    And if you say "everybody has the right to freedom of religion" then you're also saying "nobody has the right to live in a Jew-free area." Either way some people lose.

    Go on and keep pretending that the right to be left alone and the right to force your neighbors to behave the way you think they should are exactly the same. Better yet, pretend that I'm arguing people should have the right to murder each other with impunity!

    (Yeah, to hell with the starving children.)

  • ||

    JasonL-I should think the argument is that they make much more opportunity for the millions of workers at the expense of the hundreds of employers. Its called math.

  • ||

    I don't know what community liberty is. Communities can oppress minority preferences through the democratic process very effectively - see the historical South.

    Federalism is a mechanism to check nationwide oppression, not an excuse to implement it on a community scale.

  • ||

    I teach criminal justice -Ken

    Zeus help us!

  • ||

    The arguments about second hand smoke's reputed dangers remind me of the arguments of the hazards associated with that killer weed, reefer, from the 1930s. IOW bullshit used to increase the busybodies' control over our lives.

  • robc||

    I'm fine with the idea that civilizations adhere to a basic set of human rights.

    How about we start with basic property rights then. If its legal and its on my property, the community gets no say whatsoever.

  • ||

    "JasonL-I should think the argument is that they make much more opportunity for the millions of workers at the expense of the hundreds of employers. Its called math."

    Really? Child labor laws are about creating more opportunity for non child workers? There isn't another key argument built in?

  • ||

    Reinmoose-You'll be happy to know I'm one of the very few that teach Hayek and Mises with some regularity. I just don't think they constitute some religion I should bow down before and offer sacrifices too.

  • ||

    JasonL-I imagine you are looking for me to talk about their immaturity and lack of capacity? We don't need to go there yet. Yes, it creates opportunity for the kids, the opportunity not to spend their young lives shoveling coal for 2 dollars an hour.

  • ||

    I just don't think they constitute some religion I should bow down before and offer sacrifices too.

    Neither do I, Ken. But, your reasoning powers leave something to be desired. Like the lack of ability to differentiate between my right to set contract terms in hiring someone to do something for me in exchange for my property vs. people 1000 miles away telling me what kinds of terms I can have in that contract. It also doesn't always benefit the worker, like you seem to suggest.

  • ||

    "It also doesn't always benefit the worker, like you seem to suggest."
    But what about when it does, eh?
    "my right to set contract terms in hiring someone to do something for me in exchange for my property"
    Why is that right sacrosant? You may have your advantage in property (which gives you an advantage in bargaining) due to your Dad's hard work, or his past rent-seeking, or some dumb luck. You have a moral right to that advantage why now?

  • Rhywun||

    look at how police recruits and officers were dealt with before police unions

    Look at how the public is being dealt with after police (and other public sector) unions.

  • ||

    ken:

    What I'm getting at is that if the only principle in play regarding child labor laws were their effect on non child wages and opportunity, you would never have been able to sell them as public needs. Those effects are ancillary to the primary purpose of the laws:

    1) Children can't rationally contract for themselves.

    2) Parents in certain circumstances and of a cirtain disposition can have perverse incentives to contract in a manner harmful to their own children.

    3) Children can be harmed by the practice.

    Those are the arguments that sell child labor laws, and libertarians broadly find them compelling (perhaps not the anarchist camp).

    Now, there is an economic argument in play. That is, the restriction of the labor pool tends to drive up wages. The libertarian response is, okay that isn't necessarily optimal under all circumstances, and we will keep that in mind when people want to make laws to keep Mexicans from working, but really this is an incidental effect to an invalid labor pool under our view anyway. If they can't rationally contract, they can't be market participants. We don't let kids vote, either.

  • ||

    "It also doesn't always benefit the worker, like you seem to suggest."
    But what about when it does, eh?


    See, this is what I meant when I said you lack the ability to reason and differentiate, qualities that I would prefer to have in a teacher. Someone else brought up the question of whether or not you would still approve of policies that would benefit the worker if it screwed over 100 other people and you just made some retarded comment about child labor. Negative externalities are a result of every policy, and we don't always know who they affect. The policies, in turn, may end up hurting people it was supposed to help.

    I'll tell you what Ken, the next time you hire someone to fix your roof, call me. I'll go over your income, medical history, investments, criminal history, educational background, outstanding parking tickets, skin color, etc. and come up with a fair set of contract terms that you can use to determine the terms of your contract with the roofer. Sound fair?

  • Roz||

    The most effective way to enforce this is by CAMERAS and SMOKE DETECTORS in the HOME.

    Along with VERY VERY strick LAWS that Prohibit the TAMPERING of these CAMERAS/SMOKE DETECTORS in your home.

    I believe that the CITY COUNCIL, the MAYOR, the POLICE, the Judges, the Lawyers, and civilians should have NO objections to these forms of SPYING equipment in the HOME...since they shouldn't be doing anything illegal anyway.

  • ||

    Reinmoose-Its entirely possible that you yourself lack the qualities that you would prefer in a teacher, I mean, I work for a private college and it strikes me you don't, so the market has spoken, eh?
    I'm confident that child labor laws (which early libertarians, following Mugatu in Zoolander, thought were too restrictive of children's freedom) and OSHA laws benefit more workers than they harm. You're free to argue otherwise (Reinmoose: "I was gonna start a business near a highly explosive natural gas leak, but since the government stopped me it ruined the beautiful chance for a dozen workers to bargain with their lives for the chance to feed their sick kids! The HORROR, the HORROR").

  • ||

    No, Roz. The most effective way is to intern everyone into large communal living areas where they can spy on each other 24/7. Then the populace will despise each other so much as to forget who the spies are reporting to. Using technology to do something that other humans can do is only effective if (as in the case of 1984) the purpose of the technology is to remind people that they are not free. If the goal is simply to have total control over everyone, human surveillance is the way to go.

  • ||

    Ken = incapable of arguing a point

  • ||

    Reinmoose=waahh, I don't like it when anyone argues outside my lazily accepted axioms!

  • ||

    Go on and keep pretending that the right to be left alone and the right to force your neighbors to behave the way you think they should are exactly the same.

    But you're the one who is saying that towns that you don't even live in should be governed based on your principles and not theirs!

  • ||

    I once used to smoke in my apartment patio. Then a new neighbor asked me to stop because the smoke drifted through her windows. I stopped.

    Notice the voluntariness of it all. No policemen, no fines, no angry city councilmen, no imprisonment for telling the cops to mind their own business, no dead grandmothers when the cops raided the wrong apartment for contraband tobacco.

    Liberty is people getting along without using the big spiked club of the state to get their way.

  • ||

    "I once used to smoke in my apartment patio. Then a new neighbor asked me to stop because the smoke drifted through her windows. I stopped.

    Notice the voluntariness of it all."
    And if you had said F#$k you and kept on, then what?

  • ||

    Ken,
    if what you want to play is "who can come up with the most disingenuous and absurd hypothetical," I will forfeit right now. You are the king.

  • Rhywun||

    I smoke in my apartment, and I'm sure the smoke goes into my neighbors' windows via the air shaft. In return I get occasional cigar smoke (which I despise) and cooking smells (which range from delicious to noisome). Nobody complains because in close quarters you learn to get along. People who complain about smoke have not learned that lesson, and had better not act surprised when people retaliate with petty complaints of their own.

  • ||

    The law won't affect apartment smoking because smoke won't go through walls, sickos claims notwithstanding. But an outdoor smoking ban is an exercise in tyranny. No one benefits except Big Pharma, who bribed the corrupt bastards on the Council.

    I'm hoping there is a lawsuit. If, so I'll contribute.

  • ||

    "and cooking smells (which range from delicious to noisome)."
    Or range from unhealthy to deadly, but whats that among neighbors?
    Reinmoose-It's absurd that smoke (at least the smell) can come in through a window or through the walls? Have you LIVED in an apartment or STAYED in a hotel room? That's what you think of as "the most disingenuous and absurd hypothetical?" Welcome to reality!

  • Roz||

    Please should just stop Smoking...and Drinking, and drugs, and fighting, and cursing, and robbing, and raping...

  • ||

    oh Ken, funny how neither of us ever said anything about the ability or inability of smoke or smells to travel through an apartment building. I do feel some sense of nostalgia for being accused of saying things that I never even implied... it sorta reminds me of my last girlfriend....

  • Rhywun||

    Or range from unhealthy to deadly, but whats that among neighbors?

    Well, unless they're inhaling chlorine for dinner, I think I'm pretty safe.

  • ||

    A group called "Smoke-Free Hawaii" is moving ahead with a proposal to ban smoking in condos and apartments for the entire state, after successfully passing a law banning smoking in restaurants and bars -- and fining the proprietors if people smoke within 20 feet of their establishments on public property they don't control.

    If you want a window on the next wave of statist lunacy, just watch the legislature in my state.

  • ||

    Dan Troll said: "Sounds like Belmont will be a good community to live in if you don't like smoke, and a bad one to live in if you do.

    Good thing there are many towns across our country with a variety of smoking policies competing for residents."

    Sounds like Belmont will be a good community to live in if you don't like FREEDOM, and a bad one to live in if you do.

    Good thing there are many towns across our country with a variety of DEGREES OF FREEDOM competing for residents.


    Fixed those typos for you, danno.

  • ||

    "One of the differences, Ken, is that I can, by myself, switch employers. I can't singlehandedly change the govt I live under."

    Dan Troll says: "Except you can move."

    True enough on the surface -- until the statists in congress copy this law and apply it nationwide. Oh, wait, but then we can move to a beacon of freedom like, say, Afghanistan, so our rights to live our lives in our own homes without nanny statists siccing cops on us is still theoretically intact, yeah?

  • ||

    Ken said: "The same fun can be had by inserting child laborer (in fact, I've noticed that the same neo-classical economic theory which has been used on this thread many a day to oppose minimum wage, OSHA, etc., can be used to argue against child labor laws, I mean, if these kids and there parents want GROWTH and CONSUMERS WANT CHEAPER PRODUCTS and we want ECONOMIC EFFICIENCY lets put these 10 year olds to WORK!)."

    Ken, the libertarian POV is to abolish child labor laws. My thirteen old child wanted to get a part-time job to pay for a few luxuries, and I had to explain to her that politicians (and statists like you, though I didn't mention you by name) had decided that it wasn't in her best interests to do so. To which she replied, "Who are these people, and what makes them think they know better than me what's best for me?"

    So, thanks to child labor laws, she's stuck at low-paying babysitting jobs instead of working for more pay at jobs where she'd enjoy working more. Thanks for taking away her choices. Big of you.

    The only child protection needed is the right to quit at any time -- and loving parents keeping tabs to make sure your kid's employer isn't ripping them off.

    Allowing kids the right to choose to work if they want to is not the same thing as involuntary servitude.

  • ||

    Well, unless they're inhaling chlorine for dinner, I think I'm pretty safe.

    Do you have any idea how many different carcinogens are in the smoke emitted while cooking steak to well done? You don't? Well i'm not willing to risk my life just so you can ingest incinerated food. Eat raw or move to another apartment/city. How many carcinogens are in that rug shampoo you used last week? I could smell it and I KNOW it's not good for me. Stop it or I'll call the cops. Don't get me started on your perfume or your dogs flatulence. If neighbors can't get along because of what are minor irritants, no legislation will ever change it.

  • ||

    J sub D,
    Your post would be funny if it weren't sadly true. Just flip a container over and look for the "This product contains ingredients known to the State of California to be hazardous to your health," warning box. If the government can decide to ban "second hand smoke" on the basis of supposed health effects it can ban ANYTHING that is even remotely "dangerous" no matter how small the risk, your steak included.

  • ||

    Kwix, that was precisely my point. I'm glad somebody got it.

  • ||

    Why stop at second hand smoke? Why can't I call the cops on my stinky co-workers? On my neighbors whose love of curry and onions is pathological? On people who fart in public restrooms?

    I demand the you recognize my rights under the logical extension of this solipsism - I should never have to even see anyone who offends me.

  • ||

    Re: JH and child labor laws and unions etc.

    we restrict the rights of employers in labor contracts because their is an imbablance of power that, if left unrestricted, often resulted in detriment to the society as a whole. (uneducated people, dead people, starving people etc. - read some of the muckrakers from the 1800's if you lack imagination or knowledge on this subject)

    Since all employers are benefiting from the society in which they operate, it is perfectly reasonable not to allow them to destroy that society in their selfish or simply short-sighted desire for unfair labor contracts.

    thought experiment: how rich would any one person become without the benefits of the society around them? simply surviving would be an amazing success - so please do not try to argue that employers are not benefiting from the society in which they are embedded.

  • ||

    And if you had said F#$k you and kept on, then what?
    Then it would have been up to the apartment manager. Notice the continuing lack of police, batons and guns in resolving this dispute.

  • ||

    Good point Z.
    "So, thanks to child labor laws, she's stuck at low-paying babysitting jobs instead of working for more pay at jobs where she'd enjoy working more. "
    Jh, maybe if you're lucky your kid could work a 70 hour week like they did before the nanny state stepped in, eh? Whatta childhood!

  • ||

    In reply to this: "So, thanks to child labor laws, she's stuck at low-paying babysitting jobs instead of working for more pay at jobs where she'd enjoy working more. "

    Ken said: "Jh, maybe if you're lucky your kid could work a 70 hour week like they did before the nanny state stepped in, eh? Whatta childhood!"

    Ken you're wrong on so many levels. I won't permit my child to neglect her schooling by working 70 hours per week. She wouldn't choose to subject herself to that, either. The kids who worked in factories in the bad old days generally did so because the alternatives available at the time -- working those hours or more on the family farm for less pay, starving to death, etc. -- sucked big time. Government interference via child labor laws produces bad consequences, other than laws preventing children from being forced to work against their will. And NO -- repeat, NO -- system of government produces a misery-free world. If you permit people to exercise their free agency, some of them will screw it up. If you try to use government to take away their agency, some will still screw things up, and others who would otherwise do OK will get screwed over by the intervention.

    Are you really saying that my daughter -- not some random theoretical waif in the coal mines a century ago, but my daughter -- is better off because people like you took away her choice to work 5-10 hours a week at a job both she and her employer would consent to her working?

    Your intentions may be admirable, but the reality of what you uphold here sucks and makes people's lives worse. You're exploiting vulnerable people to massage your self-image of being a good person. That's reprehensible.

  • miche||

    So, thanks to child labor laws, she's stuck at low-paying babysitting jobs instead of working for more pay at jobs where she'd enjoy working more.



    My kiddo is living that experience right now. She will be 16 this summer and cannot work until then. In fact, many companies in our area don't hire until 18.

    Another goofy thing: I took her today to register at the community college here. She is to be a HS JR next year and has As and Bs in Honors and AP classes. She wants to take 6 hours this summer. The college told me that I have to get permission from the ISD for her to attend. I balked at that and asked why my permission isn't sufficient for her to study. They had no clear answer. I asked what the response would be if she dropped out of the ISD, got a GED and came back. The counselor looked at her scores and said she would be admitted without problem. We should be able to get the HS counselor to sign off tomorrow, but we are considering the GED avenue anyway.

  • ||

    Smoke drifting in your window??? Well close the damn window.

  • ||

    Ken -- to make the difference between our philosophies clearer -- we are really arguing about what kind of laws prevent the abuse of children being forced to work without their consent. You're taking the position that ANY form of formal labor, no matter how few hours and no matter how light the labor, below the age of 16 violates the principle of consent. You're saying these children are incapable of making informed consenting decisions, but at age 16 they abruptly become able to do so. You've offered no concrete examples in the here and now to support this argument.

    I say this is nonsense. Kids well below that age can voluntarily consent to some form of compensated labor without being harmed. As a libertarian, I fully support some law to ensure that the choice the child makes is in fact voluntary. Some concrete examples of how what I am advocating makes people's lives better:

    1) the case of my 13 year old daughter previously cited
    2) my wife worked her tail off growing up on a farm. As a result, according to her, she got the work attitudes that allowed her to become a successful orthopedic surgeon, benefiting her and all her patients.
    3) If a runaway girl fleeing abusive parents is below the age of 16, she can't get legal work to support herself. She is likely to turn to prostitution. She is greatly harmed by this law you defend that makes you feel good about herself. Under what I'm proposing, she would have opportunities that, while admittedly not great, are WAY better than the prostitution you would subject her to.

    So, where's the real-world examples to support your POV?

  • ||

    Correction in my previous post:

    "makes you feel good about herself" should have read "makes you feel good about YOURSELF"

  • peter jackson||

    Ken's argument about child labor might have made sense in the 19th century when 90%+ of the population lived or worked on farms thus providing industry with a virtually endless supply of labor.

    But that's not the situation we face today. We no longer live in the infancy of industrialism. Farms are down to 1% of the workforce. The supply of workers which in the past enabled employers to exploit their employees is long gone, so today these laws mostly produce outcomes wholly unintended by those who enacted them in the first place, undesirable outcomes.

    As far as Belmont goes, when a democratic government constrains one group of citizens by crossing their property line into their homes and regulating their behavior like this, what we're really seeing is another group of citizens (the "majority") the power to regulate behavior in the homes of others. In other words, we're not talking about the government vs. the people so much as we're talking about one group of people vs. another group of people. After we've done that, it's merely an issue of who has the stars on their bellies and who doesn't.

    yours/
    peter.

  • ||

    Sure is nice of smokers to provide the country someone to look down on and pick on.
    I don't smoke and it makes me want to.
    Let's all start chewing and spitting.

    Hey, does that dog scare you, the one on a leash, and does that perfume bother you,
    or the guy without deodorant?

    You know, it is proven that people who smile live longer. I don't want to see anyone not smiling at me.

  • jomama||

    Let's all be good little boys 'n girls,
    complying with all our Glorious Leaders'
    directives.

  • ||

    Several folks have said "those chold labor laws may have been necessary in the bad old days, but they are just harmful in these great, swell, time." So why are these times so, well, swell? Maybe its partly the product of an infrastructure of protections our governments have for workers and children alike? Start chipping away at these, a minimum wage law here, an overtime law there, a child labor law here, a workplace safety law there, and you don't think we'd start seeing exploited children and workers, 60 hour work weeks, workers dying in factory fires, and all the things that were, er, REAL WORLD EXAMPLES that kept occurring and occurring until our government, which was always loathe to do jack for workers finally put stops to them. Whaddaya think is different now, employers are kind and understanding? Get real.

  • ||

    jh-I've already given you all the real world examples you need (its called US HISTORY my friend, where without such laws children were exploited terribly). But of COURSE such laws were never intended to protect upper class children like mine or yours. They were intended to seel the children of the poor, ignorant and desperate who would be tempted to be a party to their childs exploitation. And hey, there's still PLENTY of such parents around:
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE3DD113AF93AA35752C1A96F948260
    You don't think this woman would work her kid 70 hours a week (and take the pay) if she could?

  • ||

    "You're exploiting vulnerable people to massage your self-image of being a good person. That's reprehensible." - jh

    Well stated jh.

    3) If a runaway girl fleeing abusive parents is below the age of 16, she can't get legal work to support herself. She is likely to turn to prostitution. She is greatly harmed by this law you defend that makes you feel good about herself. Under what I'm proposing, she would have opportunities that, while admittedly not great, are WAY better than the prostitution you would subject her to.

    Impossible! Our Holy Government will take care of her. First, our programs wouldn't allow her to be abused! We'd provide ..err.. counseling! There would be intervention programs and the state would bestow her a new, loving, thoughtful, guardian!

    As for the smoking bans in Hawaii, the last time I was there visiting my sister she was parading them to me as some great achievement (forgetting that I'm from NY State, where smoking in public places has been illegal for some time now). I haven't heard anything about the ban on smoking in condos or apartments, but I'm sure she'd be thrilled.

  • ||

    To draw some distinctions:

    I view child labor laws as currently excessive (I would have an exploitation standard far higher than what we have now), but conceptually sound, for the reasons mentioned above.

    I view OSHA with much greater skepticism. I'd rather let wages and civil law take care of dangerous workplaces. Some jobs are just dangerous.

  • ||

    Jennifer wrote:
    Libertarians deserve the callous reputation we have. Every time you feed a troll, you steal food from the mouth of a hungry child.

    Stop starving little children, Jason.


    You are the wind beneath my wings. :)

  • ||

    What I don't understand is if it's really NOT about the money, and it's as harmful as claimed (in that your use of it in the manner it's intended KILLS people nearby), then why isn't it illegal? Any anti-smoker who does not push for the illegalization of the manufacture, sale, and use of tobacco is a money-grubbing hypocrite. Funny how the anti's and the government will take a smoker's money hand over fist but will not allow them anywhere. Seems to me that money would be blood money, considering it's money gotten from allowing smokers to continuing killing others. Hey, that makes the government and the anti's accessories to any deaths from SHS since they began telling us people can die from second hand smoke!

  • ||

    Ken -- you're ducking my question. I've already stipulated that I strongly support a aw that ensures that any compensated labor by minor children would be voluntary. This law could, for example, ban the 70 hour work week you are so fond of parading. It could ban certain hazardous jobs. So, once again, are you stating that you believe that children under the age of 16 are incapable of giving their voluntary consent to work for any hours at all, in any place at all, under any circumstances at all? Is it really your belief that it is, for example, child abuse for a 15 year to voluntarily choose to work for 10 hours per week at a shoe store? Is it really your belief that a 14 year old child fleeing abusive parents is better off being forced to deal drugs or turn tricks to stay alive than having the awful, soul-destroying freedom to choose to work at a fast food restaurant?

  • ||

    Great Idea from the geniuses of Belmont Californ-I-A. Let's test the law from the smoke and pollutants coming from the tailpipe of their cars first and see how that works. If you want to be fair, you gotta play fair.

  • Dreggas||

    Unbelievable, and I am sure that the cops have so few important matters to attend to that they will just run right out and enforce this.

    Just to be a complete PITA I would introduce a measure to ban S.U.V's just to show how stupid this really is. After all Gas guzzlers produce a lot more pollutants than my single cigarette.

  • tangible||

    Holy shit, reading through these comments is like a walk down memory lane! Now I remember why I finally gave up on the LP and quit my subs to magazines like Reason back in the last century: you people live in an ivory tower, and it so fucking obvious to everyone but you! It's a fantasy world! You live inside your head. Even the trolls in this thread hail from their own ivory towers; arguments from both sides are totally disconnected from the real world outside your perfect ideas. Your glib, pat, precious little ideas.

    The market has spoken. The invisible hand has moved. You are the fringe.

  • ||

    Don't all of these laws regarding smoking and second hand smoke affect interstate commerce? According to the U.S. Constitution, doesn't the U.S. Congress have sole authority to regulate commerce among the several states.

  • ||

    Re: Belmont Smoking Ordinance

    Where is the ACLU? Why are they not stepping up to stop this nonsense? In some sense these actions could fall under Hate Crimes, just listen to the Council Members on their Web Site at
    Belmont.gov. - According to the Council, every smoker in Belmont (other than owners of detached single family homes) must stop smoking within a short period of time or get out of town. Put this up before the voters - a handful of Council Members should keep their dictator noses out of it.

  • ||

    I thought US was the land of freedom!
    What I see are freedoms and civic rights being taken away from citizens!
    One of these days us residents can't leave home without permission!

  • ||

    I leave in a free country.
    In Portugal we preserve our privacy.
    The guys from belmont are crazy or, worst, stupid.

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