Creeping Bloombergism

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Putatively "grassroots" groups supported by massive grants from the neo-prohibitionist Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have been sweeping the country like locusts, passing comprehensive smoking bans in city after city. Washington, DC, could be the next notch on their belt in as little as two months, with very little public debate, or even public awareness of the proposal. Most residents are so accustomed to being able to light up in bars where the owners have decided to permit smoking that they believe "it can't happen here," giving the prohibitionists a free hand.

I'm delighted, therefore, that there's a concerted effort to fight the sterilization of DC: Ban the Ban. Check out the just-launched website and see what happens when the professional nannies have to face some actual resistance.

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  1. Live in DC, don’t smoke, hope the anti-smoking crowd gets their asses kicked. This town has enough useless bloody regulations already. Case in point:

    Go to get a marriage license: First of all I have to spend $10 to get someone to transcribe my blood test results onto a blue card. “Check or Money Order, we don’t accept cash.” Then, go one building over to get the actual license and “that’ll be $45. Cash or Money Order, we don’t accept checks.”

    I won’t even get into the debacle that is registering a car. It takes MONTHS.

  2. How will Dr. Dean reach out to the Marlboro Man?

    I expect in this arena the Nannies will fare well, as smoking is a proven killer. One of the hardest rights to defend is the right to hurt yourself.

  3. One of the hardest? I’d think that it was one of the easiest…

  4. Smoking is a proven risk factor, not a proven killer. The majority of smokers die from something else.

    If you aren’t free to take risks, then you aren’t free at all.

  5. I’d think so, too, but that doesn’t seem to be the way the world works.

  6. The way it gets argued is that if I choose to take risks, is must be crazy, or at least unfit to decide my own fate. Then the Nannies step in and freedom wafts away with the smoke.

    Rarely do people decide to rationally disagree. Even with nonsmokers opposed to smoking bans, righteous Nannies don’t seem willing to concede merit to the opposition. Smokers are now only asking to preserve places to smoke freely, not insisting they puff everywhere.

    Tangential semantics…if a minority of only one smoker dies from smoking, that is a proof.

  7. R.C. Dean,

    Hmm, well, true to a point; but smoking does increase your risks for a whole host of diseases, including nasty things like pancreatic cancer, heart disease, etc. So yes, they may be dying of other things besides say lung cancer and other ailments of the lungs, but smoking is increasing the risk of death from those other diseases.

  8. JB- reseach is starting to show that smoking is related to many health problems, but only if you are genetically susceptible to those problems to begin with.

    All of my grapdparents in Ireland smoked from age 10 to their 80s, none had lung cancer or heart disease. However, they did all go bonkers in their 70s.

    Maybe I’m genetically susceptible to potatoes?

  9. Isn’t the issue in “creeping bloombergism” one of property rights and choice vs. health issues or business? No one is really going to argue that smoking doesn’t have adverse affects on the body. OTOH, it seems that people know this and accept any risk when they freely enter an establishment that permits smoking. Doesn’t the property owner have the right to allow smoking in his establishment?

    Shouldn’t the pro-smoking in bars folks push this issue? It seems evertime cons/libertarians try to argue a point they usually don’t even bother arguing on principle and just go for the pragmatic approach, which isn’t as effective.

  10. yelowd,
    I’d argue that pushing the property rights issue is exactly what Ban the Ban is trying to do. Does it come across as doing otherwise?

  11. Have the links between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Bin Ladin been established yet?

    Why else would this prohibitionist organization exist except to funnel money from smuggled untaxed smokes back to Al Queda?

  12. Vive la Resistance!

  13. It seems they are pushing the property rights issue, while smartly presenting the economic impact. They have to do both, I’d say. But judging by the logic used by the pro-ban folks on the forums, they don’t seem to give two hoots about private property. This shouldn’t be a surprise.
    My comment was more on the discussion that was occurring on this forum. Too often, debate breaks down into a fight over statistics. Principle is the only thing that you can really argue without having to depend on your side having the better scientist or data interpreter.
    I’d say this is where the oldschool conservatives went wrong a while ago. They abandoned the high ground of principle and started trying to get things done by presenting statistics.

  14. I second yelowd’s Nov. 8 post. Because next it will be use of alcohol. Then imbibing high-cholesterol food. Then imbibing anything non-vegetarian. Or not getting your flu shot.

    The question is, Where does it stop?

    Isn’t there a right to free association/assembly? If a shopkeeper/bar put up a sign that said “smoking is hazardous to your health, we allow smoking in this establishment, stay at your own risk” haven’t they given fair-notice, and aren’t the patrons then allowed the right of free association/assembly?

    Or are we not allowed to think for ourselves at all?

  15. Julian appears to be terribly offended that powerful national interests are setting up fake grassroots organizations. Good for you!

    I wonder if Ban the Ban is passing out those cool Smokers Rights lighters that RJR Nabisco etc give you for signing their petitions.

  16. Julian appears to be terribly offended that powerful national interests are setting up fake grassroots organizations. Good for you!

    I wonder if Ban the Ban is passing out those cool Smokers Rights lighters that RJR Nabisco etc give you for signing their petitions.

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