England Goes the Way of Ireland

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No more smoky pubs in England, where Parliament voted this week to ban smoking in all public indoor locations. As with similar measures in the U.S., the ban was sold as an employee protection measure. But it's clear that, from a "public health" point of view, the main goal is not protecting bystanders from secondhand smoke so much as protecting smokers from themselves. Patricia Hewitt, the British health secretary, explicitly likens the smoking ban to a paradigmatic example of paternalism:

The government says around 600,000 people will give up smoking when the new law is enforced. "This bill is going to save thousands of people's lives," Ms. Hewitt said, comparing the ban to the legal requirement to wear safety belts in cars.

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  1. Those 600,000 (if we are so naive as to believe this number) will consist entirely of casual smokers for whom the habit poses little risk. Your hardcore smoker who is actually damaging his health will not give up smoking just because nanny says so.

  2. I’m sure Ms. Hewitt’s constituents voted for her to be their MP. Little did they know that she was running to be their mother.

  3. Why do Iraqi insurgents waste time making and planting bombs, anyway? All they have to do is smoke a cigarette upwind of American and british troops, who will then either run away screaming or instantly drop dead of lung cancer.

  4. “What a sterile new world, that hath such people in it.”

  5. Help!!!!!
    Help!!!!!

    Save me from myself!!!!!!!

  6. I predict a huge upswing in private clubs in London. They’re already more accepted than here (i.e., men-only clubs and the like). Not a big deal to simply require membership.

  7. Ben Youdan, of the group No Smoking Day, said, “Compromises can’t be made when protecting people against a killer.”

    So when are they going to make automobiles illegal?

  8. Even though I am not sure that it will really save people’s lives by causing them to quit smoking…I for one am thankful for an upswing in these laws! It’s so nice to be in a place without leaving smelling terrible, and your eyes aching.

  9. All they have to do is smoke a cigarette upwind of American and british troops,…

    “I’m gonna go smoke some Americans” would get a whole new meaning, eh?

  10. linguist,
    The ban also includes private clubs too. So you can’t sidestep it by simply requiring memberships at the door.

  11. Isaac, these new laws are turning Westerners into such pussies I wouldn’t be surprised if Grenada successfully invades us within the next 20 years.

  12. Damn, the RPG hath gone the way of the dodo…now it’s all carpet humper all the time.

    I am sad.

  13. I for one am thankful for an upswing in these laws! It’s so nice to be in a place without leaving smelling terrible, and your eyes aching.

    And there you have the actual reason for these laws.

  14. It’s funny how many of you equate smoking with manliness. Remember how the Marlboro Man died–of a horrible smoking-related disease. Equating smoking with manliness just shows how stupid you are in falling for all the advertising you’ve seen over the years. Yes, that speaks to your intelligence.

  15. Rufus, I don’t equate “smoking” with “manliness”; rather, I equate “unmanliness” with “neurotic refusal to do anything that might possibly be the slightest bit dangerous, and insistence that the government should ensure nobody else can do anything the slightest bit dangerous, either.”

    Oh, no! Somebody is smoking in the same room as me! AAAAAH! I don’t wanna die!

  16. The point, Rufus, is that regardless of anyone’s opinion on smoking, the government shouldn’t force private businesses to ban the practice. Bar owners should be able to run their bars as they see fit, not be forced to comply with the whims of some busy-bodied nanny statist.

  17. “It’s funny how many of you equate smoking with manliness.”

    No, it’s funny how badly you (intentionally?)misinterpreted what they were saying.

  18. I for one am thankful for an upswing in these laws! It’s so nice to be in a place without leaving smelling terrible, and your eyes aching.

    Like I told the guy who said he broke his leg in two places, “you gotta stay outa them places!”.

  19. “I for one am thankful for an upswing in these laws! It’s so nice to be in a place without leaving smelling terrible, and your eyes aching.”


    And there you have the actual reason for these laws.

    True, but fear not! The nannies will soon remove the motivation for going to “a place” by making good food and drink illegal.

  20. “Isaac, these new laws are turning Westerners into such pussies I wouldn’t be surprised if Grenada successfully invades us within the next 20 years.”

    With the help of those dastardly Red Chinese, no doubt: http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/mosher200602140810.asp

  21. Dammit, SR. How am I supposed to make jokes if reality keeps trumping sarcasm?

  22. The government is forced to take action because of the impolite actions of smokers. Were smokers civilized, they would first ask if anyone in the room minded if they smoked. Many people–now most of them, thank God–do have objections for perfectly good health and cleanliness reasons. Or does libertarianism mean you may harm and disrespect anyone just because you want to?

  23. “The ban also includes private clubs too.”

    That’s shocking. Truly.

  24. I thought the Marlboro Man ended up being a Brokeback kinda guy. Not judging. Just say’n..

  25. Remember: the purpose of government is to ensure that nobody ever has to deal with anything they find unpleasant.

    Corollary: non-smokers have the right to go anywhere in the world they please without having to smell smoke.

  26. Privately owned homes with children in them are next.
    You can take it to the bank.

  27. With the help of those dastardly Red Chinese, no doubt:

    Jesus H Christ, didn’t we have to smack Grenada down once already ‘coz they got cozy with the fucking commies? 🙂

    Actually a friend of mine from Jamaica told me some time ago that the Chinese have a diplomatic blitz going on in the Carribean. Their embassy in Jamaica is one of their largest. He thinks it is going under the radar of the Bush Administration.

    The linked article is the first time I’ve seen another reference to it.

  28. We now return you to the original thread. 🙂

  29. The government is forced to take action because of the impolite actions of smokers. Were smokers civilized, they would first ask if anyone in the room minded if they smoked. Many people–now most of them, thank God–do have objections for perfectly good health and cleanliness reasons. Or does libertarianism mean you may harm and disrespect anyone just because you want to?

    Ahh, but there’s the rub. Do non-smokers have a right to clean air or do smokers have a right to smoke where they please? Smoke is an externality, and it is difficult to define property rights for air. Thusly, if property rights were simple defined the two parties could bargain and come to a mutually agreeable solution. A Coasean solution, that is. An interesting feature of that solution is that no matter who pays whom the amount of smoke in the air ends up the same.

    Now, as this is sort of impractical for a bar (although if I were a bar owner I’d like to give it a shot), it seems to me that the best solution is to let the bar/restaurant owner decide who can do what in his/her establishment.

  30. The government is forced to take action because of the impolite actions of smokers. Were smokers civilized, they would first ask if anyone in the room minded if they smoked. Many people–now most of them, thank God–do have objections for perfectly good health and cleanliness reasons

    This is such a straw man. It’s one thing to say I dont wan’t smoking in my house, or to have to ask permission in someone’s private residence. In a situation like that, lighting up a cig without asking if anyone minds/objects would be the equivalent of spitting in someone’s eye.

    But in the case of private businesses where smoking is allowed, why should anyone have to ask or be mindful of non-smokers? The fact that smoking is allowed implies that people will most likely be smoking. There, the non-smoker should either have to deal with it, or find a place that doesn’t allow smoking.

    In either case, it isn’t up to the government to legislativly disallow smoking in places where people voluntarily go knowing full well that smoking will be taking place.

  31. The government is forced to take action because of the impolite actions of smokers. Were smokers civilized, they would first ask if anyone in the room minded if they smoked.

    Yeah, the “do you mind?” approach is really feasible in a bar or club filled with dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people. How about this compromise: clearly visible signs at the entrance to an establishment informing you whether or not the proprietor has decided to allow smoking within? That way you can freely choose to avoid said establishment if smoke irritates you or you are worried about possible effects of second-hand smoke on your health. Deal?

  32. “I for one am thankful for an upswing in these laws! It’s so nice to be in a place without leaving smelling terrible, and your eyes aching.”

    Huh. Could have sworn that there were non-smoking restaurants here in Columbus even before the smoking ban was put into place “in my best interest.” Could it be that what you want is not to have the right to be in “a place” or “some places” without being exposed to cigarrette smoke so much as you want the right to walk into *any and every* place without being bothered? Well, nice for you. What about smokers who want to sit around the bar and have a social smoke?

  33. Remember: the purpose of government is to ensure that nobody ever has to deal with anything they find unpleasant.

    Except taxes, tariffs, asset forfeiture, war, retaliatory bombings, surveillance, travel papers, security checkpoints…

  34. God damn, I’m getting sick and tired of the health-nazification (sorry, can’t think of a better word right now) of America. I am sick and tired of being told that every single god damn thing I do is “unhealthy” for me. The propaganda mill has convinced a significant portion of America that they can’t be happy unless they do every little thing in their power to ensure that they live a long, boring life. I’ve been seeing an increasing number of these types lately, and they don’t look any happier than the rest of us.

  35. “Except taxes, tariffs, asset forfeiture, war, retaliatory bombings, surveillance, travel papers, security checkpoints”

    Except those are the unpleasant things that the government forces us to endure in order that we don’t have to endure other things, like smoking, global warming, drugs, disparagement of our macho national image, etc.

  36. Rhywun: Just FYI, this particular freedom abridgement was Jolly Old England.

  37. I’m doing a survey, guys: do you think Rufus is a troll, or one of those people who honestly believes that his desires and comforts are the single most important factor to consider in any given situation, as well as a legitimate basis for law?

  38. Jennifer: Can it be both?

  39. Timothy, on a purely semantic level, no. It’s my understanding that a troll says things not because he believes them, but simply to get a rise out of others.

  40. Just FYI, this particular freedom abridgement was Jolly Old England.

    I know that. I was talking in general — replace “America” with, i dunno, “the West”, if you like.

  41. Goddamn.

    I know it’s probably a ‘good thing’ to stop people smoking but we British really are becoming so boring.

    In a few years we’ll all be smug, organic food eating, corduroy wearing, guardian reading, amnesty subscribing bozos.

    Christ, it will be like living in a GAP advert.

  42. Or does libertarianism mean you may harm and disrespect anyone just because you want to?

    Sigh. It’s tiresome to explain Libertarianism 101 yet again, but I suppose it’s necessary.

    As Dr. Noisewater points out, the owner of the establishment has the right to either allow smoking or not. People who don’t like smoking have the choice whether or not to go places where they know smoking is allowed. Now, it may possibly be the case that blowing tobacco smoke directly into the face of someone who has expressed an aversion to such may possibly be an actionable offense. I’m not sure if I want to go there, but theoretically it’s valid to look at that as “harming” someone. But simply lighting up? No, that’s not harming someone. If someone is that averse to tobacco smoke, the simplest solution is for that person to avoid places where he may encounter such. And as for “disrespecting” others, that’s not an issue to be enforced with the law, which uses force (sorry Jennifer) against violators. If you want to organize a mass showing of disrespect to someone who disrespects others, libertarianism (per se) has no position on that one way or the other. But leave the law out of it. Leave the law out of everything that does not already involve force (defined as the violations of rights), because that’s what the law uses. And one simply does not have the right to go to not be exposed to environmental smoke whereever one goes, even on someone else’s private property, which a club is.

    Does that answer your question?

  43. Rhywun:

    ah yes, the old “cross out machine gun and write in pizza oven” routine 🙂

  44. Jennifer: Point taken, but I think people who believe certain things and pick their forum to get a rise are just as troll-like. If I frequented, say, Daily Kos or LGF to spout my slightly right-leaning libertarian views.

  45. I know it’s probably a ‘good thing’ to stop people smoking

    Not really–it’s a good thing for people to stop smoking, but it’s not good to stop people from smoking. Same way it’s good to eat right and get sufficient exercise, but it’s bad to MAKE people eat right and get sufficient exercise.

  46. that’s not an issue to be enforced with the law, which uses force (sorry Jennifer) against violators

    Fyodor, I’m petitioning the government to make you stop being mean to me. If non-smokers have the right to go wherever they please without being subjected to behavior they dislike, then so too do non-purist libertarians like me.

  47. “This bill is going to save thousands of people’s lives,” Ms. Hewitt said, comparing the ban to the legal requirement to wear safety belts in cars.

    No, it won’t. If anything, a few people will die at a slightly later date. But to hear the health nannies talk, you’d think that we’re all immortal unless we choose to smoke, drink, or eat bad foods.

  48. None of you will get out alive.

  49. The really sad thing is that these smoking bans make it really hard to get stoned at concerts and shows. If no one is smoking tobacco, you can’t really hide smoking other things.

    I guess I’ll have to go back to doubling dosing ritalin before the show to get a good buzz going.

  50. The really sad thing is that these smoking bans make it really hard to get stoned at concerts and shows.

    Smoke beforehand–smuggle the THC in your bloodstream.

  51. Jennifer, you clearly didn’t read the rest of my post. Too eager to put me in my place!

    Anyway, I agree with you entirely.

  52. The really sad thing is that these smoking bans make it really hard to get stoned at concerts and shows.

    Smoke beforehand–smuggle the THC in your bloodstream.

    Or for really long concerts or festivals – brownies. Almost like time-release THC.

  53. I read your whole post, Mark–I’m just feeling picky today.

    You know, it’s a damned shame what’s happening to England these days–they were the first European nation to start down the road of individual rights (at least by the standards of their times)–where the hell did they go so horribly wrong? It’s like seeing a brilliant child with awesome potential who grows up to be a crack whore–what the fuck happened?

  54. I have no idea what’s happening in England.

    It’s just as if all of a sudden, no one’s got a sense of humour anymore. And people always have to blame someone for anything bad that’s happened to them.

    Why can’t people just shrug their shoulders and say ‘boy, I just got a cosmic screwing’.

  55. Or for really long concerts or festivals – brownies. Almost like time-release THC.

    All right, here’s a question I ask purely out of intellectual curiosity: I have a friend who tried making brownies (actually brownie-muffins) once, and put a goodly amount of primo stuff into each muffin, and absolutely nothing happened when my friend ate the muffins. Nada. Zip. Is there some special treatment you have to give the stuff before baking it, or what?

  56. Jennifer, high heat destroys THC, you have to use a double-boiler (so the temp doesn’t get above the boiling point of water) when you combine it to the butter.

  57. Jennifer,

    Yeah, well, we Purists are getting set to violently protest your blasphemous depictions of our beliefs, and that’ll teach you!!!

  58. Fyodor, your threats raise my blood pressure, which endangers my health just as surely as does secondhand smoke. You are so going to get it.

  59. The upside for libertarians is that we know this law will not be effectively enforced. It is far too complex a task for government to acheive.

    Outside city centres, pubs have never paid much attention to official closing times and I cannot think of many places where I have not seen people smoking something far stronger than mere tobacco.

    The sad thing is, while British police have been busy trying to enforce crimes of political correctness, the state has been failing to protect us against a rising tide of violent crime.

  60. Why should the business owner have the final say so? Merely because he “owns” the property, that is, because he has managed, by hook or by crook, to overpower and outspend his fellow citizens in a piece of the Earth on which he thinks he may do what he wants? Yet the govt imposes lots of restrictions on property owners–they may not murder on their own property, they may not cheat on their taxes there, etc etc. Similarly, the owner of a property may not enact “rules” which harm and endanger some. The property owner has an obligation–legal obligation–to manage his property for the benefit of the most. Smokers are now a minority in this country and what they’re doing is bad for them anyway, therefore it should be regulated.

    The day a smoker signs a waiver that the govt is not responsible for any of his medical care–not one cent–is the beginning of the day when he may privately injure himself in his own home. The rest of us should not have to pay for his habits and weaknesses. That means he gets no tax breaks, no Medicare or Medicaid should he someday find himself down on his luck or elderly, no tax breaks for health coverage his employer retains–nothing.

  61. The upside for libertarians is that we know this law will not be effectively enforced. It is far too complex a task for government to acheive.

    I think it will be similar to American drug policy–it’s not “effectively” enforced in the sense that drug use has been eliminated, but it’s enforced enough to make many people’s lives hellish, and seriously curtail people’s freedom.

    The sad thing is, while British police have been busy trying to enforce crimes of political correctness, the state has been failing to protect us against a rising tide of violent crime.

    Again I compare this to our drug policy–I’m still ticked off about the time a few years ago, when I was living in what turned out to be a bad neighborhood, and called 911 to report that a gang of thugs were beating the snot out of some guy right below my fourth-floor window. Absolutely nothing happened. But if I’d called those chickenshit donut-suckers to report a weak, skinny, harmless kid smoking a joint, I’ll bet half the force would have arrived to arrest him.

  62. I’m not so sure Mark. I think this ban will be pretty well enforced. And there will be the added disgrace of ‘citizen arrest’ type activities where po-faced fun destroyers complain at the top of their voices, whenever anyone has the temerity to invade their hallowed air space with second hand smoke.

    I for one, am going to enjoy these last few months of smoking by purchasing an elaborate cigarette holder and improving the aesthetics and performance-aspects of my nicotine habit.

    Bloody commies.

  63. The day a smoker signs a waiver that the govt is not responsible for any of his medical care–not one cent–is the beginning of the day when he may privately injure himself in his own home. The rest of us should not have to pay for his habits and weaknesses. That means he gets no tax breaks, no Medicare or Medicaid should he someday find himself down on his luck or elderly, no tax breaks for health coverage his employer retains–nothing.

    Not a far walk from there to regulating sugar& caloric intake, banning fried food, banning alcohol, mandatory hours on the treadmill etc.

  64. Beep, beep, beeeeeeeeeep (flatline)

    Rufus’s respect for property rights is officially dead. Let’s just all agree to DNR instead of spending too much time and energy on such a hopeless case.

  65. I guess Ruf is a cut above the usual troll – complete sentences, no CAPS – but really, its still pretty tiresome.

  66. I always new England was anti-fag.

  67. Merely because he “owns” the property, that is, because he has managed, by hook or by crook, to overpower and outspend his fellow citizens in a piece of the Earth on which he thinks he may do what he wants?

    Jennifer, I now vote “troll”. Or, he really doesn’t believe in property rights, in which case he’s beyond our help.

  68. Jennifer,

    There is no higher law than our Cause, so the law will simply be bent to allow our violent protests against you. Nevermind that such violence contradicts the principles of our Cause, showing our passion for our Cause allows us to violate its very tenets.

  69. Jennifer, just grind some shake in a coffee grinder and mix it in with the dry ingredients.

    You know, this smoking debate keeps coming up, and it seems to me that every time some lackwit chimes in with, “I for one am thankful for an upswing in these laws! It’s so nice to be in a place without leaving smelling terrible, and your eyes aching,” they either a) have no clue what the difference is between private and public property, or b) they don’t care.

    Most people seem to think a bar or restaurant is public property. The ones with the two working brain cells required to distinguish that such places are private property, are amazingly self-absorbed and suffer a sickeningly misplaced sense of entitlement. Okay, they say, I’m just glad I can traipse onto your private property and (thanks to a few politicians) have MY desires dictate what everyone is allowed to do.

    At least they aren’t pretending they are afraid of dying from secondhand smoke.

  70. Outside city centres, pubs have never paid much attention to official closing times

    I read that’s going to change with the recent change in closing times.

  71. But Fyodor, people who support your cause are in the minority. According to Rufus, that means the majority (me) can ride roughshod all over you.

    Pirate Jo–
    No no no no no. Not me–my friend.

  72. Is Rufus a communist?

  73. “The day a smoker signs a waiver that the govt is not responsible for any of his medical care–not one cent–is the beginning of the day when he may privately injure himself in his own home. The rest of us should not have to pay for his habits and weaknesses. That means he gets no tax breaks, no Medicare or Medicaid should he someday find himself down on his luck or elderly, no tax breaks for health coverage his employer retains–nothing.”

    Most smokers don’t get Medicare or Medicaid, because they don’t live long enough. If your argument held any water, I’d be first in line to sign one of those waivers, but I’m afraid you can’t use this one. In fact, I’d like to see some of those old geezers start smoking before they cost me a fortune with the new drug plan. Can we still allow smoking at shuffleboard tournaments?

  74. Rufus is not a communist, he is a liberal. Liberalism has been the dominant political movement in the 20th and 21st century. It’s what the majority of people want. Libertarianism has most definitely not.

    Notice too that property rights have eroded steadily over the last 400 years and there’s no sign of that trend changing.

  75. The way the law was enforced in Ireland, pubs were able to build “outdoor” areas that were indoors to all intents and purposes. I’m assuming something similar will happen in England.

    I don’t know what’s happened to England either. No one seems to have any fight in them. Maybe things have to get worse before they can get better.

  76. But Rufus, there are already lots of places in the world where collectivism (what you call liberalism) is valued more than property rights. I just wanted one stinkin’ little place in the world where I can live like an adult! Sheesh, where do we have to move to next? We can put up a big sign that says “legislative parenting is not allowed – but feel free to smoke.”

  77. They’ll get my Camel Straights when they prey them from my nicotine stained fingers.

  78. Liberalism has been the dominant political movement in the 20th and 21st century. It’s what the majority of people want.

    I thought liberalism also supports individual rights–you know, opposing discrimination against blacks or gays, for instance? What you are supporting is the subjugation of the individual to society at large.

  79. Hear Hear!

  80. Pirate Jo, how about moving to the far North, or perhaps Africa. There you will probably be free to slowly kill yourself, if that’s what you really want to do.

  81. Rhywun,

    I don’t know. He makes a number of arguments I’ve heard made deadly seriously elsewhere.

    Rufus,

    If one really believes that lighting up a cigarette is “harming” others the way murdering someone is, then it obviously should not be legal anywhere, including in the privacy of your own home. Well, I guess as long as anyone else could possibly inhale that smoke. The analogy gets strained at this point, I admit, but that’s because the premise is so absurd. Obviously the amount of “harm” is miniscule (probably even over the long run, but CLEARLY from any one incident), and many people wouldn’t even consider it harm, and it’s easily avoidable. If you visited someone in their home and they lit up without asking you, do you think that person should be arrested? Your position leads logically to the types of extremes Jennifer is lampooning just because of the distinctions I just made between smoking and murder. When “harm” is abstract, miniscule, subjective and easily avoidable, the law should not be involved in preventing it.

    Anyway, whether we agree on the issue, please note the distinctions that libertarianism makes as opposed to how you caricatured it. Libertarianism is mute on whether someone “may” exhibit what you or anyone else consider bad manners. The important point is that the coercion of the law should not be involved.

  82. “Is Rufus a communist?”

    No, he’s a snivelling bully.

  83. Jennifer: I also change my vote to troll from both. It’s the “what, just because he owns the place” that did it.

  84. “Pirate Jo, how about moving to the far North, or perhaps Africa. There you will probably be free to slowly kill yourself, if that’s what you really want to do.”

    Because people who smoked were here first, douchewit.

    If you don’t like it, why don’t you leave?

  85. Shhhh … nobody tell Rufus he’s going to die of something (or nothing) no matter what he does.

    But why should I be “protected from myself” anyway? Who does my body belong to, if not to me?

  86. Rufus is taking a bit of stick here. In his defence, he does have a cracking name.

    I believe the mentor of Bill and Ted shared the same title.

  87. Jennifer,

    Well, we’ll just have to riot in the Free State of New Hampshire then!! You have an embassy there, I hope…? A fast food chain…? Maybe there’s a hair salon there that caters to Redheads…?

    Hmmm, I better give up while I’m behind!!

  88. Rhywun,

    24hour drinking is coming (which our new “inclusive” Tory Party opposed on health grounds) but i think pubs need a special licence. As they need a licence before, I doubt they are going to bother now.

    I think how well this is enforced really will depend on where you live. I just can’t see a smoking ban making one iota of difference in any of the pubs I visit. Still, I am worried so many people supported this because they do not like the smell of smoke (I do not smoke – anything).

    I don’t know what has happend to England either. People don’t seem to have any fight in them. It seems we are affected by the same malaise as the rest of Western Europe though not to the same extent. I don’t know what it will take to break out, presumably something will have to go badly wrong.

  89. Pirate Jo, how about moving to the far North, or perhaps Africa. There you will probably be free to slowly kill and poison yourself, if that’s what you really want to do.

  90. Sheesh, I come to H&R because I think of it as an authoritarian-free environment and then Rufus comes in and threatens my well-being with his second-hand fascism.

  91. Oh,

    My last comment did post. I didn’t think it had.

  92. Maybe there’s a hair salon there that caters to Redheads…?

    Your implication that my red hair is a handicap which must be “catered to” is offensive hate speech. And calling me a “redhead” denies my essential humanity by ignoring all my unique qualities and focusing solely on the color of my hair, which is how Nature made me and is utterly beyond my control. You may as well call me a “ginger-nigger” for all your lack of respect.

  93. Rufus especially is not getting out alive. It’ll be lung cancer. I Am The I Am with a sense of irony.

  94. Jennifer,

    “liberalism also supports individual rights–you know, opposing discrimination against blacks or gays”

    was that supposed to be a joke? or does freedom of association=discrimination?

  95. Fyodor,

    The worrying thing about the ‘harm’ principle is that legal judgements are demonstrating an entusistic willingness to extend causation to the most tenuous and fragile of actions. Particularly with health, environment, personal injury…

    You rightly dismiss the idea of second hand smoke as a ‘direct’ cause as absurd. Unfortunately, many well paid and supposedly intelligent judges do not.

  96. Perhaps the Brits are not so far gone that an enterprising pub owner might not discover the “smoking bus” loophole his Yankee cousins devised over here.

  97. Oh, and Rufus most definitely is a troll. I quote:

    “The property owner has an obligation–legal obligation–to manage his property for the benefit of the most.”

  98. “The property owner has an obligation–legal obligation–to manage his property for the benefit of the most.”

    If that were true, then everywhere would be a McDonalds.

  99. Jennifer,

    You’re scaring me, now!!

    So I guess that means you’re the one harming my health!! HA-HA!!!

  100. Jennifer, You’re scaring me, now!! So I guess that means you’re the one harming my health!! HA-HA!!!

    Doesn’t matter, honeylamb. You are in the minority.

    Jennifer, “liberalism also supports individual rights–you know, opposing discrimination against blacks or gays” was that supposed to be a joke? or does freedom of association=discrimination?

    Am I right or wrong in saying that liberals generally oppose discrimination against minorities? Whether or not this defies libertarian philosophy is another matter.

  101. Similarly, the owner of a property may not enact “rules” which harm and endanger some

    So S/M clubs are out, too?

  102. Jennifer,

    I suppose you can be right about that in it’s literal sense. Like saying liberals generally support good health or equality. Seems to lack any real meaning, though. I’d say that the actions show that they support discrimination, though, while their words might not. Then again, the individual is the smallest minority… 😉

  103. Society, I think, would be much better off without holier-than-thou, sub-standard IQ’d do-gooding fun-haters.

    I, therefore, propose we put them all to death.

    For the children.

  104. “The government says around 600,000 people will give up smoking when the new law is enforced”

    RC:

    Those 600,000 (if we are so naive as to believe this number) will consist entirely of casual smokers for whom the habit poses little risk.

    I’m skeptical of the 600,000 figure as well. However, it’s not true that casual smoking poses little risk:

    Just One To Four Cigarettes Daily Triples Risk Of Dying Of Heart Disease Or Lung Cancer

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050922014942.htm

    The main reason for opposing these laws is that they are a restriction of individual liberty.
    But also, there is already a strong voluntary market dynamic afoot to ban smoking in many restaurants and even in a few bars. This dynamic could well have a positive effect on the health of smokers as well as social pressure is exerted on smokers to choose between their nonsmoking friends and establishments that allow smoking.

    Further, the throughput of allowing folks to protect their own health, such as by avoiding second hand smoke, is the fostering of a population that learns to take better care of themselves.

    Full Disclosure: I’ve never smoked tobacco in my life.

  105. Am I right or wrong in saying that liberals generally oppose discrimination against minorities? Whether or not this defies libertarian philosophy is another matter.

    I think the implication was that “opposing discrimination” contradicts the earlier part of you statement that says “liberalism also supports individual rights”.

    I believe in wellfellows opinion (correct me if I am wrong), opposing discrimination is equivalent to opposing freedom of association.

    What I am not sure of is if wellfellows point was that liberalism doesn’t in fact support individual rights or that merely your lumping in opposing discrimintaion as testament to supporting individiual rights was incorrect.

  106. It seems we are affected by the same malaise as the rest of Western Europe though not to the same extent. I don’t know what it will take to break out, presumably something will have to go badly wrong.

    I can picture smoking laws going out the window if any of a number of within-the-realm-of-possibility calamities occur: oil shortage, war with China, etc. etc. All the silly PC and health-nazism that we (the west) have indulged in is a result of being wealthy and having lots of time on our hands.

  107. ChicagoTom and Wellfellow, I mentioned the “black and gay discrimination” only as a counterpoint to Rufus’ absurd argument that liberalism is apparently all about letting the majority trample over the minority.

  108. ChicagoTom and Wellfellow, I mentioned the “black and gay discrimination” only as a counterpoint to Rufus’ absurd argument that liberalism is apparently all about letting the majority trample over the minority.

    Except for when the minority is Fyodor, of course.

  109. Rick,

    Just One To Four Cigarettes Daily Triples Risk Of Dying Of Heart Disease Or Lung Cancer

    One to 4 cigs a day, IMHO is not “casual smoking” but habitual. As an ex-smoker, me and my smoker friends viewed “casual smoking” as something that isn’t done on a regular basis (like daily) but was done here and there without any regular frequency.

    Once you start doing somehting “daily” you are a full habitual smoker, not a casual user.

  110. Jennifer,

    I didn’t take issue with what you stated, I was merely elaborating on what I thought wellfellow meant by his/her reply.

  111. “What I am not sure of is if wellfellows point was that liberalism doesn’t in fact support individual rights or that merely your lumping in opposing discrimintaion as testament to supporting individiual rights was incorrect.”

    In this context, I think it is very important to define what are “rights”. For example, the relevant question may be – “do you have a right to be employed by me?” Absent a contract, the answer is no. As such, my decision to not hire you because of your race, gender, etc., while likely noxious, is not a violation of any of your rights.

    As an underlying theme, it certainly does flow against the nature of libertarian thought to discriminate based upon negative stereotypes since libertarian thought starts with the premise that we are all individuals first. But you have to realize that sometimes racial or gender discrimination just is common sense. For example, if you are running a, ahem, gentleman’s club, you’re not likely to hire men, and you’re not likely to hire [race A] if you know your prospective customers prefer [race B].

  112. Jennifer/ChicagoTom,

    My only point was that liberalism, or maybe I should say, modern american liberalism, does not support individualism as evidenced by their ‘anti-discrimination’ laws, which are not, in actuality, anti-discrimination at all. (I think I worded that right.)

    So, “What I am not sure of is if wellfellows point was that liberalism doesn’t in fact support individual rights or that merely your lumping in opposing discrimintaion as testament to supporting individiual rights was incorrect.”

    I guess the answer is kinda both.

  113. Tim Cavanaugh,

    We need an FAQ that lists some of the key discussion threads about a particular topic. It gets tiresome to rehash the same old set of arguments each time a newbie shows up. It would be much more constructive to pick up a debate where it last left off vs. redoing the debate every single time.

  114. We need an FAQ that lists some of the key discussion threads about a particular topic.

    And this FAQ should contain the standard libetarian disclaimer, that just because we criticize something does not mean we think government should do anything about it.

  115. I’ve seen an uber-troll at another website called Rufus, but it was a hobby site. This guy is good enough that it just might be the same person. How odd.

  116. I insist on my minority rights to riot!!! Restricting that is discrimination!!!!

  117. I’ve always been curious about something noticed on my trips & stays in the UK. It’s usually the case that smoking cars on trains run empty. Strange, since there’s never any shortage of jer …, I mean smokers blowing it downstream from the smoking section in restaurants.
    I decided to investigate.
    Not being a manly man, I removed the Designer jacket, covered the hair (haircut + poofery = 45 Brit Pounds) with a Deerstalker & then covered the Deerstalker (Cost = 25 Brit Pounds) with a plastic bag before venturing into the smoking Car. Shortly, all was revealed. Seems that smokers were returning to the comfort of non-smoking cars to resume the sparkling conversation – for some strange reason they didn’t wish to linger long in the mellifluence of the smoking car.
    What a bunch of pussies ! Civilization is ending. Etc.

  118. Hem and haw all you want, call me names…but the fact remains that Liberalism and government regulation are and have been on the ascendency for over 100 years, and this trend shows no sign of slowing down. Not even under Bush. (Especially not under Bush.)

    Where has Libertarianism wrought? A couple of third party candidates here and there who are never elected. A few hundred people shivering in the cold of New Hampshire. The people have rejected Libertarianism. Soundly.

  119. The people have rejected Libertarianism.

    Actually, they are simply acting as Public Choice theory predicts they’d act. They express a libertarian mindset and vote to further their own interests.

  120. Perhaps the Brits are not so far gone that an enterprising pub owner might not discover the “smoking bus” loophole his Yankee cousins devised over here.

    Actually, I think it was a Canadian who came up with that one.

    But noone else can really tell the difference, can they?

  121. Actually, I think it was a Canadian who came up with that one.But noone else can really tell the difference, can they?

    Sure, a canadian is like an american, without a gun.

  122. Rufus,

    Assuming you’re serious, which I’m really beginning to wonder about, humor me about this: are there any political trends with which you do not agree? And does the trend going against your personal opinion prove that you’re wrong? Or does a particular position being held by the majority prove its correctness only when it coincides with your own?

    FWIW, no one here would dispute for one moment that government regulation is on the rise. But that hardly proves that to be a good thing.

    As far as “Libertarianism” being soundly “rejected,” a few things. One is that by capitalizing “Libertarianism” and by using the past tense, you seem to be conflating the libertarian philosophy with the Libertarian Party. While I would hardly claim a libertarian majority, libertarianism, both in its pure form and in its effect on mainstream thought, is much more popular than the vote tallies of the LP would indicate, for a variety of reasons. Furthermore, your use of the past tense implies a certain fatalism, but logically there’s no reason to think things cannot be reversed. And if I’m wrong, well I guess 1984 will just take a little longer than originally advertised, eh?

  123. Oops, apologies to our enterprising cousins, the Canucks. They have better beer too.

  124. “Just One To Four Cigarettes Daily Triples Risk Of Dying Of Heart Disease Or Lung Cancer”

    As opposed to … never smoking during your entire life, which triples your chance of dying of … old age. I don’t even smoke, but I’d rather have cigarettes get me than someone unplugging the ventilator!

  125. Where has Libertarianism wrought?

    First of all, that should be “what”. Secondly, something like “The vast and largely positive history of the United States and Western Europe since the 17th century” would be a good place to start.

    Do you think we’ve made this stuff up, Troll-y McTrollerson? Locke, Hume, Federalist Papers, Thomas Jefferson…shoulders of giants and all there, where on Earth do you think modern libertarian philosophy came from? Michael Bednarik?

  126. Do you think we’ve made this stuff up, Troll-y McTrollerson? Locke, Hume, Federalist Papers, Thomas Jefferson…shoulders of giants and all there

    …shoulders of giants and all that.

  127. Jennifer:All right, here’s a question I ask purely out of intellectual curiosity: I have a friend who tried making brownies (actually brownie-muffins) once, and put a goodly amount of primo stuff into each muffin, and absolutely nothing happened when my friend ate the muffins. Nada. Zip. Is there some special treatment you have to give the stuff before baking it, or what?

    There are lots of books on the growing, preparation and cooking of the herb. Apparently there’s quite a market for the “curious”.

  128. “The day a smoker signs a waiver that the govt is not responsible for any of his medical care–not one cent–is the beginning of the day when he may privately injure himself in his own home. The rest of us should not have to pay for his habits and weaknesses. That means he gets no tax breaks, no Medicare or Medicaid should he someday find himself down on his luck or elderly, no tax breaks for health coverage his employer retains–nothing.”

    Naturally those people who sign such a waiver will get a refund for their share of the NHS bill right? The reason people will never sign such a waiver is the British government will never consent to let them off the hook for the increasingly bankrupt and inefficent government oligarchy.

  129. “The day a smoker signs a waiver that the govt is not responsible for any of his medical care–not one cent–

    Will they also be exempt from the tobacco taxes which have always raised far more than the public health costs or any other externalities of tobacco use?

  130. Back in the 60s someone described England as “a decadent little island sinking giggling into the sea”.

    I’m trying to think of a way to describe her in the 00s of the new century.

  131. Just One To Four Cigarettes Daily Triples Risk Of Dying Of Heart Disease Or Lung Cancer

    Rick:

    Seems you’re the guy I’ve been looking for.

    I have a bridge for sale.

  132. Yes, of course smokers who sign a waiver saying that the govt is not responsible for *any* of their health care will not have to pay any taxes on their cancer sticks.

    Believe it or not, Fyodor, I am as worried as anyone about the coming of “1984.” I just think smoking borders on evil, is all. What *especially* bothers me is when smokers think they can toss their butts anywhere and everywhere they choose. For that they ought to be arrested.

  133. Isaac,

    How about Uncool Britannia?

  134. “…smokers are PIGS in the way they drop and flick their butts all over public and private property.”
    http://rufus11.blogspot.com/2006/02/now-were-talkin.html

  135. Christ, Rufus, if that sets you off that bad lay off the caffeine.

    There are no shortages of such “pigs” in Illinois, but it’s not remotely limited to smokers.

  136. What about drinking, Rufus? It plays havoc with your judgment, ruins your health, and turns European football matches into bile-spewing war zones.

    STILL, I’m surprised that no one noted that Rufus at least had a semblance of a useful thought here:

    “The day a smoker signs a waiver that the govt is not responsible for any of his medical care–not one cent–is the beginning of the day when he may privately injure himself in his own home. The rest of us should not have to pay for his habits and weaknesses. That means he gets no tax breaks, no Medicare or Medicaid should he someday find himself down on his luck or elderly, no tax breaks for health coverage his employer retains–nothing.”

    If you’re thinking this would be fair, then you seem to think that maybe individuals shouldn’t in general be burdened with supporting each other’s poor decisions. I agree. Why not extend the same principle to drinkers? What about to people who don’t bother to buy health insurance? What about people who don’t clean the mold out of their homes? What about people who work too hard and stay up too late?

    To you and I, maybe, all those people are stupid. We think we shouldn’t pay the price for their behaviors. But maybe you and I don’t know best for everyone. Maybe that guy who drinks and works too hard is barely supporting a family and his little tipple gets him through it. Maybe the smoker likes the feeling she gets from the smoke and it makes it easier for her to write her newspaper column.

    You and I really are being assholes if we think we know what’s best for everyone, Rufus.

  137. “Just One To Four Cigarettes Daily Triples Risk Of Dying Of Heart Disease Or Lung Cancer”

    Assuming for a minute that statement was true and you could attribute it to a single causation. What is the chance of you getting lung cancer or Heart Disease?

    I would wager that the tripling is statistically insignificant. If your chances before are 1 in 10,000 going to 3 in 10,000 it’s really an insignificant change.

    Unless of course you are an alarmist. Or the Robert Wood Johnson foundation. But I ramble…

    More disturbing to me is that even the Virginia state senate passed a comprehensive smoking ban for bars and restaurants…

    But Jefferson’s old stomping grounds seems to have a little more fight to them then England.

    http://www.dcexaminer.com/articles/2006/02/16/news/n_virginia_news/06newsv16smoking.txt

  138. I just think smoking borders on evil, is all.

    You have a funny idea of evil.

    What *especially* bothers me is when smokers think they can toss their butts anywhere and everywhere they choose. For that they ought to be arrested.

    Is already a crime, called littering. I guess the idea of criminalizing behavior that might lead to genuinely criminal behavior is one of the perennial disagreements libertarians have with others. But since you consider smoking to be bordering on evil, I wonder if it actually escapes you that you’d be penalizing all smokers for the actions of a subset.

    Yes, of course smokers who sign a waiver saying that the govt is not responsible for *any* of their health care will not have to pay any taxes on their cancer sticks.

    Yeah, and how about all the other taxes they pay for health care?!? A lot more than just smokers would choose to opt out of that deal if given the chance. That you only offer smokers such a raw deal helps demonstrate how impossible any such deal really is, and thus is just hot air.

    I am as worried as anyone about the coming of “1984.”

    I was making a tongue-in-cheek reference to your deterministic view of history combined with how I view increasing regulation. But then, Big Brother would be a fine way to make sure those bad-as-murderer smokers weren’t sneaking a puff thinking no one was watching!!

  139. God damn, I’m getting sick and tired of the health-nazification (sorry, can’t think of a better word right now) of America. I am sick and tired of being told that every single god damn thing I do is “unhealthy” for me.

    Take up cigar smoking. Light one up in a bar and the non-smokers act like you’re smoking a fetus.

  140. Only recently were pubs there allowed to stay open past 11:00 pm. I thought that a capital idea. Now they do something stupid like this to compensate for their earlier brilliance.

  141. I hope that it is discovered that a particular gene causes control freakishness. Then, I hope some mad scientist anarchist creates a deadly disease that kills all those with the gene. Yes, it would be a terrible thing, but afterwards, the world would be a wonderful place.

    How’s that for evil, Rufus?

    (I seriously hope you die a horrible, early death.)

  142. Rufus cannot demonstrate harm from environmental tobacco smoke in places where he’s not. Perhaps Rufus should get his majority pallys to designate their persons as “poison-free zones”. The when he walks by, Jennifer will have to eat her cigaret. When Rufus is across town being offended by fyodor’s cologne, Jennifer would be free to puff away.

    And Jennifer could designate herself a “Rufus-free zone”, since Rufus has waived any legal or logical requirement for regulation.

  143. Idiots, you lost the cold war! We won by forcing you to become us through laws like this one which protects no one, taxes everyone, pisses off everyone, creates hate toward anything official, raises little hitlers. When the goverment cares about your life more than you do…then your government is just like ours-commie red all the way. Soon you won’t be allowed to smoke in your car or home (owners of high-rises in California are working closely with real estate attorneys to force out smoking owners of condos) then you won’t be able to talk back to your government. Then you could come down here and start Soviet Union, part two, in which your taxes are low and respect for islam is not a requirement. No, you won’t be able to buy a forest but it’s ok, you don’t own any forests now, do you? Idiots we win you lose we win you lose we win you lose

  144. Refugee for Life: your writing is far from clear and frankly I have no idea what you’re trying to get at. In the meantime, Fuck You.

  145. Thanks to Rufus’ dynamic debating style – I bet troll as well.

    Or willfully ignorant of any possibilty that facts may countradict his/her point.

    I’m an optimist though – so I bet 13 year old with too much unrestricted internet access… er.. I mean troll.

  146. None of you will get out alive.

    Are you threatening me?!

  147. jeffiek:

    Rick: Seems you’re the guy I’ve been looking for. I have a bridge for sale.

    This was the headline and result of the study to which I linked and to which you refer, not just my opinion:

    Just One To Four Cigarettes Daily Triples Risk Of Dying Of Heart Disease Or Lung Cancer

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050922014942.htm

    Dakota:

    Assuming for a minute that statement was true and you could attribute it to a single causation. What is the chance of you getting lung cancer or Heart Disease? I would wager that the tripling is statistically insignificant. If your chances before are 1 in 10,000 going to 3 in 10,000 it’s really an insignificant change.

    I think that the numbers are rather larger than that for the average of Heart Disease and Lung Cancer. Coronary disease alone is the leading killer in the USA

    More disturbing to me is that even the Virginia state senate passed a comprehensive smoking ban for bars and restaurants…

    I totally agree! I’ve never smoked tobacco but I despise smoking bans. Please read my whole comment at 12:54 PM
    But let’s not kid ourselves. Smoking is really bad for your health!

  148. Chicago Tom:

    One to 4 cigs a day, IMHO is not “casual smoking” but habitual.

    I’m hep, but my point, in response to RC Dean’s, was that the evidence is that it doesn’t take much “casual smoking” to exact harm on one’s person. If one a day is bad for you, then two to six on just the weekends probably is too.

  149. That’s done it- One hopes the next election will be punctuated by last minute declarations by candidate’s swearing that , if elected by smokers , they will turn proactive in rolling back the attempt to wipe out smokers customay liberties and access to public spaces

    If not , let us study the Civil Rights movement with a will and get set to make smoking history by lighting up en mass in every legisaltive space in the land- and out – the UN General Assembly chamber desereves to be the prime focus of the liberating smoke ins, because the rot starts with the Diktats of WHO.

  150. But surely a better solution would simply be to post a sign outside each establishment announcing whether or not colored folk would be served there, rather than the government dictating what someone can do on his own private property?

    Oh, sorry, wrong century.

  151. mark adams: I don’t know what’s happened to England either. No one seems to have any fight in them. Maybe things have to get worse before they can get better.

    Noone’s tried to impliment the law yet, they might find that a population that’s increasingly willing to smash speed cameras will be unwilling to accept this law. Enforcement will be the issue. Apparently a majority of the population was in favour of the law, but that majority was only about 65% according to some polls. Good luck dealing with court cases for 35% of the population.

  152. I suppose libertarians also want a repeal of the laws restricting the freedom to piss and shit on the floors of private businesses, because those laws are really about saving us from unhealthy choices we should otherwise be able to make – not just for ourselves, but for anyone within range of our behaviors.

  153. First time poster, long time reader!

    Does Rufus, know that the tax revenue generated from taxing tabbaco in the UK already cover’s the cost to the NHS in treating smokers, and I believe it also leaves approx ?2bil spare to cover other costs, not related to smokers. So smokers are paying their way and more!!

    This is the problem with a National Health System (which I do support), it makes others think that they should have a say in how we treat ourselves just because we all put into the same pot. If you want to restrict me smoking because it costs the NHS then, I want to restrict anyone from treatment if they do dangours sports, my bro is a very good rugby player and very sporty unlike myself, but he has spent more time in hostpitals and doctors surgeies with injuries than me, a lazy smoker.

    Leave it up to the owners of the buisness to decide!!

  154. Sean –

    Do you have any idea what “logical fallacy” means?

    You have not right to shit and piss on the floors of private establishments, becuase the owners of said establishments probably don’t want you to.

    If there were some mythical business that would allow it – who are you to stop them from doing so? So long as everyone knew when enetering the possibility of said act, then tough shit.

    Assuming reality where no business would allow such behavior as the “niche market” for pissing and shiting fans seems pretty low – your false choice simply shows your unwillingness to deal with the real world as is.

  155. Rufus is just a bully who cannot figure out another point of view. His view of private property is absurd. On the basis he gave higher up, all property is theft, ergo, the State should tell me how to live in my own house, what guests to invite, what to do, etc. What a tool.

    The only thing Rufus gets right is his dislike of cigarette butts on the public street. But he fails utterly to understand that in a free market, private property actually makes it easier for folk of different tastes and habits to get along. Some pubs could, for instance, market themselves as being smoke-free. Imagine the ads: “You won’t leave our building smelling like an ashtray”, or whatever.

    Live and let live: that is what liberalism is about Rufus. Do some reading and thinking.

  156. What I find most offensive about the ban is that while no-one else is allowed to light up indoors, whether at work or the pub, anyone in the House of Commons can smoke like a chimney because it’s not considered a public place but a Royal Palace.

    Once again, it’s do as I say while I go and light up a fat cigar in the comfort of the Member’s Sitting Room.

  157. Can’t smoke, so give me a corn syrup laden drink mixed with a generous portion of alcohol, shrimp scampi cooked in margarine, a double cheese burger, and a bloomin’ onion with side of popcorn cooked in coconut oil.

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