Delegate Ware’s Absurd Metaphor

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In a reach of an OpEd piece taken from remarks on the floor, Delegate Lee Ware (R-HoD 65th) compares the smoking ban legislation to the onerous conditions of the Versailles Treaty and indicates that this ban foreshadows the demise of liberty. Another nail in the coffin of freedom. Absolutely absurd.

Oh, and it seems as though a tyrant may rise to power in Virginia or possibly America in response to this legislative wrong. Using Delegate Ware’s sense of history and logic, the real demise of liberty may have begun long ago when food preparers were required to wash their hands after handling contaminants. Or, when drunk driving laws were enacted. Or, when slavery was abolished. After all, shouldn’t we be free to own slaves because “that has for centuries been a cornerstone of our social, cultural, economic, and political life…” Ridiculous argument. But it gets worse.

Ware argues that to justify this action, we have to “discredit (and of course to tax) a single class of people into an inferior status – those of our people who smoke.” Good manners and sound business decisions, he argues, will ameliorate the imposition on others’ liberties. I suppose he finds it acceptable that smokers impose the effects of their bad habit on others and pass enormous health costs to society without recompense. And those sound business decisions are a function of the playing field. If there were no sanitation regulations, the sound business decision would be to cut as many corners possible to maximize profits. Without the smoking ban, the only practical business decision is to tread on the liberties of non-smokers.

Alexis de Tocqueville’s ghost, the Delegate argues, is fretted by this “tyranny of the majority” and the “danger of mass conformism to sameness, to the lowest common denominator.” A spokesman for the Party that celebrates diversity, is he? Ware diminishes the mean intent of the Versailles Treaty to the “fine print.” That completely ignores the realities of that time and the decades that followed. Just the way he ignores facts the tobacco industry finds inconvenient.

RTD stuck in the 19th century

Reading the RTD's commentary page on Sunday often feels like visiting the Library of Virginia and turning over the pages of the 19th century press when they were debating full citizenship for Negroes, or other issues that were once considered moot. What's irksome is not that the tobacco industry still has its defenders in the name of specious civil liberties, but that Central Virginia's most important newspaper still gives these voices such prominence. Of course Ware's arguments are transparently silly, and maybe they need a full airing to get them swept into history. Before the Civil War, members of the General Assembly insisted that slavery was a mainstay of Virginia's economy and shouldn't be abolished, and other points similar to Ware's on the smoker's so-called rights to endanger public health. BTW, there have been poignant speeches in the GA this session from members who support a smoking ban. Why not excerpt these, too, as a public service? Alas, the capital's newspaper remains stuck in the the past, and it's trying to keep the entire state pinned down, too.

What truely makes the Tobacco Ban funny

is according to a number of our delegates and senators, it has been restaurant owners themselves that are asking the General Assembly to pass it. They don't have to appear to be the "bad guy" then, they can pass the blame on to the GA.

I know, off topic. Sue me.

I guess, to Del. Ware

it's not freedom until it's full-blown anarchy.

Mind you... this particular smoker would appreciate some sort of roof (maybe a niche like the bus stops in Europe?) near the restaurant, in case of rain or snow...

smoke screen

In view of the report in today's Washington Post, Mr. Ware comes off as a decoy for what Big Tobacco has been doing behind the scenes -- lobbying for weak anti-smoking legislation with no real teeth on the penalty side. Not that this is exactly a revelation, but Philip Morris isn't as dumb as its pro-tobacco chumps appear to be in the popular press.

Freedom!

Check Li'l Jeffy Frederick's Twitter sometime -- any proposal to have the government do anything is an assault on "freedom" to him. The smoking ban, a fine for pedestrians crossing railroad tracks, anything. He appears to be incapable of understanding that there are competing individual freedoms, and that the failure of government to act could result in someone else's freedom being infringed.