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.