Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Prohibitionist pipedream: End of rant

While reading through some background material at Forces International, I came across an article that referred to a news item which appeared in the Ventura County Star on March 17, 2003.

Thousand Oaks Councilwoman, Claudia Bill-de la Pena, was asking her colleagues to investigate whether the city could require the local housing authority to declare Oak Creek, a senior’s apartment complex, a smoke-free environment. Earlier in the month, representatives from a member of the anti-smoker brigade, Smokefree Air For Everyone, asked the council to prohibit smoking at the Oak Creek complex.

"This policy does not discriminate against smokers," said Councilwoman Bill-de la Pena, in response to criticism that such action could be interpreted as discrimination against smokers. "They will be allowed to smoke, just not in their apartments."

It’s a specious argument at best; just part of the anti-smoker brigade’s march to the outright prohibition of tobacco.

To get the full impact of what the councilwoman was saying, just replace the word apartments with any of the locations where smoking has been prohibited, or where efforts are currently being made to have smoking prohibited.

This policy does not discriminate against smokers. They will be allowed to smoke, just not in their apartments (bars, restaurants, public buildings, public sidewalks, cars, public parks, beaches, etc.).

This piecemeal imposition of prohibition has already seen the number of places a smoker can legally light up dwindle to almost nothing. In some cases, even smoking in your own home has been restricted; although these restrictions have been imposed through indirect means.

Refusing smokers the privilege of adopting or fostering children, using a spouse’s smoking status in child custody cases and denying employment to smokers who light up in the privacy of their own homes are discriminatory practices, designed and implemented with only one goal; to force smokers to quit.

To deny the ultimate objective of the anti-smoker brigade is fool-hardy. To deny the parallel of their crusade against smokers with the propaganda campaigns used by the Nazi’s in the Germany of the 1930’s is just as unwise.

Politicians, of all political persuasions, have climbed aboard the anti-smoker bandwagon to score a few cheap brownie points with their constituents. They mimic the mantra of the anti-smoker brigade, “for the good of the children”, at every press conference dealing with smoking related issues. They dismiss out-of-hand all objective, scientific evidence not approved by the health nuts in the anti-smoker cartel.

And, having accepted their arguments, they will have a difficult time refusing demands for outright prohibition which are sure to be forthcoming from the new goose-stepping smoke police.

Politicians must remove the blinders and begin a legitimate reassessment of the fraudulent science and suspect statistics surrounding the alleged hazards of secondhand smoke. They must reconsider, and discontinue, the policy of de-normalization that has created a climate of fear and loathing and led to unconcealed discrimination of smokers.

They are, to their detriment and the detriment of society, ignoring the lessons learned from the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920’s. The adverse socio-economic consequences are already beginning to manifest themselves.

A responsible government with any foresight would put an end to this insane experiment in piecemeal prohibition and denial of personal freedom, sooner rather than later.

I wonder where we might find one.

End of rant.

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