If the majority of voters considers public smoking to be a nuisance, then they do have a right to ban it.
I'm not sure about this. I have faith in the democratic process, but all this means to me is that we don't respect our freedoms enough. It saddens me how willingly people will give up freedoms in the name of public health or national security.
I can tell you how it is in my town (Amherst, MA) though. The two big populations here are the college kids, and the 50+ crowd. Now, you can guess which crowd voices its opinion at the town meetings. Extra points if you guess that the bars cater mostly to the other crowd. So, we have a situation where the old people (in constant resentment of the college kids) make the rules due to apathy on the part of students. I actually don't remember whether the smoking ban was a referendum or a town meeting vote, but it was basically imposed by one group onto another group.
It's sad, because they did go about it in the right way - this is an issue that should be handled at the lowest possible level (town ordinance). There is absolutely no need for a state or (gasp) federal law dictating smoking rules. What failed here was the democratic process - I think if there was more opposition from the college crowd, the ban wouldn't have passed.
If not, then I have a right to go to the club where your favorite bad is playing and shout into your ear continually while they are on stage.
You made a jump there, from government-imposed restrictions to business-imposed restrictions. I am against one and in favor of the other. If you shouted at me enough, I would ask the bouncers to remove you. If you continued, it would probably be harassment - which I believe should stay a crime. If the bar wanted to ban smoking, that would be fine with me - it's only when government sticks its face where it doesn't belong that I object. I can't see smoking as constituting harassment, or assault, or any other act that causes harm to others. I am actually torn on the civil rights act, which says that businesses can't discriminate based on race.. I don't know how I feel about that one.
What I've said is basically the standard platform for Libertarians arguing civil liberties.. you'll hear it echoed in many other arguments. While Libertarians may disagree on other points, personal freedom is the most central and universally agreed on aspect of the party platform.
I've been to lots of shows in LA where the no smoking law was in effect, and people really didn't seem to mind.
Which is a shame. If more people cared about their own rights, we might not be in this corporate-run police state. I think those people may have cared at some point, they have just given up due to an overwhelming feeling that the system cannot be changed.
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
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