Friday, April 11, 2008

Iowa Health-Nazi Update: Legislators Say "Nein!" to Zigaretten

Des Moines-- Iowa's legislature has passed a far-reaching, paternalistic smoking ban in the Hawkeye State. It would ban smoking in just about every place where the public can congregate, except casinos. It is now headed for Governor Culver, who is expected to gleefully sign it into law. "Gov. Culver congratulates the House and Senate for working together on this important initiative which will make Iowa a healthier state," said Culver spokescritter Brad Anderson. The ban might make the state "healthier," but will it make the people of Iowa freer?

The ban is first and foremost an affront to personal choice. It's ironic that the liberals who like to call themselves "pro-choice" are the first to rally behind these big government "wellness" programs designed to rob you of the choice of how you live your life.

I can hear the shrill, whiny reply: "But Ben, what about the people who work in these smokey environments? They don't have any choice!" But, unless someone is holding a gun to their heads, they DO have a choice. They can quit if they feel that the threat to their health outweighs the potential loss of income from leaving. It may not be an easy choice, but it's a choice.

The Health-Nazis think that people shouldn't have to make important decisions regarding their own lives. They believe that's what government is for. If they can make this decision for you, to ensure that you will be a healthy and productive taxpayer, then they could also choose what foods you eat, what exercise you do, or anything else that they think "will make Iowa a healthier state." Every new dollar that the state or federal government spends on providing healthcare gives the Health-Nazis even more incentive to barge further into your life, to make sure that that money isn't wasted on cupcake-snarfing chain-smokers.

The ban is also an affront to property rights. Proponents of the ban say that it bans smoking in public places. It does, but it also bans smoking in privately-owned places open to the public.

If I own a bar (which, by the way, are usually really bad investments) or restaurant I should be able to decide whether or not to allow smoking because it's MY place. Actually, if I'm a good business man, I wouldn't decide whether to allow smoking or not, the market would. If enough patrons demand a smoke-free environment to drink hooch and get their faces slapped, it would be non-smoking. Either way, the state can and should eat my shorts.

Interestingly, the state exempted casino gaming floors from the ban. That, no doubt, has nothing to do with the fact that casinos extract a lot of dough from Iowans and out-of-staters alike, and send a lot of that money to Des Moines. No, this about health and health alone.

Perhaps Iowa should change it's motto. "Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain," is so passe. How about: "Our bodies we prize and our health will be maintained."

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go eat beansprouts on my treadmill, lest I get a bayonet through the lung.


Taxation without Representation said...

Although I might object to other statements in this article, I feel compelled to point out that comparisons to Nazis are a tad cliched. However, so is 1984's Big Brother, which actually might make more sense here. How about using Romania's Ceaucescu, who put his societal goal (increasing the birth rate) above citizens' personal freedom. I think the difficulty of spelling Ceaucescu would prevent it from ever becoming a cliche.

Ben said...

Thank you for the tip. I'm not familiar with Romania's Ceaucescu, but I've watched enough reruns of "Hogan's Heroes" to be pretty familiar with the Nazis, so I felt comfortable using them.

By the way, Governor Culver signed this into law today (4-15-08), it will go into effect in July.

Taxation without Representation said...

I don't remember Sargeant Schultz or Colonel Klink ever preventing their prisoners from smoking...

Ben said...

See, not even the Nazis were THAT cruel.

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