Standing up to Injustice

Early this year I wrote about how the French were standing up to anti-smoking legislation. The Dutch are now doing the same. I wish the British didn’t roll over so easily.

Forcing pub owners (or anyone else) to enforce your preferences is wrong and a thoroughly illiberal idea. It makes the world more homogenous and less interesting. Don’t stand for it.


I'm sorry if my last comment was a bit strongly-worded - I was only trying to show how I thought that mindset involved sticking one's nose into others' business (and I still do). But I didn't mean to offend you personally, and I assure you you are allowed to have a different view (if I didn't welcome them, I wouldn't have comments enabled). Thanks for the debate.
I think you are reading too much into what I am saying. I would be happy for alcohol to be banned, that does not mean that I advocate banning it. In fact I said "studies have shown that small amounts of alcohol can have a beneficial effect on health". I think that shows I am thinking of the cost and the benefits. I just believe that the benefits of smoking to the individual and society do not outweigh the risks involved. But you are right I should "Butt out" who am I to have a view on this that differs from yours.
@James, I guess, although it would be pretty foolish to work for an employer with such a reputation :) I don't consider that to be a big problem. Alasdair, I don't really understand what you are saying. So you're happy to ban alcohol; what else are you happy to ban? Television can damage your eyes. Travel causes you to run the risk of being in a fatal accident. Sex can spread disease. There's no end of things you can ban if you fail to take into account the benefits as well as the costs. Why do you get dominion over the lives over others? You have no right to determine the cost-benefit analysis that others perform on property that is solely theirs. Pubs are not your property. The air inside is not. The cigarettes are not. The other persons's body and health are not. Butt out (pun intended).
Andrew, I think I already said that I would not have a problem with banning alcohol. In any case I think the pleasure argument is rather weak. We have banned Pot, and Heroine (among other drugs) both of which are pleasurable and bad for you. The interesting thing about this discussion is that neither of us is changing our views. You are a libertarion so have one view and I am not and have a different view. Of course in this case I am right and you are misguided. Alasdair P.S. That last bit was a joke.
Sure, alcohol can be just as damaging as smoking but don't forget, no one has actually banned smoking. In my mind, drink driving laws and recent smoking laws are far more comparable than trying to compare banning smoking in public places to banning anything outright. Technically (now I'm hoping I'm going to get this right!) you should not be servered alchohol (in the UK at least) if you are drunk and standing next to someone who is drinking does not always result in injury. If you simply respect property rights, would it be ok for employers to leave dangerous chemicals or equipement in the workplace in any way they liked and risk killing or maiming employees?
Alasdair, I think Anton has made a valid point that alcohol can be equally damaging. It can also have an effect on others - there are plenty of alcohol-related deaths both from direct consumption and violent side-effects. Would you ban alcohol too? Cigarettes also have an upside: they are pleasurable to smoke (I have to admit that's second-hand evidence - I don't smoke myself - but many people admit to enjoying them). You're not taking into account that fact. Fundamentally, if you are to ban anything that's dangerous (and hence, god forbid, fun), the world would be a very boring place. Keeping these things restricted to private property that isn't really any business of the government (e.g. a pub - and yes, I'm aware of the irony of the name) seems quite reasonable to me. There really is no balancing to be done - you simply have to respect property rights.
I assume you are refering to alcohol in which case I would not have a problem with that, I do not drink. That said as I understand it alcohol only causes the problems it causes when drunk in excess. In fact some studies have shown that small amounts of alcohol can have a beneficial effect on health, so it is not that clear cut. Alasdair
What about selling a liguid drug that is linked to large numbers of serious crimes, not to mention high numbers of car accidents? If we are banning tobacco in the public interest, then I would like to see alcohol severely restricted, if not banned too. The whole argument about public good or health breaks down as soon as you look at the effects of alcohol
Hmm, Sure I'll agree to it being a question of what is "right", but that is where we disagree. I do not think it is right to sell a weed that it proven to cause lung cancer and Emphysema. I do not think it is "right" to smoke around non-smokers forcing them to risk their lives too. I do not think it is "right" that people should have to work in such an environment because the publican is concerned that banning smoking would force smokers elsewhere. I do not think it is "right" that companies can profit from selling addicitve substances. I will agree that in an ideal world smoking would not be banned, but then in such a world companies would not sell tobacco products, and people would not feel the need to smoke. Since we do not live in such a world we have to balance some peoples rights against others. In this case smokers rights to smoke wherever and whenever they wish is curtained for my (and people like me) right to not passively smoke. For me this is not a difficult call to make. If you can point out a negative side I might change my mind, but for me there are too many positives to the ban. Alasdair
@James, I would agree that might not be the intent (something about improving the health of the nation, which I'll admit is a noble aim, if a little misguided), but it's certainly the effect. Your solution is amusing at least :) @Alasdair: sorry, it's nothing of the sort. It's a question of who gets sway over property (i.e. the pub) - the owners or the 'moral' majority. Before, it was up to publicians to determine the rules in their pub (at least with respect to smoking). Indeed, there was a clear trend towards some pub becoming smoking-free. Now, everyone is forced to live with the same set of risk/reward tradeoffs. It's about what's right, not what's most pleasant for you.
You'll never get me to agree on this one. I think the smoking ban is the best law labour have made since 1997. While I agree it is illiberal, so in fact is not having a smoking ban. All it has done is shift whose preference takes priority. The ban switches the preference from the minority, to the majority. If smoking only affected the smoker it would be a different thing, but as a non-smoker who is allergic to cigarrette smoke if I was in a smoking environment I 1) risk my life 2) come out needing to wash my clothes and hair. The net effect of this was that I could not participate in many social activities. No pub/crawl, not stag nights out, no comedy clubs, no pub quiz. Smokers can always nip outside for a quick smoke after all. Alasdair
Ok, I like how they're getting round the ban, but saying it's about enforcing preferences is missing the point just a tad. Even the link you posted suggests there is more to it. Still, it is rather inefficient legislation. It would be much better to mandate humane cigarettes: lethal on first use!