« The Midwestern Conservative

Smoke 'em while you got 'em

by Greg Belfrage

SIOUX FALLS, SD - Lawmakers in Oregon have just passed a bill that would allow police to ticket smokers who have children under 18 years old in the car.  

Opponents attacked the bill as being a nanny-state law.

Rep. Mitch Greenlick (D-Portland) agreed.  He supported the bill and said it would protect children, just as nannies do.

In the words of Dana Carvey's Church Lady, "Isn't that special?"  Do you detect my sarcasm?

Personally, I hate smoking.  Please note that I said "smoking", not "smokers".  There's a difference.  

Smokers are among those groups who may be jeered, hated, taxed and regulated without fear.  Its politically correct to hate smokers.  I've long referred to smokers as the "lepers of the 21st Century" because that's exactly how we treat them.  

I do not smoke.  I do not advocate smoking.  I do not advocate smoking around children, especially in cars.

However, this law will do nothing to change the behavior of smoking.  Nanny state laws like these accomplish nothing except to make supporters feel better about themselves.  They wish to be seen as doing something, even if nothing positive ever results from their actions.

Let's think this law through to its conclusion.  If lawmakers can prevent people from smoking in their cars with children present... what's to prevent them from outlawing smoking in homes where children are present?   Answer: Nothing.

If lawmakers outlaw smoking in the home, what's to stop them from prohibiting other kinds of "undesirable" behaviors, such as drinking alcohol?  Answer: Nothing.

Laws like these are nothing short of gross abuse of power.

The argument is that these laws are needed to protect the health of children.  If that's true, then its only a matter of time before lawmakers prohibit snack foods and soda for obese children.  Perhaps we should have paid state monitors at fast food restaurants to ticket those parents who purchase unhealthy foods for their kids.  After all, its all in the name of public health.

Don't laugh.  Its already starting.  A number of states have already proposed higher soda taxes to discourage consumers, especially young people, from buying it.  Higher taxes have also been proposed for fatty and unhealthy foods.  It was reported last week that Obamacare encourages employers to charge smokers and the obese more money for their health insurance.

Liberty is under unceasing assault in this country.  The federal government mandates that you purchase health insurance.  State governments are busily passing smoking bans.  Municipalities are even getting into the action by prohibiting trans-fats and limiting soda sizes.  There's simply no end to the intrusion of every level of government into our personal choices.

I don't smoke, but I've opposed smoking bans for years.  I've opposed higher cigarette taxes.  

But I've listened to droves of callers over the years who have supported these ideas.  The reason? "I don't smoke", they say.  I shouldn't be surprised to hear such a selfish response from people living in a completely narcissistic culture.

Too many Americans don't understand that the death of liberty for some... means the eventual death of liberty for all.

Greg Belfrage is heard mornings from 6am-9am on KELO Newstalk 1320 AM/107.9 FM.