Thursday, May 03, 2007
Gratuitous postcard: "The same old bull"
I'm no smoker, but even I find the new legislation approved yesterday in Springfield to be offensive. Not only does it tell businesses what they can and can't do in their own private establishments, but it does so on mediocre science, "for the safety of the public."
Sure, there are links between smoking and some forms of cancer. Unfortunately, there are also some tenuous links to second-hand smoke triggering -- not causing -- certain cancers in people who suffer from prolonged exposure. There's also a comparable risk from having sex and also from spending too much time in the sun. There's a greater risk of some cancers from eating certain foods (and from overeating most foods), from frequent exposure to certain cleaning solutions, and a number of other otherwise safe-ish activities.
Needless to say, life carries risks. Therefore, Our Heroes in Springfield have announced the IL state gummint is going to protect me from myself and my own bad choices, should I want to hang out in a bar or restaurant with any regularity. I appreciate the idea that I can go to Open Mic Night at Danny's Tap, next year, and I won't need to dope myself up in order to keep my lungs operating, but I don't much appreciate that the choice wasn't offered to the bar's owners to make the change. I know the risks. They know the risks, as well. But we are no longer allowed to decide whether or not to hang around with people who smoke, in a climate we all find welcoming. We're no longer allowed to socialize publicly with each other. The State decided for us all. For our own good. Well, isn't that nice?
What next? Are they going to tell me what to wear, when I go outside, now? Will I get a ticket if I'm out digging with a spud fork, in my garden, in my bare feet? Will they throw me in jail for not wearing a scarf and gloves in January?
I love this state. I love the land, I love the vast, vast, vast majority of the people. I'm not at all impressed, though, by the pinheads we seem to get in elected office, these days. If I weren't allergic to tobacco, I'd consider taking up smoking, just to thumb my nose at these jackasses. Is there ever going to come a time when these guys suddenly decide, "That's not really any of our business"? I'm betting that day will come -- when the Cubs win the World Series and I marry Dolph Lundgren.