Monday, May 23, 2005

Not Even Close

Deep down, I was pretty well convinced that the smoking ban would pass. Those of us who opposed it from the beginning, when it stood to be the most restrictive ban in the United States, are pleased to a minor degree that at least this law was beaten back to the extent it was. But, word was that this vote would be close. It gave opponents of the ban a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, the Council would vote in favor of liberty. Alas, the final tally was 18-9. Indy Star story.

However, this vote was every bit as much a referendum on the right of business owners to set their own policies within their own establishments as it was a public health issue. The way the authors of the law set it up, it really was an either/or proposition.

So, thank goodness I left Marion County just about one year ago to the day. Don't get me wrong- I don't smoke. I find it a detestable habit. In the spirit of Voltaire, I don't like smoking, but I'll defend the right to use the legal product tobacco. I don't care for smoggy bars, but I'll defend the right of bar owners to have that atmosphere, if they so choose. The City-County Council is not nearly so open-minded or tolerant as that, so they ban things. That is the atmosphere I am pleased to have left.


Todd S. said...

As usual, this is only the beginning. The surrounding communities will take a cue from Indy's ban. Then, in a few years, a proposal to make the ban more restrictive will pass. And in a few more years, it will grow a bit more restrictive. The practical person in me has to admit that this is a good strategy: get your foot in the door, and then push a little further after some time passes. It's a sound long-term strategy.

It's also a sad day for liberty.

Kevin said...

I think you guys are too depressed about this! I think we Libertarians need to take credit for getting it as scaled back as it was. Plus we made several good allies in this battle. Plus since my Republican counselor voted for it I will be watching and if any restaurant closes in this district after the ban takes affect don't think I'm not going to call her on it. I agree that this was a sad day for liberty, but tomorrow will probably be a sad day too. Lets start thinking on ways to use these issues to our advantage rather than dragging us into despair.

PS: Sorry if I overdid this the wine is starting to take effect.

Mike Kole said...

These are the things that defenders of property rights get riled up about, but you're right that we need to take stock of the gains we made and to soldier on. Whenever a new tax is passed, I do react negatively and then I shrug my shoulders and say, 'oh well- there's more proof that Libertarians are necessary', and I get to grinning again.