Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Star Editorial and Subsequent Letter

The Star published an editorial this morning that praised the passage of the smoking ban ordinance.

Two paragraphs in particular really got my goat.
A government intrusion into the free enterprise system? Perhaps. But it's hard to make that case in light of the fact that government now tells restaurant managers how many fire exits they must have and how clean the kitchen must be kept.

The smoking ordinance, as approved Monday by the City-County Council, is a reasonable compromise that balances health concerns with common patterns of public behavior. Bars and private clubs are excluded. Most restaurants will become smoke free by March 1.

Here's my letter in response.

The most regrettable thing about the nature of the smoking ban ordinance was that it created an either/or choice between public health concerns and the right of business owners to set their own policies within their own establishments.

The Star's recent editorial praising the passage of the ordinance was equally lamentable in justifying stomping the rights of business owners on the basis that those rights have been stomped before in directing businesses to post exit signs and conform to other regulation.

Following the Star's logic, it would be acceptable to trample First Amendment rights or any other civil rights, so long as those rights have been trampled before and a health issue could be conjured to justify the trampling.

It would have been significantly better for the health of liberty in Indianapolis had the City-County Council and the Star resolved to ramp up educational campaigns to pursuade changes in behavior rather than to promote forced obedience.

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