Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Force Over Reason, Again

It was yet another case of well-intentioned citizens using government to force others to change their behavior when the City of Columbus, Indiana passed it's smoking ban yesterday. From the Indy Star:
The City Council has banned smoking in all public places in the city except bars and private clubs.

So, owners of hybrid restaurant-bars are out of luck if they wish to provide a place for their customers to smoke. The owners may have thought that since they owned their establishments, they had the right to enact their own policies within the four walls. They found out differently yesterday.

Forget about conducting educational campaigns designed to convince people to quit smoking. Why bother when you can just force compliance?

Fortunately, there is one Councilor in Columbus who gets property rights and reason.
Councilwoman Ann DeVore, the sole dissenting vote, said businesses should have
the right to decide, without government interference, whether to be smoke free.

Sadly, she is outnumbered by six others who prefer force and the threat of law enforcement.

These bans are so unnecessary. There are markets for smoke-free restaurants, as there are markets for restaurants that permit smoking. Customers who detest smoke -like me- quickly learn to find the smoke-free variety. I have never needed to compel some business owners to change their ways to suit my desires. Such as shame that the Columbus City Council, and so many others, are incapable of taking the high road.

Keep on the look-out for more smoking bans throughout Indiana, and more threats to property rights.

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