The Nanny State Versus Individual Choice Laid Bare

The Examiner has the debate in Congress this week over who should make decisions for us.

Big government versus big tobacco took a personal twist on the House floor in debate Wednesday afternoon as one powerful member called out another for his smoking habit.

Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, took to the floor to oppose legislation that would place tobacco under FDA control. One of the most notable smokers in Congress, Boehner assailed the bill as too much regulation, calling it a "bone-headed idea."

Then it was Rep. John Dingell's, D-Mich., turn. The House Commerce Commmittee Chairman and the longest-serving member of the House warned Boehner that "this legislation's on the floor because people are killing themselves smoking these evil cigarettes, and the distinguished gentleman, the minority leader, is going to be among the next to die. He is commmitting suicide every time he puffs on one of those."

Reached for comment, Boehner's spokesman Michael Steel said the minority leader "feels great and -- obviously -- hopes Chairman Dingell is wrong."



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad that the "nanny state" has gotten rid of smoking in U.S. airplanes, restaurants, hotel rooms, and offices.

Fox News also ran this story today about smoking:

Navy Blames Crew Member's Smoking for Costly Aircraft Carrier Fire

SAN DIEGO — Smoking appears to have sparked a fire that caused $70 million in damage to the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington, Navy officials said Wednesday.


Willard cited lost confidence in the commanding officer and his failure to meet mission standards after the investigation found unauthorized smoking by a crew member appeared to have ignited flammable liquids and other combustible material that were improperly stored. The other officer was relieved of duty for substandard performance.

7/31/2008 10:21 AM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Then those who bear the costs and benefits of these actions can make the decisions. This is no reason for government regulation.

7/31/2008 12:09 PM  
Blogger Junkyard Sam said...

Sure there's reason for regulation! Do you even understand freedom?!

Freedom comes with the responsibility of respecting the freedom of others around you.

If someone is so "free" that they take away the freedoms of another then --- that's not freedom!

With smoking - you have someone occupying a space maybe 2ft by 2ft but stinking up the air for tens of feet around them. And that's outside! Inside it's even worse.

Prior to smoking bans -- restaurants, malls, grocery stores --- if you were a nonsmoker your access to fresh clean air was infringed on by smokers who were free to stink up all the area around them.

What about sporting events with assigned seating? You can't believe in "freedom" and say "Well just get up and move if you don't like it."

You're way off base with this. OUR freedom to clean fresh air is the issue here.

7/31/2008 2:03 PM  
Blogger Mike Gallo said...

Dr. Lott is correct in ridiculing such behavior, and you two should be ashamed. What if I say your driving impairs my right to drive on a road that is not congested? What if I say your desire to live near a body of water interferes with my right to live near a body of water, and the resulting demand is driving up the prices to the point where I can't exercise my right? How about your purchase of the last donut while in line in front of me abridging my right to eat that donut?

Every time you let the government, and not the free market, make these decisions, you slowly tighten your own shackles, and mine. I detest smoking, and as a musician have always hated playing in dingy, smoke-filled barrooms. You know what? It's my choice to be playing there just like it's a fan's choice to come watch and smoke. You need to think of businesses and others' private property as such - where you are granted curtilage, not an unlimited license to "assert your rights." And you need to know that while you have the right to clean air, smokers have the right to slightly euphoric air. It's pathetic you see this all in such a one-sided manner.

7/31/2008 4:33 PM  

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