Thursday, April 20, 2006

Interesting Debate on Smoking Bans in Evansville Courier & Press

This letter to the editor was published in last Monday's Evansville Courier & Press (free registration required to view website): "Libertarian idea of freedom applies well to smokers".

It has drawn this letter to the editor retort published today: "Which state will Libertarians take over for smokers?".

All Indiana Libertarians need to keep in mind that the fight against smoking bans is a fight for small business owners, the working class and the poor. It is a fight against government wielding its power over these relatively powerless groups. It is not about smoking bans in government buildings - it's about stopping our government, which is full of prohibitionists which would like us to stop eating Big Macs, from telling private people how to live their lives in their homes and businesses and property. It is not about government banning smoking in government buildings - government can do that - it has been entrusted (wisely or not) to make those decisions with public property.

The prohibitionists that run our governments tried running other lives and failed with alcohol prohibition - now they are using their efforts to control other people through smoking in private places - next will be fast food, soda's, ugly shirts, etc. They won't stop with smoking and will keep going until they can ban alcohol again. They will lie about their intentions because they are doing it for what they say is the common good - as they and their fellow self-nominated elites dictate.

Also, the perception of the public about The Free State Project is one being used against it, and our political opponents are trying to tie the Libertarian Party of Indiana to it through "guilt by association". By all appearances, The Free State Project appears to the public to be a bunch of political zealots (bullies?) from outside using the force of their size to change the political landscape despite the wishes of the current inhabitants. No wonder it is getting a chilly reception in New Hampshire.

Now I know the intentions of most people sympathetic to the Free State Project is honorable. However, the public doesn't see it that way.

Personally, I like Indiana and prefer to try to change Indiana for the better. I'm staying here.


Mike Kole said...

What I have observed about smoking is that government bullies have found a minority that it is politically correct to oppress, mingled with a sense of government having its cake and eating it too.

Observe Governor Daniels and his proposal to hike the tax on a pack of cigarettes by 25 cents. On the face of it, these Republicans will tell you that they are using taxes to manipulate behavior. Forget for a moment that this is what they accuse Democrats of doing, and that when Democrats do it, it's wrong. Notice that a hike of 25 cents per pack isn't really great enough to do what they say the intention is- to get smokers to quit. Rather, it's just a tax on a sub-group that has few defenders.

If Daniels was serious about using taxes to get smokers to quit, he would propose hiking the tax by $4/pack. That is substantial enough to hit smokers hard enough to make them quit.

Daniels doesn't really want them to quit. He wants more money to spend. He wants that fashionable-to-oppress minority of smokers to keep on smoking at the same rate but paying a higher tax.

This new breed of Republicans endlessly looks for more money to spend, and not budgets to cut.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the Free State Project isn't a 'bunch of bullies' far from it... and anyone who comes and sees how some of us are working with the system would realize that right away.

While you can continue working to hold back the tide in Indiana, I strongly encourage you to come visit us here, especially between Jan and March (peak legislative time), and see how New Hampshire politics compares to Indiana (or whatever other state visitors are from). NH is unique these days, open and accessible, the way state government was supposed to remain.

It wasn't the Free State Project that stopped a NH smoking ban, by the way... it was FSPers who moved and are now locally active with local NH groups and many native NH supporters.