Saturday, January 15, 2011

Living Conservative in a Liberal World (part 9): Thank You for Not Smoking

So I have a little hang up about something and I have decided to say something about it. I have a problem with people smoking.

One of the first principles of conservatism is basic human freedom. People should be free to smoke, or not smoke, as their personal desire happens to be. As a conservative, I am politically opposed to smoking bans that are enacted by state and local governments.

What bothers me though, is the severe lack of politeness and etiquette of many smokers. I have friends who smoke. I will hang out with them while they are standing outside smoking, and most of my friends are understanding that I don't smoke and would prefer to not inhale their used carcinogens. They always stand downwind, and exhale their smoke to the side so that it is blowing away from me. Kudos to you my friends!

The ones who bother me are the ones who don't even try to be polite about it. They stand upwind, they exhale their smoke directly at me (not in a malicious way, they just don't respect my right to remain as smoke free as possible).

I make it a point to not frequent locales which are smoky. My state recently enacted a statewide smoking ban, and while I am enjoying the fact that I am breathing clearer air than I did before the ban, I am against it. I simply cannot support a law passed by the state simply under the auspices of "we will protect you from yourselves, and everyone around you a, by prohibiting X." I am actually appreciating that I can attend more after-work functions with my colleagues because the most common locations of these gatherings is now forced, by a state mandate, to be smoke free. However, I honestly don't believe that they should be forced to do this. If the facility is smoke-filled to the point that it bothers me, I can simply vote with my feet and leave. I am as free to not smoke as people should be to smoke.

That being said, I do not believe that the taxpayers should pay to treat smoking-related illnesses. Medicare and Medicaid dollars should be used only to alleviate the pain of these diseases, and not attempt to cure them. Every person who exercises their right to smoke does so in the full awareness of the health risks involved, and thereby assumes the liability and responsibility for the negative consequences.

I am leery of government power, especially when it is used to limit the freedom and choices of the people. Perhaps a less intrusive government would be smaller, cheaper and more efficient, and all of those people who get paid from tax money will, instead of being tax consumers, become tax PAYERS.

8^) Jim
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