[FoRK] Smoking

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Wed Apr 13 10:34:21 PDT 2005

On Apr 13, 2005, at 12:14 PM, Mark Day wrote:

>> I object to public health rules based on majority rules.  I'm
>> not sure who
>> should be the one deciding on a public health hazard, to be
>> honest, but it
>> certainly isn't our government as it exists now.
> So would it be accurate to say that you don't think public health is 
> in the
> same category as other laws and regulations?  After all, one can 
> object to
> any particular law or regulation as a bad one without necessarily 
> meaning
> that the governmental apparatus is illegitimate.  You seem to be 
> leaning
> more in favor of saying that there's some kind of limitation here, 
> perhaps
> constitutional or quasi-constitutional, that means that the 
> majority-rules
> apparatus should just stay away from smoking -- and perhaps other 
> similar
> areas?

Another way to look at it is this:  constitutions and similar 
mechanisms are an effective innoculation against cultural whipsaw 
resulting from memetic epidemiology.  ;-)

> I'm still a little unclear whether the smoking-advocates are basing 
> the argument
> on personally not liking the rules (understandable but not very 
> interesting)
> or claiming an overreach of government into an illegitimate area
> (interesting but not yet very understandable).

Not to speak for "Zee Roe," but my own motivation in this is principle 
--- i.e., my objection is the latter.  It wouldn't really matter 
whether this was an activity I engaged in or not.  For example, I do 
believe there are "public health" considerations with bath houses, 
swinger's parties, and so forth.  While I don't engage in that 
behavior, I will defend vigorously the rights of those who do so to 
continue doing so.  Any such incursions of gov't are infringements of 
freedom.  You'd better have damn good reasons for such incursions.

"Tyrrany of the majority is tyranny nonetheless.


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