[FoRK] Welcome to the American Totality. You've been warned.

Jeff Bone <jbone at place.org> on Wed Feb 6 13:48:59 PST 2008

On Feb 6, 2008, at 11:40 AM, Lawnun wrote:

>  That's horseshit.  Smoking bans in many states apply to _PUBLIC_  
> buildings
> only, not private clubs (
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ 
> List_of_smoking_bans_in_the_United_States).
> There are exceptions

We're not talking about public buildings, we're talking about bars.

I would be satisfied with a formulation that allowed any bar that  
wanted to continue allowing smoking post-prohibition to elect to  
become a private club.  That seems like a fair --- even *generous* on  
the part of the anti-prohibitionist crowd --- compromise.

But I'll push back on Stephen's point a little bit --- if you allow  
for private clubs, then all bars are simply going to elect to become  
private clubs.  Why?  Because all bars (as opposed to bars that serve  
real food, i.e. restaurants) make a significant amount of their money  
from a smallish group of regulars that come in frequently, often  
daily, and stay for a number of drinks over a long period of time.   
Indeed for the neighborhood bar, that's the primary business model.   
And that group, OVERWHELMINGLY, is composed of smokers or people who  
don't mind being around it.

Given this, you might as well simply allow smoking in all "just bar"  
bars, period, because they'll exercise any loophole you allow  
anyway.  (Indeed in Austin around the time of the first attempted ban  
there was an exception if you had a separate room with a separate AC  
system for the smokers.  Many establishments spent 10s of thousands  
of dollars complying;  when the prohibitionists realized that the net  
effect was going to be mostly null, they closed that loophole in the  
next attempt at the ban.  Because, you see, when it gets right down  
to it the most adamant prohibitionists aren't really interested in  
compromise of any kind;  they are ideologues on a mission.   
Everything is black and white, and only the complete imposition of  
their will on their unwilling targets will satisfy.)

Back to my suggestion re: bars...

There could be some exceptions to generally permitting all bar-bars  
to allow smoking.  When there are live music acts going on, for  
example, perhaps being all-nonsmoking should be required.  Again, if  
you serve any significant amount of food such that people (smokers  
and non-smokers alike) might want to dine there regularly, then  
perhaps it makes sense for it to be non-smoking.  Dance clubs --- I  
can see an argument there, though less so.  On the flipside, perhaps  
the opposition could stop whining about restaurants and so forth that  
allow smoking out on terraces and patios?

See, while they lead to complicated rulesets, compromises are  
possible.  But if you're going to adopt a take-no-prisoners black-and- 
white stance, then you have to decide:  do I value freedom, or tyranny?


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