Doug Hagin
April 6, 2004
Nanny laws stalking America!
By Doug Hagin

Two words are gripping America by the throat and slowly choking the freedom out of us all. Those words might surprise you. They might even seem to be good words, words that mean cleanliness, and good health to many people. These words might even seem to promise a better future for all of us. What are these two words? No smoking!

Yes, yes, I know these words hardly seem a threat to the American way of life or to anyone's freedoms do they? But the forces pushing so very hard to enact all these smoking bans are chipping away at more than a right to light up, much more.

Think back to a day when smoking was just another legal activity. Everyone knew smoking was not the healthiest choice. Then came some seemingly very sincere and reasonable requests by non-smokers. They wanted non-smoking sections in restaurants. Fine, no one had any problem with it.

Restaurant owners recognized the need to separate smokers from non-smokers and everyone was happy. Or were they?

Flash forward to modern day America. Now there are a growing number of cities which ban smoking in all restaurants. Smoking is also banned pretty much anywhere indoors as well. Smoking on an airliner? Forget about it. And the push to ban smoking in parks, beaches and even in our own homes is underway.

Yes , I Know this is all being done to stamp out the harms of smoking and of course the ultimate evil, second-hand smoke. Of course second-hand smoke has never been proven to cause anything harmful, but the campaign to protect us all from this invented menace continues like never before.

The moves to ban smoking and save us from ourselves are reaching new levels in this supposedly free nation. We are rapidly becoming a nanny state where we are constantly being protected by Big Brother from ever hurting ourselves.

Cigarettes are not the only "dangerous" item to be banned in American cities. BB guns have become targets because kids sometimes hurt themselves or shoot out windows with them. Yes BB guns can cause injury, and I recall shooting a cat with one as a child. The government was not needed to solve that crisis though. My father found out and made it clear that shooting animals or anything but tin cans was not an acceptable activity. When I got the BB gun back and could sit down again I figured out that shooting at animals was not acceptable. Problem solved without a new nanny law or a ban on anything.

How about cell phones? Try driving and using one, see if you get pulled over and fined for this unapproved activity. Now is driving while flapping your gums the best of ideas? Certainly not. But were laws really needed to save us from cell phone talking drivers?

There were already laws against careless driving, so why write new ones which target a legal product and it's use? Certainly there are many activities which cause distractions while driving, eating, drinking coffee, playing CD's, talking to passengers, applying make up, etc. But these were left alone while cell phone usage was targeted. Does that make anyone safer?

Then there are seat belt and helmet laws. Again more government mandating our behaviors to save us from ourselves. The government has no place telling you or me to wear a helmet or buckle our seat belts. Sure we are far safer if we do, but such decisions effect us and no one else and are best left to us exclusively.

The right to govern ourselves is the most critical part of freedom. Certainly allowing some government entity to make these decisions is not going to increase our freedoms. The more we expect the government to do for us the more freedom they take from us.

Certainly the biggest victim of the nanny laws and the anti-smoking crusaders has been private property rights. Formerly business owners had the right to set their own policies on smoking. Now those rights are gone, erased by the political correctors and those to weak to stand up to them.

In a free country a legal activity, like smoking, should be allowed at the discretion of the owner of a restaurant or business. It is, after all, their business. If a non-smoker does not like the owner allowing cigarettes then do not work there or patronize the business. The same for smokers, if an owner decides to not allow smoking then go elsewhere if you smoke.

Today though, we no longer live in a nation which applies such common sense rules do we? Now we whine and moan about some imagined right being violated and turn our eyes towards Big Brother to help soothe our bruised egos. And look where such attitudes have gotten us?

A country where we are told where we can smoke and where we can talk on a cell phone. We are told to buckle up or put on our helmet or face a penalty. Our kids are told they can not have a BB gun because they might get hurt. Fireworks? Don't even try to get your hands on those, Big Brother says you are not responsible enough.

A country where your business is to be run how Big Brother thinks it should be run, regardless of your views. After all, you might own it, but Big Brother thinks you need to be told how to operate it.

So think about this country and its slowly eroding freedom the next time your government says No Smoking!

© Doug Hagin


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Doug Hagin

Doug Hagin was born in Tampa, Florida, and now resides in Dallas, Texas. Doug has been writing political columns for nearly a decade... (more)

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