Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mommy alert!

So, now you can't smoke at bingo games. I know plenty of people who just love smoking bans, because they don't like smoke (and, in some instances, smokers). What they don't understand is the slope we're sliding down when the government gets to make these choices for us.

Remember, there is nothing to keep a non-smoker from saying "I don't want to go to Miller's, for it is smokey and I don't like the smoke."

When the government says "you can't smoke in public places," there is a real economic impact that no one intends, and that's the difference. If a smokey bar goes out of business because not enough customers come in, well, that's life. If a regular bar/public place of business that permits smoking goes out of business because the government bans smoking from public places, then the government has just inserted itself into a market in which it has no expertise and no real accountability, and screwed up an otherwise perfectly legal business. If you can't understand the difference, you aren't paying attention.

Of course, there are all the "WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN" people -- to them, I say, if you don't want your kids around smoke, don't take them places that permit smoking. What people forget is that no one, and I mean no one, has a right to go wherever they want whenever they want -- you can get banned from bars, even if you don't smoke. Just because a non-smoker wants to eat dinner in perfect non-smoking bliss doesn't mean we that don't mind it (or, gasp, even smoke some) have to give up our seats at our places.

I keep talking about bars, because I like smokey bars, but the bingo thing is even worse. Bingo is a totally voluntary pursuit, and the bingo halls generally donate the money to charity. Now, the government has banned smoking and is interfering with the revenues generated, and the good work that bingo-charities often perform. And to the lawmaker that says "it just takes a period of adjustment," well, sometimes private businesses don't have six months to recover. Oh, and the ones that do make it through, generally make some sort of arrangement to get around the ban so they don't lose their smoking customers.

What's wrong with personal choice/responsibility determining whether businesses permit smoking? There are plenty of non-smoking restaurants and such here in town, and they do fine, as do the ones that permit smoking. To non-smokers who think smoking bans are okay -- I say remember that you don't have any right to go to Miller's, or Blue Light, or West Main, or wherever -- the owner can bar you from the premises for whatever reason, or no reason at all.

I hate Illinois Nazis.