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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Law of Unintended Consequences at Work

People who want to make health choices for you argue smoking bans are good for the health of business patrons. Smoking bans in privately owned places where the public congregates have pushed smokers out doors on to patios at bars and restaurants.

The do-gooders didn’t foresee that business owners would install outdoor space heaters to meet the needs of their smoking customers. However, the do-gooders never give up. Now it is the health of Mother Earth that motivates them to use government to ban outdoor heaters.

"Patio heaters are scandalous because they are burning fossil fuels in the open sky, so producing vast quantities of CO2 with very little heat benefit," said European parliamentarian Fiona Hall . . .
The article says, "According to UK government statistics, outdoor heaters produce about 22,200 tons of CO2 a year . . . " What are they concerned about? This amount for a whole year is small compared to the 51,000 tons of CO2 involved in Christmas dinner on one day for a mere one-third of Britons. Do-gooders will continue to meddle because they conceive of themselves as saviors of Mother Earth.

What’s next? I suggest they tackle forest fires which release vast quantities of CO2 with very little benefit from the heat.


snowbird said...

Smoking bans are the real threat

The bandwagon of local smoking bans now steamrolling across the nation -
from sea to sea- has nothing to do with protecting people from the supposed
threat of "second-hand" smoke.

Indeed, the bans themselves are symptoms of a far more grievous threat; a
cancer that has been spreading for decades and has now metastasized
throughout the body politic, spreading even to the tiniest organs of local
government. This cancer is the only real hazard involved - the cancer of
unlimited government power.

The issue is not whether second-hand smoke is a real danger or a phantom
menace, as a study published recently in the British Medical Journal
indicates. The issue is: if it were harmful, what would be the proper
reaction? Should anti-tobacco activists satisfy themselves with educating
people about the potential danger and allowing them to make
their own decisions, or should they seize the power of government and force
people to make the "right" decision?

Supporters of local tobacco bans have made their choice. Rather than
attempting to protect people from an unwanted intrusion on their health, the
tobacco bans are the unwanted intrusion.

Loudly billed as measures that only affect "public places," they have
actually targeted private places: restaurants, bars, nightclubs, shops, and
offices - places whose owners are free to set anti-smoking rules or whose
customers are free to go elsewhere if they don't like the smoke. Some local
bans even harass smokers in places where their effect on others is obviously
negligible, such as outdoor public parks.

The decision to smoke, or to avoid "second-hand" smoke, is a question to be
answered by each individual based on his own values and his own assessment
of the risks. This is the same kind of decision free people make regarding
every aspect of their lives: how much to spend or invest, whom to befriend
or sleep with, whether to go to college or get a job, whether to get married
or divorced, and so on.

All of these decisions involve risks; some have demonstrably harmful
consequences; most are controversial and invite disapproval from the
neighbours. But the individual must be free to make these decisions. He must
be free, because his life belongs to him, not to his neighbours, and only
own judgment can guide him through it.

Yet when it comes to smoking, this freedom is under attack. Cigarette
smokers are a numerical minority, practicing a habit considered annoying and
unpleasant to the majority. So the majority has simply commandeered the
power of government and used it to dictate their behaviour.

That is why these bans are far more threatening than the prospect of
inhaling a few stray whiffs of tobacco while waiting for a table at your
favourite restaurant. The anti-tobacco crusaders point in exaggerated alarm
at those wisps of smoke while they unleash the systematic and unlimited
intrusion of government into our lives.

We do not elect officials to control and manipulate our behaviour.

Thomas Laprade
480 Rupert St.
Thunder Bay, Ont.
Ph. 807 3457258

Elephant Herd said...

Thanks for stopping by and leaving thoughtful comments. You are correct: the health of people is not the issue. Control of the people is the issue.

The health of the earth is also not the issue. It is control of the masses that government at all levels is determined to master.

Smoking should be an individual's freedom that is exercised with respect to others, just as countless other freedoms.

Elected, appointed and hired government officials know they can take away these freedoms because the masses have been silent when special interest groups have demanded government solve the perceived problems that the special interest groups could never solve on their own.