"The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins." - Oliver Wendell Holmes
Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to
deny rights-- Judge Vaughn Walker
The two quotes above express very different perspectives. They are not exclusive of each other but they are different. I wonder which of these we base our smoking bans on.
Well smoke does reach my nose and goes even pass my nose. So Judge Holmes limits of licentiousness definitely apply. I myself am a non smoker who suffers frequent infections when exposed to a lot of cigarette smoke. So I benefit greatly from the trend to restrict the rights of smokers. (I am sure some of you balk at that phrase 'restrict the rights' but that is most certainly what we are doing.
Does moral disapproval come into play? We liberals are generally well educated and we value our health so we know that everyone should stop smoking.Sanctimony, disapproval and censure are valuable tools in any society but should that go one step further to using police powers when the state may not have a clear interest?
This began with non smoking sections in restaurants and I was thrilled. That is freedom to associate. It was a choice to not inhale someone else's smoke. Were smokers inconvenienced? Yes, they were they now experienced longer waits but in balance the market had spoken and the smokers inconvenience was minimal. Of course things progressed. There became non smoking restaurants which was great. Non smokers could vote in the market place about their preference.
Then it became policy at nearly every work place that no one could smoke. No matter what the weather smokers were forced to huddle in groups near the doors. The doorways reaked and non smokers complained and smokers were moved away from the shelter of the doorways. I attended UMSL in the 80's and I thought the professors hot boxing cigarettes in the wind and cold was demeaning. Later UMSL prohibited smoking anywhere on campus and then smoking in a car on the campus.
Returning students at Washington University will discover that there is now no where on campus where they may smoke.Orange paint lines on the sidewalk delineate where University property ends and the city begins. The diverse student body from Europe, South America and Asia is going to be very unhappy. Assistance will be provided to the staff but only in the form of counseling nothing medical to address their addiction. A Washington University staffer told me she is paying $1500 a month for prescription drugs. (I am unsure as to whether smoking cessation will be offered to students)
In my mind we have crossed far past my nose and into pure persecution of a minority.
Perhaps I am incorrect and this is based entirely on health out comes. After all all liberals support prohibition of alcohol and marijuana. It is fair to say that marijuana smoking is illegal on campus but why can I buy a beer? I believe it can be demonstrated that alcohol is detrimental to ones health. My guess is that the political alliance has not yet formed to persecute drinkers.
Soon bars and restaurants in St. Louis will be forced to be non smoking. Clearly this is a violation of the owners Fifth Amendment property rights but it is justified on health concerns. The protection is said to be for the employees but even employees will no longer be able to smoke on the job. In fact these smokers will go outside and their will be a corresponding loss of man hours. The rights of the employers and the employees have both been subordinated to the right of the vocal political majority.
In answer to my question this is a puritanical movement which has aligned the religious right and sanctimonious liberals. A powerful pairing.
This is not a legal argument. I do not even possess the tools to make a legal argument.However as a liberal I believe my actions are open to self review. Like any adherent of any philosophy I believe I must question my consistency. I have and now I am asking you all to contemplate your own consistency.I also ask that you please explain why my conclusion is incorrect.