DEMOCRACY AS BULLY

From THE MIRROR:

It will soon be illegal to smoke in New York’s Times Square or Central Park. The city will extend its ban from bars and restaurants to lighting up in any of the city’s 1,700 parks, along the coastline and pedestrian areas.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said: “New Yorkers who go to our parks will be able to breathe even cleaner air.”

Democrat Robert Jackson said: “It’s totalitarian.”

COMMENT: And it is totalitarian. But not the totalitarianism of Kim Il-sung and other despots like him. It is a totalitarianism that is becoming increasingly widespread in the so-called democracies of the world. It is happening because there has been a change in the understanding of what democracy is about. Throughout the developed world, but especially in the U.S.A., people are viewing the democratic process as permission for the majority to bully minorities.

There is little difference between this anti-smoking legislation and the overturning of the right for gay couples to marry in certain states. Smoking is being banned because the majority find it unpleasant and believe it is harmful to both the smoker and non-smokers. Same sex marriage is opposed because the majority find it offensive and believe it harmful to society.

I find it ironic that the government of the United States is panicking about the possibility of Northern Africa and the Middle East embracing democracy because this they think will inevitably lead to Muslims oppressing non-Muslims because Muslims will make up the majority of the voters. If countries, such as Egypt, embraced real democracy (a democracy that accepts that the majority has a duty of care towards those sections of society which, because of their numbers, are never part of the majority), then there will be no problems. But, of course, if Egypt embraces democracy as it is currently playing out in the States, then Copts and others might as well pack their bags and get the hell out of the country now. No wonder Obama is so scared, he is viewing the future possibilities from inside the perverted expression of democracy of his own nation.

In any case, this smoking ban is divorced from reality and totally unfair and arbitrary. There are far worse pollutants going into the lungs of New Yorkers everyday than tobacco smoke. From traffic and industrial fumes to overbearing perfume and people farting in crowded subway trains, you can't avoid the stench of city life. Just think of the number of times a vegetarian in New York has to breath in the smell of the cooking flesh of sentient creatures everyday. Of course, under the terms of the new democracy, if vegetarians ever became the majority in New York, there would be no more pastrami on rye, that's for certain.

Comments

DEMOCRACY AS BULLY — 28 Comments

  1. I know you smoke cigarettes and I am sorry you feel oppressed but it is not just a belief about smoke being dangerous — both smoking and second hand smoke are dangerous to health and its not like I can hold my breath while others smoke. For me – I am happy to be freed from being made to inhale cigarette smoke. I know you are a considerate smoker – having spent time in your presence – hopefully they will set aside parts of the park for smokers. It is one of the most addictive substances.

  2. Hey, you’re a prophet!

    Big Stink Over Malawi Farting Ban!

    “Any person who vitiates the atmosphere in any place so as to make it noxious to the public to the health of persons in general dwelling or carrying on business in the neighbourhood or passing along a public way shall be guilty of a misdemeanour.”

  3. I’m a non-smoker. I’m a former, now non, smoker. I can’t stand people’s smoke. I’m prone to doing obvious waving of the foul air away from me when I’m outside and someone blows cigarette smoke my way. I’m glad there are laws keeping inside environs clean of cigarette smoke. And I’m uncomfortable about the law at the same time. I’m especially uncomfortable about outlawing smoke outside. I feel guilty – yes, guilty – when I see someone smoking outside, like an outcast, because I can’t be in a building with their cigarette smoke. Maybe instead of banning people and their addictions I should be wearing a gas mask to protect myself instead of the law doing my self-protection for me.

    I can’t justify anyone smoking. I can’t justify my own former smoking. When I was in college I smoked my roommate’s cigarettes for her when she wanted one, so she could quit. She never quit and I became almost instantly addicted. It’s been over 30 years since I smoked and I still wake up thinking I’ve had a cigarette because I’ve dreamed about it.

    And at the same time I don’t want anymore laws banning smoking. I want drugs to be legalized, as well as cigarettes and alcohol. I want drug users and alcoholics decriminalized. Any day now, cigarette smokers will be the next to be criminalized. The law is taking away our responsibility to care for one another. As a result, people sue instead of taking responsibility for themselves.

    I’m done with ranting, except, while I’m at it, I’m against the death penalty, I’m for a woman’s right to choose without the consent of the man, I am in favor of all life, and I’m a universal salvationist, just for good measure!

    Seriously, I think I will buy a gas mask so people can smoke around me with impunity. I wonder where…

  4. I don’t see why people should put up with smoke inside, but banning it outside has no logic. So it’s just bullying. Bullying by the medical and insurance professions and bullying by the self-righteous.

    There’s a big report out in England today stating that 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer. The rise is due in part to women waiting till much later in life before having babies. I say, women should be impregnated, forcibly if they won’t comply, at the age of 21. It’s for their own good.

  5. I’m in general agreement, though as an asthmatic, I very much appreciated the fact that there was no smoking in the airports and airplanes on last week’s trip to Miami. The line between breathing and not breathing can be very fine and quick.

    But, I do believe that we cannot protect people from themselves, and if there are those who chose to gather where others are smoking, or if one is outside, lite ’em up!

  6. It is an idiot law. Tobacco is a legal product, and smokers have to be somewhere.

    I can understand not permitting smoke in enclosed spaces. This is a law way to far.

    Our constitution was designed to let the majority rule without imposing tyranny on the minority. Someone should tell Mayor Bloomburg!

    FWIW
    jimB

  7. I had heard that some US states were considering laws that made it illegal to smoke in a car with your children present, or in your home if you have children. Has that law passed anywhere as yet?

    wv = worklisp
    I think that is the on-the-job affectation of professional gays, like Quentin Crisp.

  8. Throughout the developed world, but especially in the U.S.A., people are viewing the democratic process as permission for the majority to bully minorities.

    In some cases, darlin’, it works the other way around – democracy is often viewed as an opportunity for the minority to bully the majority.

    Just sayin’

  9. So, um… relapse?

    Smoking is being banned because the majority find it unpleasant and believe it is harmful to both the smoker and non-smokers.

    Fact-check: please remove “believe”. Also, after “banned”, insert “in public gathering places where non-smokers congregate”.

  10. I’d be in favor of hefty fines for idiot parents who smoke with kids in the house and especially in the small space of a car. When certain vulnerable children are present, it seems to me that smoking in an enclosed place would be close to criminal. Children don’t have a choice.

  11. Children don’t have a choice.

    Quite right, too.

    Most of the troubles in the world are because we started allowing children to make choices.

  12. Michigan implemented a law last May to prohibit smoking in bars & restaurants, and also outside such establishments if alcohol was being served. So far the TAXES that the State depends on are way, way lower than the State expected (DUH), so now the State wants to tax other things that have never been taxed before to make up for the shortfall, and the people are bitching!! Meanwhile bars are going out of business and taxes aren’t being paid because their are not enough customers to support the business. All this during one of the worst economic crises since the Great Depression.

    Makes one wonder just who the fuck thinks these laws up?!?

  13. It’s not just the smoke that bothers me –and perhaps the laws would not be necessary if more smokers were more considerate…

    But, really and truly –it’s the cigarette butts left everywhere, thrown out the car windows, stubbed with a sole on the sidewalk, thrown in amongst the shrubs and flowers in the park etc –the litter that is just as bad as the smoke.

    There are already laws about building buildings that cast shadows on other buildings –now, THAT’S crazy….!

  14. If they want to ban smoking, or raise taxes on cigarettes to stop smoking, I’m in favor . . . so long as they provide government help with helping people quit.

    If they were serious about health, that’s what would be done.

  15. Also, just for the record: when one goes to Walt Disney World, one can only light up outdoors in specific “smoker’s gulags” or as they call them “designated smoking areas”. Since Joe is a smoker, it does kinda make things inconvenient, on those occasions when we go to the parks and we have to find a smoker’s gulag (it’s what Joe calls designated smoking areas) when he wants to light up.

    I had heard that some US states were considering laws that made it illegal to smoke in a car with your children present, or in your home if you have children. Has that law passed anywhere as yet?

    Don’t know about that, but how on earth would this be enforced if it ever did pass? Cameras mounted inside one’s home? A personal Gestapo officer to live in your home 24/7/365?

    I don’t smoke and I don’t like smoking, but sometimes these things just get ridiculous.

  16. There is absolutely no consistency of thoughts or ideals in modern day liberalism.

    See also “political correctness”.

    Gaaah.

  17. Well, Margaret, if it’s any consolation at all, when Joe has a few drags off of a ciggie but can’t finish it, he field strips it and puts it back in the box and smokes it further later.

    When he is done, he pockets his butts and never crushes them out on the ground. I think it’s a habit he got in the Army – never leave traces of your presence behind when you’re out in the field, and that means not leaving cigarette butts behind.

    The only problem is fishing out the butts from his pants pockets when I go to do the wash. Ugh.

  18. You know, M.P. Perhaps I’ve hung around here too long. I read your comments and thought, “Here we go, who’s going to rise to the bait.” And now today scanning the responses I have not been disappointed. Tell me, who was the famous satirist who wrote a piece about people eating their children and what was it called…something like “A Sensible Solution” or some such…

  19. Jonathon Swift “A Modest Proposal” in which he suggests the Irish eat their children…tired old brain eventually kicks in.

  20. when one goes to Walt Disney World, one can only light up outdoors in specific “smoker’s gulags” or as they call them “designated smoking areas”

    Whereas if one wanted to bring open a fumigation cannister @ WDW, one should just be able to do it anywhere? Cuz, y’know, of The Urge?

    What is it about the equation

    Tobacco Smoke = POISON

    that does not compute?

    I also feel compassion for “huffers” (inhalant-addicts), and would gladly have tax money designated to help free them for their addiction . . . but I don’t hear anyone saying “We’ve just gone too far on isolating/scape-goating those huffers. Huff away wherever!”

    Poison = Poison.
    Addicts = Addicts.

    If the latter is addicted to the former, the latter (w/ their “stinkin’ thinkin'”) should not set public policy for the former.

  21. As a child of an alcoholic whose madness can more than likely be attributed to that fact I am assuming you are a teetotaller, JCF.

    Otherwise you have the logical capabilities of a three year old.

  22. It was meant to be a compliment JCF!

    ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN

    (a guide for Global Leadership)

    All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at school.

    These are the things I learned:
    • Share everything.
    • Play fair.
    • Don’t hit people.
    • Put things back where you found them.
    • Clean up your own mess.
    • Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
    • Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
    • Wash your hands before you eat.
    • Flush.
    • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
    • Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
    • Take a nap every afternoon.
    • When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
    • Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
    • Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.
    • And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.

    Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

    Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all – the whole world – had cookies and milk at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.

    And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

    Source: “ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN” by Robert Fulghum. See his web site at http://www.robertfulghum.com/

  23. If any self-righteous non-smokers here drive SUVs, Joe’s response is “what part of carbon monoxide spewing out of the tailpipe of a gas-guzzling SUV = poison don’t any of YOU understand? There’s a hell of a lot more of THAT floating around out there, and last time I checked, no one is fighting a bloody war, and soldiers are not dying, for TOBACCO.”

    He very much takes a “kiss my left testicle and make the right one jealous” attitude on this, esp. when it comes to conspicuous consumption like driving a Ford Gargantuan. When people buy these huge vehicles, then jump all over his ass about smoking, he’s very quick to point out their flaming hypocrisy.