Before I write the rest of this post, I’m going to pause to don a KKK robe, browse some computer-simulated bestiality porn, and light a Cuban cigar with a dollar bill (take that, foolish Miami-ites!).
Mmm, that’s better.
If you don’t think I should be allowed to take part in any of the activities above, then the title of this post applies very much to you. It’s depressing, if unsurprising, that the people agitating for hardline state control over individuals’ actions are now often the liberals, not the traditional anti-gay anti-sex hang-em-and-flog-em-unless-they-enjoy-it social conservatives.
The key issue here is smoking in public (the latter term is used by anti-freedom activists in more or less the same way as by English schools… how is a private establishment with rights of admission reserved ‘public’?). Perry at Samizdata has taken off his tinfoil hat for just long enough to make one of the most sensible, liberal and articulate statements of opposition to nannying antismokers, ever.
It’s unreasonable to expect people to have to share their public spaces with smoking smokers, fully-attired Klansmen, masturbating bestialists, or revolting undergraduate revolutionaries. But if any of the latter want to meet in a private place to indulge in their filthy habits (obviously as long as the Klansmen are merely going to drivel on about white power rather than going lynching) it’s hard to come up with a compelling reason to stop them.
Those who do want to stop them need to accept that (irrespective of the merits of their argument) they’re placing themselves in the tradition of authoritarianism and big government scaryness.
Update October 28 2:46PM – it’s not big and it’s not clever, but it’s certainly fun to smear your opponents as Nazis.