Monday, May 12, 2008

EDITORIAL: Intell "Bad Compromise" vs. 'The Tyranny of the Majority'

The May 12 Intelligencer Journal editorial "In our view: Bad compromise" inveighing against any exception for public tobacco smoking is a classic example of a self-righteous majority endeavoring to force its views on others who do not or, due to addiction, cannot share their desires.

According to the editorial: "The Patriot-News of Harrisburg reported that as early as today legislative leaders may vote on a deal that ...would allow smoking in sections of casinos, bars where food sales are less than 20 percent of total sales and private clubs. Smoking would be banned in work places not otherwise exempt including offices, school class rooms, health care facilities and restaurants."

The proposal seems very reasonable to us. It protects non-smokers in areas that they normally frequent but allows smokers isolated places where they may congregate.

It is reasonable to protect non-smokers from inhaling smoke in areas they normally attend. But it is tyrannical to say smokers may have no place for themselves!

If we are to adopt tobacco prohibition on the rationale of protecting people from themselves, why not outlaw how much food can be sold to the obese, the eating of meat (it's bad for people and the environment), and fight overpopulation by limiting children (as do the Chinese) to one to a family?

Our country was founded upon tolerance. We pay a huge price already for the misguided war on marijuana and other relatively benign drugs.

We can't all be perfect. And hopefully we won't all walk arm-in-arm in response to every fad or health notion. When people are not harming anyone but themselves, let's provide them with factual information but then demonstrate understanding, respect and human kindness by allowing them some slack.