Manu, who has his own well-written scientificy-type blog (I just wish he posted more regularly) objected, specifically, to this bit.
If you've ever heard anyone (I've heard plenty) stating that they are libertarian but quite like the smoking ban, they are short-sighted, shallow and dangerously irresponsible.Now, much of the superficial stuff (ie. banning smells) I was going to mention has been covered, most notably by Junican and lenko, but it still leaves the philosophical meat on the bone to be addressed.
The article pointed to the methodology employed by tobacco control being replicated by bansturbators in other lifestyle areas. This is incontestable. The Godber Blueprint is being followed to the letter by anti-alcohol, anti-fatty foods, anti-salt, and anti-jus-about-everything-else. Documents have been produced to lead the way, and seminars are attended by these smug, self-serving pricks so as to impart their panacea to just about anyone with a vested interest in making the public bow to their will.
So, what is to be done about it?
Well, I would argue - in fact I've been very consistent in my stance - that, to stop further erosion of personal determination and liberty, those who believe that the state and their paid goons must be tackled in their entirety, not merely on a piecemeal basis, should be united. Anything less weakens the position and is exactly what the righteous rely on.
The idea was pooh-poohed by CAMRA on their forum, the reasoning being that alcohol was somehow different from smoking because 'everyone likes a drink'. They are now seeing exactly how safe their particular vice is from the alcohol debate's dedicated denormalisers.
I still defend the drinks industry, and their acolytes, even though they retreated faster than an Italian tank driver when 'I'll do anything for a dollar' Hewitt came a knocking for their smoking customers. And I will continue to do so, despite the fact that they are still not learning.
The British Beer and Pub Association said although pubs, under pressure from the recession, have been hit by the ban, it added: "The vast majority of people believe pubs are more pleasant places without smoking and what's good for our customers, has to be good for pubs."Keep it up, BBPA, the Smash robots couldn't possibly have laughed as much as the righteous are doing at you right now.
To understand why I take this line of exhorting for all illiberalism to be resisted, it helps to remember why the fictional Dick P exists in the first place. About 6 years ago, after clearing ice from my windscreen one weekday morning, the first thing I heard on the radio once the engine had stuttered into action was the same as I'd heard for the previous umpteen days. The government was 'clamping down' on something. It was always 'thinking of banning', 'restricting', 'producing guidelines', or deciding that it was 'unacceptable'. It appeared, to me, that the state had declared war on their electorate.
Since then, I've watched as liberty after liberty is stripped away with only a small grass roots pressure group to defend each infringement. Some have been very successful. For example, the No2ID campaign has all but extinguished the future prospects of the ID card, but for most the battle is always lost.
The simple reason is that the state is organised, highly funded (ironically, by us), and united in using coercion to achieve their own personal will. The inevitable result is a downward spiral of personal freedom which can only be halted by the enlightened standing firm and rejecting all of it.
For every person who says that they don't like the way the government is operating ... but they're happy to see a ban of that (insert personal bug-bear here), the chances of changing the current righteous and puritannical crusade against liberty is dimished.
My assertion was nothing to do with smokers' rights, or anyone else's rights. It was a recognition that there are too many who call themselves libertarian who have lost sight of, or have never seen, the bigger picture.
So, to bring it back to the para which Manu found offensive, let's analyse why swivel-eyed anti-smoking loonies have been so incredibly successful.
It's because there are a lot of people who quite simply don't like the smell of smoke. That's it.
Libertarian principles seem to fly out of the window when smoking is involved, despite there being a plethora of better alternatives to a blanket ban. European countries have found loads of them. This is why, although Manu isn't a big problem seeing as he agrees that the ban as it stands is wrong, I would still venture to suggest that he is a 'vanilla' libertarian.
A libertarian who believes that the state should be able to inflict its ideals on property owners is being selective in their interpretation and, I would suggest, also brainwashed, by years of righteous propaganda, into believing that there weren't alternatives to fuggy bars prior to the ban. Of course there were, and what's more, the free market was increasingly delivering them.
Anyone who agrees with the restriction of property rights and the state's right to interefere in the free market can't truly be called a libertarian. These, surely, are two of the fundamental principles of such thinking.
Shallow in abandoning principle in favour of self-satisfaction, short-sighted in not appreciating that condoning state coercion isn't going to encourage more of the same, and dangerously irresponsible by giving a green light to the whole process of inflicting lifestyle preferences on others at the expense of self-determination, property rights, and free market economics.
You're either libertarian, or you're not. You can't pick and choose which liberties you wish to keep, and which are OK to be stamped on. Bending an inch to these people just boosts their power and leads, eventually, to something being attacked which you hold dear.
I refer to the honourable Niemoller and withdraw.