Friday 18 February 2011

Property Rights Defended In Kentucky

Belinda has today highlighted the story of how Campbell County in North Kentucky has just overturned its countywide smoking ban.

As Belinda has noted, the justification behind the decision was a purely libertarian one - that of a business owner's right to dictate what happens on his property.

What is most interesting in this case are the arguments employed - and the circumstances surrounding them - for and against the ban, both within the article and in the comments. It would appear that those backing the ban are described as being from outside the county and backed by professional or industrial organisations, whereby those opposed are locals simply defending their business owners' interests.

Two of the county commissioners who returned the 3-1 verdict stood in a recent election on an express ticket of repealing the ban, and have done precisely that, much to the chagrin of the anti-tobacco lobby.

The pro-ban case is the typical shrill one of invoking hypothetical deaths, insisting that a ban is inevitable, and a mixture of emotive pleading and attempted bullying of the the elected commission, whereby their opponents stick rigidly to the concept of personal responsibility and property rights.

In the comments, all manner of tried and trusted soundbites are wheeled out; the same insults, straw men, fallacies of logic and flawed analogies that normally hoodwink a bovine public and dull-witted political class. Except that in this case the repeated calm responses are to merely re-iterate that it's a liberty issue, not one of pro-smoking versus anti-smoking, this being a perfect example.

You absolutely have a choice to go where you want. Obviously, your medical condition does limit your options, but there certainly are options, and given your medical condition, there wouldn't be any of this perceived peer pressure to "force" you into a smoking establishment. In fact, you could use your medical condition to convince your friends to do the exact opposite.

NKY is going smoke free, without the law. The free market is resolving this, with more establishments going smoke-free all the time.

I just heard that the Ruby Tuesday in Cold Spring recently went smoke-free. If that's the case, it's another restaurant option.

There are smoke-free bars at the Levee and in Newport. There are smoke free options in Boone. There are smoke-free options in Kenton.

Public property is that which is owned by government. This property should cater to everyone, because you can't ignore a summons or not pay your taxes. You must go to these places, sometimes, and you shouldn't be forced to be exposed to smoke.

Private property that is open to the public, by contrast, is still private property. And in fact, the owner can kick you out for pretty much any reason they want. You may recall that OJ Simpson was kicked out of one of Ruby's places a few years back, because Ruby though OJ was guilty.

I strongly encourage you to patronize non-smoking establishments, continue to build that market, and let the free market continue the work it's already done in provided a smoke-free marketplace.
Yes, that's right. There are already plenty of non-smoking venues in the County - 70% of them, in fact - but all this shrieking and tantrum-throwing is because the anti-smokers want them all.

They will carry on demanding everything that they don't own, too. It's what anti-smokers do, unfortunately. But for now, their ad hominems, vile hyperbole and ever-shifting straw-clutching is getting nowhere in the face of a solid, consistent, incontrovertible message that a property owner should have the last word on how he operates in the market, backed up by a legislature specifically mandated by popular consent.

This starkly shows what many of us have been aware of for some time. The tobacco control movement is motivated by selfishness, personal greed, and spite, and that overweening laws such as the ban in the UK not only regulate unnecessarily since the market would adjust anyway in time, but also pander to individuals who exhibit the basest of human character flaws.

Campbell County are blessed to have a commission so well versed with the concepts of liberty and freedom which most of their fellow US politicians seem to have long forgotten.


Mongo said...

Wow I didn`t believe it was possible to roll back the tide of puritanism, I`d resigned myself to being forever an outcast and unclean, nice to see someone some where taking a stand against puritan filth and winning, it gives me hope that one day I`ll sit inside a bar here in the UK, enjoy a pint AND a cigar.

Anonymous said...

"In the comments, all manner of tried and trusted soundbites are wheeled out; the same insults, straw men, fallacies of logic and flawed analogies that normally hoodwink a bovine public and dull-witted political class."

The next step

From Canada


"....... A key aspect of any smoke-free campaign is to mobilize the silent majority.
Most non-smokers do not speak out against smoking, but you have to tap into their power to win your case."

".....write (or sign ghost written) letters to the editor, etc. (pages 31 & 33)"

".....submit at least two letters to the editor each month during the campaign, under the names of different authors”. (page 33)

"........ For the next few months, strive to ensure there are positive media stories, letters to the editor, etc., that tout how well the bylaw changes are working.

There will no doubt be a backlash from smokers in the beginning until they get used to the changes.
In the meantime, you have to counter their negative comments in the media, in comment sections of online news pieces and blogs, on radio call-in shows, etc.
Your job is to make politicians continue to believe that they did the right thing. It is not unheard of for councillors to backtrack on their decision and water down legislation. (page 48)"

Anonymous said...

Maybe this was a movement driven by a keen awareness of private property rights, and maybe it wasn’t (bearing in mind that politicians are adept at presenting more “morally upright” reasons for their decisions in preference to the real ones). And good for them if it was. But I’d bet that the damage to the local economy played a big part in the decision, too.

With every new ban which is passed, both in the US and worldwide, the anti-smoking movement’s protestations that “bans don’t hurt business” and the unfulfilled promise that there are countless thousands of non-smoking customers just waiting for smoke-free legislation in order to fill bars, restaurants and pubs to the rafters, becomes just a little less credible, and just a little more ridiculous-sounding.

At least the politicians at Campbell County – who, presumably, have easy access to all the “real” facts and figures regarding their local economy – have done the sensible thing and reversed this economically-disastrous policy, rather than burying their heads further in the sand like ours do ……..