02 November 2005

"The shades of the prison house begin to close in ..."

The title is from Wordsworth's poem "Intimations of Immortality". It is a beautiful flowing homage to the poets' lost youth and how the one thing that all adults want is to return to the splendidly innocent days of childhood - when your only care was would you have Captain Krunch or Count Chocolate for breakfast.

It's one of my favorite poems - so it is with a heavy hand that I reference this potent lyric to a dullard's past-time: Smoking.

In today's USAToday, the legislature in Washington state considers outlawing smoking outdoors.

On Tuesday, Washington state voters will consider the first statewide ban on smoking within 25 feet of buildings that prohibit smoking. That would mean lighting up near offices, stores, theaters, restaurants and government buildings could bring a $100 fine.

I don't smoke. I don't think that smoking is a healthy activity. It contributes to increased cancer rates, increased mortality, higher medical costs and, thereby, higher insurance premiums. I've lost many relatives to lung and throat cancer.

But I do not think that smoking should be banned and I don't think that the Big Tobacco lawsuit was a good thing.

That lawsuit established a dangerous precedent. It said to all US citizens, "You have no control. If you smoked cigarettes, you can sue Big Tobacco and get a big payout." So now, if 10 years from now you get sick and, you've eaten beef once a week - you can find some weasel attorney to sue the US Beef Council on your behalf because, obviously, the Beef Council showed up at your door and made you eat the Beef.

"If you ban smoking outside near a door or window, essentially you have no place to smoke except your own home - and maybe not even there," Sullum says."What's next? Smoking in a house with children will be considered child abuse. Smoking around pets will be cruel to animals."

It's just another indication that our freedoms are being legislated away. Los Angeles radio talk-show host Dennis Prager also argues that the “war on tobacco” represents a dangerous misplacement of moral values: “The next generation will ask: What preoccupied America in the final decade of the twentieth century—while unprecedented numbers of its children were being raised without fathers, while the country was living with rates of murder far higher than in any other advanced democracy . . . [while] rogue nations built stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons . . . ? The majority of [America’s] national politicians, state attorneys general and educators will be able to answer together, ‘We fought tobacco.’ Shame on them all.” (hat-tip: www.enotes.com/1984)

The tyranny of the minority goes on....


perezoso said...

I liked your rip of Islamofascism at Matty's lame site. Here in LA, it's a big deal: the muslim freaks are moving into public schools, getting on school boards, military, etc. and most of the SoCal morons don't know jack about the real thing. (try Ottoman Turks raping and killing 100s of thousands of Armenians for 200, Alex).

Hitchens is not my favorite writer but at least he's taking on the zealots and jihad-driven pukes.

Anonymous said...

It's Chocula

Rue St. Michel said...

LOL! You're right - thanks for the correction! Ha...ha....