What is going on?
Over the past decade, society has been moving in an alarming direction. More and more of the basic freedoms and pleasures that citizens once took for granted are being restricted or banned in the name of safety.
Everyone enjoys an activity or indulgence that is risky or harmful in some way. Coffee, alcohol, tobacco, fast food, extreme skiing, mountain climbing, snowmobiling, sun-tanning, and the harsh training undertaken by elite athletes are just a few examples of things easily deemed dangerous or harmful by politicians and health authorities eagerly seeking to regulate and control the lives of their citizenry.
Statements by these pleasure police indicate a high likelihood that most of the previously mentioned activities will be regulated and/or banned in the future. Presently, health officials and politicians have chosen to focus their attention on the smoking of tobacco.
Regarding the issue of tobacco smoking, the initial steps taken by health authorities were fairly reasonable: warnings were required on tobacco products, smoking was limited in public spaces (schools, hospitals, daycares, etc.) and children were educated about the potential health complications related to tobacco use.
After those measures were put in place, increasingly draconian restrictions on tobacco smoking were implemented. Smoking was banned in all restaurants, bars, and coffee houses. Owners of such places were given no choice to ban or permit the use of a legal substance on their property; they were simply told by government what to do.
Recently, local government has banned smoking on all outdoor patios. According to health authorities, second-hand smoke is more dangerous to the public than gasoline and diesel fumes from vehicles, industrial emissions, chimney smoke, cannabis smoke and all of the other smells and vapors that the average patio diner in the city is exposed to on a daily basis.
Health officials maintain that there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke. According to these same officials there are acceptable levels of exposure to engine exhaust, industrial emissions, radiation, and all manner of toxic substances. It is perfectly safe and acceptable to drive around town in a ten-year old Lexus which emits hydrocarbons into the air. Exhaling a mouthful of smoke originating from burning plant matter is instantly harmful and should be illegal. The hypocrisy is mind-boggling.
Smoking anything is not a particularly healthy pastime. There are many other pleasures enjoyed by people that are equally damaging to a person’s health. Citizens of this country need to decide if they wish to continue to allow bureaucrats and government officials to regulate pleasure and freedom of choice out of existence in the pursuit of complete safety for all; such a state of blissful security is impossible to obtain in the real world. This fact will do little to stop authorities making their citizenry miserable in the pursuit of such a goal.
The question before people is this: is it worth trading away freedom of choice for a false sense of security?