Head West, Turn Right

The Joint Blog of the Conservative Northwest Blogging Alliance: Red State Points of View from a Blue State Point on the Compass.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I-901: the great conservative sellout

I hate to use such a vitriolic headline, but I can't find better words for it. I'm seeing just how uneducated conservatives can be in their own professed philosophy. I'm seeing Washington republicans throw away their principles just because they happen to not like smoking.

The source of my problem is Initiative 901, which is intended to effectively ban smoking anywhere but reservations and your own house (you might get away with it if you stand in the middle of an intersection too). Of course, you'll also probably have to be careful that you shut all your doors and close all your windows and light up in the basement...just in case your neighbor smells it inside his equally sealed house, get's a headache and lung cancer, files a complaint, or worse, sues you to pay for his lung transplant. If you happen to own a bar that smokers like to frequent, you'd better get a whole new set of customers because catering to smokers will be against the law.

Property rights? What are those?

Susan Rosenberry of The Western Front did a good job of covering it in last Friday's issue. One quote that struck me:

If it passes, the initiative would ban smoking inside Washington public spaces, including restaurants, bars, bowling alleys and public transportation vehicles such as taxis, said Dr. Chris Covert-Bowlds, a Bellingham physician and sponsor of the initiative. The smoking restriction would also extend to 25 feet away from the entrance of the public establishment, he said.

“It’s not that we are trying to force people to stop smoking,” Covert-Bowlds said. “We are just trying to protect employees’ rights to breathe smoke-free air.”

WHAT RIGHT WAS THAT? Where do we keep coming up with all these new-and-improved, extraconstitutional rights? What right can an employee claim if they knew they were applying to work in a smoke-filled environment?

A friend of mine who is a leader in the Whatcom County Republican Party (he helped write our county platform last year) had this to say about his support for the initiative when I asked him (email excerpt):

Never ask an ex-smoker (like me) how they feel about smoking! We converts/previous smokers all hate it and can't stand the smell of it!...Bottom line, your ability to smoke ends at the end of my nose and if I can smell it, you can't do it. Majority always rules sooner or later.

I have never heard anything quite so abhorrent to the basic principles of our constitution or the free market. He complained he can never bowl because they all are smoking establishments. So? Start your own bowling alley...don't sit there and force them, through trumped-up laws, to cater to you just because you have a medical aversion to something they do.

Is there a better way of saying this that I'm missing? Is something unclear? Does anyone know what private property means?

Smoking is still legal. Until it is outlawed, I will not support anything that restricts a business owner's right to cater to smokers. I'm sorry if your nose starts running and you get a headache...I sometimes do too. You've survived up to this point.

The government isn't here to make laws for my convenience!

Crossposted at Western Washington Unraveled


At 9:46 AM, Blogger jaybird said...


You are of course correct. But tobacco and smoking are such anathemas, you'll never get any traction. It's another freedom eroded away, but it's one that few care about. The hypocracy is that the last thing they really want is a big decrease in smoking, let alone trying to outlaw tobacco, because it's a major cash cow for federal and state governments, who gouge both Big Tobacco and individual smokers for tax and other revenues to such a degree that governments have become dependent upon it.

After the anti-smoking nazis get done with tobacco, what'll be targeted next? You know that these busy-bodies won't stop there. My guess is alcohol. Yeah, prohibition failed when that was tried 85 years ago, but that won't stop them from demonizing it and making it a social taboo and overly-regulating it, just like they've done with tobacco. And then what? And then? And so on.

Clearly there's no shortage of people who are eager to restrict other people's freedoms.

(an ex-smoker who agrees that smoking is really dumb, but that's not the issue)

At 9:41 AM, Blogger Palm boy said...

Well written, and the politicians are retarded.

At 2:49 PM, Anonymous Mark D said...

If as your friend said, "your rights end where my nose begins" then I hope he's ready to support a whole host of additional initiatives.

Let's start with banning automotive exhaust. It makes me feel dizzy and if enough is inhaled, it is more toxic than tobacco smoke.

We should ban perfumes and fragrances that others may be allergic to.

Some images I see in public cause me great concern. Some are so objectionable, that I really can’t get the image out of my mind long afterwards. This reduces my productivity while working and lowers the amount of sleep I get. The former impacts my wallet while the latter impacts my health. So if the logic of your rights end where my nose begins holds, shouldn’t the same be true for your rights end where my eyes begin? Just think of the stuff we could begin banning in public…Pants that don’t have a belt firmly buckled, any type of body art/piercing, and my favorite…anyone I don’t think is height/weight proportionate…the list could go on.

I grew up in Whatcom County and now live in King. I always held out hope that I could move back from crazy King County to a more sensible Whatcom County. If a leading Republican has such little respect for property rights, I'm no longer holding out hope for a sensible Whatcom County to return to. The fact that he brings up a personal reason right off the bat “I’m an ex-smoker…” shows that he is more selfish than concerned with principle and the rights of others.

Mark D

Kirkland, WA

At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your friend is a traitor to America.

If I was you I wouldn't have anything to do with him.

With people like him in the Republican party it is no wonder why I am not voting next year.

Lots of people are going to sit the next one out.

At 11:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whiney Republican't schmucks! Waawaaa nanny state where will "they" stop next my rights waaaa...I wanna blow carcenogic tobacco smoke all over your children because it's myyy riiight to do so.
Idiots. Isn't there enough evidence showing tobacco smoke to be the single most harmful thing you can do to your health?

At 11:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad you fooilios counldn't swift-boat I-901. Ohh, too bad, we won't be dying of lung cancer in WA.
Torture, anyone...?


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