Saturday, April 22, 2006

Why I am a Libertarian, Reason # 9,489

And why I see the Republican party as the lesser of two evils, reason number 1,042

Let’s say you own a small business, say a neighborhood bar. Another neighborhood bar down the street has decided to declare itself a “non-smoking” establishment, which is the decision and the right of the owner of that establishment. Your decision and right is to continue to allow smoking at your own establishment. Your business booms--90% of your clientele smokes while drinking. To allay fears of second hand smoke, you even install a high-tech ventilation system. Meanwhile, the non-smoking establishment is losing business. The proprietor of that business has been a generous contributor to the local state representative, whom he contacts and asks if there is any legal way to even things out. The representative promptly introduces a state-wide indoor smoking ban affecting all liquor establishments. Subsequently, your clientele realizes they can smoke and drink at home.90% of your customer base is gone, and you can’t afford to keep your business open. Competition has been forced onto an even keel.
This is exactly what is happening in the State of Colorado. It couldn’t have been done while the Republican Party held the majority in both the State House and Senate, it had been tried, but was voted down, several times. Republicans, you see, are generally more conscious of property rights than are Democrats. Now that the Democrats have control of the Colorado State Legislature, the bill passed easily. It was signed by two-faced Governor Bill Owens, who commented that he regretted that the issue couldn’t be resolved by the individual communities. Ironically, the measure won’t stop people from smoking, it will only stop people from smoking in bars. There are currently no plans on how the state will make up for revenues lost due to liquor establishments going out of business.
This isn’t a complaint about smokers’ rights, it’s about property rights. Such interference by the government in the running of one’s enterprise, for the purposes of leveling the field, amounts to socialism and eminent domain abuse. Control of private enterprise by the government has historically resulted in economic ruin. But Democrats generally ignore history and don’t plan for the future.

Consider the issue of Social Security reform. Democrats stiffly rejected President Bush’s proposed Social Security reform, while refusing to offer any plan of their own. They would rather wait until there are no Social Security funds, before taking action, and they demonstrated their pride in their inaction by giving themselves a standing ovation during the 2006 State of the Union address.
Of course, that shouldn’t be surprising, considering that John Kerry, Charles “Chucky Shoe” Schumer, Howard Dean, and others who have opposed the war in Iraq, have argued that the United States should have waited until Al Qaeda actually used chemical or biological weapons provided by Saddam against America before taking military action against the tyrant.
Believe me, it wouldn’t have been like the Cuban Missile Crisis, where we knew what was happening before-hand.
Of course, another issue the Democrats want to press is the price of oil. They have rejected plans by the President which would ease U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Now they casually point the finger of blame at the President, for not taking the very actions they rejected.
It’s just politics as usual for the Democrat Party.
The debate over the illegal immigrants reminds me of the gun fight scene between Doc Holiday and Johnny Ringo in the movie Tombstone. Fearful of losing “the Hispanic vote” over the issue, they circle each other warily, each waiting for the other to make a move. The Republicans draw first, firing a blank--a House bill which would make illegal activity illegal. The Dems and the moderate Republicans fire back with another blank--what amounts to amnesty for those illegal immigrants who have been in the United States for more than five years. At this point, I’m doubting that either side will fire an effective and deadly head shot such as the one Doc Holiday delivered in the movie. So, last Wednesday, Homeland Security Czar Michael Chertoff announced an operation which netted over 1100 arrests of illegal immigrant workers and the employers who smuggled them into the United States and hired them, tax free, for less than minimum wage. Though wounded, and it was only a flesh wound, the Democrats are now dancing in triumph, because they feel that the Republicans wounded themselves worse, driving away their “Hispanic” voter base. Personally, this attitude smacks of racism. Do they really think that Americans descended from Mexican or South American immigrants would be adverse to action which would make their own employment secure?
The latest shot from the Democrats is that, “before we take action against immigrant workers, we should study the effect on the economy.”
So have the Democrats suddenly become free market Libertarians? I seriously doubt it, but it does spark my interest as a Libertarian. As long as we are decriminalizing human smuggling, why not go ahead and decriminalize marijuana, until we fully study the effects on the economy? Or how about traffic speeding, running red lights, or failure to stop at a stop sign?
More reasonably, we should just put a hold on banning cigarette smoking in bars, until the effects on the economy are fully studied. That is something the Democrats cannot bring themselves to do.


Drunkenrantz said...

For what it's worth, I am inclined to agree that it's up to a business owner whether or not smoking is permitted--however, I will not miss going home after a couple of drinks not smelling like an ashtray.

However, I do disagree as to the whys and wherefores of the political process that caused the ban.

Reality of the situation is, if the Colorado State Legislature (Republican OR Democratic-dominated) did not pass some form of ban on smoking in workplaces, a more severe citizen initiative would have been brought forth, circulated, signed, certified and passed handily by the voters. Governor Bill Owens and the legislature were simply bowing to the inevitable on that one. That the Democrats are more hospitable to such measures I will not deny, but BOTH parties have a propensity to outlaw behaviors they don't like. It's simply a manifestation of the punitive and puritan society we live in.

Personally, I'm more worried about the folks that think anything more fun than church camp should be illegal than I am about anti-smoking activists. We'll have the cops arresting people for getting drunk in bars soon, just like they do in Texas.

Clance' McClannahan said...

Idaho as you know is a purely Repucan State, and they pushed the anti smoking bill through like wildfire. Luckily they left the choice for bar owner's an restaurants open. Downtown Boise's snootier hangouts started out with a smoking ban, tho many have now changed back because of the loss of clientele. I like that they left open the choice. There are legislators that are still pushing for total ban...both parties, thos there are only a couple of Dem in our Sate Govt anyway. I am way more concerned about Dirk Kempthorne's new Sec of the Interior position than anything in Idaho right now.
I am doing a post on On a Quest later today on the immigrant boycott...My Dale's solution to the impact it will have on our Drywall buisness.