Number 3 in my "I wish to God I would have written this" series is Jonathan Davis Morris' piece on the new Smoking Ban signed into law in Philadelphia. As many of you know I am VERY against smoking bans --not just because I smoke, but because it's such an invasion of privacy and it has to be unconstitutional...and an infringement on my "choice"...and if you don't like smoke you shouldn't be at a bar...and if I pay $150 for a meal I should be able to enjoy a smoke with my coffee afterwards...and my cigarette smoke in your hair still smells better than your patchouli oil (should I go on...?)
Anyway, this guy rules... Don't skim, READ IT! It's perfect...and funny.
"...Philadelphia was always going to pass anti-smoking legislation. If it didn't happen now, it was going to happen eventually. Once planted in a region's imagination, smoking bans take on a death-and-taxes certainty. It's never a matter of if they will happen, but how they will happen, when they will happen, and who will get to take credit for it.
This is partly because anti-smoking groups are tenacious, and partly because smoking is a crappy habit. However, neither of these things explain why smoking bans are becoming inevitable. The real reason so many cities have banned smoking in public places is because of the words "public places." Somehow, this phrase has come to describe privately owned bars and restaurants, which, by nature, tend to be privately owned.
Just because you go "out in public" to visit these places doesn't make them public any more than having sex in a park in broad daylight makes the park private. There's an obvious difference between public and private property, and reasonable human beings can spot this difference. Unfortunately, this country is full of something, but it isn't reasonable human beings.
I don't care if it sounds like I'm splitting hairs here. To me, this isn't an issue of mere semantics. If you call privately owned bars and restaurants "public places," it tells me you don't know what you're talking about. And if you don't know what you're talking about, you shouldn't be making — or even so much as influencing — policy. No one should care about your opinion. I'm not even sure you should have the right to vote.
As a moron, you are just annoying enough to solve every problem in the worst and most uncreative way. Usually, this means imposing your preferences on others, instead of giving your fellow citizens a choice. Smoking bans are a typical case in point. Over the last few years, dozens of smoke-free bars and restaurants have opened up in Philly and the surrounding area. These restaurants are doing what all good restaurants do: They're catering to people's desires. Sometimes this means serving Italian food when customers want Italian food; other times it means banning smoking when customers don't like smoking.
In a world that made sense, someone would've stepped back, taken a look at this trend, and concluded a Philadelphia smoking ban was unnecessary. Smoke-free establishments would continue to exist side-by-side with smoking establishments, and everyone would be happy because everyone would get their way. Instead, we've decided not to be happy unless everyone does everything exactly like we do. This is what you get when you don't even know what the words "public place" mean. When you don't understand the idea of private property, you tend to think every place on the planet needs the same rules." (Read the entire piece"When banning smoking, please speak English")