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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

SSC's incorrect take on MN Smoking Regulations

I think SSC has gotten it wrong in his most recent post entitled 'Minnesota GOP Upping Ante on Smoking Bans'. He's right on regarding Pawlenty's tacit support of the proposed statewide smoking ban by not wholeheartedly opposing this government intrusion on individual rights. However, one might reasonably believe that he was smoking something other than tobacco when he chose to put this in the same league as Rep. Marty Seifert's proposal to pull welfare benefits from those who smoke.

There's a clear difference between the state banning an activity for all and putting criteria on receiving welfare benefits. There are already numerous criteria that determine a person's eligibility for benefits of many kinds. The common saying "What government funds, government controls" is apopos [another reason for getting the federal government out of local school funding, but that's a topic for another post - ed.] If someone wants to take advantage of a handout, they need to deal with the consequences, even if, as in this case, the penalty (not smoking) is seemingly unrelated to the benefit (welfare checks). In fact, I'd be in favor of more restrictions that would serve to reduce the welfare rolls.

The proposed statewide smoking ban is of an entirely different nature. Here, we have government intrusion into the rights of the individual. Those who choose to smoke do so at their own risk and are not asking for a government handout to support their habit, tax subsidies for tobacco farmers and the impact of smokers on future healthcare costs being peripheral and thus separate issues. Those who don't like their smoking in public can vote with the most powerful influence they have - their dollar.

I hope that SSC will rethink his position and come to a different conclusion.