Individual Private Property Owner Rights... A Smoking Ban in Public Places Can Be a Violation

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Mon, 04/06/2009 - 9:59am.

Several states have enacted state-wide smoking bans. The laws prohibit smoking in public places. Many people endorse such bans as a way of improving public health.

The main issue for proponents is that secondhand smoke causes discomfort and promotes longer term serious illness like cancer. They cite added health care costs associated with secondhand smoke, and dangers to employees that work in a smoke-filled environment. All are legitimate concerns.

Opponents of smoking bans cite loss of revenue, layoff of employees and customer preferences. Smokers cite their right to smoke. Business owners want to manage their enterprises as they see fit. All are legitimate arguments.

So, what should we do to resolve the matter? I think we need to better understand our core values to find the solution. Let's look at our core values first, then let's apply them to the problem.

First, our country was founded on the idea that we want to promote and preserve individual liberty -- personal choice. We also recognize that people have natural rights. One of our cornerstones of freedom is private property. We also recognize that the rights of one person stop where the rights of another begin.

In addition, we have a sense of justice -- fairness about our dealings with one another. We also value free enterprise and have a right to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

So let's look at some of the fundamentals here and see if we can't make more sense out of the issue.

First, an individual has the right to pursue happiness - freedom of choice. The person owns themselves much like property, and they have a right to manage themselves, but not in a manner that unreasonably harms others against their will. The same principle of management applies to private property.

Second, private property isn't a public place, it's a private place that is open to the public on an "at will" basis. You can do business there or choose not to. No one can force you to do business in a private establishment, and no one can force the private property owner to do business with you or operate the establishment in a manner that makes you happy - unless they choose to do so.

The free market has already created differences between private enterprises -- smoking and non-smoking, and some establishments that accommodate both. Some entrepreneurs recognize that there is an advantage to offering smoke-free environments for their patrons. Others recognize the advantage of catering to the smoking crowd.

Everyone have a choice to patronize or not, just like a business has a choice to accommodate customer desires or not. The forgotten element in all of this is the consumers' ability to influence the marketplace by making their desires known.

Instead, we enlist the help of the government to have our way with private enterprises by banning smoking. I abhor smoking, but let's look at the dangerous precedence we set: a ban on a legal activity with a legal product, that poses some hazard (like welding, paint fumes, beauty salon fumes, and automobile exhaust), and is conducted on private property among people that are all there because of their free choice to be an owner, employee or customer.

Clair Andrew Schwan - January 31, 2009 - source EzineArticles

Clair Schwan is a Libertarian that believes in standing up for all rights to avoid putting any of them in jeopardy of more regulation and unnecessary government intrusion. We all have natural rights as well as civil rights, and those don't include the right to feel good about everything that others do and say. It's time we grow up and stop looking to "mom and dad" government to solve our problems. For more information on issues of rights, liberty and justice, see Go here for more specific information about the adverse consequences to our freedoms when we ban smoking in public places

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Mon, 04/06/2009 - 9:59am.