A gratuitous attack on civil society

THE smoking ban is here and I wish it all the ill-luck it deserves and as speedy a demise as can be arranged.

The whole thing has been a disaster for civil society in Ireland. There has been no organised opposition outside those with an economic interest in the issue.

If it wasn’t for the letters page of the Irish Times it would have died as a topic of public discourse. 

It looks like the fall of the cane in front of the Christian Brothers’ blackboard still has a profound effect in Ireland. We still want to do what we are told. We still queue up to have our beliefs handed to us. We have very little faith in personal choice, responsibility or plurality.

That’s our bad side. Our good side is that away from public discourse a large section of the Irish have always stuck up their fingers at authority and ignored stupid, arrogant and repressive laws. I’m with them.

I hope in the coming months and years that individual Irishmen and women will defeat the smoking ban and the oppressive paternalism and authoritarianism behind it.

60% argument – #1 

Apparently, over 60% of the public are in favour of the smoking ban.

So what?

Why don’t these 60% set up their own pubs and then frequent them? A couple of years back a Galway pub went non-smoking and had to reverse the decision when nobody came to drink. 

Where were all the zealots then? Why didn’t they take their healthy bodies down to that pub and drink in it? 

They couldn’t persuade people to sup at their alter of lifestyle puritanism so they need policemen to do it for them. 

60% argument – #2 

It is a radical diminution in personal responsibility and liberty if public opinion is to be a determining factor in the choices available to individuals.

Does this mean that it would be legitimate for Catholics to vote for the closure of Protestant churches? If a majority opt for Italian cooking, will the local Chinese have to shut?

Or should protestants who like Chinese food just make their own minds up? 

60% argument – #3 

From one survey I seen, a large proportion of this 60% don’t actually go to pubs.

Isn’t that just great?

People sitting at home like the ‘dog in the manger’ of old have a say in something they have no personal interest in. Sickening.

The cinema argument

According to a smug assortment of pro-smoking ban advocates we’re all happy that smoking has been banned in theatres, cinemas, etc. 

These people have a neck like a jockey’s undercarriage. First you ban something and then you claim there’s no demand for it. 

The way to determine demand is this: 

You open two cinemas side by side, one smoking and one non-smoking. Then free people can decide which cinema they wish to enter.