Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Jeremy On The Smoke Nazis

Here.

Funny story: I was recently at a night club talking to some girl who unexpectedly began to tell me how much she hates smoking and how she wants it banned. I wasn't in the mood to get in a huge political debate (especially when the whole thing would have to be yelled over loud music). But I couldn't agree to health fascism. So I was stuck in the awkward position of not agreeing but not disagreeing. This can become pretty unintentionally funny after a few minutes.

Girl: So I like, hate smoking, and want it banned.

Me: That's...interesting. I never knew you were so into bans on things.

Girl: I think the people who complain about smoking bans are silly.

Me: Yeah--silly people. How about them? eh?

Girl: Smokers sicken me, and the law should stop them.

Me: Laws. How about them? eh?

Girl: I don't think smoking bans hurt businesses at all.

Me: I like businesses. Businesses are good, m'kay.

Looking back, maybe it would have been smarter to go the opposite route.

6 comments:

John said...

I have tried gently explaining to Statists who favor smoking bans that smoking, going to places where there's smoke, and allowing smoking to take place in your building are all voluntary things that should not be proscribed by the government.

Don't try it. They are hopeless. They will never, ever be swayed by discourse and persuasion.

Cork said...

Too true, John.

It reminds me of a moment during my freshman year of college, when I was debating 3 smoke nazis by myself--for a class. (3 against 1: real fair, huh?)

As the debate went on, I started to realize that logic and facts weren't going to make any difference to these fascists. I don't recall a single audience member siding with me (they were allowed to raise their hands and comment after the debate).

I saw the face of American statism, and it was ugly.

Cork said...

To be a little more clear: I had presented endless research to prove that the dangers of secondhand smoke were exaggerated, that smoking bans destroyed small and family businesses, etc.

None of the statists even disputed my facts. They didn't care one way or another. Glad to know these people can vote...yuck.

I also brought up private property rights, but statists of course do not believe in property. One person actually told me that the state is the "true" owner of the bar or restaurant.

The one question I've always asked smoke nazis is: "Suppose I start a bar in my own garage. If I have a cigar, and nobody else is even around, you think I should be arrested?"

Or: "Suppose every single person in a bar is smoking and enjoying themselves. This means there are no 'victims' of their smoke. They should be arrested?"

Sadly, the answer is usually "yes," as expected.

anarcho-mercantilist said...

Suppose every single person in a bar is smoking and enjoying themselves. This means there are no 'victims' of their smoke. They should be arrested?

Although I support the right for the restaurant owner to allow smoking, I disagree with your arguments against smoking. That argument that I quoted above, for example, contains a red herring. The logic, although sounding plausible in the narrow sense, does not take notice of the original intent of smoking bans—to protect innocents from inhaling passive smoke. Even if the customers unanimously consented to allow passive smoke, allowing passive smoke would somehow "discriminate" newcomers to the restaurant, who did not gave consent. Therefore, it logically follows that restaurants that allow smoking somewhat "discriminate" newcomers to the restaurant.

Unless the Statists have knowledge that free-market competition creates disintentivises firms to discriminate, you should not make this argument, unless you want to give a non sequitur. If the Statists, however, lacks any knowledge that firms have disincentives to discriminate in a free market, then, of course, your argument logically follows.

I have tried gently explaining to Statists who favor smoking bans that smoking, going to places where there's smoke, and allowing smoking to take place in your building are all voluntary things that should not be proscribed by the government.

John, I think that this argument begs the question. All voluntary things, by definition, does not involve any government intenvention.

Don't try it. They are hopeless. They will never, ever be swayed by discourse and persuasion.

As the debate went on, I started to realize that logic and facts weren't going to make any difference to these fascists.

I strongly disagree with this. Libertarians cannot persuade Statists because they often use logical fallacies, which alienates the Statists. Statists therefore view libertarianism, which originally stood for a logical and intellectual political philosophy, as a movement advocated by pot-smoking Republicans.

I also disagree with the "policy libertarianism" advocated by some anarcho-capitalists, even by those who oppose electoral politics. Policy libertarianism, which I define, understoods for the tendency of some libertarians going into ad hoc and insignificant policy issues, such as smoking bans, Social Security, the Federal Communications Commission, free speech on campuses, policial correctness, identity politics, economic stimuli, police brutality, and post office privatization. Policy libertarians often go into non-theoretical and porous arguments against some government intervention, to side with a more libertarian philosophy. They often manipulate statistics and empirical research, throwing out all evidence against the policy and specifically promote research that that shows the benefits. (Policy libertarians abuse statistical research in refuting global warming, and the damage done by fast foods, to criticise government intervention in these fields. They avoid a broader ethical view against all forms of government intervention.)

I found some serious logical flaws in some of your policy libertarian posts. Such posts include your health myths and anti-bailout posts. However, I do not oppose polity libertarianism altogether, especially combined with a theoretical philosophy of libertarianism. I only oppose those who focus specifically on policy cases, such as those police brutality sites and the Penn & Teller fallacies.

Perhaps, as we have shown above, that Statists disbelieve in libertarian arguments because they often contain a non sequitur. If you claim that all Statists as "hopeless" or "illogical," then you contradict the premise of the libertarian movement altogether, to convert as much Statists as possible.

Cork said...

anarcho-mercantilist,

I think you're taking things a bit too seriously, and reading more precision than is necessary. This blog is loaded with ranting, generalizations, and ad hoc observations. My purpose isn't to convert statists, but to entertain (radical) libertarians, including myself.

As for the health post, it's up just because I found it (and the studies cited) interesting. I never said I agree with all of it. Still, I do think the health nuts often exaggerate.

Cork said...

And for the record, I've said repeatedly that I believe in global warming. See here for one example.