Too Much And Too Little Inequality

It used to be last thing at night, but these days, I seem to have my most interesting ideas first thing in the morning. And I think that maybe it’s because when I first wake up in the morning my mind is a blank – a tabula rasa -, and the first ideas have the stage to themselves, like the first character to appear in a stage play, before all the other characters show up.

And today’s thought had me asking myself, not for the first time, why I’ve become pretty right wing over the last few years, when for much of my life I was rather left wing. It’s rather odd.

And I think I know why I became left wing, and it was in part because in my travels around the world in my early life I’d seen a great deal of inequality. For example, in Rio de Janeiro I was always a bit shocked by the way great wealth sat side by side with great poverty: on the one hand the expensive hotels along the Copacabana beach, and on the other the grim favelas on the sides of the surrounding hills. It was too much inequality to bear. It was the kind of inequality I never saw in Britain.

So too much inequality had been unbearable, and made me want to lessen inequalities. And I think that actually that’s a quite natural response.

But this morning’s rather startling thought was that if there could be too much inequality, there could also be too little inequality. For in its extreme, the equalisation of any society must lead to complete uniformity. To ubiquitous sameness.

Smoking bans are one example of this. There used to be lots of different pubs, all with their own different atmosphere. But now they’re all the same: they’re all uniformly “smoke-free”. And the atmosphere has gone. Yet egalitarians always see greater equality as “progress”.

It’s not just things like smoking bans. Political correctness demands not just that nobody should smoke or drink or eat disapproved foods, but that everyone should think and speak the same way. Political correctness is about ensuring that everybody sings from the same hymn sheet. It demands strict conformity to the approved consensus view. And that’s another way in which equality is imposed, not just in terms of wealth, but in terms of culture and belief.

Erasing differences between black and white, Christian and Muslim, gay and straight, men and women – treating them all the same -, is another way of imposing uniformity, imposing equality. Yet it’s an unreal equality, because they’re actually not all the same. They’re all different.

These days some students are demanding “safe spaces” where they can’t hear rival opinions. More and more speakers are being refused, because they’ll say the ‘wrong’ things. And this can’t be tolerated.

And so this morning I was thinking that if there could be too much inequality, there could equally be too little inequality. And if we go on removing inequalities, we’ll all be wearing a single uniform, because dress inequality is another kind of inequality for the egalitarians to try to eradicate.

And I think such a society would be utterly stifling. It would be like Stalin’s Soviet Union, where even the faintest criticism of the Great Leader could have you shipped to Siberia, as many Russians were. I like people to dress differently, and have different beliefs. I think variety is the spice of life.

So today’s thought was that there could be both too much inequality, and too little inequality, and that there must therefore be an ideal intermediate state with just the right amount of inequality.

And so if people become left wing, it’s because they see too much inequality around them. And if they become right wing, it’s because they see too little inequality. They’re both natural compensations for excesses of one sort or other. And if I’ve been becoming right wing, it’s been in response to the over-equalisation that’s come with things like smoking bans and political correctness and all the rest of it. In the past I saw too much inequality, but now I see too little. So I’ve shifted from left to right.

And I suspect the same thing is happening with a lot of other people. And it’s perfectly natural.

I hope that made sense.


About Frank Davis

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43 Responses to Too Much And Too Little Inequality

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    OT Man I feel like Ive been up for 72 hours but no more withdrawels just sore and tired!
    No more freaking pain killers for this kid. Oh how easy it was to happen when you have a hospital stay and the doc loads ya down in them. Then Obama goes and fixes it so nobody can get them anymore and your like wtf I got hooked by the doc for pain and now instead of a medical plan to get you off them they just say screw you and cut you off. The reason is Obamas DEA is going around and leaning on every doctor in the country to stop prescribing any narcotics for any reason or risk a visit from DEA and lose your medical liscence. That’s the facts.

  2. harleyrider1978 says:

    Next off the list is Xanax and I actually got a VA doc to plan it for me……….amazing I didn’t get the usual your an addict over smoking first then pain killers then Xanax then then then………that’s what the front door gives you when you go for help instant criminal just for being on them is how your treated. So I refused to bow to their shit and did it myself!

  3. John Watson says:

    It did, I suppose if you wanted to over simplify it, living is much like a pendulum which swings through both extremes and when stopped rests in the centre. in reality most people never live to see it centralised but may see it swing through its arc many times each time less extreme. I think that eventually the pendulum will swing back, it is a natural course of events, indeed it may have already begun its journey back. One can but hope that it has.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Its already begun ky just elected a governor that’s against smoking bans in any condition and wants business to decide. Same as Rand Paul and the smoking ban was made a part of the election by the liberal media and they lost BIG TIME!

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      PHILADELPHIA—Praising the product as an effective and convenient means of helping individuals quit smoking, pharmaceutical manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline announced Wednesday the release of its new NicoDerm eye patch. “These discreet and easy-to-use eye patches allow users to curb their cigarette cravings by delivering a steady flow of therapeutic nicotine directly into the bloodstream through the optic nerve,” said company spokesperson Caitlin Timmons, adding that the user simply removes the backing from the patch and applies the adhesive layer directly on their exposed cornea. “Individuals can choose to place the patch on their left eye or right eye, and the extended-release technology will reduce withdrawal symptoms for up to 72 hours. We recommend, however, that users don’t put on more than one at a time.” Officials told reporters that the NicoDerm eye patch might cause side effects such as trouble sleeping, burning at the application site, and poor depth perception.

  5. Chris says:

    Actual equality would mean smokers and their preferences would have equal weight with those of non- and antismokers. Antismoking is nothing more than an attempt to deny equal rights to a certain segment of the population.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Equality of rights is obviously one sort of equality. But I don’t think the antis are in the least bit concerned with that sort of equality. They want equality in a different sense of Everybody (and everything) Being Made The Same. So everyone will be non-smoking, non-drinking, and any number of other things. And they’ll all have the same opinions about everything. And maybe even wear the same clothes. And that’s another sort of equality – the equality of complete conformity.

      It’s a question of what is to be equalised. Is it rights? Or is it people and institutions? Or something else?

      And it’s also a question of whether Equality (of whatever) is always and everywhere a Universally Good Thing.

  6. Lepercolonist says:

    The U.S. constitution’s 1st amendment protects my right to assemble or associate with other smokers or non-smokers:

    The Freedom of assembly, sometimes used interchangeably with the freedom of association, is the individual right or ability to come together and collectively express, promote, pursue, and defend their ideas.The right to freedom of association is recognized as a human right, political right and civil liberty.

    Why does the government abridge my first amendment right to associate in a pub ? With the private owner’s permission to enter. This is beyond inequality. It is a basic human right.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution

      The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

      This amendment is used to protect the citizenry from any expansion of governmental power because of the limited nature of the Bill of Rights. Because every right of the people of the United States could not possibly be mentioned in the Constitution, the Ninth Amendment was added to supplement those already mentioned. The amendment protects many rights implied in a universal civil code, and those that are linked to other rights already declared. It protects these personal liberties from state and federal infringement.

  7. waltc says:

    The CLASH lawsuit against NYC about 12 (?) yrs ago tried those angles among others but the judge said they didn’t apply. You can likely read a transcript if his decision at the CLASH website

    • waltc says:

      Can’t find the decision at the moment but here’sva link,to the suit itself

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Walt you give a perfect example of the courts being politicaly OWNED and where no man or woman or child will get justice.

      • Actually what Audrey’s suit did was show pretty clearly, that even with good lawyers and arguments, that particular legal approach doesn’t work in the US — although if you lucked out with the right judges (remember: the Antis have the war chest to appeal and appeal and appeal) you might get decisions in your favor.

        I still think we have an opening through arguing enforcement, but to be successful it would really require owners to be coordinated, customers to be motivated, and everyone to adhere strictly to the proper rules and behaviors along the way. Too many resisting owners have lost their cases because they made it clear that they simply were giving their customers permission to smoke. The key lies in coming from the other direction: making clear what they feel justified in doing and not doing in terms of acting as Citizen Vigilante Enforcers drafted illegally to risk their lives without pay, insurance, training, empowerment, or weaponry. There’s no question at all of the fact that a number of innocent people have died in enforcing these bans. There’s no reason at all why people should feel they are being forced to risk such events when they haven’t been formally drafted into the military.

        – MJM

  8. petesquiz says:

    Yes, it did make a lot of sense. Many years ago, under Margaret Thatcher the Tories promoted a policy of ‘Equality of Opportunity’ which I always thought got the balance right. It recognises that everyone is different, but if everyone gets the same opportunities it is then down to the individual how they take advantage of it.

  9. smokingscot says:

    Frank I’ve always been one who favours individual respect, freedoms and responsibility. I’ve always believed in the free market (or live and let live). These are my core values – and I will lay into anyone who gets down, dirty and personal with me or mine (or don’t f… with me and I’ll not f… with thou).

    Some of what has happened in my life that’s eroded these values includes the smoking ban. That’s real personal. And the way things are funded, which does include the money they give on overseas aid. That’s our taxes they give away, government to government, without accountability. And of course the funding of TC, that does so tick me off!

    But there’s another side of it and those are the trusts and foundations, set up to be non-taxable. There is hundreds of billions in these and some are there to “influence” government. Though many are there for “health”. The link’ll give you some idea of what I mean:

    Let’s get this straight, these things are set up by the super-rich to carry on their legacy. Mostly because their offspring were not capable of doing so. From what I’ve seen, these are run by non-entities who can be easily persuaded to allocate funds to things like global warming – and smoking cessation.

    They’re very much a creation of the 1920’s. And it’s gotten out of hand. They run around bleating that corporations evade tax and they’ve set up this utterly facile Common Reporting Standard with a view to “catch” tax evaders, while sitting on their hands unable to do four fifths of naff all about these totally untaxed trusts.

    Oxfam did a study and it’s sobering, so while I respect and am even a little envious of the people who set up Google and Facebook and such, there is something inherently wrong with a system that enables people to accumulate wealth on such a large scale without checks or balances.

    Oxfam did a pathetic attempt to highlight this, but ignored things like Alibaba as well as the big families in the far and middle east.

    I shan’t go into a great long explanation about the short term gains being done by big corporations. For sure the recent scandal of a drug company in France that developed a killer drug, nor the fracking industry, nor those horrid wind turbine manufacturers.

    To me it’s the way money is being allocated to non-productive projects and the way we have to put up with academics and so called experts spouting on about the latest health fashion. We really do not need them.

    Increasingly it seems the average stiff has little more than 10 – 12 attempts in a lifetime to use his/her “vote” – and that’s all we really amount to.

    Government used to be for the people by the people. It’s not, otherwise we’d have never pissed around with Ukraine, nor signed up for overseas aid, nor imposed a smoking ban, nor had a situation where Turkey insists that the Kurds be excluded from the Syrian peace talks. Actually the list goes on forever, but I feel Blair encapsulated the modern day interpretation when he said “Labour were elected to govern”.

    Against this backdrop what we have is a very great deal that’s “developed” world, with places like Bangladesh and Trindad and Surinam largely ignored.

    That you’ve gradually shifted your political orientation is perfectly understandable, but right wing is the stuff of pro-business and growth and individual rights and responsibilities. That’s not happening, certainly not in the EU nor the UK. In truth the “developed” world has pretty much lost the plot and is now little more than a sham. Global entities now influence everyone with the smoking ban one of their greatest successes. And global entities are joined at the hip with those sordid trusts and foundations.

    The outfit you support (UKIP), along with myself, describes itself as “right of centre” and that’s pretty close to where I want to be. That they happen to question far more than just our membership of the EU is part of their appeal. There are a good many questions that deserve solid answers – and that’s why the establishment will fight them – and us.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I entirely agree about the rich foundations. Why should someone be allowed to set up a tax-exempt foundation to promote their personal values long after they’re dead?

      That you’ve gradually shifted your political orientation is perfectly understandable, but right wing is the stuff of pro-business and growth and individual rights and responsibilities. That’s not happening, certainly not in the EU nor the UK.

      It’s not happening at the political class level, certainly. As far as I can see, all the main UK political parties are more or less socialist, and so are the mass media, and of course the EU. But I suspect that the ground is shifting at the grass root level. I think my (grass root) shift from left to right is perfectly rational. And the rise of UKIP would seem to reflect a similar shift elsewhere in the UK electorate. This is not to say that there might not be opposite shifts going on elsewhere.

  10. Clicky says:

  11. Cecily Collingridge says:

    Terms like ‘left’ and ‘right’ are bandied round as though their origins and meanings are agreed, unchanging and understood by all (which is far from the case) and that having such a simplistic, binary paradigm is all that really matters.

    There are dangers in:
    i) being rigidly tribalistic
    ii) in believing adherents ultimately have a common goal albeit achieved through different means
    iii) that flip flopping between two parties provides all the necessary checks and balances
    iv) believing it is acceptable to defend a paradigm that may have outlived its usefulness
    v) ignoring or dismissing as unimportant the outliers and anomalies.

    If left/right is the horizontal axis, consider what quadrant you inhabit if you add a libertarian/collectivist vertical axis through the middle and where you would place the smoking ban then?

  12. harleyrider1978 says:

    It appears Dr. Siegel has opened his horizons into Bloombergs other favorite passion along with obamas,junk science anti-gun studies. I guess TC money is so short the TC junk science guys are farming out into other arenas to make a buck.

    It isn’t that people who are more likely to kill themselves with guns are also probably more likely to kill others with guns because they’re mentally ill and suicidal; it’s that the people who simply own guns are more likely to kill other people. That’s the kind of analysis that passes for solid research and data interpretation among liberals. Not surprisingly, every liberal publication in the country is now trumpeting Dr. Siegel’s findings with nary a hint of skepticism.

    Siegel evinces a level of objectivity that is admirable in a researcher:

    “In the wake of the tragic shooting in Newtown … many states are considering legislation to control firearm-related deaths,” said Siegel in a statement.

    “This research is the strongest to date to document that states with higher levels of gun ownership have disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides,” he said.

    “It suggests that measures which succeed in decreasing the overall prevalence of guns will lower firearm homicide rates.”

    Ah, yes, if we just decrease the rate of gun ownership overall, we’ll lower firearm homicide rates. It’s not that we should take guns from suicidal people, or mentally ill individuals who are a threat to themselves and others; no, we must resort to blanket solutions and deprive everyone of their rights to a degree. It’s for the children! Newtown! Aurora! Gabby Giffords!

    In every single one of those incidents, a mentally disturbed individual took a firearm that was obtained and/or transported in violation of existing laws, and they used the firearm to kill other individuals. In a nation where we have more guns than people, the fact that people who are disturbed use guns to do disturbing things is taken as an indicator that we should deprive law-abiding people of their constitutional right to own and carry guns.

    That’s what passes for liberal logic, and for logic in the liberal war on gun ownership.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Bloomberg donated 1 billion dollars to john Hopkins and that’s where all the JUNK SCIENCE to support bloombergs nanny state policies comes from like last years anti-gun violence study Owebama used after the sandyhook shooting took place…….

      Goals of the Department

      Develop approaches for applying the findings of epidemiologic research in the formulation of public policy and to participate in formulating and evaluating the effects of such policy

      Center for Gun Policy and Research


      The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research is engaged in original scholarly research, policy analysis, and agenda-setting public discourse. Our goal is to bring public health expertise and perspectives to the complex policy issues related to gun violence prevention.

      An important part of the Center’s mission is to serve as an objective and informative resource for the news media, thereby providing the public with accurate information about gun injuries, prevention strategies, and policies.

      Current Events

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        The Relationship Between Gun Ownership and Firearm Homicide Rates in the United States, 1981–2010

        Accepted on: Apr 17, 2013

        The Relationship Between Gun Ownership and Firearm Homicide Rates in the United States, 1981–2010

        Michael Siegel, MD, MPH, Craig S. Ross, MBA, and Charles King III, JD, PhD
        Michael Siegel is with the Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA. Craig S. Ross is with Virtual Media Resources, Natick, MA. Charles King III is with Greylock McKinnon Associates, Cambridge, and Pleiades Consulting Group, Lincoln, MA.

        Correspondence should be sent to Michael Siegel, MD, MPH, Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, 801 Massachusetts Ave, 3rd Floor, Boston, MA 02118 (e-mail: Reprints can be ordered at by clicking the “Reprints” link.

        Peer Reviewed


        M. Siegel obtained and analyzed the data. All authors conceptualized and designed the study, interpreted the results, wrote the article, and critically reviewed and commented on the article.

  13. Joe L. says:

    …there must therefore be an ideal intermediate state with just the right amount of inequality.

    Yes. That state is called “nature.” Unfortunately, this world is full of self-righteous people who are intimidated by / fearful of nature taking its course, so they impose their own personal Utopian belief system on the rest of us in hopes of defying nature, thus tipping the scales of inequality, be it financial, social, cultural or otherwise.

  14. Smoking Lamp says:

    Well, every step toward the non-smoking utopia seems valid according to the antismokers. Lies, fabricated data, coercion, alls fair in their antismoking campaign. On lies, they typically inflate the supports for their bans, claim false health risks from smoking and second hand smoke, and above all they claim their movement is a grass roots movement with brad public support.

    On the latest lies, see the rationale for enacting a smoking ban in Baton Rouge and on the Nottingham outdoor ban, ITV shows a prominent photo of a human size plain white cigarette pack with he warning “Smokefree public places save lives” and “Passive Smoke Kills.”” Both are outright fabrications that have never been substantiated in any study. The claims are outright propaganda aimed a prohibition. These lies need to be exposed.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Down in Louisianna Ive been fighting those Nazis for 5 years. They are about some of the nastiest around and basically own the media. They can get ya banned in a second as we found out on that one nite last January when they removed over 300 comments from the pro smoking side. We literally destroyed them in open debate and all they had left was name calling and crying until one of them got the lead editor Black editor woman who was as lefist and facist as any hitler ever could be. She stated outright their comments section would not be used to debate the smoking issue. Removed all our comments. But that’s what the whole story was about the city council debate on the smoking ban and all their trumped up lies. They couldn’t take it.

      • Smoking Lamp says:

        Yes, they lie and try and hide any evidence of dissent. In NOLA that outright rigged the comments sections, fabricated polls, and denied that there was opposition despite the active opposition at every city council meeting. They just photographed the pro-ban side of the room and ignored the pro-choice side of the room. Even the newspapers avoided reporting thinner own polls that opposed the ban. They just keep moving forward like the Borg. If they lose a vote, they come back a few months later–they are even trying to reignite their move fro a ban in Kentucky despite losing just last year.

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          That attempt was just dealt a blow by the Matt Beavin said nope not on my watch let business decide for themselves.

        • Yes, I was a victim of the massacre too. Internet message boards have always been one of our most effective venues in communicating our arguments since the false statistics etc used by the Antis can so easily and quickly be shown false at a click or to of a mouse key, and since they can’t hide as effectively with the Gish Gallop approach of sticking a dozen lies together while knowing the opposition will only have time to effectively expose one — leaving the impression that the other eleven “couldn’t be answered.”

          – MJM

        • “If they lose a vote, they come back a few months later–they are even trying to reignite their move fro a ban in Kentucky despite losing just last year.”

          And the sadly funny flip-flop to this is that after getting voted down twenty times, the Antis *finally* get a win and then immediately take up the chant, “OK! Discussions over! We had a vote. It’s been decided. All done. All finished. Can’t talk about it any more now…”


    • Cecily Collingridge says:

      On that ITV link on Nottingham, they have expanded their arguments to include other dubious claims. How on earth did they arrive at “Around 268 million cigarettes and roll-ups are smoked in the city every year, generating 46 tonnes of litter” for example, I wonder? Litter isn’t household waste, it is what is thrown on the ground. Are these fanatics out on their hands and knees picking up the dog ends each day in order to weigh them?

      • slugbop007 says:

        Funny that you mention because in Montreal the most conspicuous litter is dried chewing gum. Literally hundreds and thousands of dried up chewing that people just tossed onto the sidewalk.

        • Wander into one of those wonderful smoke-banned pubs that have been around for a while, take a seat at the bar, and, particularly if it’s an old style bar where the wood curls around the edge and under… feel around down there a bit with your fingers. If you, as will likely be the case, feel a few irregularities, pop down to take a look with a flashlight or your phone light and you may be treated to a veritable rainbow of dried up multicolored lumps of chewing gum all dried out and plasticized underneath and out of sight.

          I’v’e got some pics from an American pub but don’t think I can paste ’em here in this engine. Anyone want me to send one for posting?

          – MJM

  15. magnetic01 says:


    General Santos starts arresting smokers in public places
    The ban covers public outdoor spaces where a crowd of people gather or congregate regardless of ownership.

    Considered outdoor spaces are parks, playgrounds, sports grounds, or centers, gaming areas, cock fighting areas, healthcare/hospital compounds, memorial parks, memorial gardens, beaches, resorts, pools, market streets, sidewalks, parking areas, walkways, entrance ways, waiting areas, stairwells, and the like.

    Councilor Rosalita Nuñez, principal author of the ordinance, said the local legislation carries with it fines and imprisonment or both for violators.

    The new anti-smoking ordinance also makes permitting, abetting, tolerating, or knowingly allowing smoking in the restricted areas as unlawful. Violators will be penalized for it.

    It will also be unlawful to obstruct or refuse the entry of any member of the Anti-Smoking Task Force or its duly deputized enforcers into places covered by the ordinance……

    It’s getting very nasty.

  16. magnetic01 says:

    We’ve been here before.

    It was like any other Tuesday lunch hour, until the sheriff’s deputies walked in. Mr. Ernest Bamberger, general manager of the Keystone Mining Company and recent (unsuccessful) Republican candidate for United States senator, and Mr. John C. Lynch, manager of the Salt Lake Ice Company, finished their meals at the Vienna Café, an unpretentious but respectable businessmen’s restaurant on Salt Lake City’s Main Street, and prepared to savor their customary post-luncheon cigars. A few tables away, near the back of the crowded establishment, Mr. Edgar L. Newhouse, department manager for the American Smelting and Refining Company, paused briefly in his conversation with Mr. L. R. Eccles of Ogden to light a cigarette. At the same time, Mr. Ambrose Noble McKay, general manager of the Salt Lake Tribune, lighted his cigar, picked up his check, and went over to the counter to pay it.

    None of the gentlemen’s actions sparked any apparent interest among the other restaurant patrons. Certainly no one—with the possible exception of Mr. J. J. Burke, a Salt Lake contracting engineer—suspected them of any overt criminal activity. As they smoked, chatted, and pondered the upcoming afternoon’s affairs—or, in McKay’s case, waited impatiently for the counterman to tally up the bill—they remained completely unaware that they were only a few minutes away from a calamity that not only would make them the outraged subjects of a public spectacle but also would result in their good names being bandied about in newspapers across the country. Had they suspected they were in such danger they easily could have destroyed the incriminating evidence with a simple twist of thumb and forefinger. But they did not, and a few moments later, even before the ash on Bamberger’s cigar required attention, they were caught flagrante delicto by Salt Lake County sheriff’s deputies Michael Mauss and John Harris.

    The two deputies entered the Vienna Café at half-past noon and walked directly to the table occupied by Bamberger and Lynch, where they displayed their badges and promptly placed the men under arrest. While Deputy Harris stood guard over the pair, Deputy Mauss walked to the rear of the café, where he arrested Newhouse. Eccles, Newhouses luncheon companion, escaped arrest only by gesticulating with an unlighted cigarette and proving to the deputy that although he had obviously intended to commit a crime, he had not yet done so, and therefore was not subject to arrest. Deputy Mauss agreed.

    Meanwhile, McKay, who had finally succeeded in paying his lunch bill and was preparing to leave the café, was loudly denounced as a co-offender by Mr. Burke, who pointed a finger at the departing McKay and told Deputy Harris that he also should be arrested. Perhaps fearing an escape attempt by Bamberger and Lynch, Deputy Harris made no move to apprehend the fleeing newspaperman.

    The two deputies then escorted their three protesting prisoners through the highly agitated throng of customers and onlookers (the Vienna Café may have been unpretentious, but arrests on the premises were uncommon enough to generate a great deal of excitement). Since no patrol car was available, Mr. Bamberger, Mr. Lynch, and Mr. Newhouse were then marched down Main Street, in full and humiliating view of friends, business associates, and passers-by, to the county jail some blocks away, where they were charged and booked like so many common criminals.
    Which they were, since they—along with McKay, who as a result of some rather undignified snitching by his accomplices in crime was soon to become the object of a similar criminal complaint—openly had violated Section 4, Chapter 145, of the Utah state code. The four men had been smoking in an enclosed public place.

    There is considerably more to this story—more arrests, mass meetings, the eventual surrender of McKay, and so on, all of which will be discussed later. But the most interesting aspect of the incident is not that several otherwise law-abiding citizens were arrested for committing such a widespread and popular crime, nor even that they were sufficiently prominent in the community to ensure a great deal of bad publicity for the state of Utah. What is most interesting about the incident at the Vienna Café is simply the year in which it occurred—1923.

    Thank You For Not Smoking
    The Hundred-Year War Against The Cigarette

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