At last someone mentions smoking bans. Dennis Prager:
As many observers have noted, staying safe has become a religion. “Safetyism,” as it is sometimes called, like all religions, places what it values — in this case, being safe — above other values. Safetyism explains the willingness of Americans to give up their most cherished values — including liberty — in the name of safety for the last year and a half.
Millions of Americans not only gave up their right to go to work, earn a living, attend church or synagogue, and visit friends and relatives, but they even gave up their right to visit dying relatives and friends. One can assume that nearly every person recorded as having died of COVID-19 died without having a single loved one at their bedside from the moment they entered a hospital until their death. The acceptance of such cruelty — irrational and unscientific cruelty, one might add — can only be explained by the failure of generations of schools and parents to teach liberty, while successfully teaching the worship of safety. If your father had to die alone, it was worth it for the sake of safety; if your mother had to be in what amounted to solitary confinement in a nursing home for more than a year, that, too, was worth it for the sake of safety. And, of course, if political leaders and leaders in science and medicine have to lie for the sake of safety, so be it; truth, too, is less important than safety.
None of this is new. Twenty-five years ago, I wrote and broadcast about the willingness of Americans to watch individual rights crushed in the war against smoking, and especially in accepting the absurdity of the allegedly lethal dangers of secondhand smoke. No one denies that intense exposure to secondhand smoke can exacerbate preexisting illnesses such as asthma. But the anti-smoking zealots’ claim that 50,000 Americans die each year from exposure to secondhand smoke is nonsense. For example, in 2013, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reported that there was no statistically significant relationship between lung cancer and exposure to passive smoke.
Yet, in the name of that nonsensical 50,000-a-year claim, people were forbidden not only to smoke on airplanes — which on courtesy grounds alone was appropriate — but even in smoke shops. In the city of Burbank, California, run for decades by leftists who, like all leftists, have contempt for personal liberty, smoking is banned even in cigar shops. Despite the fact that no one is forced to work in any cigar shop, and even if the shop is well-ventilated, no smoking is permitted.
What is important to note is that these irrational prohibitions on personal liberty bothered no one except smokers. The number of nonsmoking citizens of Burbank who objected to these laws was probably zero. Had Burbank announced a ban on alcohol, there would have been a revolt — despite the fact that at least half the instances of spouse- and child-abuse are accompanied by alcohol, and every instance of death, brain damage, paralysis and other permanent injury caused by a drunk driver is caused by alcohol. Has anyone been killed by a smoking driver? Has anyone been murdered, or any child or spouse been molested or beaten because the murderer or abuser had been smoking?
So, the safety zealots learned from the anti-smoking and anti-secondhand smoke crusade the great lesson that if you told Americans something wasn’t safe, you could deprive them of their rights and they would willingly go along with it. And, for the record, this is equally true in virtually every country in the world. “Safety uber alles.”