Ed Driscoll

HAZY REASONING: Jacob Sullum looks

HAZY REASONING: Jacob Sullum looks at Nurse Bloomberg and his proposed ban on smoking in New York City bars and restaraunts:

It’s an odd judgment in a country where miners, fishermen, lumberjacks, and boxers are still permitted to risk injury and death, judging for themselves whether the compensation they receive is adequate. Just as there is a demand for coal, fish, wood, and prizefights, there is a demand for smoker-friendly bars and restaurants. To insist that no one be allowed to fill it is arbitrary and tyrannical.

In a free society, there ought to be room for bars and restaurants that welcome smokers, staffed by employees who are willing to tolerate the smoke in exchange for higher pay, better tips, or otherwise superior working conditions. By ruling out such voluntary arrangements, Bloomberg is forcibly imposing his one best way on a city famous for its diversity.

This smoke-free fanaticism is spreading. Pioneered in California, comprehensive smoking bans are expected to be adopted soon in Boston and Chicago as well as New York.

Sullum says, “Personally, I won’t miss the smoke, but I’ll miss the freedom that made it possible.”