"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Wrong Ban 

The US Surgeon General has released a comprehensive report indicating that there is no "safe" exposure level for second-hand smoke, and calling for all indoor smoking to be banned. This pisses me off. Smoking is a major and obvious public health hazard, for smokers and everyone around them; but any attempts to address it are these limp-wristed attempts at nanny-statesmanship.

Why stop at banning indoor smoking? If there is "no safe level," then merely walking past a smoker on the street could kill you! Ban cigarettes altogether, or, since the donor base (and for that matter the actual voter base) won't allow it, please do shut up already. I don't support smoking bans like the ones we have in DC, but if smoking was actually illegal, as opposed to just being under nonsense time-place restrictions, my feelings shift. I don't like the gub'min telling me what to do, but I am less irritated by sensible, unambiguous policies than by arbitrary and loop-holey limits.

Unfortunately, we in the US are much happier banning things that aren't that bad, or are in fact actually good. A fantastic example is a growing trend among US schools of banning various types of games kids like to play at recess (for the lucky kids who get recess at all anymore). This is stupid for countless reasons. For starters, there's the decrease in physical activity - and increase in obesity - that will likely result from the bans. Then, of course, there's the potential damage to kids development of social skills. On top of that, this will just make even more kids hate school even more, and even younger. Just what we need. Fucktards.

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