Smoking Bans Motivated By Narcissism

I wrote an article recently which focused on the anti-American nature of recently passed smoking bans in the California area. It was published in a Bay Area college newspaper.

The piece was responded to by an emotional and angry college professor, not a rare creature by any means, who complained about how tired he was of smokers “complaining” about not being able to smoke in public. It ended with ad hominem attacks accusing me of stupidity and ignorance and recommending that I take a high school level American Government course.

I’m used to that sort of vitriol, and since I pull no punches I don’t expect people to do it for me. The aspect that stood out was not the professor’s immaturity, but instead the fact that he had assumed that I was a smoker. In the article, I never mentioned the personal inconveniences of not being able to smoke in my favorite bar. This is because I never experienced them. I don’t smoke.

This professor assumed, unconsciously most likely, that my politics had the same narcissistic motivations that his has. I think smoking is disgusting. I’ve had many experiences where I’ve been on a date or an outing with a friend and felt my admiration for them dissipate once they pulled out a cigarette.

However, there are many things I find disgusting, from horror movies to homosexual pornography. And most of them I will defend the right of all citizens to engage in. The ban that I criticized in California, as well as the one signed into law in Washington state in 2005, doesn’t merely ban smoking in public areas. It goes so far as banning smoking within the private property owned by private citizens.

I view that as a frightening slippery slope. Once the state dictates what takes place in a bar in regards to smoking, they have been placed one step closer to having the authority to intervene in other aspects of that private establishment, including what food is served, what drinks are served, what people are allowed in (which should be left to the discretion of the owner), what music is played, how loud the music is played, and other bureaucratic incursions that I am too liberty-minded to come up with.

Of course, if you’re a narcissist, none of those threats to civil liberties will concern you. Thanks to the new law, you can go into any bar and not worry about coming home smelling like cigarette smoke. It won’t matter to you if everyone else in the bar is miserable.

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