Joe’s Reading Log

January 20, 2006

Slavery Is Prosperity

Filed under: Madison Politics, Nanny State — Joe Martin @ 6:41 pm

The Capital Times has a rather sad article this morning about the effects of Madison’s smoking ban on the owners of local bars and taverns. It’s not good. Many owners are seeing sales that are more than $70,000 lower than last year. Staff have been laid off and one owner lamented: “Basically, I’m back to where I was seven years ago when I bought the place.”

Most of the bar and tavern business is migrating to nearby Fitchburg and Monona. In a telling turn of events, bar owners are considering lobbying for a state-wide smoking ban. The Madison ban appears to be here to stay. The only way to save their business would be to stop their customers from going anywhere else to smoke. When a man’s profitability and livelihood depend on restricting another man’s decisions something has gone horribly wrong. That something is the damnable superiority and moral preening that many Madisonians overflow with. (And yes, “damnable” is perfectly acceptible in this context.)

Repealing the smoking ban would be the right thing to do. Don’t get me wrong, I like a smoke-free atmosphere as much as any of Madison’s moral crusaders. But I hardly think my desire to avoid cigarette smoke justifies putting multiple businesses into bankruptcy and costing many employees their jobs. I abhor anyone who has the smug selfishness to think that their preferences matter more than someone else’s job.

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