The world went insane at 3:47 yesterday afternoon
In case you hadn’t noticed in the last few days, it is now true; the inmates are now officially running the asylum. This has nothing to do with George W. or Tiny Tom and Scientology, or Britney in or out of her knickers (the stories of whose really boring exploits get more coverage than most wars), although all of those may be symptomatic. No, it was one item in the press that caught my attention and confirmed this sad fact.
The item told how the Netherlands is shortly to be banning all smoking in such public venues as bars and cafes. Depending on your attitude, you probably don’t see anything wrong with such a prohibition. I really have little problem with it, although there is a certain illogic to be found in the encouragement of alcohol consumption – noted to be a slightly unhealthy substance when consumed in large quantities – and banning tobacco consumption. Why is one OK and not the other? Personally, I’d rather deal with a smoker than a drunk any old day. Ironically, or probably not so ironically, did you know there were virtually no incidents of air rage prior to the banning of smoking by airlines?
But, that isn’t my point. Back to the Netherlands. So, they’re bringing about this ban. But, the ban will 'not' apply to the smoking of cannabis in the bars that are licensed to permit such consumption. Huh? Tobacco is a bad thing, but the smoking of weed is somehow acceptable?Have these Euromorons been consuming a little too much ganja themselves to have arrived at the conclusion this idea makes sense? In the first place, the consumption of cannabis by inhalation is far more lethal to the lungs than any non-wacky-terbacky smoke could ever be. Scientific studies suggest that one joint is the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes in carcinogenic properties.
But, debating the relative merits of one ill-considered consumption over another is not my point here. I’m a libertarian. You can damn well consume anything you want to. It’s no business of mine. What I am debating is the illogic.
In recent years it has become immensely fashionable to decry the consumption of a legal drug anywhere within sight of anybody else. This is something pushed stridently by health-care officials and bought into by all the members of the insufferable holier-than-thou brigade that just loves to control the behavior of others, especially if ‘others’ embrace a practice the holies find objectionable. Personally, I find rudeness much more offensive than smoking at any time.
Meanwhile, governments do not have the stones to actually outright ban tobacco – they make far too much tax revenue from it – nor do they offer smoke-ending programs, or make such things as nicotine gum or the patch available at a tolerable price. As an aside, the cheapest smokes you can get are to be found on native reservations in both our countries. Does this suggest the value governments put on our native brothers by encouraging them to buy cut-rate smokes? Just asking.
Don’t get me wrong about this. I am pleased by some of the smoking prohibitions that have come about. I’m glad they have banned smoking in the workplace, and in restaurants. I like savoring a good meal without somebody’s Pall Mall fumes blowing in my direction. And, even for smokers, most found that the workplace ban allowed them to cut down hugely, so it was a good bit of harm reduction. Smoking on airplanes? That’s been in place for so long, that most don’t notice.
On the other hand, I grew up in an era when ‘everybody’ smoked. From the gangster to the pastor, there was a commonality in reaching for a Lucky Strike. My parents both smoked in the seatbelt-less car with the windows rolled up. In the UK smoking was permitted in cinemas. It never was here, but only because of the fear of fire, not because it was unhealthy. Watch old movies and TV shows. Everybody smoked. We watched an old episode of Andy Griffith a while ago and Wendy was shocked (the original run of the series was a bit before her time) when old Andy Taylor and Barney were out on the porch after one of Aunt Bea’s big meals, and trustworthy and pure Andy lit up. Hey, even Ward Cleaver smoked a pipe and he, like Andy, was a paragon of decent fatherhood.
Anyway, all I can say in conclusion is that I hope the Dutch model doesn’t gain a following here, or I’d have to give up all hope for the sanity of the planet, and I already have my doubts.