Thursday, November 13, 2008
Due to opposition from some of our more backward state legislators, Kansas has failed to deal with indoor public smoking. Apparently determined to bolster our state's reputation as a center of antiscience, they have foisted the responsibility onto local governments.
Tuesday's Traveler brought us the news that the Winfield City Commission has exercised that responsibility and passed a smoking ordinance over the objections of a few people who voiced the usual inane and feckless arguments: first, that it will put bars and restaurants out of business; second, that government shouldn't tell business owners what to do.
Yeah, right. That's why there are no longer any bars or restaurants in California, New York, or any of the other states that have enacted legislation to deal with the problem. Of course, I'm being sarcastic. For those who haven't been there, I can report that California still has plenty of bars and restaurants, and they seem to be doing just fine. I suspect the same is true in New York and all those other states as well.
As for government meddling in business, I suppose we don't want jackbooted thugs from the health department imposing their crazy cleanliness standards on poor, struggling business owners. Presumably the customers should be free to pick the maggots out of their own food. The truth is that we, through our government, tell businesses what to do all the time, and one of the areas in which we do that is public health.
So Winfield has been intelligent enough to act. Now the question is whether Arkansas City will do the same, or will choose to perpetuate the old local saying that Winfield is smarter.