Complacency in the Face of (Minor) Tyranny

Hawaii, like too many places, has a very strange assumption justifying a near-universal smoking ban. If you want to play the home version of this game, I think you can spot it before I excerpt this article:

The Smoke-Free Hawaii Law went into effect Thursday, banning smoking in all public places such as restaurants, bowling alleys, malls as well as from curb to cabin at airports.

When was the last time Hawaii’s government took out bonds to pay for improvements to a local bowling alley? I’m guessing never, since they’re not public spaces, paid-for and maintained by the taxpayers through their state government. Instead, these establishments are private businesses. Remember, the familiar “right to refuse service” exists because the bowling alley, mall, restaurant, or whatever is a private enterprise, with control over its premises and who may barter for its products and services. If the owner hates smoking or believes smoking is driving away more business than it generates, the owner will prohibit it.

But the most amusing point of this, if it can be called funny, is that in banning smoking in “public places” over which it has no legitimate control, governments force smoking into public places where the argument for banning smoking could justifiably move to the science behind such fear-mongering. The answer, of course, is private markets, but good luck selling that in America.