Smoking is about freedom

I am responding to the June 23 letter to the editor from Jennifer Losgar.

I read her impassioned plea for a smoke-free Augusta and world. In some aspects I agree with her. I too hate the disgusting habit and its nasty and potentially deadly residual results. If this were a perfect world and I were in charge, there would be no tobacco smoking, chewing, sniffing, spitting, etc. Unfortunately this is not a perfect world, and very fortunately I am not in charge.

Ms. Losgar stated, “One never goes wrong working to protect the health and safety of all the citizens of their community.” I strongly disagree. Where she and the folks trying to twist the Augusta Commission’s arms to impose their vision of the world go wrong is that they are totally ignoring the other fellow’s rights.

The cornerstone of our country is freedom. One of the freedoms we cherish is freedom to choose. Freedom to choose which God, if any, to worship. Freedom to choose what you want to do for a living. Freedom to choose where you want to live. Freedom to choose where we dine or drink, etc. Of course along with that freedom comes the responsibility of dealing with whatever consequences your choices cause (or at least it used to).

The “other fellow” in this scenario is any business owner and their patrons who choose to go to these establishments in spite of, or perhaps because of, the condition Ms. Losgar and I find so distasteful. That business owner already is suffering under a crushing mountain of laws and rules that an ever-growing and ever more intrusive government keeps throwing at businesses. When the owner decided he or she wanted to open an establishment, there was no caveat to allow smoking or tobacco use in that place. Owners have operated in good faith for however long it has been, and it is simply wrong to now tell them, “Oh, by the way, we are making up a new rule just because we want to, that says you can no longer operate your business as you have been.”

To Ms. Losgar and all the rest of you do-gooders out there: When you take away one person’s freedom just to accommodate someone else’s desires, you diminish the freedom of all.

To me this is what this whole issue is all about. I stand for freedom.

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