Originally created 02/20/03

The Nanny State

Liberal fascist do-gooders are at it again. Now they want to ban adults from smoking in cars when there are children passengers.

This heavy-handed attempt at giving government more power to tell people what to do in their private lives is originating - can you believe it? - in Georgia.

A bill proposed in the opening days of the legislature by state Rep. Paul Smith, D-Rome, would make it a misdemeanor to expose children to second-hand smoke while in a vehicle.

We take a back seat to no one when it comes to opposing tobacco smoke. It is unhealthy, makes some people sick and triggers allergies, which is why we support local ordinances that call for smoke-free environments in public places.

But for all that, smoking is not illegal - and given its long cultural tradition in our country, it should not be.

However, it should be done in private. And when parents smoke in cars, even with their children present, they're doing it in private.

The state has no business butting into a law-abiding family's private life.

We may not approve of parents raising kids in a smoking environment and, yes, it may be unhealthy for them, but not one child's death can be directly attributed to secondhand smoke in a car. The same can't be said for air bags or seat belts, however. But no one's suggesting they be prohibited for kids.

The essence of freedom is that we are all allowed to exercise our responsibilities in ways that others of us may not like - including how we raise our children.

What's next? Will the government enter smokers' homes to determine which rooms will be smoking and which will be non-smoking?

Of course, that could be the do-gooders' ultimate goal - to prohibit smoking in homes with children. But is that the kind of state we want, reaching into our houses to control our lives? And if it's cigarettes now, what will it be next? Guns? Fatty foods? Runny eggs? Bed times? The amount of TV our kids watch? Whether they're dressed for the weather? If they're running a temperature?

Shouldn't the Nanny State be checking these things out too? Where would it all end?

It wouldn't - not if the health Nazis have their way. Rep. Smith should take his legislation and butt out.

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