Our American culture has a full history of fads that sweep through it from time to time. These fads have conditioned us to not pay close attention to what is happening sometimes. The unfortunate result is that our liberties are being attacked and, in some cases, taken away outright because we think it’s just another fad sweeping through the culture. It’s time to wake up before all of our liberties are spirited away from us!

The two most prevalent liberty-attackers making their way through our communities right now are the smoking bans and the prescription requirement to obtain pseudoephedrine products. Today, we will address smoking bans.

It typically works like this: An effort, usually spearheaded by the American Cancer Society (which appears to spend more money on items and issues like this than on actual research) along with a few others, begins in various communities. This effort usually has “Clean Air” in the name. It purports to establish a healthy environment for all by establishing smoking bans. While it may sound good to some, it really isn’t.

The problem is that rather than educating consumers about the fact that they don’t have to patronize smoking establishments and can let the proprietors know why, these groups instead seek to take away the liberties and property rights of private business owners. These groups do not seek to make financial investments into businesses for which they steal these liberties and property rights.

No one is forced to go to a bar, restaurant, bowling alley, etc. that allows smoking. It is clearly a personal choice. No one has the right to tell a private business owner how to run their business when it comes to a legal product being used, EXCEPT their patronage!

Smoking bans are sold on feel-good issues. Even those who have an appreciation of liberty and property rights are sometimes beguiled by these measures. The measures are sold as “health” issues, when they are really not. Studies have clearly shown that most employees in bars smoke. Even during the depth of the recession, service jobs were being advertised, so someone who does not smoke and is concerned about their health from working in a smoking environment could have found another service position. It’s really not about health.

Folks in Springfield have banded together in a group known as Live Free Springfield to fight the attack on liberty and property rights in their city. Last year, the aforementioned anti-liberty/anti-property rights group successfully placed on the ballot a draconian smoking ban. The ban narrowly passed despite the fact the Live Free Springfield group was outspent 5:1.

No problem, the “anti” folks said, business for the affected establishments will not be impacted because non-smokers will flock to these establishments and make up any shortfalls. They say this everywhere they oppose liberty and property rights. And as usual, they have been proven wrong again.

The Springfield News-Leader published an article yesterday detailing the fact that sales at Springfield bars have dipped nearly 6%. This is having a negative impact not only on the small businesses in Springfield but on the Springfield City coffers as well. When bar sales go down, so do City tax revenues.

The smoking ban is having a negative effect on more than bars and restaurants. You can see and hear first-hand about the impacts on small and family-owned businesses by watching the videos we have put up at Springfield, Missouri – Yes on Question 1 – June 5, 2012. These are real people talking about the real impacts of another example of government’s failure to be successful in picking winners and losers!

Citizens of Springfield have the opportunity to correct this wrong, to tell those who misled them and withheld information from them regarding the impacts of the smoking ban that they reject their anti-liberty/anti-property rights position by voting YES on Question 1 June 5th!