Last night the St Charles County Council voted 3-3 on placing a charter amendment on the ballot to ban smoking in St Charles County. The vote would have been 3-4 but Councilman Paul Wynn is working in Iraq and was unable to attend. The encouraging thing about the vote is that those in opposition got it!
They got the fact that businesses that choose to allow smoking do so as a business decision. If those who own the business, who have everything to gain and everything to lose decide that it’s a good decision they should have the right to allow smoking on their premises. If enough patrons let them know they are against smoking in the establishment by not patronizing the business, then the owner can make the decision to go smoke free. The principle here is that the business owner’s personal freedom is in operation to make that decision not government or the tyranny of the majority.
Those voting against the ban also understand that NO ONE is forced to enter or work in a smoking establishment. As patrons of businesses we can decide whether we want to do business there or not. If we are concerned about the health issues associated with second hand smoke, we can simply choose to go somewhere else. Big government has no role in making our life easier in making this choice by eliminating the choice of others.
Workers have the ability to find other service jobs at smoke free establishments as well. In fact, one of the pro-smoking ban witnesses stated that she worked in a smoking environment, became a smoker and then quit. She didn’t want to work in a smoking environment any longer so she found a new job. That’s the way it is supposed to work!
Plato, Aristotle, Madison, de Tocqueville and JS Mill all warned of the tyranny of the majority. Sadly because of the shortcomings of our educational system today, many do not understand what “tyranny of the majority” even is much less understand how dangerous it is to our liberties! JS Mill in his book On Liberty lays it out as
decisions made by a majority under that system would place that majority’s interests so far above a dissenting individual’s interest that the individual would be actively oppressed, just like the oppression by tyrants and despots.
Too often I have opined on the actions of the St Charles County Council in a negative manner. Unfortunately, they deserved it for such things as making pseudoephedrine require a prescription which most people rejected and are now taking their business to St Louis County. So now I’m glad to acknowledge the good efforts of the county council!
I do not believe that those council members who supported the smoking ban are tyrants or despots. I do believe they totally misunderstand their roles in a republican form of government.
They certainly misunderstand the role of government to avoid and protect against the tyranny of the majority.