I think a majority of us know that smoking is bad for us. I think many of us generally understand that anytime we inhale something into our lungs, it is not good for us. But, the State of Oregon’s new house bill, HB 2385, is out of control. This proposed legislation would make it illegal to smoke in cars with minors present. The idea, stemming from the medical community, is that government must protect those who cannot protect themselves. In this argument, those who need protection are children.
The idea sounds noble enough. Protect the innocent from crimes, let’s really ensure everyone can live a happy life. But, how does this fit in with our Declaration of Independence and our true desire for a pursuit of happiness? How does this affect the person doing the smoking? Does it consider them at all? I would venture that those who are lobbying for this bill aren’t thinking of those folks except that they are doing something bad, and to curb their behavior we should make it illegal and slap a fine on it. But, how would this bill be legislated? Would we have officers in spy mode to see what our behaviors are in our cars? Is it going to be a rider offense, where if we get pulled over for speeding, we are then fined for not wearing our seat belts, oh, and there are cigarette butts in the car with a child, so slap another fine on there too. Do we have to be caught in the act?
It’s ridiculous legislation. If we allow this legislation to go through, we might as well legislate how we make food and what we do in the bedroom. And, I think most people recognize that is an invasion of privacy. Our constitution doesn’t wholly uphold privacy, but we Americans do. Often, it seems we link it to the pursuit of happiness and how we all march to the beat of a different drummer. If this legislation passes, we might as well issue uniforms and mandate the same drummer for all.
HB 2385 is out of control. Our government is set up on philosophies of ensuring the pursuit of happiness. Legislating our lives restricts happiness. Who is the judge and jury that mandates all these restrictions? When will my Thanksgiving Apple Pie become illegal because someone deems it unhealthy, too sweet and made with too much butter, for my family and me? What social contract did we all sign that reads, “Yes, I am willing to live in the land of the stupid, so please legislate my rights away.”? Promote jobs through education, build people up, don’t tear us down with legislation that says we are too stupid to make our own decisions. (letter sent to the Oregonian ‘Letters to the Editor’, 31-Jan-09)
Legislating people’s lives is going too far. We claim to be the land of the free, yet we are really just the land of the legislated.