Fining smokers who expose children to second hand smoke

Reply Tue 28 Aug, 2007 09:09 am
Thomas wrote:
Speaking of "bigger issues out there" -- since the bill doesn't increase the budget of police departments, enforcing the smoking ban would come at a cost in enforcing other laws. Whenever traffic cops are fighting smoking in cars with children in them, they aren't going after drunk drivers, reckless speeders, dangerous overtakers, and cars falling apart in the middle of the street.

This is happening as Americans are losing twice the share of their population in traffic accidents that Europeans do. Should American states really divert the attention of traffic police from preventing traffic deaths to fining smokers in their cars? I think it's a bad choice of priorities. Even without my libertarian paranoia about meddlesome governments, I would oppose this bill.

Thomas, I agree with you completely in regard to the smoking in cars, allocation of law enforcement, etc. As long as something is legal, I don't think it is wise to try to regulate it in other ways, thus burdening down traffic police with issues other than what really relates to traffic. It is a total mis-application of public resources, and what happens is a dilution of the more important tasks at hand. If smoking is really that dangerous for other people besides the people that smoke, then it should just be outlawed across the board, but that debate would have to be supported by ironclad and clearcut research, and I am not so sure that exists yet, and there is not a clear mandate from the public to go that far yet.

You mention Americans are dying at twice the rate of Europeans in traffic accidents, hmmmm..... I think I will check that out as it relates to life expectancies on the health care thread.
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Reply Tue 28 Aug, 2007 09:24 am
My hunch is that it has a lot to do with how much more we drive than Europeans. Which brings me to my pet solution -- better community planning for more walkable and bikeable routes. That could put a dent in a few of the problems we are experiencing: obesity rates and general physical health, traffic accidents, and yes even indoor air pollution due to people smoking in cars. But of course I know it's a pipe dream.
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Reply Tue 28 Aug, 2007 09:25 am
Oh yeah, and drunk driving too. If you can walk to and from the bar, you can get as drunk as you want without being a danger to anyone other than yourself.
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Reply Tue 28 Aug, 2007 10:41 am
nimh wrote:
I thought it was always leftists who make the mistake of seeing the economy as a zero-sum game?

I don't think I said anything of this kind about leftists.

I also didn't myself say the economy is a zero sum game. All I'm that enforcing a law has a price in other worthy things given up; if the law is worth what's given up to enforce it, you should pass it because society wins. If it isn't, you shouldn't pass it. If you don't know -- as seems to be the case here -- you don't know whether you should pass it. In these cases, I prefer it if the legislature doesn't bother passing it.
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Finn dAbuzz
Reply Wed 29 Aug, 2007 05:32 pm
CerealKiller wrote:
Finn dAbuzz wrote:

The next question is whether or not we believe the judgment of the State is ever more reliable and accurate than that of The Reasonable Man (or woman)?

Who exactly is this "Reasonable Man?"

Is this some idea from a book or something, because I'm lost.

Regardless, I have yet to see a law meant to protect children that is largely harmful to society. If there is one you would like to pick out, please do so.

The Reasonable Man is a legal fiction used in Common Law as a standard against which to judge individuals. It presumes that most members of society more times than not act reasonably and that such reasonable actions are just.

The Reasonable Man knows that driving his vehicle 100mph on a neighborhood street is reckless and very likely to cause someone harm.

The Reasonable Man knows that giving his baby a bottle of gin to drink each morning is more than likely to cause considerable harm to the baby.

The Reasonable Man knows that setting fireworks off inside a small place of business is likely to lead to the harm of his patrons.

The question I asked is whether or not legislators are more reliable than The Reasonable Man in determing what is good or not good for society.

The Reasonable Man, for instance, does not believe that it benefits society that someone who is drunk and harms himself due to his drunken actions should be able to hold the party providing him with drink responsible for his injuries.Legislators have, however, thought otherwise and enacted Dram Shop statutes that hold the provider of the drink responsible for harm caused by the drunk.

Your question as to whether or not any law passed to protect children has been "largely" harmful to society is essentially imprecise and decidedly loaded.

It also depends, largely, on your definition of "largely."

The test of the justice and efficacy of a law is not whether or not it has immediate and cataclysmic repercusions.

Here is the essence of the debate: Before the State imposes a law on its citizens should it be required to prove it's benefits outweigh its harms, or should the citizens be forced to react to a State imposed law in demonstrating that the harms outweighs the benefit?

It depends upon who you believe is more capable of and reliable in determining what benefits and harms us and our children --- the average Joe (The Common Man, The Reasonable Man) or the Emperors and Mandarins of the State.
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