Thursday, July 3, 2008

The spirit of Independence Day: defiance

From the Chicago Tribune:

TAYLORVILLE, Ill. — The sign on the door of the American Tap warns patrons not to smoke. But sitting at the bar, customers merrily puff away, sharing cigarettes with the bartender and the owner while openly defying and mocking the state's ban on indoor smoking.

"I told the health department weeks ago, 'Go ahead and fine me,' " said owner Gary McWard, flicking an ash from his cigarette into an empty beer can on the bar top. "And I'm still waiting."

Enforcement could be a long time coming. Light up indoors in Chicago and the suburbs and get caught, and it's virtually certain the law will try to snuff it out. But in Downstate Illinois, where state smoking rates are the highest and opposition to the smoking ban is most vociferous, some communities are refusing to halt indoor smoking or levy fines.

This is what America is all about. It's people running their businesses as they please, setting rules for their property that suit them and freely associating with others who share their values and preferences -- and telling government officials who'd have it otherwise to fuck off.

McWard even posts a picture of Kathy Drea, director of public policy for the American Lung Association and a prominent nanny-state advocate who lives in his town, so she can be barred from the establishment.

Because shunning control freaks is another way of striking a small blow for liberty.

Following up on the Tribune story, Phil Luciano, a columnist for the Peoria Journal Star, celebrates downstate Illinois's defiance.

The story generated a mass of online comments to the Trib. Some carried typical Chicago snootiness: "Leave it to the hillbillies to be proud of their own ignorance."

But overwhelmingly, the comments recognized that this isn't about ignorance or even smoking. It's about standing up for individual rights. As one put it, "Sounds like those downstaters got a whole lot of common sense. Good for them. This is just another Chicago law forced on the rest of the state."

Amen. And may all the great thinkers up north - and the Chicago Tribune - realize that sometimes, just sometimes, we hillbillies have the brains and guts to stand up to asinine public policies.

And Marc Hansen, a columnist for the Des Moines Register, speculates that Iowa smokers may also show a little resistance to that state's nany-state efforts to snuff out cigarettes in privately owned establishments. Commenters volunteer knowledge of several bars "that are ignoring the commie smoking ban."

This is an encouraging start to the Independence Day weekend.

Happy Fourth of July.

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Anonymous Andrew said...

Thank goodness for Americans like Phil Luciano...and for Americans like you.

Have a great Independence Day, J.D.

Keep up the good fight.


July 4, 2008 6:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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March 19, 2009 1:17 AM  

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