Slippery Slopes

I made a point of telling all my friends back in the day that when they passed smoking bans at bars, more restrictive laws would follow not far behind. And you can see the machine in action. I can see both sides, but as a former smoker, I don't like seeing people who smoke having their freedoms restricted. The big push lately is the whole second-hand smoke thing. I can understand wanting to ban smoking in places where there's poor ventilation or where smoke can reasonably be expected to accumulate. But out in the open air? Let's bring some perspective to all of this.

The bus traffic along Madison Avenue here in Manhattan makes for some poor air quality. As a matter of fact, the worst air quality in the city, as determined by those air quality instruments hiding under those mysterious green boxes on the sidewalk, is right on Madison Avenue and 42nd Street. I'd venture to say that many New Yorkers risk premature death by merely breathing. (And the American Lung Association would say the same thing.)

Yet you don't see activists proposing that we ban bus traffic, do you? Everything's a trade-off, a compromise. And I don't think that anything is wrong with smokers drawing a line in the sand and saying that they'll be pushed no further, considering what they've had to give up in recent years.

If the slope is that slippery, however, and we find smoking limited to private property or some other such crapola, I'm going to use the same slippery slope logic and arguments to go after McDonald's and other fast food restaurants for the damage they do to the state of public health. As long as we're taking away people's choices, why shouldn't we make crappy food our next target?