Smoking ban assaults personal rights

Published 10:43 pm Monday, February 23, 2009

What is Libertarianism and what does it have to do with a ban on smoking in restaurants? Perhaps Virginia senators Blevins, Stolle and Wagner need to be asked that question. Last week they joined members of the House of Delegates in passing SB 1105, the smoking ban.

Not a single representative of the Virginia House or Senate from Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, or Portsmouth voted against the bill.

Those of you who don’t smoke or drink need to be certain that you do respect the rights of others to exercise their right to free-will decisions. If you go into a restaurant or other places of business that allow smoking, speak out and tell the owner of your displeasure. Then vote with your feet. And your money.

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There are times when folks have to make decisions that expose them to second-hand smoke. But that is their choice, and their choice alone, and those of us who cherish our freedoms don’t want members of the General Assembly sticking their noses into private owners’ law-abiding business operations; we consider that a restraint of trade. 
We’re also offended that our right to dissent in this case has been taken away by granny-government types like Ken Stolle and his sidekick, Frank Wagner. Senator Wagner attended the U.S. Naval Academy, where reading the United States Constitution is certainly required; he should know better.

If Senators Stolle, Wagner and Blevins wish to offer citizens a smoke-free, dining-drinking establishment, then they should open one. That might take the obvious extra time off their hands that they use trying to run other people’s lives.

Libertarianism is a political philosophy that holds that a person should be free to do whatever he or she wants in life, as long as it is conducted peacefully.

Thus, as long as business does not murder, rape, burglarize, defraud, trespass, steal or inflict any other act of violence against another person’s life, liberty or property, libertarians hold that the government should leave that business alone.

In fact, libertarians believe that a primary purpose of government is to prosecute and punish anti-social individuals who initiate force against another.

Our free society, which was created and built on free enterprise, should allow people to be free to engage in any economic enterprise without permission or interference from the state. Accordingly, libertarians oppose government intervention that tells any capitalist how to run his or her business. Again, that is up to the market to decide.

This, then, means that libertarians are ardent advocates of the free market, which is simply a process by which people are interacting peacefully with each other for mutual gain.

It seems senators Stolle, Wagner and Blevins and their ilk in the House abandoned libertarianism and the republican creed in favor of the socialistic welfare state and a controlled or regulated society.

Where are the Republicans when this great Republic, The United States of America, needs them? Not in Virginia.

ROBERT DEAN is the communications director of the Tidewater Libertarian Party. Contact him directly at