Archive for August 26, 2003

Send A Message

August 26, 2003

The Gallop government has posted an online survey which will be used to measure public opinion on the further development of the Ningaloo reef marine park.

I’m recommending an offshore Casino rig and Dugong safari trail. I’m sure you clever types can think of some equally good ideas.

You Can’t Stop The Blogging!

August 26, 2003

Gary Gravett has bitten the bullet and started a blog after being happy with a links page and commenting for most of this year. Also interesting is this page I found on the server, “Cassandra’s Cave“. “Cassandra”, as many bloggers may be aware, was the original nom de commente of one Norman Hanscombe. With any luck this is a holding spot for a future Norman blog.

This post’s topic inspired by Geoff Honnor of Troppo Armadillo fame.

Smoking Again

August 26, 2003

At the risk of re-opening an old debate, I responded by email to John Ray’s latest post on the New York City smoking bans. John Writes:

A lot of libertarians seem to get their knickers in a knot over the ban on most smoking in public by New York Mayor Bloomberg. They seem to think that the policy violates some ?right? to smoke. But if person X has a ?right? to smoke, then person Y has a ?right? to breathe clean air. But the two ?rights? are obviously in conflict. The only way to give the maximum freedom to both parties is then to segregate them — which is what Bloomberg is doing — perfectly libertarian in my view.

Smokers see it all as unfair only because (being addicts) they are so used to trampling over the liberties of non-smokers who would like to breathe unpolluted air.

The problem I see with this explanation is that smokers and non-smokers were already segragated – there has never been, and never will be, any law against a property owner designating a business as smoke-free. Most bar owners chose not to do it, as the majority of their customers did not want a smoke-free bar environment. At least – smoke free status was well down the list of priorities for non-smokers, but smoking allowed is very high on the list for smokers.

If smoke-free was your #1 priority, then you would presumably go to a smoke-free bar rather than one that offers a large selection of randy females, correct? As I’m sure you know, that isn’t the path most punters choose.

With Bloomberg’s new laws, the right to open a business that allows smoking is taken away. This is hardly libertarian. The only explanation is that Bloomberg’s laws have been put in place to address a market failure – that is, the failure of the market to provide for a perceived group of consumers. (those who wish to attend smoke-free bars).

Im sure you aware that correcting the perceived failure of the free market is not a central tenet of libertarianism. However, even assuming that it is Bloomberg’s goal, surely then a more acceptable solution would be to offer an incentive to bar owners to create smoke-free bars, rather than hang the threat of state censure over the heads of those who choose to cater to their market.