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Ban Whatever I Hate

Avid clickers of the Buzzworthy links will already be familiar with Reason magazine; we read their South Park interview today, and a few other articles, including this one:

The Race to Ban What's Bad For Us

The article says it's not cool to treat adults like children who need their decisions made for them. One segment of the population shouldn't get to tell another what it can't do. Woo hoo! Legalize gay marriage – it's not hurting you! Nudity on network TV – don't look if you don't want to! Abortions for teens – it's their business!

Whoa, wait a minute. The fine folks at Reason have lumped smoking bans in with all this. I can't stand up for that – smoking sucks! And – damn what Penn & Teller say – it's bad for the people around you, not to mention way obnoxious. And only stupid people do it, who should have their decisions made for them! If you've got a cigarette in your mouth and you're not an actor playing a pedophile in a movie-of-the-week, you've proven that you're not capable of making good decisions, and society should step in.

Of course, the reality here is that I'm just a giant hypocrite. (If you define your terms vaguely enough, everyone is.) I wholeheartedly agree with this article, but I want to make an exception for smoking bans – not because I have a really valid argument for doing so, but because I hate smoking. I do think people should be free to make their own informed choices, but I also think I shouldn't have to throw a perfectly good sweater in the wash just because you want to suck down a Lucky Strike on the same cafe patio where I'm eating my crab cakes. I know, I know: When they came for the smokers, I said nothing... It's a slippery slope from non-smoking restaurants to eugenics; I get that. But I'm happy with a pretty big part of that slope, so I say, let's slide! At least it'll make for some smoke-free lunches along the way.

That's the fun of onebee. In Debate class, you could hand my ass to me if I stood up and said "freedom is for everyone... except smokers." You could cry "hypocrisy!" and win. But here, I can wrap it up and take home the trophy with nothing more than: "Yeah. AND?!" Because nobody's going to change anybody's mind here; we're just having fun.

Also, on the subject of eugenics, what was so bad about that again? I mean, of course it's cruel and horrible on paper, but doesn't it make a lot of sense? Once a species has evolved to the point where it recognizes the benefits of selective breeding, isn't there a biological imperative to give that a shot? Instead we've got the welfare state (which I wholeheartedly embrace) essentially subsidizing the exact opposite. Of course it would be deplorable to make generalized judgments based on race or class or anything. But shouldn't it be okay to take people who get really into Deal or No Deal and just zap-fry their babymakers? I'm not talking about some self-appointed tribunal of "reasoned elders" making the call: let's just say if you can convince someone to sterilize him/herself – either by trickery, or by giving them a trade-off for something more important to them than genetic propagation (say, NASCAR tickets) – then that's okay. And bonus points if you kill a baby who cries on a plane. It's not the baby's fault at all; but I'm convinced in a dozen generations or so, we could weed that right out of the gene pool.

3 Comments (Add your comments)

"danny"Wed, 12/13/06 7:48pm

my school is having a math bee

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