Monday, February 21, 2005

Anti-smoking totalitarianism is alive in Minnesota

What does Castro's communist Cuba and the great state of Minnesota have in common? The answer is simple: Castro imposed a nationwide smoking ban and liberals in Minnesota are trying to do the very same thing.

Minnesota Senate proponents of a statewide smoking ban are eagerly pushing through legislation [Read more] that will ban smoking in bars, restaurants and other public workplaces. Supporters of this measure claim huge public health cost savings. The same supporters fail to mention any of the problems with such a ban.

Let's start with property rights. Private citizens and private businesses have the right to do with their property as long as they do not promote illegal activities. Buying, selling and using tobacco are legal activities. Such a ban tramples upon the rights of private property owners and opens the door for further state moves to control our lives.

Bar, restaurants and other so-called public workplaces exist to serve the public. Part of that public chooses to smoke. By passing a measure that bans smoking in these places, the state is giving precedence to the rights of a few employees, (who work in these places of their own free
will), over the rights of the folks that pay the tab. Common sense tells you that this will be a negative impact upon the businesses ability to turn a profit and remain in business.

Bans such as this are pure hypocrisy. If tobacco is indeed the root of all evil, then make the possession, sale and use of tobacco illegal. If we are to believe the hand wringers, then logic demands that we totally ban tobacco. Of course, then the state would lose a good chunk
of tax revenue that is being used to pay for any number of other of state obligations.

Minnesota, like all other states has a large number of important issues facing them: Out of control property taxes; Out of control state spending; Crumbling roads and bridges; The growth of legalized gambling. Rather than spending their time addressing these issues, state legislators instead work on an issue that is, at best a serious constitutional problem but will make them feel good about themselves (as well as lock in a few more votes, or so they think).

Smokers are taxpayers and have the same rights as every other citizen. This may come as a shock to the do-gooders and anti-smoking crusaders but it is true. Our rights are just as important as yours. We pay our taxes just like you. We support local businesses just like you.

And we vote just like you.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Loyalty Is A Two-Way Street

Since the start of 2005, we have seen workers fired for activities
outside of work. We have had cigarette smokers fired for smoking in the privacy of their own home. We have had a Delta stewardess fired because Delta didn't think some of her postings on her personal web site were appropriate. Microsoft fired a contractor who dared to post pictures of Apple machines arriving at Microsoft's Redmond HQ.

Most recently, Google and Miller Brewing, (see links below), have joined the growing list of companies who believe they have a right to tell their workers just what they can and can do outside of the workplace. If any of these activities were even faintly illegal, one might be able to see some logic to this dangerous trend. The fact is that in each of these cases the employees were strictly within the law and on their own time.

[Have a blog, lose your job?]

[Beer Choice Costs Man His Job]

There was a time in America where a person stood a great chance of working for the same company their entire working career if they wanted to. Employees and companies had mutual respect and loyalty for each other. But those days are gone. Now they fire or 'downsize' employees for no other reason to make their bottom line appear to be better for the investors or to improve their chances to sell the company and pocket the profit. Rather than actually sell more product, they choose to slice away the fat - the employees. Or maybe they diminish the value of the benefits or cut benefits to retirees. And yet they expect loyalty from their employees.

Our question is simple: "do businesses which treat their employees like any other piece of disposable property deserve our loyalty?"

Hell No.