Saturday, June 30, 2007


BBC NEWS 24 has just run a story about Bingo Halls in England and how operators of these establishments fear a drastic cut in revenue after tomorrow. A survey was done in Scotland post-ban and there the takings were down by over 30%. (It didn't say by 22% or otherwise it would have been down by two little ducks).

As a libertarian, I can't really be seen to support anything which affects personal freedom as one has to consider what "they" are going to ban next.


Fatty foods?

Contact sports?

Kosher & Halal meat?


posted by Nosmo King


Anonymous said...

Hmm. No mention of how air pollution affects personal freedom?

Jeremy Jacobs said...

I was waiting for someone like you to moan. But I do agree. In fact I've just heard Roy Castle's widow explaining in quite graphical form, on BBC Radio 4, how Roy suffered with lung cancer.

But if smoking is so terrible, why doesn't the Government ban tobacco products?

Mousie said...

Because a)tobacco tax is highly lucrative and b)the government can now also make a bit of pin money fining the poor addicted bastards who can't help but spark up in public.

Everyone's a winner baby. (Except us smokers of course, but we'll all be dead soon anyway.)

Moishe Oofnik said...

I feel mitigated about this subject. As a libertarian, I agree with you about the fact that this obviously impedes on people's freedom to decide wether or not they want to smoke.
However, as a non-smoker, I feel that often my personal freedom isn't respected. When I am in a restaurant, I choose to have clean air around me, but the smokers' smoke doesn't seem to agree with me.
This is why I see this as very different than say, a ban on fatty foods. Fatty foods are bad for you, but you eating them has no direct impact whatsoever on me (I'll avoid the discussion about my taxes paying someone's coronary bypass even though I watched my cholesterol intake while he probably didn't). If there could be a way in which only the smoker would suffer the direct consequences of his decision, then there would be no problem. But if someone in the same room as me smokes, I still end up with my clothes smelling of smoke, needing to wash my (long) hair before I go to sleep reeking of smoke, and I get unfiltered smoke into my lungs, even though I don't smoke.
I believe that my personal freedom goes only as far as the next person's. This is a problem in this case, as my wanting clean air stamps on someone's freedom to smoke, and obviously someone's wish to smoke impedes my having clean air.
There are two ways to look at this.
1) Was the air mine to begin with? Since it wasn't, anyone is allowed to do what they want with it. If I don't like it, I can change restaurant, go wait for the bus under the rain instead of the bus stop, not go to that bar, and quite generally stay at home where I'm sure I have every right to say what can enter "my" air and what can't. If I start blowing soap bubbles, even if this disturbs other people, it's not their air I'm filling with bubbles, so why can't I?
2) Is my 'not-smoking' harming anyone? Creating an inconvenience for the nicotine dependant smoker, yes, but harming? I honestly think not. Is the smoker's smoking harming anyone other than himself? Yes.
If I decide to blow bubbles, and the bubbles pop on other people's shirts and make a stain, something of theirs is being harmed only because I decided to start blowing bubbles there.

Being a non-smoker, I obviously have more of a penchant for the second view. Personal freedom, yes, but only as long as it doesn't directly harm someone else.

I don't like the fact that it is a government ban. Every restaurant, pub, etc, should decide what is best for their type of environment and clientele and business. I know restaurateurs who are slowly going out of business because of smoke regulations in their countries. This doesn't help reduce the number of smokers, (which is, I think, what the government wants to do usually), it just redirects smokers to places where they can smoke. That's government meddling in business for you.
I could go on about this issue for quite some time...

(comment posted also back on my blog, interesting debate in my opinion)

Jeremy Jacobs said...

I could go on for some time.....

I'm sure you could.


Anonymous said...

There are rumours that bingo is being banned in the US, is that true?
In the UK, bingo has suffered in recent months due to the ban on smoking in public places, causing smoking customers to either go outside for a cig and face the harsh cold (not a good move for the aged) or stay at home and not play, thus starving people like me wanting to Play Bingo UK Halls constantly. But banning bingo completely is ridiculous! It is a very mild form of gambling at the most! If you’re going to ban bingo then the lottery has to go too surely? Isn’t that gambling?
Bingo is a number game, based on pure luck, so really it’s not even similar to other gambling games such as poker and sports betting. It’s just like buying a lottery ticket just you have to get more numbers! So then why is it such a problem? Its just takes away the older generations entertainment while the younger generations indulge in perfectly “legal” things like DRUGS! Can they not see which the bigger problem is?

Anonymous said...

I donth the smoking ban has had that much of an affect on bingo hall numbers. I think people now, generally agree the ban is a good idea.