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Our Eroding Liberties
by Doug Hagin
11 November 2003Cigarettes

Brooklyn video-store owner Marty Arno was assessed a $6,000 fine for having an ashtray in his store and for failing to post "No Smoking" signs in his store.

Just how asinine and over the top has the anti-smoking movement become in our nation? Exactly how much of our freedom is being trampled under foot by the inane anti-smoking legislation being forced down our throats by power hungry politicians? How long will it be until there are no more private property or business rights thanks to the anti-smoking zealots?

Before you answer or even seriously ponder these questions, consider the recent $6,000 fine levied by New York City’s health inspector against a business owner. The crime for which the owner of a Brooklyn video-store was assessed such a massive fine? Daring to have an ashtray in his store. And for failing to post “No Smoking” signs in his store and for failing to post his company’s official nonsmoking policy.

Never mind the fact that Marty Arno, the owner of the store, has only one employee, who only works part-time. Never mind that no government agency has any Constitutional right to impose such petty laws on a business owner. Never mind all of these facts. The city of New York has decided it can micro-manage private businesses and impose punitive fines for those who dare to step out of line.

Yes, thanks to the city's new Anti-smoking laws, this business owner is seeing his wallet devastated and his rights to run his business destroyed. All those who have cheered these inane, un-American laws should rethink their opinions now.

As anyone vaguely familiar with the Founding Fathers and the constitution would know, no law robbing us of our personal sovereignty will serve to protect us. It will instead surely enslave us. Whether or not a business owner chooses to allow smoking in his or her place of business is none of the government's concern. They are free to set their own standards, just as all of us are free to choose to patronize that business or not.

Sure, we were told these laws were being drafted to protect us, from the evils of tobacco. Once more a classic case of Liberalism taking away our rights and seeking to remake America from a Constitutional Republic into a nanny state! It is impossible to trade freedoms for security or safety. The Founders knew this truth. They knew the God who created us all endowed us with Liberties no government had the authority to wrest from us.

Imagine the sheer audacity and arrogance of any government agency that thinks it has the power to outlaw ashtrays! And further to extort $6,000 for possession of an ashtray! What’s next? Police storming into businesses looking for not only smokers but for cigarette butts and ashtrays? Perhaps charging business owners for possessing lighters and matches?

Perhaps the geniuses of the political left will seek to establish ashtray control laws nationwide in an effort to save us from the enemy they think is our biggest concern, ourselves. Yes this sounds ridiculous, but then again consider an ashtray being outlawed.

This, my friends, is where Liberalism always, always leads, to more control of our personal rights, decisions and lives. Think for a moment of how much freedom has been usurped from do-gooders intent on saving us from ourselves.

Seat-belt laws, helmet laws, laws against cell phones in cars, laws outlawing children having BB guns, laws, laws and more laws. All directed against our God-given liberties and us. Laws seeking to take our control of our lives and give it over to elitist politicians.

Consider the extremes that so-called zero-tolerance policies in schools have sunk to. This disaster was sold to us as a get-tough approach to kids bringing weapons and drugs to school. These new rules would protect our kids we were told. Instead look what has happened. Children suspended, or even expelled for having Midol, Excedrin, and water pistols, playing Cops and Robbers, or even drawing pictures of soldiers.

Think of our tax laws. Every year they become more punitive and confiscatory. Gas taxes, payroll taxes, income taxes, sales taxes, luxury taxes, taxes on your phone bill, taxes on your property, taxes on top of taxes. And many of these taxes amount to no more than legalized theft. The government taking money from your pocket and then giving it to other Americans. They have forgotten whose money it is. Just as they obviously have forgotten what the constitution says.

Is this the America you want to live in? To raise your family in? An America where the politicians we trust with our votes do their best to strip away the very liberty they ought to be protecting? An America where success is punished? Where the spirit which gave birth to this great country, the spirit of individualism, is discouraged?

It is very simple my friends. God gave us all liberty; the United States Constitution recognizes this truth and protects these liberties. The Liberals in this nation do not believe in God or the Constitution, their action make this very clear. The question is whom will we follow? God and the Constitution, or the Liberal Elites?

Doug Hagin resides in Dallas and hopes to one day be a nationally syndicated columnist with his own radio show

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