Friday, March 23, 2007

Republican = Conservative?

Not necessarily so. They like to boast of that distinction, but look no further than the Idaho Legislature (likely the most one-sided Republican in the nation) for evidence to the contrary.

If they were so conservative, you'd think Idaho's taxpayers would hardly have a burden at all! And Idaho's Book of Laws could be contained in a brochure.

Most recently, they voted a ban on smoking in Idaho bowling alleys by a wide margin.

How is that "conservative"?

(To his credit, Governor Otter, who is much more conservative than the Legislature, vetoed the bill.)

The well-meaning legislators just wanted to protect Idaho's citizens. One of the bill's sponsors, Senator Brent Hill, worries about the ill-effects of second-hand smoke. He said, "It's not a matter of 'it's possible,' it's a fact that they will [get sick]."

Now, if he were talking about visitors to a smoke-filled government office building, I'd agree with him 100%.

But last I heard, people can choose whether to visit a privately-owned bowling alley. (Personally, the only time I visit is when our church youth group is helping out with a Special Olympics event. Because I don't like the stench of tobacco, and will avoid it when I have the choice.) The owner of the bowling alley should be able to determine - based on whatever criteria he wants to use - whether to allow smoking or prohibit smoking.

Same thing with bars and restaurants. I can't imagine eating in a restaurant filled with tobacco smoke... and would take my business elsewhere. The restauranteur should be able to decide how badly he wants the business of non-smokers.


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