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Author Topic:   Smoking Bans
Straggler
Member (Idle past 152 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 91 of 151 (505782)
04-16-2009 7:11 PM
Reply to: Message 87 by Rahvin
04-16-2009 5:25 PM


Re: Smoking while pregnant
Does this line of reasoning sound more consistent and rational?
Whilst I admire your efforts to impose rational thinking and largely agree with most of the sentiments you express I cannot help but conclude that this thinking is just too complex (convuluted even?) to stand any hope of being either translated into meaningful legislation or of reaching the sort of consensus required for this translation into law to reach even the proposal stage.
I think you are trying to make the law "too rational".
As a counter proposal the most pragmatically workable solution is to define the law such that at X weeks a foetus attains legal rights at which point both termination and pregnant smoking become a matter for the law.
Whilst most certainly arbitrary to some extent, admittedly over simplistic and undeniably imperfect is this not the only sort of law that is achievable in terms of garnering consensus and actual translation into enforcable legislation?
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 87 by Rahvin, posted 04-16-2009 5:25 PM Rahvin has not replied

  
onifre
Member (Idle past 3037 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 92 of 151 (505783)
04-16-2009 7:12 PM
Reply to: Message 83 by Rahvin
04-16-2009 1:50 PM


Re: The law goes too far
That's not how I decide what's right and wrong. I try to make a point of analyzing all of my "gut" reactions and making a rational determination of what is actually right and wrong.
"Feeling" like something is good or bad and saying "I personally don't like this..." does not remove rational determination from the equation.
- I have a "feeling" based off of my rational analysis of the situation.
- "I personally don't like this" on the basis of my rational interpretation of the situation.
Both seem fine to me, unless we deem the person unfit to make a rational determination on their own?
"Feelings"-based morality leads to such nonsense as "homosexuality should be illegal because it makes me squeemish."
Yes, and the need to tell someone else what to do with their body was also a factor.
You also do not establish how my "feeling" or "I persoanlly don't like this" is made irrationally? My "feelings" and "intuitions" have a basis for them, which I believe, are rational. So, what do you do when 2 sides, or many sides, differ in their opinion, you go to a vote. Both sides can present their case and we'll democratically give the majority the win. But to inforce it without letting others decide democratically seems injust.
Now, note that I'm not saying smokers would win the vote, I think we will lose. BUT, my point is not just that we take this to a vote, BUT, why don't we take it to a vote? IMO, because Big Tabacoo will suffer tremendously, and, since they lobby VERY well, the government steps in to "handle the situation" and pass out a few laws to give the illusion that this is some how about peoples health risk.
IT'S NOT.
As long as the government can regulate the taxes on Big Tabacoo they make huge tax profits. IF the American public took it to a vote and cigarettes get baned or outlawed completely then there is no more HUGE tax revenue from the tabacoo industry, and Big Gov can't have that.
So they fuck around a bit, ban it in a few places, other places they don't, they get the public to argue amoungst itself about whether it's "fair" or "not fair" to ban it, and they let it drag on and drag on for as long as they can and make as much tax revenue from this product that they can.
It is not in the governments best interest for this to go to a vote, and why should they have to when people like yourself are willing to let them make the decisions for us, which they can then manipulate for their benefit.
As you can see, they've done absolutely nothing to Big Tabacoo. Tabacoo is not hurting one bit. The only ones who suffer, as usual, are: (1) The people who are buying cigs at outrageous prices. (2) Those who truly do enjoy cigars and cigar bars and now don't get to enjoy this. (3) The owners of the establishments that had to close down due to their only income being from cigar smoking patrons.
Now, what is gained from from these 3 things not existing?
And if they did exist, what suffers?
The discussion was whether the government was right to ban smoking in bars, even to the point of outlawing "specialty" businesses like CS's smoking bar, and whether the government would be right to ban smoking in an enclosed space with a child.
I understood the points to the discussion. Maybe my point was lost in my reply.
No the government shouldn't have the right to do it, for reasons that I stated above, but also, do you really think that the ban is for health reasons?
The problem is that these bans, in certain areas and not the whole nation, are an illusion, a distraction, something to rally a few supporters with and pretend like the government cares.
If it truly was for health reasons the product would be outlawed completely. It is not. It is simply regulated BECAUSE it is not in the best interest of the government to rid themselves of this very lucrative product.
So they ban a few areas and create this illusion so those sensitive to smoking feel like something is being done. But again, this is a bullshit illusion that is transparent, at least to me.
Why let a bunch of local bars suffer just so the government can continue filling their pockets with unjust tax revenue from the working class people?
Ban the product completely. Why can't we do that? Do people have the "right" to smoke all of a sudden? Fuck it - I smoke - but I'm totally cool with making the entire product illegal. But guess who don't want that? The same people giving you the bullshit about health issues.
Why don't they take it to a vote a really let the American public decide what do about cigarettes?
This has more to do with relying on the government to protect us from idiots than being told what to do.
No. This is the government protecting ITSELF from the idiots who will vote and make this product completely illegal.
The government can tell you where you can consume alcohol.
No. The government does tell you where to consume alcohol, because we've given it the power to do so, it can't do shit unless we allow it to.
But, by now this is almost a moot point, since so many are willing to allow more and more governemnt control. It starts with an inch - next you know you're taking a pregnacy test - "Oh shit, is abortion still legal?"
Laws like this are not stupid, and do need to be enforced.
If that's what the citizens living in that country/state/county/etc decide for themselves then yes, the government can inforce the laws that it's citizens voted for.
Have you forgotten that they work for you?
I'm pro choice as well, but mostly becasue I don't think it has anything to do with "killing babies."
I was using one of the terms used by the pro-life people. Sorry. And you are right.
Thats rather apathetic to the victims. Perhaps we should also stop legislating regarding murder?
No. The point I'm trying to make is this: if a democratic society wants to leaglize murder, and everyone, or the majority vote for it, then ok, murder is legal.
BUT, do you think that if taken to a vote we would simply be stupid enough to vote murder to be legal? Are we the people that incapable of deciding that murder is wrong? Do you need government to create the law for you or do you want them there to inforce the law for you?
If you choose the latter, then you should let this go to a vote and let the public decide AND THEN the government can inforce whatever WE decide. As it is though, that has not happened, because the gov doesn't want it to and because we haven't asked for it - or made enough of an impact if we have asked for it in the past.
Let's stop making laws that keep people from doing stupid things, fuck 'em if they can't be adults about it.
It's not about making the law, it's about allowing the government to make the law instead of you, the citizen, and rightful boss of your government, deciding what should be law.
The government is there to inforce it once the citizens have voted for it.
This isn't about mroality and ethics. It's about whether the government has a sufficiently compelling interest in public health to override an individual's right to privacy.
I agree that it's not about morality and ethics.
If they had interest in the publics health many would not be without health care. If they truly had an interest in your health then they would make the product illegal - like I made the point in an earlier post to Stile about DDT pesticides.
If you truly think/feel/believe that this is an issue about the publics health and the government is trying to help you then, in my opinion, you are allowing yourself to be lied to.
- Oni

"I smoke pot. If this bothers anyone, I suggest you look around at the world in which we live and shut your mouth."--Bill Hicks
"I never knew there was another option other than to question everything"--Noam Chomsky

This message is a reply to:
 Message 83 by Rahvin, posted 04-16-2009 1:50 PM Rahvin has not replied

  
anglagard
Member (Idle past 923 days)
Posts: 2339
From: Socorro, New Mexico USA
Joined: 03-18-2006


Message 93 of 151 (505785)
04-16-2009 7:44 PM
Reply to: Message 87 by Rahvin
04-16-2009 5:25 PM


Re: Smoking while pregnant
Rahvin writes:
I agree, and that's why part of my standard includes taking the ease and intrusiveness of any proposed intervention into account. Government intervention that is overly clumsy and complicated or disproportionately intrusive into a person's privacy in its application is to be avoided, even when the government would otherwise have a justifiable cause to intervene.
Ethics and law are very different. They occasionally coincide, but there are too many different and competing systems of morality to effectively legislate "right" and "wrong" - such is the nature of subjective value systems. Law should focus on objective realities - protecting citizens from harm, etc.
My wife and I smoked while she was pregnant with my daughter. They had to induce labor two weeks early because she would have been over 10 lbs. otherwise, so much for low birth rates in this particular case. She posts here as Beatle_Addict, is 3rd in her HS class, made a 22 in the ACT in the seventh grade, and will graduate a year early, so much for her alleged second-hand smoke induced mental retardation.
Statistics are not determinism.
So who wants us imprisoned, after all we are 'bad' and 'stupid' people?
Also, unlike some poster's apparent total faith in 'government' which appears to be a replacement for 'god' among some atheists, I believe the institution in a republic is based upon compromises in accordance with the social contract where the rights of the state are balanced and negotiated against the rights of the individual. It is not based upon some 'absolute morality' where the job of the state is to protect all people from all potential sources of harm, including that which is self-induced.
In the USA the government that says second hand smoke is the ultimate evil but gasoline engines and coal fired power plants are good is the same one that in the early 70's said marijuana turned men into women and, a few months later, women into men. All according to those statistics in those government studies.
As for 'common sense,' is it not common sense for a government under such an 'absolute morality' to do the following:
Ban all potentially harmful substances, including tobacco, alcohol, gasoline, paint, glue, and pharmaceuticals?
Ban all porn, violence, and sex in regard to mass media.
Make everyone wear a government proscribed uniform so that no one feels economically disadvantaged such as shown by the utility of school uniforms?
Require government permission to marry and give birth so that children will be the most genetically 'fit' and grow up under only the most qualified caregivers?
Regulate the caloric intake and foods of the populace to prevent obesity and disease?
The above has been done here and shown to work, at least temporarily. Is this the Taz Puritan athiest version of paradise?
I think your, Taz's and some other posters are verging upon a form of Left Wing Authoritarianism here so I am glad to see that you are at least beginning to think about why there may be a right to privacy. Otherwise by declaring that I have no right to privacy and am an "Enemy of the State" indicates to me an unhealthy interest in "The Lives of Others."
Naturally I also object to any use of 'infallible' government statistics to 'prove' my wife and I are stupid and evil, and my daughter is retarded.
Edited by anglagard, : replace moths with months, sorry, my N key is sticking.

Read not to contradict and confute, not to believe and take for granted, not to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider - Francis Bacon
The more we understand particular things, the more we understand God - Spinoza

This message is a reply to:
 Message 87 by Rahvin, posted 04-16-2009 5:25 PM Rahvin has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 94 by Straggler, posted 04-16-2009 8:43 PM anglagard has replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 152 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 94 of 151 (505787)
04-16-2009 8:43 PM
Reply to: Message 93 by anglagard
04-16-2009 7:44 PM


Re: Smoking while pregnant
I am going to invoke my devils advocate role in this thread yet again........
My wife and I smoked while she was pregnant with my daughter
To what extent do you think we should accept anecdote as evidence?
Statistics are not determinism.
Is there a level of statistical likelihood at which you would accept a role for government in public health issues such as legislating on pregnant smoking?
If so can you be more explicit about the sort of statistical likelihood you would consider to justify this?
If you do not consider any statistical evidence as appropriate on such issues how can we consider any medical (scientific even) judgements to be evidenced given that absolute certainty of empirical cause and effect is all but impossible?
It is not based upon some 'absolute morality' where the job of the state is to protect all people from all potential sources of harm, including that which is self-induced.
At what point, in your opinion, does the "proven" (i.e. statistically evidenced to a high degree of certainty) harm to others become a concern for the government such that restrictions on individual freedoms are justified in order to protect those "others"?
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 93 by anglagard, posted 04-16-2009 7:44 PM anglagard has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 110 by anglagard, posted 04-18-2009 2:40 AM Straggler has replied

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 95 of 151 (505793)
04-17-2009 9:46 AM
Reply to: Message 78 by Rahvin
04-16-2009 12:05 PM


Re: The law goes too far
As Taq mentioned earlier, when it comes to actually making the legislation, more than the logic of teh argument needs to be taken into consideration. Irrational human beings are still voting on the issue, and that means that contradictory views can be held by the law.
Contradictory views are held by the law because they do need to be practical. I agree with Straggler that your general approach is "too ratrional" and doesn't include enough pragmatism.
I feel, yes it is my opinion, that the Illinois restriction goes too far because it doesn't even allow for specialty businesses like a cigar bar to exist. I'm not saying that they shouldn't be able to put the line there, just that I don't like where they've decided to put the line.
But why, CS? Why don't you like it? Why should the law make exceptions for "specialty businesses?" Why shouldn't it cover everyone equally?
I'm not convinced that smoking in a bar is dangerous enough to outlaw without exception. If it really is that bad, then smoking should not be legal.
You haven't given any sort of method for determining whether a given private activity qualifies for government regulation, beyond "I don't like government intrusion" and "that's too far in my opinion."
I'm just not putting in the time and effort to explain myself to the point that you're satisfied. That doesn't exclude all rationality from my position, though. Like Onifre said, my likes and feelings can be based off of a rational interpretation.
I can't predict from one case to the next what you'll determine to be "too far" based on your completely undefined standard. I'm asking you to show me your line of reasoning so that your standards can be applied to other cases to determine whether your reasoning is sound.
/yawn. No thanks.
You seem to hold the opinion that regulating smoking in bars in general is fine, but that the law should contain an exception for businesses specifically set up to include smoking on their premises. Why should the exception exist?
Because without it, I feel like there's too much governmentin'. The People don't need a babysitter like that.
The health risks posed to both customers and employees remains the same. Other safety hazards are illegal in a workplace/private business, regardless of whether the employees and patrons want to "choose" to be exposed. You can't open a paint huffing bar, for example - even though the employees would know what they're signing up for, and even though paint is a perfectly legal substance, the health risks allow the government to step in. Why is smoking any different?
The health risk isn't high enough.
But if you didn't want to actually debate the subject, why did you bother posting?
I'll debate the subject, just not to the depth where I'm no longer enjoying it.
If you cannot express why you are dissatisfied, isn't that disturbing to you? I don't like having emotional reactions that I cannot understand; I try to rationally analyze them, determine why I'm reacting that way, and determine whether my "gut" feeling can be supported on a rational basis or not. If not, I abandon that opinion, despite my "feelings." You seem to be just fine with having an emotional reaction and letting it lie...that's a recipe for irrationality if I've ever heard one.
It can be but it doesn't have to be. It doesn't disturb me to be unable to adequately express my dissatisfaction to you, to your standard. I'm comfortable with my position and I understand my feelings myself. I'm not going to put in the time and effort to justify them to you. I'm not that good at expressing myself on paper anyways (which makes it require more time and more effort).
I've just expressed my opinion on the issue, which happens to agree with some states and not others. You're acting like this is a black and white issue and yours is the only one that's correct.
No, I'm not. I'm acting like I've provided a line of reasoning and a rational standard for determining whether government interference is justified in any given case, and that you've failed to do the same, effectively making any sort of discussion and debate impossible.
You're welcome to have a different opinion, CS. But at least tell us why you have that opinion. Then we can determine whether your line of reasoning is self-consistent and rational. Perhaps your line of reasoning is even superior to mine, and you can convince me to change my opinion and abandon the standards that I posted earlier. But nothing happens, not even discussion, until you explain your opinion beyond "I just feel this way."
I have though. Cigarettes aren't that bad and having no exception is too much intrusion on the People. We don't need that much governmentin'.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 78 by Rahvin, posted 04-16-2009 12:05 PM Rahvin has not replied

  
Perdition
Member (Idle past 3324 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 96 of 151 (505798)
04-17-2009 11:46 AM
Reply to: Message 89 by Rahvin
04-16-2009 5:43 PM


Re: Smoking while pregnant
When you get in an accident, who pays? Increased injury and death has a cost, in the form of increased insurance payments for everyone, as well as increased costs to the state when an individual does not have insurance.
This seems to miss the point. When you get into an accident, whether you're wearing a seatbelt or not, someone has to pay, the seatbelt is a minor consideration in that. I wouldn't have a problem with insurance agencies charging a higher premium for people who don't wear a seatbelt. I'm not sure how they would determine it, but it's a risky behavior, akin to insurance agencies charging more for a smoker than a nonsmoker. Regardless, this doesn't seem to touch on whether a law should be passed requiring seat belt usage.
The other perspective, of course, is that driving is a priviledge, not a right, and while the car itself may be your property, your ability to drive on public roads is subject to the government's whim. They don't need much int eh way of justification to fine you and take away your license, because restricting a priveledge is not the same as placing limitations on a right.
Driving is a priviledge, I agree, but it has also become a necessity in our culture. It would be extremely difficult for me to get to work without my car. It would take a very long time by foot or bicycle, and the cost of a taxi every day would become prohibitively expensive. The bus system around here is a joke. Until the government really invests in good public transportation, it could be argued that driving exists somewhere between a right and a priviledge.
By accepting a driver's license, you accept the rules the government sets down regarding driving. That includes seatbelt laws. If you don't like them...feel free to not use a car.
I wear a seatbelt regardless of whether there's a law or not. I think people who don't wear a seatbelt are stupid, but trying to legislate away stupid is a losing endeavor. If someone wants to risk it, and that risk, I would argue, doesn't put anyone else at risk, then why are we telling people what to do.
You've agreed that the government has the least authority to legislate what a person does within their own body when they don't put anyone else at risk, and this would seem to be an obvious case where they do so, and I think it's too far. People have the right, in my opinion, to be stupid and place themselves at risk. They do NOT have the right to place others at risk. Until it can be shown that driving without a seatbelt puts anyone else at a significantly greater risk, protecting competent adults from themselves is not the job of the government. (IMHO)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 89 by Rahvin, posted 04-16-2009 5:43 PM Rahvin has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 97 by Straggler, posted 04-17-2009 2:29 PM Perdition has replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 152 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 97 of 151 (505806)
04-17-2009 2:29 PM
Reply to: Message 96 by Perdition
04-17-2009 11:46 AM


Re: Smoking while pregnant
Once again I reprise my role as devils advocate in this thread
People have the right, in my opinion, to be stupid and place themselves at risk
How stupid? Should there be any limit at all on stupidity as long as only oneself is directly at risk?
Is there such a thing as indirect risk to others?
If someone dies or is paralysed because they were not wearing a seatbelt and this results in their family being made destitute and thus reliant on the state have others been harmed by the stupidity of the individual in question? Or not?
You've agreed that the government has the least authority to legislate what a person does within their own body when they don't put anyone else at risk, and this would seem to be an obvious case where they do so, and I think it's too far.
If you cause a road accident by driving recklessly and the person in the other car dies, arguably because they were not wearing a seat belt, are you legally culpable for that death or not?
Does the psychological trauma imposed on the reckless driver by having killed someone that could have been avoided if a seatbelt had been worn count as "harm to others"? Or not?
Should we take into account the wider costs to family, society or those directly involved in the consequences of ones stupidity at all? Or not?
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 96 by Perdition, posted 04-17-2009 11:46 AM Perdition has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 98 by Perdition, posted 04-17-2009 3:12 PM Straggler has replied

  
Perdition
Member (Idle past 3324 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 98 of 151 (505808)
04-17-2009 3:12 PM
Reply to: Message 97 by Straggler
04-17-2009 2:29 PM


Re: Smoking while pregnant
How stupid? Should there be any limit at all on stupidity as long as only oneself is directly at risk?
I think this is a question for psychiatrists to answer. If a person acts sufficiently stupidly, at some pIs there such a thing as indirect risk to others?[/qs]
There is, but trying to legislate that type of risk becomes difficult, impractical, and overly-generalized.
If someone dies or is paralysed because they were not wearing a seatbelt and this results in their family being made destitute and thus reliant on the state have others been harmed by the stupidity of the individual in question? Or not?
If someone climbs on their roof without a rope or tie and falls off, thereby killing themselves or becoming paralyzed, have others been harmed? People make stupid decisions every day that put themselves at risk and therefore their family and friends are put indirectly at risk. We, as a society, have determined that while the risky behavior may be stupid and should be discouraged, it shouldn't be made a legal issue, and that's a stance I agree with.
If you cause a road accident by driving recklessly and the person in the other car dies, arguably because they were not wearing a seat belt, are you legally culpable for that death or not?
Well, since seat belt laws are relatively new compared to auto accidents, I would say the rules that existed prior are a good place to start. Thinking off the cuff, I would say it would depend on the crash investigation. If it is determined that wearing a seatbelt would have saved the life of the occupant, maybe you're not charged with vehicular manslaughter and "merely" reckless endangerment while having your license revoked.
Does the psychological trauma imposed on the reckless driver by having killed someone that could have been avoided if a seatbelt had been worn count as "harm to others"? Or not?
In my experience (and I know it's not a valid, logical argument to make) the people driving recklessly don't feel too much remorse to begin with. If they had normal empathy, they probably wouldn't be driving recklessly to begin with, unless we differ on our definitions of reckless driving. If the person is sufficiently empathetic to feel severe emotional trauma, it's probably enough for them to feel it with "merely" maiming another person instead of outright killing them.
Another possibility is that the reckless driver could find a little solace in the fact that the person wasn't wearing a seatbelt and can share a portion of the culpability. It would be a small, but surely noticeable, mitigation, at least if it were to happen to me.
Should we take into account the wider costs to family, society or those directly involved in the consequences of ones stupidity at all? Or not?
This is the part of ethics that was te hardest for me to work out while in college. I majored in philosophy with an emphasis on ethics. I have, over many hours of contemplation, come to a moral theory that works for me. The general gist in where my moral theory differs from most, if not all, of the ones I have looked at is that mine differentiates between being a "bad" person and being a "not good" person. I think laws should try to stop people from being bad or doing bad things, but should not stop people from being not good. In my calculation, I consider not wearing a seatbelt to be a not good thing to do, but not a bad thing.
So, should we look at wider costs to family, society, or those directly involved in the stupidity. I don't think we should legally. I definitely think we should societally, and the people around the person should try and convince them that they're being stupid. For instance, refusing to ride in the car with someone who doesn't buckle up is a personal choice, but it would get people to buckle up when ever you ride with them, and who knows how that habit might take hold.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 97 by Straggler, posted 04-17-2009 2:29 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 99 by Straggler, posted 04-17-2009 3:27 PM Perdition has replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 152 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 99 of 151 (505809)
04-17-2009 3:27 PM
Reply to: Message 98 by Perdition
04-17-2009 3:12 PM


Re: Smoking while pregnant
Stragler writes:
Is there such a thing as indirect risk to others?
There is, but trying to legislate that type of risk becomes difficult, impractical, and overly-generalized.
As applied generally I would agree.
But if specific stupid behaviour that adversely, albeit indirectly, affects others can be effectively legislated against by a specific law that has no specific downside then from a purely pragmatic point of view why not implement that law?
Seatbelt laws are not overly generalised (they are highly specific) and are statistically effective.
So, from a purely practical point of view, why not?
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 98 by Perdition, posted 04-17-2009 3:12 PM Perdition has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 100 by Perdition, posted 04-17-2009 3:43 PM Straggler has replied
 Message 101 by Perdition, posted 04-17-2009 3:52 PM Straggler has replied
 Message 102 by onifre, posted 04-17-2009 4:08 PM Straggler has replied

  
Perdition
Member (Idle past 3324 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 100 of 151 (505810)
04-17-2009 3:43 PM
Reply to: Message 99 by Straggler
04-17-2009 3:27 PM


Re: Smoking while pregnant
So, from a purely practical point of view, why not?
Well, it's not consistent, for one thing. I know consistency is not a seemingly valued part of our legal system, but I think it should be. Legalizing cigarettes while criminalizing marijuana is inconsistent and I think it's a glaring flaw in our legal system. Either legalize both or criminalize both, but don't pick and choose, that comes down to special pleading. ;-)
If we're going to outlaw not wearing a seatbelt because it's obviously a risk and easy to implement, then why not outlaw being on a roof without a tether? It's also very risky and very easy to implement. It would also, I'm sure, prove effective. Effective, that is, in protecting a life that doesn't think it's worth protecting itself, or that considers the risk worth the perceived reward.
The question comes down to what the role of government is and what sorts of freedoms we have and should have. I think we should be able to engage in activity that is reckless to ourselves as long as others are not directly influenced. If I want to hurt myself, who are you to force me not to. If I only want to place myself in a position where I may get hurt, you have even less authority to force me not to.
In my opinion, the government is in the position of protecting those who can't protect themselves, not in forcing protection on those who otherwise wouldn't protect themselves. Stupidity shouldn't be a crime, so far as it doesn't directly harm anyone else.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 99 by Straggler, posted 04-17-2009 3:27 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 103 by Straggler, posted 04-17-2009 6:23 PM Perdition has not replied

  
Perdition
Member (Idle past 3324 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 101 of 151 (505811)
04-17-2009 3:52 PM
Reply to: Message 99 by Straggler
04-17-2009 3:27 PM


Re: Smoking while pregnant
Straggler writes:
Is there such a thing as indirect risk to others?
There is, but trying to legislate that type of risk becomes difficult, impractical, and overly-generalized.
What I was saying here is that by trying to protect indirect victims, we're placed in the position of trying to decide how a given action might affect everyone around us. What may cause harm to one person indirectly may not phase someone else, or may even make them happy. Are we going to decide that if something can conceivably make others unhappy, we should stop people from doing it? If so, we would quickly be barred from doing anything.
Indirect risk is difficult to legislate because it is almost always a subjective experience. One person dying my force a family into poverty if he/she is the only employed member of the family. It may thrust another family into wealth if the person had a large life insurance policy.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 99 by Straggler, posted 04-17-2009 3:27 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 104 by Straggler, posted 04-17-2009 6:32 PM Perdition has replied

  
onifre
Member (Idle past 3037 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 102 of 151 (505812)
04-17-2009 4:08 PM
Reply to: Message 99 by Straggler
04-17-2009 3:27 PM


Re: Smoking while pregnant
Seatbelt laws are not overly generalised (they are highly specific) and are statistically effective.
You can always make a case for individual issues, but if your attempt, with these laws, is to reduce the death toll, you are not going to do that by simply outlawing seatbelts.
People will always do stupid things and get themselves killed. Cars just happen to be one of the ways, and only in major accidents where maybe a seatbelt would have saved their lives...maybe.
So what would the seatbelt law actually be effective for? Another safety precaution for another thing we created that when used incorrectly can, under certain circumstances, cause death? - Why?
Why persue this one particular product(cars) and case(seatbelts), and make laws to govern certain specifics about it? Not wearing a seatbelt only matters if you get in a severe enough accident, and then maybe a seatbelt would have helped, maybe.
It is against the law for me to drive without wearing my glasses. There is an actual law that requires people to wear their glasses while driving, but common sense would tell you that if you need glasses how else would you see without them, so how could you drive without them? Do you think we actually need this to be a law?
If that law suddenly disappeared, without any fuss, just erase it off the books - so to speak, do you think there would be an automatic increase in deaths due to people not wearing their glasses? Or do you think it would be buisness as usual, with only really stupid people, which I'm sure has happened, refusing to wear their glasses while driving, and the rest of normal society wearing them as required 'cause we're are not that incapable of knowing whats right for us after all?
How effective are these laws and are they really protecting us from ourselves?

"I smoke pot. If this bothers anyone, I suggest you look around at the world in which we live and shut your mouth."--Bill Hicks
"I never knew there was another option other than to question everything"--Noam Chomsky

This message is a reply to:
 Message 99 by Straggler, posted 04-17-2009 3:27 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 105 by Straggler, posted 04-17-2009 6:40 PM onifre has replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 152 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 103 of 151 (505815)
04-17-2009 6:23 PM
Reply to: Message 100 by Perdition
04-17-2009 3:43 PM


Re: Smoking while pregnant
Straggler writes:
So, from a purely practical point of view, why not?
Well, it's not consistent, for one thing.
Are situations consistent in terms of prevalance, ability to legislate, ability to enforce legislation etc. etc. etc.?
Legalizing cigarettes while criminalizing marijuana is inconsistent and I think it's a glaring flaw in our legal system
Personally I agree but there are many who can, and indeed do, rationalise such distinctions on the basis of various pragmatic arguments. Arguments such as the notion that marijuana is a stepping stone to other more harmful drugs. Personally I am subjectively not convinced by such arguments (despite the fact that marijuana was arguably a stepping stone to such other experiences for me) but if there is a practical case to be made for this notion should we just dismiss it on the basis of ideological consistency? I am not sure that we should.
Either legalize both or criminalize both, but don't pick and choose, that comes down to special pleading.
I think special pleading is inevitable in the definition and the application of law. I honestly do not see how it can be avoided to some extent if pragmatism rather than ideology is the ultimate deciding factor.
If we're going to outlaw not wearing a seatbelt because it's obviously a risk and easy to implement, then why not outlaw being on a roof without a tether? It's also very risky and very easy to implement. It would also, I'm sure, prove effective. Effective, that is, in protecting a life that doesn't think it's worth protecting itself, or that considers the risk worth the perceived reward.
Perhaps because the prevalence of people dying from untethered roof endevours, and thus causing indirect harm to others, is relatively insignificant in practical terms as compared to the non-wearing of seatbelts?
The question comes down to what the role of government is and what sorts of freedoms we have and should have.
In that case your argument is a principled one. Not a pragmatic one. That is fine as far as it goes but do not pretend to yourself that you are being pragmatic about laws when in fact you are applying principle regardless of pragmatic considerations.
I think we should be able to engage in activity that is reckless to ourselves as long as others are not directly influenced. If I want to hurt myself, who are you to force me not to. If I only want to place myself in a position where I may get hurt, you have even less authority to force me not to.
If the indirect consequences to others (e.g. your family or society) of you harming yourself by means of stupid activities can be significantly reduced by means of effective legislation then, on a pratical level at least, why does the government not have the authority, maybe even the duty, to legislate on such matters?
Is your argument based on principle or pragmatism? If principle is the deciding factor then are you willing to follow your principle to it's logical conclusion with regard to any personally harmful activity and ALL forms of indirect harm?
In my opinion, the government is in the position of protecting those who can't protect themselves, not in forcing protection on those who otherwise wouldn't protect themselves. Stupidity shouldn't be a crime, so far as it doesn't directly harm anyone else.
If you accept that indirect harm can be significant and you accept that government can effectively legislate against some activities that significantly indirectly harm others then why should the government not put such legislation into practise?
What principle is being applied in opposing such measures and what practical consequences are there for maintaining your ideology?
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 100 by Perdition, posted 04-17-2009 3:43 PM Perdition has not replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 152 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 104 of 151 (505816)
04-17-2009 6:32 PM
Reply to: Message 101 by Perdition
04-17-2009 3:52 PM


Re: Smoking while pregnant
Straggler writes:
Is there such a thing as indirect risk to others?
There is, but trying to legislate that type of risk becomes difficult, impractical, and overly-generalized.
Perdition writes:
What I was saying here is that by trying to protect indirect victims, we're placed in the position of trying to decide how a given action might affect everyone around us. What may cause harm to one person indirectly may not phase someone else, or may even make them happy.
Then be pragmatic rather than ideologically consistent about the application of principle in law. Only apply laws when the objectively evidenced positive effects (e.g. number of deaths avoided) outweigh the negative.
Perdition writes:
Are we going to decide that if something can conceivably make others unhappy, we should stop people from doing it? If so, we would quickly be barred from doing anything.
No. How about we only apply laws when the evidence suggests that the effects will be both objectively significant and measurably beneficial to society (e.g. the number of families faced with poverty due to death decreasing)?
Indirect risk is difficult to legislate because it is almost always a subjective experience. One person dying my force a family into poverty if he/she is the only employed member of the family. It may thrust another family into wealth if the person had a large life insurance policy.
If outlawing smoking in public spaces or the non-wearing of seatbelts saves lives and reduces the overrall burden of indirect harm through stupidity on society without having any practical negative effect then on what basis do we oppose those laws?
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 101 by Perdition, posted 04-17-2009 3:52 PM Perdition has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 121 by Perdition, posted 04-20-2009 3:03 PM Straggler has replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 152 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 105 of 151 (505817)
04-17-2009 6:40 PM
Reply to: Message 102 by onifre
04-17-2009 4:08 PM


Re: Smoking while pregnant
You can always make a case for individual issues, but if your attempt, with these laws, is to reduce the death toll, you are not going to do that by simply outlawing seatbelts.
People will always do stupid things and get themselves killed. Cars just happen to be one of the ways, and only in major accidents where maybe a seatbelt would have saved their lives...maybe.
So what would the seatbelt law actually be effective for? Another safety precaution for another thing we created that when used incorrectly can, under certain circumstances, cause death? - Why?
Are you saying that the legally enforced use of seatbelts has not statistically reduced deaths and serious injuries suffered as a result of car accidents?
Why persue this one particular product(cars) and case(seatbelts), and make laws to govern certain specifics about it? Not wearing a seatbelt only matters if you get in a severe enough accident, and then maybe a seatbelt would have helped, maybe.
If the objective evidence says lives are saved by the enforcement of seatbelt wearing then on what basis do we deny that evidence?
It is against the law for me to drive without wearing my glasses. There is an actual law that requires people to wear their glasses while driving, but common sense would tell you that if you need glasses how else would you see without them, so how could you drive without them? Do you think we actually need this to be a law?
My wife is Argentinian. A few years ago in Argentina a blind man was found to be driving by means of using his sighted, but disabled and non-driving, wife as a co-pilot. She gave very specific verbal instructions and he drove the car. He had been blind and driving for 15 years. His driving license had been renewed only 18 months prior to his blind driving being discovered by traffic police!!
There may be a joke for you to use somewhere in that story....?
I don't know whether wearing glasses, if you need them, should be a legal requirement or not. But I would postulate the following as reasonable pragmatic reasons for the seeming logical and ideological inconsistency of not having such a law.
The practical application of the law makes it difficult for those responsible for enforing the law to know who should be wearing glasses or who should not.
In practical terms the number of accidents or deaths caused by people not wearing glasses is insignificant and thus not worth legislating on.
But frankly unless it is a major practical concern I see no reason to worry about this particular law.
How effective are these laws and are they really protecting us from ourselves?
If they are effective in practise (without resulting in other outweighing negative effects) then arguably yes they are worth having.
If such laws are completely ineffective (or have other negative practical results) then arguably no they are not worth having.
It is a case by case necessarily imperfect, but nevertheless objectively evidenced, pragmatic judgement.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 102 by onifre, posted 04-17-2009 4:08 PM onifre has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 120 by onifre, posted 04-20-2009 10:08 AM Straggler has replied

  
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