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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Smoking Ban Opponents Also Oppose Logic

Don't forget: along with all of the candidates, we have four ballot measures to vote on November 2. Among them is Referred Law 12, the smoking ban passed by our Legislature in 2009 but referred by bar owners and others who think their business model depends on the consumption of toxic chemicals.

Shenanigans Pub owner Don Rose provides the contra piece on Referred Law 12 in the Secretary of State's ballot measure pamphlet. Rose's text there, along with his anti-ban website, are chuckle-filled exercises in illogic. Examples:

Business owners enter into business ventures based on rules and regulations in place at the time they make significant investments in licenses, capital improvements, and personnel. The action taken by the legislature to change the rules in the middle of the game puts many businesses at risk of major losses or even closure of their establishments [Don Rose, 2010 Ballot Question Pamphlet, South Dakota Secretary of State's office, p. 4].

So, Don, by opening Shenanigans, you automatically prohibited the City of Sioux Falls, Minnehaha County, or the State of South Dakota from changing any law that affects your business? Your receipt of a business license or your hiring of a new barmaid means we can't change the sales tax rate or the legal blood alcohol limit? And is your business model really so un-nimble that you can't respond to changing market conditions? Come on, a good capitalist should be tougher than that.

The result of a ban will result in huge losses, not only to the business owners, but to the taxpayers of South Dakota [Rose, Ballot Question Pamphlet].

Wrong. Ask Bob Miller at the Brandon Steakhouse. He banned smoking and got more business. (And check that sentence: The result will result in...? So the ban will produce a result, and then that result will produce the subsequent results you talk about? Say what?)

Every state in the nation that has passed a smoking ban in bars (with only one exception) now has a state income tax! Why would South Dakota be any different? [CIF website]

Every state in the nation that has passed a smoking ban in bars has also seen the sun rise, but I'm not ready to argue a causal connection. Before making the above absurd claim, Rose and friends should (a) verify that the state income taxes in those places were indeed passed after their smoking bans and (b) establish that no other economic or policy factors influenced state lawmakers to pass their income taxes.

If Referred Law 12 passes, it will cost thousands of jobs, millions in tax revenues and reductions in government services [CIF website].

But the CIF website is all about rootin'-tootin' flag-waving freedom. Their home page opens with the bald and counterfactual assertion that "South Dakotan's [sic] overwhelmingly agree" that "The government is big enough and already controls enough of our lives." So wouldn't Rose and his patriotic pals like to see government shrink? Wouldn't they be thrilled if government had less money to spend on controlling our lives? By CIF's own argument, the smoking ban should produce governmental results they would celebrate.

If Referred Law 12 passes it will signal the willingness of South Dakotans to accept other controls such as how much salt can be consumed, what foods we can eat, etc. [CIF website].

Ah, the classic slippery slope. State Senator
Russell Olson (R-8/Madison) cited this same alarmist nuttery when he cast his nay as a brave stand for the Big Mac. It is just as logical to assume that we might pass this law, see it has terrible impacts, and would thus decrease the chances that we would pass any future bans in unhealthy behavior.

And as usual, tobacco advocates forget that when people eat Big Macs and salt their fries, they are not belching chewed-up meat in the faces of the staff and other diners or spitting salt at anyone else.

Perhaps it is unfair to judge a ballot measure by the intellectual deficiencies of its supporters. But if the above are the best arguments the opponents can muster, then the proponents deserve to win.
Bonus Grammar and Orthography:

If the fund suffers significant losses, one option to restore the funding could result in an increase in local property taxes. A result which may include tax increases to cover potential losses [Rose, Ballot Question Pamphlet].

See that part I bolded? That's a sentence fragment! You had time to revise and vet this very important text, Don. Stop writing like KELO and connect that noun phrase to the preceding sentence with a comma. Two points off at the polls for sloppy writing.

CIF's mission statement also misspells devastating. Two more points off. Add that unnecessary apostrophe on "South Dakotan's" on the home page, and you've got three strikes. Job applications get rejected for this many errors.


  1. I am glad you have decided to take this ugly issue on.

    I have one small issue with the law that is on the ballot.

    That would be SDCL 34-46-13(3) that simply redefines what a public place is. It is no longer land or building owned by municipality, it is now any place the public is invited or permitted. I don't have a gate on my driveway, and several times people have turned around in it. Does that mean I can't allow smoking in my yard because the public can use my driveway or at least until I put a gate up?

    This law comes dangerously close, if not crossing the line of the fourth amendment. I understand your health is important to you, maybe more so than my freedom is to me, However I would much rather have my freedom than your health.

  2. CC said, " I don't have a gate on my driveway, and several times people have turned around in it. Does that mean I can't allow smoking in my yard because the public can use my driveway or at least until I put a gate up?"

    Your home is your palace. Put a gate up if you please, but no government agency will be there to regulate those who enter your property with or without your permission. This argument supports nothing. You will always have your freedom to smoke just as you have your freedom to shake your fist at anyone who does not agree with you, BUT, you do not have the right to take that fist and punch me in the nose.

    Cory, even though I wrote a controversial book, I relied on multiple editors to finish it. Please, edit any content for grammar and spelling and correct ad lib. :-)

    Kevin J. Weiland, MD FACP

  3. Is anony not a disallowed poster anymore Corey? CC?

  4. Les Heiserman, Spearfish, per chance?

  5. Cory. ip thinks Les is one of these people but is horrified to learn that he appears to be registered GOP.

  6. Don't be horrified Larry, I do have an ability to make an informed choice though sometimes there is no choice.

    Now why haven't you started a third party of the people's choice, based upon a low to no dollar campaign where the people could vote for Robin Hood?

  7. Read through this post, Les; then ask a capable candidate like Dr. Weiland why John Thune ran unopposed.


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