Vin Suprynowicz

The Libertarian

Vin Suprynowicz

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NEW JERSEY MULLS CASINO SMOKING BAN

It’s tempting for Nevadans to chortle and encourage New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine to “Go ahead, make our day.”

In Trenton, Mr. Corzine said Thursday he needs more time to decide whether to support legislation that would extend New Jersey’s smoking ban to casino floors.

Speaking to reporters at the Statehouse, Gov. Corzine said he wants to examine whether Atlantic City would be at a competitive disadvantage to other gambling cities such as Las Vegas if smoking were banned.

“In an ideal world, I’d like the smoking ban to be universal,” Corzine explained.

Words full of significance. As those who knew how to invest capital to create jobs and prosperity hotfooted it out of St. Petersburg in the days following the Russian Revolution, one can easily imagine Comrades Lenin and Trotsky musing, “In an ideal world, we’d like the ban on private property to be universal.”

Funny how those who would use the force of the state to impose “idealistic” new tyrannies on the masses “for their own good” eventually figure out the only way this is going to work is to impose their tyrannies universally, or (failing that) to shoot anyone who tries to climb the fence. Otherwise, people have the darndest habit of picking up their stuff and fleeing to freer regimes.

A tendency from which Nevadans have been making money for generations.

The masters of Canada’s dictatorial medical monopoly hate the fact that America sits nearby, constantly reminding their medical captives that 18-month waits for surgery or an MRI need not be “normal.” The slave states used to hate the fact that juries in the free states refused to return their runaway chattels. Alcohol Prohibition enacted state-by-state was too easy to circumvent by making a “border run” -- only a nationwide “Great Experiment” would satisfy the Prohibitionists. (How did that work out, by the way? Do we really want to try it again, this time with nicotine?)

Make no mistake, smoking is bad for one’s health; young folks should be discouraged. But it’s one of many purportedly “bad decisions” which adults must be left free to make on their own, if we are to continue to lay claim to being anything approaching a “free country.”

Former New Jersey Gov. Richard Codey signed a general smoking ban for New Jersey bars and restaurants into state law Jan. 15. (The Garden State’s population outflow is not yet sufficient, apparently.) But the outgoing governor had agreed to the casino exemption to improve the measure’s chance of passage -- and out of concern for the $350 million in state taxes generated by Atlantic City’s 12 casinos.

But to such “hygienic” puritans, a “compromise” marks only an interim step on their way to a total ban. New Jersey Democratic state Sen. Shirley Turner, sponsor of a bill to eliminate the days-old casino exemption, explains “It’s a horrible message to say it’s OK for casino moguls to poison the lungs of their workers with second-hand smoke because they have the political clout to ‘buy’ a deadly exemption.”

Eventually, the zealots may succeed in New Jersey. Before long, “cigarette boats” will be smuggling something other than coke and pot into Cape May and Ocean City, and gunfire not heard since 1933 will again punctuate the night.

Given that most Atlantic City gamblers arrive by bus and have few other options, business may not fall off too precipitously. That will then be used as “evidence” that Las Vegas can and should follow suit -- never mind the fact that “smoke-free casinos” have been tried here, and failed in open competition -- and never mind that Asian and other tourists arriving by air do have other options.

Hang gliding and motorcycle riding are more dangerous than smoking, actuarially speaking. So why not go after them? Because -- make no mistake -- there is a “moral” aspect to this “hygienic” anti-smoking campaign. Most of these characters will move just as quickly to ban the topless bar and the casino and the “quickie” divorce and even alcohol -- yes, again -- as soon as they see a clear chance.

Clean living is great. Preach it from the pulpits, by all means. But governments have tried to outlaw human nature, before. Those failures were one reason the Founders gave us a Bill of Rights, declaring the religion of Puritanism may not be “established,” by law, on these shores.

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