Wednesday, August 29, 2007

American Enemies

Both John Edwards and Mike Huckabee are calling for a national ban on smoking in public places.

Once upon a time, proposing such specific regulation of individual behavior at the federal level would be insane. No longer. Today, the conversation over what the government has the right to decide on behalf of its constituents is undergoing a titanic shift, all in the name of "public health."

This isn't working out so well for anyone who prizes civil liberty. For a country with an identity inseparable from its its open society, "public-health" legislation represents one of the greatest threats after terrorism. (And unlike wiretapping phone calls to terrorists, "health" bans actually impact people's lives.)

Yes, many people will happily sacrifice liberty for some perceived public good. But they'd be remiss to neglect considering that this country hasn't achieved its many successes owing to thoughtful government intervention into its citizens' lives.

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