[T]his morning's Boston Globe has the Bay State's latest effort to curtail smoking. This time, disguising their efforts as a "safety" move, they want to require all cigarettes sold in Massachusetts to be "fire-safe." These cigarettes are designed to go out if they are not constantly being drawn upon. And while it will increase the cost of those cigarettes, hey, it's only the smokers who will have to pay the cost.Jay's right. Part of the problem is that, when it comes to government regulation, the left's got attention deficit disorder. Ronald Reagan cogently summarized lefty bureaucrats:
Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.Moreover, both parties were so wowed by cigarette settlement revenues their tax increase was "the most regressive in history. Its greatest impact would be on people with low incomes, racial minorities and those with little education, because higher percentages of these groups are smokers."
Still, the larger problem is post-modern, multi-culti deconstructionism. As an example, movie bad guys once could be identified by black hats and, often, hints of a homosexual persona--"not that there's anything wrong with that." More recently, that signal's played by a cigarette--most notoriously in the 1997 film The Devil's Advocate where "smoking is a continuous metaphor for evil." More seriously, as NRO's John O'Sullivan recently observed, leftist loathing of what once were private vices are "the latest sign of the impending divorce between multiculturalism and . . . cultural liberalism." According to O'Sullivan, today's over-regulators merely swap one intolerance for another:
Britain is generally freer and more relaxed, especially for prosperous and self-reliant middle-class people (though the new liberal morality imposes its own stern prohibitions on them — on smoking, ethnic jokes, fast food, and, er, "judgmentalism").Like Jay, I'm not a smoker. But each new nanny-state ban is an additional enticement to start--if only to rebel.