It is important for the state to protect the rights of all citizens including the right to behave stupidly so long as no harm is done to others.
It should not be part of any government’s remit to save adult citizens from the results of their own foolishness so long as that foolishness does not interfere with the rights of others.
We have several laws which wrongly attempt to do this – for example the law compelling motor cyclists to wear protective headgear and the outright ban on smoking in all pubs, restaurants, etc.
If a motor cyclist is stupid enough to risk riding without proper protection, that should be his or her own business. This is in contrast to the justified compulsion on car passengers and drivers to wear seat belts where the result of a sudden impact or change of direction could result in occupants being thrown about and interfering with the driver’s ability to control the car and increasing the likelihood of causing death or injury to other occupants and other road users. A motor cyclist or pillion passenger is likely to receive head injuries only after losing control of the vehicle and thus cannot harm others.
This law should be repealed.
Pubs and restaurants should be allowed to have separate bars or rooms where smoking is allowed on three conditions :
- The non-smoking areas must be at least as large as the smoking areas with facilities and services which are at least as good .
- The smoke must not be able to invade other parts where non-smokers go.
- Staff must have the right to choose not to enter the smoking area (there would be no shortage of volunteers from among members of staff who smoke).
Smokers should be allowed to kill themselves through their habit so long as they do not endanger the health or comfort of unwilling non-smokers. This law should be amended accordingly.
This principle should be applied to drug use also