For those of you griping that for the last couple of months, all I've done was talk about bowling, baseball or Las Vegas, here's something to chew on.
I am very upset at the smoking ban that will go into effect in Wisconsin next year. Simply put, government should not continue to tell me how to live. The business owners have done a pretty good job of letting the market decide if smoking should be allowed in their establishments. We all make choices... the choices to go into restaurants that allow smoking, or the choice to go into one that doesn't. Why does government feel the need to get involved?
All these silly Nanny State issues - bicycle helmets on children, "no touching" policies in schools, sports without keeping score, seatbelt laws, nutrition guides on fast food, sprinkler systems in new homes, even playing poker on-line - are instances of schools or government institutions getting involved to tell us how to live our lives and how we apparently aren't smart enough to watch after ourselves. These are all things that each American should decide for his or her self (or parents should decide for their children).
When I was a child, I never rode a helmet... ever. When I was a pre-teen, I rode my 10-speed up Lincoln Ave from Bay St. to my grandparent's homes in West Allis. Because my parents taught me proper etiquette for biking on a street, I never had much trouble. I was also smart enough to know that if I needed to turn left at a major intersection, my survival would be keyed to crossing at the crosswalks instead of sitting in the left turn lane.
As a teenager, I lived on 65th between Lincoln and Grant and I rode my bike to school at West Milwaukee High School. Once that I can remember, I was riding northeast on Beloit Rd. past some minor road construction at the curb, and the integrity of the surface was compromised by sand and grit from the construction. I fell off my bike, but made sure I landed hands down. I scraped up my hands pretty bad, but I was cognizant enough to protect my head. I don't believe in bicycle helmets, and I have never made or encouraged my children to wear one.
Seatbelt requirements are another subject that bothers me. I understand that seatbelts are important to wear, and I wear them 90% of the time. But the law says I need to wear them 100% of the time. Why? Who does the law protect? Ostensibly, it is there to protect me, but should government be protecting me from myself? If I don't put my seatbelt on for the short ride from my house to one of the fine businesses on Greenfield Ave, who is a better judge of my safety? Me, or some lawmakers in session that passed a bill ten years earlier? I know if the sun is in my eyes. I know if the road is slippery from rain or snow. I know if my car may not be running at 100%. I also know the time of day when the probability of drunk drivers is higher. If I take all of those factors into consideration and decide that I can drive that whole mile safely without a seatbelt, why shouldn't I be allowed to take that low risk drive without worrying about a ticket (which I assure you, there is a far greater risk of a ticket than of a car accident in which seatbelts could make a difference)?
Apparently as a society, we don't mind being told what to do because we allow it to keep happening. But I am tired of it. The Nanny State may not even be working. I want to be the one to decide if I want to go to Restaurant A that is all non-smoking, or Restaurant B which has a large smoking area, but killer junk food.