The Nanny State, Part 3, But…
So here we go with the libertarianism again. The way I understand it, being a libertarian means that my rights end where yours begin and vice versa. Nothing I do should harm you and the same in return. So this is one place where the nanny state seems to be a good idea, especially when it comes down to protecting those who can’t protect themselves, as in this case, one person’s rights are going too far and affecting someone else.
The Providence Journal reports that State Senator Susan Sosnowski has sponsored a bill that will fine motorists for smoking in a car with children young enough to be in a restrained seat. The law would make this a secondary offense, meaning police may not pull the driver over just for smoking in the car with a child present.
I’ve long thought that when I see people smoking in the car with small children, it’s a form of child abuse. You can often see the blue fog filling the car, and sometimes the car will have more than one smoker adding to the haze. Of course in the winter, the windows are rolled up and the the children are sitting back there breathing in that second hand smoke.
I imagine people may comment “Oh great, what’s next, outlawing chocolate cake too? You’re going to stop me from having dessert next?” No, that’s not it at all. You can do whatever you want to your own body, if you’re an adult. Eat yourself into oblivion. I wish you wouldn’t, for your own sake, but that’s your choice. However when your choices affect children, it’s people’s responsibility to do something about it.
I’m not sure a $25 fine for a secondary offense will be enough to stop people from “exercising their rights,” but it’s a good start, a good first step. I support Senator Sosnowski’s efforts here and I hope this does get passed into RI law.