Liberty's last stance by Paulo Ferrada

The debate whether smoking in public buildings or public areas should be totally prohibited, is the last and final battle for the freedom of the individual.

Since man’s humble beginnings as hunters and gatherers, there has been the tension between the group and the individual. These tribal groups served a purpose, namely to protect the group members against the dangers that lurked all around. Life outside the tribes, in this hostile world of savage beasts and even more savage fellow humans, was very hard.

But there were individuals who refused the protection of a tribe. This was possible. No one could force them to join a tribe, and if some ambitious tribal potentate wanted to extend his powers to them, they could just walk away. Thus, the globe was populated by humans who were born in freedom. With development to an agricultural society came larger groups with control over a greater section of the human population. It was not possible to walk away anymore. These groups eventually developed into what we now know as states. The world was now populated by states and humans were no longer born in freedom.

Coping with this sad conclusion has taken its toll on humanity. Every man, woman or child has dealt with this endlessly, either consciously or unconsciously. From this transcendental frustration emerge all problems of the world. Armed conflicts, social inequality, poverty and intolerance have all their genesis in the fact that mankind has lost its freedom to the group. One could say that all individual psychological problems, including tobacco dependency, are the direct result of this deeply felt frustration. The same phenomenon that has thrown humanity into the bottomless despair of life after freedom, wants to ban the only relief to its very existence, and cut its victims off from their last experience of personal freedom: smoking.

The debate about whether smoking in public places should be totally prohibited cannot be answered with anything other than a clear and simple “No!”.

The main argument that is used to defend banning smoking in public buildings and even sidewalks in some cities, is that smoking can be hazardous to one’s health. This is as hypocritical as Pilate himself. The restrictions on liberty are far more hazardous to one’s health than cigarettes ever can be. It is the anguish of the post freedom life that kills.

Banning smokers from public buildings or public areas means that the last breath of the human soul will make its final journey into oblivion. We cannot let that happen. Some things are up to the individual to decide and are not to be curtailed by others, whichever positive objective these restriction may serve. The prohibition of smoking in public places is a first step on a road, that humanity will not have the chance to regret.

And by the way, I don’t smoke.

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