Sometimes the proles need a firm hand

A remarkable, yet brief, editorial appears this morning in the Boston Globe newspaper. It can be considered an artifact that crystallizes the attitudes of the contemporary American ruling class toward those they consider their charges, a group in need of firm guidance. The title of the piece nearly says it all: "Boston should ban smoking in all public-housing units."

I am no tobacco shill. My mother succumbed to lung cancer a couple of months into collecting Social Security, at the age of 65, after an adulthood spent smoking Camels, an addiction she tried mightily to break, but could not. But people have a right to privacy -- it says so right in the Penumbra of the Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court in Roe v Wade. This right is so compelling that the life of a pre-born infant can be sacrificed in its furtherance.The Globe gives a nod toward these concerns before dismissing them:
"But while residents deserve to make their own health decisions, their actions shouldn't burden their neighbors with second-hand smoke and fuel a burgeoning asthma epidemic."
Suddenly, privacy must be subordinated to a statistical prediction of a health hazard from second hand smoke. Opening a window to ventilate the room while smoking apparently is an alternative option that deserves no consideration. The type of people who read and write for the Globe don't smoke, and they look down on people who do. They see those people as so helpless and in need of guidance from their social and educational superiors that firm measures must be used to control their self-destructive behaviors.

Of course, if the activity in question were something of which the Globe approves -- say, premarital or gay sex -- it would be decrying discrimination against public housing residents and demanding free distribution of condoms.

Is it any wonder that this approach drives away readers?

Hat tip: Peter Wilson
A remarkable, yet brief, editorial appears this morning in the Boston Globe newspaper. It can be considered an artifact that crystallizes the attitudes of the contemporary American ruling class toward those they consider their charges, a group in need of firm guidance. The title of the piece nearly says it all: "Boston should ban smoking in all public-housing units."

I am no tobacco shill. My mother succumbed to lung cancer a couple of months into collecting Social Security, at the age of 65, after an adulthood spent smoking Camels, an addiction she tried mightily to break, but could not. But people have a right to privacy -- it says so right in the Penumbra of the Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court in Roe v Wade. This right is so compelling that the life of a pre-born infant can be sacrificed in its furtherance.The Globe gives a nod toward these concerns before dismissing them:
"But while residents deserve to make their own health decisions, their actions shouldn't burden their neighbors with second-hand smoke and fuel a burgeoning asthma epidemic."
Suddenly, privacy must be subordinated to a statistical prediction of a health hazard from second hand smoke. Opening a window to ventilate the room while smoking apparently is an alternative option that deserves no consideration. The type of people who read and write for the Globe don't smoke, and they look down on people who do. They see those people as so helpless and in need of guidance from their social and educational superiors that firm measures must be used to control their self-destructive behaviors.

Of course, if the activity in question were something of which the Globe approves -- say, premarital or gay sex -- it would be decrying discrimination against public housing residents and demanding free distribution of condoms.

Is it any wonder that this approach drives away readers?

Hat tip: Peter Wilson

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