The National Post wants us all to be free! Free, at least, to smoke in our gathering places. The daily paper recently called for the trashing of all those anti-smoking bylaws which forbid or restrict smoking in bars and restaurants across the land.
Smoking may be “noxious and obnoxious,” the paper notes, but there is not much scientific proof that second-hand smoke is harmful – and not enough proof, the paper argues, to justify interfering in private establishments like bars and restaurants. The Post calls smoking bans a “confiscation of private property” and declares that the state must have more compelling reasons to infringe on the rights of bar and restaurant owners.
Funny, that’s not what the Post said when 19 gay men were turned into criminals for getting it on at the Bijou cinema two years ago. Where were the clarion calls for justice from the Post then? Certainly two men having sex in a porn cinema poses less harm to other patrons than someone breathing smoke all over you and your pink-lunged baby.
Instead, the Post gave us a series of stories – many of them written by columnist Christie Blatchford – in which the aggrieved parties became the poor, oppressed cops who were somehow damaged when police brass attempted to have the charges dropped. I’m not kidding. The Post also reduced the issue to infantile whining that went something like this. Gay people get to have sex in a bar! Straight people don’t get to have sex in a bar! Waa waa waa! That’s not fair so let’s make sure noone has any sex!
If the charges had involved heterosexual activity, we might have been treated to one of Christie’s vaklempt stories about her father’s army buddies. I dunno, maybe a story about how they used to have sex with the local gals when they weren’t defending Canada, and how they were decent blokes who just wanted to enjoy the company of women and why can’t we just let guys be guys?
Well, Christie, sometimes when guys are just being guys they fuck each other up the ass. And you’re absolutely right – we should lay off them and mind our own business.
Regardless, it would have been nice – not to mention consistent – to read something along the lines of the smoking editorial, an appeal to the larger issues. Like, why are we charging men for having sex in private places – sex clubs, no less! – in this day and age?!
Instead, we got the usual fuel for the paranoid fantasy that gay people are somehow being awarded special rights and privileges that decent, plain ol’ straight folk are too darn busy being good citizens to know anything about.
And why is it, anyway, that conservatives always want to deregulate activities where people might do serious harm to each other, and they always want to over-regulate simple issues of personal choice and freedom?
They think it’s fine that you can’t have sex with another consenting adult in a porn cinema, but heaven forbid you should have to register that deadly firearm.
For neo-cons, bad regulation hinders things like, say, the accumulation of pretty much all the wealth and power in the world by mere handfuls of people. Or it tramples the rights of corporations to destroy the planet or override the decisions of democratically elected governments.
And good regulation makes sure it’s illegal for you to decide to take a hit of E or go out and get laid.
David Walberg is Editor-in-chief for Xtra.