No smoking in bars next summer?
A workgroup set by the Finnish ministry of Social Affairs and Health has issued a recommendation that all bars and restaurants are to be made completely non-smoking (unless you can provide a glass box in your restaurant for that purpose), possibly even next year.
Some people see this as health fascism, some people see this as necessary, some people are saying that this will kill the restaurant industry, and some point out that that has not happened in other countries who have issued similar legislation. In thinking my own position I've found it useful to imagine if the situation was reversed: if smoking was a new fad, all the bars were by default non-smoking (and nobody has ever smoked in them), and we knew all the dangers involved - would we allow smoking in the bars in the first place? And with what kind of arguments would we speak for and against?
I think we're having this discussion only because people are afraid of change, no matter whether it's for the better or for the worse. It's much the same (though obviously not all) as the opposition of downloadable music by record companies, or open source software by established software houses, or DRM and SW patents by the open source people. It's all changing the status quo, and that is what scares people. Which is also why the opposition likes to think of the worst possible scenario and present it as the inevitable truth: open source will die; millions will lose their jobs as proprietary software houses die; artists starve to death; half of the restaurants will go out of business; and countries will slide to fascism if people are not allowed to kill themselves in boring, smelly and slow ways.
The old serenity prayer says:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
The entire media is filled with stories of people "who just wouldn't accept the inevitable", or "went against impossible odds", or "didn't conform". They are all praises of individualism and freedom, and we like to call those people "heroes". But we only talk about the ones that succeed - the ones that go against the tide and fail we call "stupid".
I wish I had the wisdom to know the difference.
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|"Main_blogentry_220605_1" last changed on 22-Jun-2005 12:17:56 EEST by JanneJalkanen.