Bunker Mulligan "Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." ~Mark Twain

November 27, 2004

The Failure of Government

Filed under: Government,Society-Culture — Bunker @ 5:27 pm

There are far too many restaurants these days which don’t have enough seating. It pains me and causes me a great deal of mental anguish any time I go out for a meal and must wait until some inconsiderate slob decides he’s through sitting at the table impressing his party with words of wisdom. The time has come for action, but I’m not sure which route to take to eliminate this danger to mental health.

On one hand, it would be a huge improvement if restaurants simply expanded and installed more seating. The other option would be to restrict the time any group would be allowed to occupy a table. I think, perhaps, this second option is easier to implement.

What is a restaurant for, anyway? Their purpose is to serve food to hungry people. Anything other than that is beyond their mandate, and should be severely restricted by law. After all, not only is the mental health of those required to wait at risk, but their physical health as well at places without an indoor waiting area large enough to accomodate the overflow. Most folks don’t carry an umbrella to restaurants.

And people are just too stupid to deal with this on their own. I can’t even guess at the number of folks I see standing outside waiting for a table at restaurants all over town on Friday and Saturday nights. The government must get involved.

This is the attitude of people who want government to ban smoking in places like bars and restaurants. There is a movement here in my city for this very thing, and Lady Debby sees the same thing in Maine.

What right does a government have to interfere with a private business operation? The standard reply is that workers must endure second-hand smoke. So, “workplace safety” trumps all. No discussion allowed on whether those workers have any employment options.

Basically, there are two groups who advocate such restrictions: Those who think all smoking must be banned, and those who don’t want to smell smoke during a meal. The second group want to eat at their favorite places, but won’t use economic clout to change things. If you like a restaurant but they allow smoking, don’t go there. And tell the owner why you will never return. His attitude would soon change when his profits drop.

But, what if nobody else cares? What if I’m the only one to ever complain? And I really like their sushi! There isn’t any better here in town. I’d have to deprive myself of something I really like! Far better to deprive someone else.

I’ve smoked cigars for many years, but I don’t smoke indoors. It’s rude. So is using the government to force someone else to do your bidding.

You have choices. Make them yourself and don’t expect government to make them for you. You might not like the ones they make.


  1. Well just for the sake or argument….

    Government already mandates all sorts of things for the general health, welfare and morale of the majority. Things that could ostensibly be laid off on the private sector. Such as mandating certain security procedures at private airline passenger gates, proscribing mininum ages at which private liquor stores can sell their wares or telling private doctors which drugs require prescriptions. And frankly, profit motive being what it is, I’m glad the government does regulate some of these things.

    My gripe in restaurants is not second hand smoke as much as it is my $18.98 steak tasting like Marlboros.

    Comment by Wallace-Midland, Texas — November 27, 2004 @ 8:58 pm

  2. I too smoke cigars, have done so for probably 20 years. But I don’t smoke them at home (I’m married), or in public eating places. However if I go out to the “Salty Dawg Saloon” to enjoy an evening with friends and the whole house is enjoying tobacco, I see no such restriction. I think it’s a matter of being personally responsible for one’s own behavior and accepting that not everyone enjoys my cigars. So be it, but let’s keep the government out of it. Restaurant owners are quite capable of operating their places of business to suit the clientele. Let them set the rules, not the government.

    Comment by john — November 28, 2004 @ 10:58 am

  3. Wallace, as (almost) always, I agree. I don’t frequent restaurants that allow smoking for the very reason you mention. I wish others would avoid them rather than ask the gubmint to force a business owner to do what they want. Those folks are free to open their own smoke-free restaurant.

    Comment by Bunker — November 28, 2004 @ 12:51 pm

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