Sunday, September 02, 2007

Is Paris Smoking?

[posted by Callimachus]

France should be France. What's more, France should work at being France. I don't mind their collective snootiness about American culture one bit so long as they are actively and constructively building an alternative out of the same Western social and cultural inheritance. I think it's healthy and necessary in an era of inevitable hegemony.

Then we can compare and see which works better in which cases. It makes evolutionary sense to keep several active models running at once.

Which is why this, though probably inevitable in the EU, is depressing:

Not too long ago, public smoking bans were regarded as a uniquely American phenomenon — a puritanical gesture, held in ridicule by any self-respecting, Gauloise-puffing Frenchman. Over time, however, the public health burden of smoking-related illnesses has spurred a number of industrialized nations to follow the American example. When the initial steps of a public smoking ban took effect in Paris this February, French opinion polls reported that 70 percent of Parisians were in favor of the prohibition.

I don't use tobacco in any form. Never did, and generally can't stand the stink of it. But what might stink worse is the creeping nannyism of the "your pleasure creates a public health expense for everyone, therefore 'the majority,' meaning the interested bureaucracy, has the power to force you to knock it off."