From the Post-Dispatch article about Clayton’s imminent smoking ban:
Alderman Judy Goodman, among others, said that public health was the main issue in support of the ban. “Continuing to allow smoking in Clayton seems incompatible with our priorities and our duty to protect the health and safety of this community,” Goodman said.
In other words, allowing consumers to make choices goes against Clayton officials’ mission of protecting everyone’s health.
Protecting health doesn’t seem like a bad priority; it’s a goal that many people, both in and out of government, share. But we need to ask: Is it right for a municipality to work towards a goal like this, trampling personal freedoms on the way? Imagine when Clayton makes progress, and all public businesses meet officials’ ideal standards of health. Will they next bring their regulations into private homes, in the name of a sacred priority?
If we write off liberties for something uncontroversial like health, those freedoms won’t be there to protect us if someday officials adopt less-appealing priorities.