By: Brett MacDonald
Dear Governor Baker:
When I was in high school, at 18 in fact, I had the good fortune to meet your son AJ. I was dating a friend of his at the time and bumped into him at a … social gathering of sorts. It was a gathering that, I assure you, included no underage drinking what-so-ever. Since underage drinking is illegal, naturally all those underage obey the law.
AJ was pretty cool by the way, other than my girlfriend at the time I knew no one there and he was kind enough to introduce me to the other guys. But I digress. . .
When I met your son, I was 18. I was old enough to vote, and vote I did. But I am not really here to talk about voting either–though it is a related matter.
I am actually here to talk about an action that I don’t personally partake in. I am here to talk about a freedom of choice afforded to adults in this country that certain lawmakers are trying to restrict.
I am here to talk about tobacco use and how state legislators are trying to stop other voting age adults from having the freedom to choose — to partake or not — in something widely agreed to be a vice.
And don’t worry, I won’t bother mentioning how ironic it is that these same adults are allowed to sign up for combat and die for this country — that they can choose to die with a heart of lead but not with lungs of tar. I won’t waste your time with that.
I just wanted to write you briefly and alert you to a very important concern. One that I think you will necessarily agree with, or otherwise reveal yourself to be a walking contradiction.
If you support legislation that says legal adults are not able to make a choice to purchase cigarettes — you are saying they are not intelligent enough to weigh the costs for themselves. You are taking a position of superiority, and perhaps you are of a superior intellect. You have certainly been doing a decent job thus far.
But that isn’t all you are saying if we take that to its logical conclusion, is it? There are some implicit assertions made that need to be examined. Observe:
When you restrict a group of adults from doing something that other adults are allowed to do, you are also necessarily saying that, while they are smart enough to vote, smart enough to deserve the political efficacy that elected you and others to office, they are also too dumb to have the right to control their own body. They are too dumb to make their own choices.
This is a contradiction.
And let me remind you that, “whenever a contradiction appears, one must check his premises.” If you check contradictory premises you will always find one to be false. Contradictions cannot exist or this world would truly be one of unintelligible chaos.
So, Mr. Governor, and, for good measure, Mayor Walsh:
If people are too ignorant to make decisions for themselves, how are they qualified to choose those that make decisions for the entire state?
The truth is, laws like these are a legislative enslavement. They are shackles placed on the politically marginalized, used on political resumes by those seeking to climb a political ladder, so that they may point back and say, ‘oh look how I have helped!’ during their political stump speech.
When this became a liberal or conservative principle, I know not. I know enough to say that lawmakers supporting this do so out of arrogance and selfishness and should be ashamed.
But this is Shameless America so I won’t hold my breath.
The truth is, this legislation won’t impact my life. I am 23 and don’t smoke. But the precedent is dangerous. After government ‘helps’ people here, in what other spheres will it seek to regulate and influence? Shall we embarrass our state with soda regulations like those proposed in New York City?
Let me remind you of this in closing:
Education is the way — and education has been working! Smoking rates have been on the decline. Force is not. Force is an option of last resort. Force is provocative and creates an atmosphere of taboo. It encourages those eager and rebellious teens to seek out what they are blocked from.
(I lied about the underage drinking, after all.)
Don’t resort to force.
A concerned Conservative resident of Danvers, MA