Prohibition made me smoke

Cafe Saint-Ex, a popular D.C. bar, has recently taken up the fight against that most pernicious of negative externalities that has been plaguing our watering holes and sickening those of us who don’t partake in the noxious activity. I’m referring, of course, to popped collars.

It’s a moot point now, but the D.C. smoking ban has been a hot issue on the Vandy blogs lately (Zhubin, Joel, David, and I debate it here, here, and here). To the public health fascists in the group, I would like to point out that Saint-Ex instituted its ban on popped collars voluntarily, without pressure from the government. The city-wide popped collar prohibition that so many have called for is clearly unnecessary. The market speaks, norms evolve, and both the tools and the non-collar poppers find establishments that serve their preferences. I take this as irrefutable empirical proof that I was right about the smoking ban and demand a groveling concession from Zhubin within the day.

Unwholesome activities IThose of you who know me well know I’ve never smoked a cigarette and would probably find it comical to see me do so. If you weren’t at Reason‘s happy hour at Mackey’s Wednesday night, you missed your chance. As our merry group of libertarians gathered for drinks and conversation, I thought wistfully of how this would be one of the last times we could all get together without the smokers in the group having to excuse themselves to step outside by order of the nanny statists on the City Council. That made me mad. So mad that I walked up to my friend Eric and, to his great surprise, requested a cigarette and something to make fire with. I then proceeded to cross one more item off the list of unwholesome activities I’ve never experienced:

Sticking it to the man

I can’t say smoking did much for me. This protest cigarette was definitely my first and my last. One negative side effect I noticed immediately: within moments of lighting up, think tankers were approaching to “borrow” a cigarette of their own. These guys clearly don’t get paid enough. Positive side effect: Increased attractiveness and popularity, as shown by Nikki’s willingness to be photographed in public with me:

I was not this cool 30 seconds ago

Note that Nikki could have been standing next to libertarian rockstar Randy Barnett, who was also in attendance. Conclusion: smoking makes you cooler than Randy Barnett.


10 thoughts on “Prohibition made me smoke”

  1. Word on the street is that the smoking ban was reduced to a tax break for business that prohibit smoking. Your bad-but-not-worst-case scenario might be coming to fruition.

    And I flatly refuse to apologize for my support for a popped collar ban. Sure, ONE bar now prohibits them, but what of the hundreds of others that do nothing to stop secondhand exposure to popped collars? The damage to our public health and public fashion – and to the children – is far too great to trust to the limited abilities of market forces.

  2. Now now, Sarah, I’m sure Jacob like me only smokes when he drinks. Jacob, I’m proud of you for seizing the day. Kudos, I say. Kudos.

    I still disagree with the smoking ban.

  3. Sarah’s vote carries the day. No more smoking Jacob.

    David, Randy Barnett is a law professor who’s also a very active libertarian. He has authored several books on legal theory and the Constitution, argued the Raich case before the Supreme Court, and wrote an amicus brief in Lawrence v. Texas. You may have also seen him as a blogger at Volokh Conspiracy.

  4. I was reading the list and trying to figure out what the “Reason stall” was. I finally realized it said “staff.” My life is a little clearer right now.

    As for smoking in order to defy the smoking ban….it reminds me of someone’s description of suicide as telling God: “you can’t fire me! I quit!” Not sure if that fits at all, but I was reminded of it. My brain is weird.

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