Rand Paul: Like MLK, but different

Rand Paul thinks he’s a lot like Martin Luther King. He also is against government telling restaurants to ban smoking – Paul thinks non-smokers can simply “choose” to visit other restaurants (and bars).

This is the problem with Libertarians, but also conservatives (well, any political philosophy, really). The philosophy sounds nice in principle, but in practice it often doesn’t work. As a non-smoker, with allergies, and now asthma because of my allergies, my “choice” was always between joining my group of friends at a particular bar or restaurant, or staying home alone. I wasn’t about to tell 20 people, many of whom I barely knew, that instead of going to a bar tonight (since every single bar was smokey back in the day), maybe we could stay home and play Parcheesi instead. That’s not much of a choice.

And what about the choice of the restaurant and bar staff? Could they choose to work in another less smoky restaurant and bar? No, all bars and restaurants were smokey. So maybe they could just work in a different field, since folks who wait tables usually have lots of career options

Then there are offices. I was in Greece for a conference a few years back, and my entire days were spent in smoke-filled rooms. No joke, half the people at any given time in any given office were chain-smoking. Then I spent my nights in restaurants filled with half the patrons chain-smoking. I guess Rand Paul would tell me I had a choice to simply never go to Greece again, the country my entire family is from. Uh huh.

That’s a Hobson’s Choice. And it’s not a real choice at all.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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