Thursday, May 12, 2005

For Your OWN Good...
What would you say if your employer came to you and presented you with the following proposition: as a term of employment I get to tell you how to live your life after working hours.

I know what I would say, and it has a whole string of four letter words attached to it.

There's a CEO out there, and I don't care what company he runs or where it's located, etc., these facts are not germaine to the argument, who has instituted a policy whereby if you smoke, you will lose your job. The policy makes no distinction between smoking in or around the workplace or whether said smoking takes place during or after working hours. Smokers will be terminated, period. This CEO defends his policy by throwing up a bromide that smokers cost the company more to ensure and that cost is passed on to non-smoking employees and that if the company cts it's healthcare costs, it benefits stockholders. On a strictly logical basis, the man might have a point.

But we live in a constitutional republic and logic doesn't often apply. People have the right to engage in behavior which does no harm to society and which has not been deemed illegal.

Spare me the arguments about second-hand smoke. All the "studies" of the effects of second hand smoke are rigged to begin with, having been slanted by a political or social agenda way before the first subjects were ever tested.

However, smoking (and Christianity too) are the last acceptible targets for social scorn. This is extortion -- do as I say or else something bad will happen. In this case, you'll lose you job.

Yes, we know that smoking contributes to heart disease and that heart disease is the biggest killer in the country. However, no is putting guns to people's head and forcing them to smoke, it's a choice they make. The CEO does not go after the obese, who tend to die from heart disease and siabetes, too. He does not make an effort to regulate the behavior of people who skydive, bungee jump or ride motorcycles. If he tried to do that, every court in the land would be lining up to defend personal rights. The smoker is a legitimate target.

However, let's trun the tables a bit and choose a politically correct target: let's say, for example, that an employee was a homosexual. According to some experts, homosexuality is a lifestyle choice, too. Homosexuals, of course, are prime candidates for AIDS, which is every bit as fatal (eventually) as a heart attack. If you can demand that employees not engage in a legal behavior because of it's health risks, then you have to apply the policy equally across the board. No hang gliding, no cliffdiving, no smoking, no anal penetration of memebers of the same sex.

If this CEO were to make that kind of pronouncement, I guarentee he'd be pilloried in the public square.

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