Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Right to a Good Smoke

Each Year the Chez Francois, a fine eating establishment in Vermillion, Ohio, hosts "The Spring Cigar Smoker." Roger, Danielle, Chris Burkett and I joined a few hundred friends for drinks, a great meal, much wine, and many cigars. The weather, the canal, and the atmosphere combined to make for a perfect evening. The conversation was good and full of serious humor, inspired by this wisdom from George Burns on their menu: "Happiness? A good cigar, a good meal and a good woman --or a bad woman; it depends on how much happiness you can handle." Here is the fully articulated statement (found on the back of the menu) that the event stands for:

The Chez Cigar Club


When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of a good smoke. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new organization, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. We believe that in the right to smoke a Handmade Premium Cigar, sip Single Malt Scotch, enjoy a good Steak with a fine bottle of Red Wine, eat Foie Gras, have our French Fries cooked in trans fatty oils, to discharge firearms for recreational and or self defensive purposes, to invoke God’s name in the public sphere as an acknowledgement of our heritage, to defend our brothers and finally to honor America as the sole lynch pin holding Western civilization together! We support our Soldiers fighting terrorism throughout the world, our Police and Firefighters, Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Cigar Manufacturers, Square Groove Gold Irons, Citizens for a free Cuba, The Sopranos and Dancers for Democracy. We hold in esteem William Wilberforce, King Edward VII, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, George Patton, Winston Churchill, Sigmund Freud, JFK, George Burns, Peter Falk and Ronald Reagan.

"Gentlemen You May Smoke"

Discussions - 17 Comments

Sigmund Freud?!?!? I had no idea.

Chez Francois puts out fine and memorable meals. That restaurant is worth the drive to Vermillion.

I have no problem with the peaceful assembling of some cigar afficionados. You freely chose to partake of the pleasurable weed, and acknowledge its harms and charms to yourselves. All those in attendance consent to the public acknowledgement of your practice. I would say that the phrase 'Gentleman, you may smoke' to be the equivalent to "gentlemen, you may marry." Just as there is little threat to me in the public acknowledgement of gays marrying, so too in conservatives smoking. And just as gays should not have to forfeit benefits from the legal recognition of marriage, so smokers should not have to forfeit access to medical insurance.It is the Right of the People to institute new organization, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

And while we're basking in all things Americana, check out this article from The Nation. I watched one baseball game with a friend of mine who had pitched for his high school team and it completely changed my take on the sport. Interesting stuff.

latrec, there is no impact to society of cigar smokers smoking. There is, however, an impact on society with gay marriage.

Furthermore, as long as health insurance is a private matter, then what you say is true. If we go to a national health system, with rationed medical care and no recourse to private insurance, then we will see how for how long smokers will be free to smoke. Of course, we may also see for how long male homosexuals with their attendant health problems (AIDS, HIV and other expensive medical conditions) will be allowed to drain the health system with their unhygienic sexual practices.

Matt: Thanks for linking to Stillman's piece. Worth reading.

What a statement! It's made better by the colorful mix of saluted individuals and institutions. I'll be sure to attend next time I'm in Ohio.

Sounds like a good group, just don't let DHS find out ;)

Handmade premium cigars, single malt scotch, steaks, red wine, foie gras, French fries - these things are rights now?

And here I thought it was conservatives who were so reluctant to contribute to an ever-expanding list of rights. And here I'd heard it was liberals who are politicizing all aspects of everyday life. Can one appreciate steak and wine if they aren't all gung-ho with the notion of "America as the sole lynch pin holding Western civilization together" (No to the "unhygienic" gays! Yes to torture! A votre sante!)?

Did this CCC group (hmmm... no relation to the Conservative Citizens Councils, by chance?) even exist a few years back, when conservative hatred of all things French (to the depths of "Freedom Fries" and Jonah Goldberg's "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" - remember?) was en vogue? Chez Francois, foie gras, and French wine, after all... I'm not even sure the hatred has fully subsided, as future Ashbrook guest Sean Hannity got his panties in a twist the other day after Obama ordered a burger with Dijon mustard. (Imagine if he'd ordered foie gras!)

"We support...The Sopranos" (??)

Craig, don't be such a buzzkill, popinjay! What a lovely establishment to join some friends for a night out enjoying the finer things in life. So, please, have two drinks at least while you sulk in the corner alone.

Obviously Craig does not understand that the inclusion of foie gras has nothing to do with partaking of a food product originally produced by cheese eating surrender monkeys - and yes not only am I a flying monkey I still have that t-shirt! Ah this reminds of that brilliant scene in Flushed Away wherein the chief Hench frog voiced by Jean Reno tells his underfrogs to attack our heroes and they all run away screaming. He is forced to remind them that he meant the second definition of attack… Anyway, the inclusion of foie gras has to do with the attempt by liberal do gooders to get rid of foie gras from our restaurants as it is a cruel and inhumane practice. Fortunately a small hot dog shop in Chicago took a stand and stopped this asinine practice. I hope that clears this up.

latrec, there is no impact to society of cigar smokers smoking. There is, however, an impact on society with gay marriage.

You are just wrong. Cigar smokers lessen productivity and increase health care costs across the board. The science of second hand smoke is well-established, so the social costs to children or passive smokers is enormous. The premature deaths of smokers needlessly cost us years of productive valuable life and social connections with families and children. Cigar smokers do not live to be grandparents, or very healthy grandparents. Doesn't that extract a huge social cost? And health costs related to HIV and lack of hygeine are as related to heterosexual behaviors. Marraige between gays would surely cut down on the diseases borne of promiscuity, just as it does between straights. So my analogy holds between both groups. Let each group practice the forms of orality they see fit. (sorry about that...).

Craig, you give the blogger too much credit: He stole the line from a simpson's episode. Your comment about rights is interesting though, rights are about not having someone force you to do or not do something. The right to things is the stuff of suckers who would exchange liberty for security, and deserve neither.

Brutus - Which blogger stole what line from a Simpson's episode??

Surrender monkies is from the simpsons and you credited it to Goldberg.

Abe Lincoln probably doesn't belong in that list. I don't think he smoked. But he may well have raised and sold tobacco, so maybe he qualifies on that count.

latrec, I am sorry not to have been able to respond sooner. You came to argue and I let you down. I apologize. Here you go:

Smokers can choose to smoke or not; surely they are still free to do that. Evidence that I have seen about second-smoking's effect is that it is much ado about not much. I grew up in a very smoky home as did much of my generation and it still mostly only smokers who get cancer from smoke. I don't smoke and have no personal interest in the matter, but see no reason or right for me to impose my preferences on others.

In the same way, I do not require homosexuals to accept my preferences as their own. They can do what they like, even remain faithful to one another. However, a marriage is the joining of two unlike things. That we must say "same-sex" marriage means we are talking about something distinctly different. There are plenty of other places for you to read for depth on this matter. Here is a good article. Allowing same-sex marriage would not cut down on all of the maladies that I know of that homosexuals are prone to. Not engaging in homosexual acts would and those folks remaining faithful would limit the spread of some of those diseases.

Marriage as an expression of morality is really only useful if the will to morality is in the participants. The institution without the morality is a hollow thing, easily broken.

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