To the editor:
If a black man and white man choose to freely associate together in a restaurant whose owner agrees to serve them both, the state may not rightly forbid this. Those three men have an inalienable right to voluntary association on privately owned property.
However, if a smoker and non-smoker choose to freely associate together in a Lawrence restaurant whose owner is willing to serve them both, we are now told that the state may suspend those same rights of free association and impose controls on how privately owned property may be used.
Although Jim Crow laws were rightly abolished as a violation of individual rights, their basic premise has been resurrected by the Lawrence City Commission's smoking ban. Both types of legislation seek to prevent consenting adults from voluntarily associating together (whether based on race or smoking preference), and both attempt to obfuscate their fascist controls of private property by relabeling all businesses "public property."
To suspend the rights of voluntary association on private property in this manner is to uphold the most monstrously evil political premise in all of world history. It is to claim that each individual's sovereign mind and judgment may be superseded by the will of the state or collective and that any peaceful, voluntary assemblage of individuals on private property that it does not endorse may be prevented ultimately through the initiation of physical force.
God save us all if the full implications of such a totalitarian premise were ever carried to its logical conclusion.