When Means and Ends Conflict

January 21, 2005 at 5:48pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Omaha Senator Pat Bourne wants to overrule local anti-smoking ordinances with a single statewide ordinance. Now I’m experiencing an ends/means conflict. I support the ends (property and business owner rights) of Bourne’s bill, but I hate the means (usurping local control). I support the means (local voters decide) of Lincoln’s anti-smoking ordinance, but I hate the ends (squashing property and business owner rights).

But I’m not going to be wishy-washy and try to have it both ways. I’ll be a good boy and pick my side. I do not support Bourne’s bill. Bypassing local democratic processes—even wrongheaded ones—is not something Nebraska ought to be doing. More importantly, the bill’s evil goes beyond overthrowing Lincoln’s democratic decision. Bourne wants to pre-emptively halt similar democratic activity in Omaha, where an anti-smoking ordinance similar to Lincoln’s will probably be enacted within the next few years. That’s no different than Nebraska’s voters bypassing Omaha voters’ democratic rights by booting Ernie Chambers out of office via the term limits initiative.

And so I come out on the side of Lincoln’s anti-rights na… No, no, I’m not going to say it. Let me rephrase: I come out on the side of Lincoln’s anti-smoking advocates. We are an unlikely alliance, but when you have principles to uphold, sometimes you find yourself among odd company.

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