There is a distinctive feature that differentiates Americans from most of the world. That being any citizen has the right to purchase property. Over the years this precious right has come under assault through asinine building codes, incomprehensible taxes and government on every level telling the owners what they may or may not do with their property. Most of it is common sense and meant to protect our peers. An example is you can't bury hazardous waste in your back yard. However, every once in a while a possible code comes along that is nothing more than intrusion. In this case it is the statewide smoking ban. A feel-good law that will do more damage to property owners of businesses and their ability to conduct such business.

Take a moment to think of all the places you can't smoke right now. Can you smoke in a church? Schools? Hospitals? Grocery stores? Banks? Retail places such as a book store, or movie theater, or your place of employment? Can you smoke on any property owned by the city, county, state or federal government? The answer is no. So this would mostly include restaurants and taverns that are privately owned by small business owners. The Libertarian Party of Kansas sees this as intrusion on private business owners by the state government.

The ban is meant for people who choose not to smoke to enter into all places of business which will be smoke free as mandated by the state. The state will impose its will upon private citizens on private property. The rights of people who voluntarily enter a place of business, and do not want to be around smoke, will supercede rights of business owners. We would find it absurd to have people enter our private residence and dictate what color the paint should be or what literature we should have. It is equally as absurd to have the state dictate the same format to private business owners. If people enter a place of business on their volition then they certainly can leave on their own volition. If a business owner notices a decline of business due to their smoking policies then they can change it. It is people, and their wallets, that decide the success or failures of a business based on the consumer's decisions and not what the state dictates.

The Libertarian Party of Kansas is in agreement the sole responsibility of the government is to provide, promote and protect individual liberty and free commerce. The ban will do nothing more than hinder the promotion of free enterprise in places of business that traditionally includes smoking, such as taverns. The ban will close these small businesses, there would be unemployment and less tax revenue generated. This would not include the devastating and personal effects upon the business owner themselves. In short, this ban goes against everything the American dream stands for. The Libertarian Party of Kansas fully supports and will work to have this unnecessary and intrusive ban defeated to ensure it does not go into effect.

ANDREW P. GRAY,

Topeka

Gray is chairman of the Libertarian Party of Kansas.