Zing!

This why I like the Agitator

Former Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes got it right when he said, “Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.”


The Holmes quote is popular with the anti-smoking crowd. But it’s not quite accurate. The Ban the Ban folks always responded to it by saying that given that patronizing smoking bars is strictly voluntary, the proper analogy would be for you to run full speed into my closed fist, then complain when you walk away with a bloody nose.

Frankly, even that is probably giving them too much credit. Given the science on secondhand smoke, you’d have to run into my fist several dozen times per day for about 30 years before you’d even begin to see the first signs of a bloody nose. But of course, as soon as one person out of several thousand did get a bloody nose, you’d start agitating for laws calling for the arrest and imprisonment of people who stand around with close fists, lest some anti-smoking activist accidentally bump into one.

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