There was a little item that caused a ripple on Twitter this morning.
The cause was an item announcing a "PA system to stop smoking at Hywel Dda hospitals".
Now I happen to think this is a rather nasty, narrow minded case of public funding to encourage nagging and hectoring by the public against their fellow citizens. I also think the use of children to broadcast their little messages is particularly nauseous.
However, the snippet that caught my eye was "Everyone has the right to breathe fresh air".
This is a line that is used widely and frequently by anti-smokers but what exactly does it mean? It's a nice little sound bite I grant, but what exactly does it claim?
They claim they have a "right" to fresh air, but are they only going to exercise that "right" over smokers and vapers? Or are they going to stop all motor vehicles in the neighbourhood as well? After all, the combustion engine produces vastly greater quantities of non-clean air than a smoker or vaper? Are they entitled under their claim to rights to object to farts and other body odours? I can only assume that "fresh air" is air that can be contaminated with anything except cigarette smoke?
Where does this "right" originate? What are the "rights"? I suppose you can argue that I have a right to life and the basic essentials such as food, water and air, but if they are my right, why do I have to pay for food and [theoretically] water? I don't think the local grocer would be too happy if I wandered into his shop, helped myself to a load of basics and demanded them for nothing because they are my right?
If we are talking about rights as defined by the individual, then I consider I have a right to be left alone to enjoy legal pursuits that harm no one. I have a right to live life as I see fit and not be hectored by others who disapprove of my lifestyle. I have a right to peace and quiet and not have nagging messages aimed specifically at me from loudspeakers. I have a right to be treated equally and not as some form of underclass.
I have a right to tell that hospital to go fuck themselves.