I've often been amazed at how folks who seem to have an otherwise normal appreciation for freedom and liberty can be so quick to want anything they don't like made illegal. I suspect that some of this authoritarian facility is greased by a subtle semantic distinction. They don't want to throw smokers in jail, they just want smoking banned. See the difference? Somehow the idea of banning something is more palatable than making the same thing a crime. Case in point:
Banning is Tyranny
Banning is Tyranny
My brother in law and his wife are hippy types. Laid back and easygoing in most respects, they once told me they were on their way to a demonstration to ban convenience stores from displaying soft porn on shelves where kids could see them. Who wants kids looking at dirty pictures for free, right? But if you love liberty, you won't be so quick to ban anything but your own kids from going to the offending store. Why not let everyone else do as they please?
I asked my hep cat relatives why they were so tyrannical. They couldn't see it; they were just banning offensive behavior. I suppose if the demonstration organizer had instead said he wanted to see convenience store owners why wouldn't comply with a new law hit with stiff fines and jail time, maybe even put out of business, they would have reacted differently.
When an action or thing is banned, the implication is that it will just go away. Criminalization makes the would-be tyrant think of continuing offenses and a raft of institutions (cops, lawyers. judges, juries, jailers, parole boards, etc.) kept busy enforcing the new criminal law. Of course, this distinction is almost entirely illusory, based only on a real but archaic semantic difference.
Looking into the etymology of the verb 'to ban' reveals that it originally was a proclamation or pronouncement. Saying the word makes it so, almost like magic. Think of the 'banns' of marriage. Passing a law against the same action or thing has no such magic. From the Online Etymology Dictionary:
ban (v.) O.E. bannan "to summon, command, proclaim," from P.Gmc. *bannan "proclaim, command, forbid" (cf. O.H.G. bannan "to command or forbid under threat of punishment," Ger. bannen "banish, expel, curse"), originally "to speak publicly," from PIE base *bha- "to speak" (cf. O.Ir. bann "law," Armenian ban "word;" see fame). [Emphasis mine]If you want something banned, you only want it to go away. No muss no fuss, no bother; you are just doing good. On the other hand, if you say 'there oughta be a law' like the folks in the old comic strip, then you are a tyrant. Go figure.
Don't be suckered in by people and causes that say they want to ban this or ban that. Even if it is only un-mowed grass or 'unusual lawn ornaments' these folks want banned, they are nonetheless tyrants. If you love liberty and want to live free, don't tyrannize your neighbors. What goes around comes around.