William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

The Dismal Removing Freedoms Saves Money Argument

President Obama signs government control of health care into law

Here is an example of an argument which you will hear with increasing frequency. A month or so ago on the Fox News Special Report panel the participants were discussing the right to smoke. Juan Williams, the token leftist on the show, agreed that of course people had the right to smoke, but perhaps that right could be curtailed by the state because of matters of cost. Smokers in general have more health care costs, and soon, after Obamacare fully kicks in, the government will assume those costs. Thus, in order to “save money”, smoking rights could be abridged or eliminated by the state.

Two quick things. Some of us (me, for instance) will be able to say “I told you so” each time this argument is voiced, since we warned that it would oft be used if Obamacare was adopted. This will afford us many victories, but they will each be bitter. The second curiosity is to note, yet again, the Left’s obsession with money. All moral and ethical truth is ultimately grounded on cash. How tedious.

We have already heard several versions of this argument—for which I have not discovered a satisfactory name: how about Removing Freedoms Saves Money (RFSM) argument?—from Mayor Mike Bloomberg who dictatorially proscribed the sale of soda pop over an arbitrary size in New York City. He also outright banned saturated fats in restaurants. He now has his puritanical eye on salt. Each time he wielded government to remove a freedom, he touted the benefits to the bottom line.

There are countless “progressives” who dislike fat people and want to control what and how all people eat; skinny as well as fat, because if the skinny are left to their own devices, they might turn fat. Progs invariably bemoan the “costs” of being fat. Just wait until these costs are paid for out of your taxes. Will you find yourself nodding in agreement when some fool says disallowing this or that foodstuff will make a better, less expensive, life for all? I suppose we can be grateful that Twinkies were shut down before we were treated to the spectacle of somebody calling for its banning.

This kind of thing is already plenty common in England, where the state has controlled health care for decades. Take the comments of ex-politician Geoffrey Clark who a couple of weeks ago suggested unborn babies not meeting his standard of perfection be killed because imperfect lives cost more money. He didn’t just mean that fliers touting the convenience of life without burdensome babies should be passed out the NHS clinics. He said the state should “Consider compulsory abortion when the foetus is detected as having Downs, spina bifida or similar syndrome which, if it is born, will render the child a burden on the state as well as on the family.” He also mused that those pushing 80 should be made to go to euthanasia counseling. Costs really pile up for the elderly.

Well, these honest, straightforward comments—particularly his use of the Herod-like word “compulsory”—got him fired from his party. It didn’t take long for the now routine “I sincerely apologise for any offence” for his “badly expressed views” to appear. No apology for being a raving lunatic, or for cherishing eugenics; just a tear or two for having been caught putting it too bluntly.

What makes this interesting to us is that his apology is nothing more than an extended RFSM argument: “The Government’s tax revenues are rarely enough to fulfil its generous spending promises so every year Britain runs a large budget deficit.” (Site here; but see it soon because he claims he will soon take it down.)

The lovely thing about the RFSM is that it is without limit. Every citizen costs money to those states which have taken over health care. From the moment a citizen is conceived, prematurely killed in the womb, or manages to escape into the wild, money must be spent on him. That means any activity at all could be subject to the RFSM, for every activity is at least tangentially related to health.

It should be obvious the RFSM has a corollary which is the Mandating Activities to Save Money (MASM) argument, which says those activities meeting favor with statists will be made compulsory.

If you think not, let’s play Stump the Host. Propose an activity, rare or common, and I will show you how a progressive will either cast aspersions on it with a mind towards removing the freedom to engage in that activity, or how the progressive will not only tout the activity as beneficial, but will angle his argument towards making the activity mandatory.

42 Comments

  1. Jonathan Andrews

    26 December 2012 at 5:57 am

    I suggest that you make this case too black and white. Smokers do impose costs on society. In the UK, with a socialised healthcare system this would mean that my tax bill (as a non smoker) would be higher than it should be. In fairness, taxes on tobacco in the UK are probably excessive and they probably subsidise the rest of us. Smokers’ right have been curtained in the UK and smoking in enclosed public places is not permitted. Obviously this curtails smokers’ freedoms but smokers before the ban really spoiled pubs (which along with cricket are the best gift to the world of the nation) for others.

    By the way, no-one had heard of the ex-politician until he made those daft remarks. There are plenty of nutters on left or right on both sides of the Atlantic we could use to support an argument but they don’t move us forward much.

    I agree with your sentiment that some are very keen to use this argument that curtailing some freedoms reduces costs. I agree that this is not generally the case but I think sometimes it is and the argument should not be so lightly dismissed.

  2. Jonathan Andrews – There’s an argument that has been made by a number of different people over the years, that smoking saves health-care money since the smoker, by dying early, uses less health care than if he had lived longer. Also it saves other government costs, such as Social Security benefits, government pensions, disability payments, etc. Here’s an example of part of the argument:

    cutting-smoking-rates-will-save-lives-it-wont-save-money

  3. In response to the challenge: Bowling.

  4. “my tax bill…higher than it should be”

    This is an excellent point. And I’m sure it could be immediately extended to all of the people in the UK who are drawing housing allowances, etc! What a revelation!

  5. let’s play Stump the Host. Propose an activity, rare or common, and I will show you how a progressive will either cast aspersions on it with a mind towards removing the freedom to engage in that activity, or how the progressive will not only tout the activity as beneficial, but will angle his argument towards making the activity mandatory.

    You give the parasites … ush, progressives .. too many options for wiggling out. I propose “government spending” as the activity. If expense is the ultimate argument then impetus toward spending must be restricted. No fair reframing by claiming it’s a beneficial or mandatory activity. Keep to the ‘saving money’ meme and shun switching the pea to another thimble.

  6. The only solution is to stop government coverage of costs. Make everyone pay for their own health care or let insurance companies cover but allow people to choose the company. If smoker’s cost more, so will their insurance. People buy into the “saving money” idea without considering the option that taxes and government need not be involved at all. There will be arguments about rich receiving better care, but every health care and other system deals with limits in its own way. England leans toward fewer participants, free market limits by cost. At least in free market, you can work and change your level of service–you can’t be 20 again.

  7. The way the system is set up now everyone pays a little bit for everyone else (with some everyones taking a bigger slice of the pie than others) then the case can be made that non-smokers pay disproportionately for the smokers therefore non-smokers can make demands on the behavior of smokers. But, how did we get into this muddle where healthcare is a community commodity? Can smokers say, “let me out of this system, and let me smoke and pay for my own healthcare without state interference?”

    While smoking has been banned in a variety of environments in NYC (offices, parks, restaurants) the new frontier is to ban smoking in apartment buildings in pursuit of health: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/mike_plan_to_butt_in_odSfy97JxXaPQlUFaYc0sK.

    In a clever use of doublespeak, a spokesman noted: “The city is not banning smoking in private residences; as part of this federal grant, organizations can apply to fund projects that, among other things, educate the community on voluntary smoke-free housing policies.”

    I’ve always thought that if the automobile were a modern invention that it would be outlawed almost immediately.

  8. Sander van der Wal

    26 December 2012 at 12:45 pm

    In theory the amount of taxes paid will be less if people are not allowed to smoke, so costs related to smoking-induced illnesses will not be spent.

    In practive though, the tax level will not change was there is always something else to spend tax money on.

    How about letting the people who make money from selling tobacco bear all smoking-related costs? The people who grow tobacco, the people cutting it, drying it, turning it into cigarettes and roll-your-owns, the people carving pipes, the people asking money for running cigarette ads. And the people levying sales tax, income tax and whatnot on the profits?

  9. “my tax bill…higher than it should be”

    A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
    Chapter 1 – Marley’s Ghost

    [on being asked for a Christmas donation to a charity for the poor and destitute]

    “I wish to be left alone,” said Scrooge. “Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned: they cost enough: and those who are badly off must go there.”

    “Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”

    “If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Besides — excuse me — I don’t know that.”

  10. Ye Olde Statistician

    26 December 2012 at 1:34 pm

    1. Stamp collecting.
    2. Sodomy.
    3. Sports, participation in (http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=6886)

  11. Inevitable I suppose. There was a time when Americans valued independence, privacy and self-sufficiency. No longer. Likely the fault of my generation and perhaps others for over-coddling the little ones.

    This is evidenced in the “It’s for the children!” and “Think of the children!” mantras. Also evidenced by the over-coverage of recent events in CT. A tragedy yes but if 83 kids were killed at school by a tornado (something likely more preventable), I doubt it would get 24/7 coverage let alone two weeks of Dr. Phil interviewing the parents.

    So, now the coddled ones have risen to power. It’s not surprising they see being coddled as a natural state of affairs.

    Sander van der Wal : How about letting the people who make money from selling tobacco bear all smoking-related costs?

    Tried once and actually succeeded: The Great Tobacco Suit. The supposed reasoning behind it was the increase in health costs incurred by the states caused by tobacco. One of the states took the money and invested it in tobacco. All we got out of it was the precedent for banning Big Gulps ans transfats..

  12. I have a copy of the Surgeon Generals 1967 report on smoking and health that plainly shows that moderate smokers have lower mortality and disease rates than non-smokers. You will not find this report on the Surgeon General website because it’s politically incorrect. And of course, if you go the the National Cancer Institute website they admit they have spent 40 years and billions of taxpayer dollars trying to find a cause of cancer and they haven’t succeeded,
    Go here. http://training.seer.cancer.gov/disease/war/

  13. The calculus:

    Suppose Alice is a not smoker and Bob is a smoker. The are both currently 60 years old and mostly healthy.

    Because Bob smokes he is destined to die at age 70, and Alice is destined to die at 90.

    How much will it cost to treat Bob for his smoking related diseases?
    How much will it cost to treat Alice for any ailment she may have between ages 70 and 90?

    The state is going to pay for both Bob and Alice’s end of life care in both cases.

    I have a tough time seeing that Alice is any less taxing than Bob.

    Maybe we should subsidise cigarettes as a means to save money.

  14. Ray,

    Following your link I see…

    “Lung and prostate cancer are the top cancer killers for men in the United States. Lung and breast cancer are the top cancer killers for women in the United States.”

    I thought that heart disease was the top killer of both genders.

  15. Living in a country where health care is entirely run by government, you get treated no matter what your life choices are.

    If you smoke and get cancer you get treated.
    If your 400 lbs and require a gastric bypass you will get it.
    If you like extreme sports and you often require surgery after accident you will get it.

    No matter how rich or how poor you are,you will be treated. And not only when extreme measures need to be taking to save your life. And yet our health cost is about half than what it cost in the US.

    Who does include the smoking in their premium if not the health care insurance industries, who before Obama care could decide of a maximum amount of health care they would give to someone. They could refuse to insure anyone they consider to risky to insure.

    Yes, there are leftist that propose idiotic things, just like the right and foxnews makes many idiotic proposal, yet this proposal are the fringe and not main stream.

  16. Walking for pleasure.

  17. intrepid_wanders

    26 December 2012 at 4:31 pm

    “Obviously this curtails smokers’ freedoms but smokers before the ban really spoiled pubs…”

    I have always wondered why, with so many that felt this way before the blanket regulation, there were virtually zero pubs that decided to go “non-smoking”. You would think there would be a smoking pub and a non-smoking pub in every downtown area as the free market would demand.

  18. intrepid_wanders,

    “You would think there would be a smoking pub and a non-smoking pub in every downtown area as the free market would demand.”

    If the regulations in the UK that cover establishments that serve alcohol are anything like they are in the US, it would be very difficult to open new pubs.

    It’s likely that the heavy smokers were also the heaviest drinkers. If this is in fact the case, then any pub that went smoke free before the ban would be cutting itself off from it’s most profitable customers and would not be able to survive.

    I don’t have a cite handy, but if I recall correctly exactly this type of argument has been used by bar owners to oppose smoking bans in the US.

  19. Briggs

    26 December 2012 at 6:38 pm

    All,

    Not to shirk his duties, but your host got called away on a job. Answers to scenarios delayed by (guessing) 24 hours.

  20. Kissing.
    I know, too easy.

  21. Intrepid,

    It is interesting that so few places were smoke-free before the government clamped down. One would think that if a person had the only smoke free bar in town, the anti-smokers would flock there, and be enough business to compensate for the business lost because the smokers wouldn’t come. Some restaurants had no-smoking sections before they were forced to create them, or forced to ban smoking altogether. But most did not go voluntarily and restaurants and bars fought smoking bans pretty hard.

    If the state said that Marijuana was legal and could be smoked in public, I have a suspicion that many bars would have a no MJ smoking policy. It is one thing to never permit such behavior and another to turn against it after it was once acceptable.

    Movie theaters went smoke-free voluntarily well before any regulation.

    Northwest Airline was smoke free before the Government mandated it for all airlines.

  22. DougM,

    Why so many places weren’t smoke free before?

    You needed only one smoker in a group of people for everyone to get into the smoking business. Many people didn’t like it but they didn’t to be alone, so they join. Not a lot of non-smoker complained back then, but didn’t like it.

    Now that work places, and business ar smoke free you don’t see an non-smoker complaining agaist that either. But I see a lot of people complaining now when people do smoke inside.

    When my brother, who smokes, visits us only the smells is disgusting, even if he doesn’t smoke inside the house. We can tell he came visit hours after he left.

  23. Sylvain Allard You needed only one smoker in a group of people for everyone to get into the smoking business. Many people didn’t like it but they didn’t to be alone, so they join.

    Yeah? So as Doug asked, why weren’t there any smoke-free bars? If what you say were true, they’d have a waiting line to get in and the others would have taken a hard look at their policies. Instead, they had to be forced to support a minority of customers. Were I live, most of the patrons can be found standing around outside where they can smoke.

  24. Sylvain Allard,

    Dav is correct. The reason bars were so thickly filled with smoke prior to the smoking bans is because the vast majority of their customers smoked, not because one or two were smoking that heavily and no one dared complain.

  25. The unhappy trend in government control of people’s behaviors is direct result of the desire by the leaders to prove that they are not just elected officials but are on path to be viewed as rulers. By selection of a rule that this or that behavior adds to the cost of government programs such health care, becomes justification of the officials desire to rule people rather than represent them. It is important to remember that their rules often are disingenuous. For example, tobacco as a product is legal, but where it is used in not legal because of secondary smoke effects on non-smokers affecting their health. Yet it is legal, all be it expensive, to use tobacco because the smoker reaps the full benefit of maximum destruction of their health. Why? Because the tobacco industry provides tax dollars which are prorated on the cost of the product and the tax benefits everyone under the jurisdiction of the government. So the government lets people destroy themselves by using tobacco because of moral imperative to save money for the government to spend in other ways that benefit the population.
    The desire of elected officials to rule people can only be achieved by taking away a freedom. Laws, regulations, presidential executive orders are freedom killers. They are made to address a large scale problem such as obesity in young people by eliminating a perceived cause of obesity often without scientific merit rather than address root causes of overeating, lack of exercise, insufficient parental control, and lack of information or concern about the issue. A really current issue that highlights how removal of a freedom set out in the constitution is control of gun ownership. By making the possession of a special type of weapon illegal will save lives from deranged killers such a Lanza or Spengler. In Spengler’s case he was felon and it was illegal fro him to possess any firearm. That law was not enforced. The elimination of one type of gun, say assault rifles, would just reduce the choice of fire arm to be used by a demented person. However, if all guns are banned, the killer would have to switch methods of killing people such wearing and detonating bombs. Instead of killing 20 kindergarten and first grade children in 1 minute with a Uzi revolver it would take 2 minutes with a forty-five pistol. The folly of the ban is not that the cause is just but the approach won’t work and in a few years another madman will kill a bunch of innocent people to act out some mental derangement.
    Banning video games, movies, and TV programs that depict murder and violence in response to some perceived frustration is another RFSM. People are not compelled to watch the movies and TV programs or play the violent video games. Locking people up because they might become violent is another RFSM.
    To reduce cost to governments would require that the video depiction of murder and violence be completely eliminated. The only sure way to prevent any unstable person from killing at any time in the future is lock them up until they are cured, if ever.
    While there are many people on both sides of the issues of gun control, video violence, and mental health, there is really very little likelihood that any modest measures taken by the government by creating new laws and regulations will really make a difference. One problem is enforcement of the new regulations against the backdrop that existing laws are not enforced. However, when they pass the laws and regulations they are rulers not elected officials
    The terrible tragedy in Connecticut might have been prohibited or the scale reduced if the teachers had equivalent weapons to fight back with against the intruder. However, would arming teachers make them a target of attackers just because they are armed? What about innocent bystanders if here is gun battle between a teacher and a deranged person? Some attackers might be killed by a teacher before they have a chance to commit a murder themselves? Would the teachers be liable if it turns out that the person was looking for an easy suicide? Putting an armed guard in every school room isn’t really any different that arming the teacher in the last analysis. Would people really feel that kids in school are safer with a person with a gun in the room with their children?
    What can be done to keep children safe in school from an attack by deranged killer if any measures proposed to date are likely to fail? The principal at Sandy Hook had the only viable method in mind to protect the children, don’t let killers into to school while children are present. The only problem was the security system didn’t work as well as she had hoped. However, a security system can devised that would work a lot better. Rather than spend more money to ban more guns, censor more videos and games, and build more prisons to lock up potentially mentally unstable persons, why not put our best minds to work on security system that would make in improbable that any could enter a school without the system permission. The RFSM in this case is to reduce the freedom of the potential killer to murder innocent people by keeping them out and it seems to me that this approach is cheaper than giving every teacher a gun or a body guard. If some elected official came up with this idea I would say they are a real leader.

  26. DAV and Matts,

    Why were there more people in the bar after then before the smoke ban?

    It was the case here. It has also been the case for restaurants.

    The only place that smoke ban has reduced the crowd is at the bingo.

    Here in Québec we see the same phenomenon with language where anytime there is one person who speak english the group speaks english.

  27. Why were there more people in the bar after then before the smoke ban?

    Not true here. When the local county banned smoking inside, most of the patrons starting frequenting bars in the other counties. The ones under the smoking ban lost a lot of business. Even now, the patrons outside don’t buy as much since they aren’t allowed to consume alcohol in public. They have to come inside to drink. Nearly all of the social interaction is outside. Before the total ban, when there were smoking and non-smoking partitions, the non-smoking side had few if any occupants. None of the waitresses wanted to be assigned to the non-smoking side.

    Here in Québec we see the same phenomenon with language where anytime there is one person who speak english the group speaks english.

    Maybe that says something about English. But of course, it’s just an example of warmhearted extension of welcome. Québec citizens don’t like smoking but will do so to avoid offending others in the group, eh? Noblesse Oblige, etc.

  28. You can see here:

    Can’t say I’m very impressed by the link. Do you really think they’d admit a mistake? Couldn’t find a business group agreeing with the ban and thanking the gov’t for its marvelous foresight?

  29. Milton Hathaway

    27 December 2012 at 3:58 am

    To be honest, I find the whole discussion here depressing and, well, just plain useless. Useless because with ObamaCare being the law of the land in the US, the decisions that impact us all will be based on pure politics, the politics of whichever party happens to be in power. Whether conservatives know better or liberals know better doesn’t matter. Which side has the more persuasive arguments and scientific data doesn’t matter.

    Any experienced engineer will tell you that the first solution to a problem is never optimal, and is very rarely even satisfactory. With the US federal government, we get one chance to get it right, or better stated, least horribly wrong, then we are stuck with it. Political inertia, lobbyists, and Stare Decisis sets everything up in concrete.

    What’s missing at the Federal level is simple accountability. It doesn’t matter whether the Federal government gets it right or not; in fact, we’ll never even know, since we’ll never be allowed to try another way. The hidden costs may well be massive, but they shall remain hidden. Likewise missed opportunities.

    And we end up with the WD-1 system of health care. Some of the favored among us will even marvel at how well it works. Sad. Very, very sad.

    I’ve heard it said many times that the reason the US has (had?) outpaced the world in the relatively short time since it’s founding is “American Exceptionalism”. I’ve always felt that explanation was inadequate, and lately I’ve come to severely doubt it. No, I think the American Experience can more likely be attributed to our Constitution and a healthy does of luck in striking just the right balance between Federal power and States Rights. The Federal government should have the upper hand on matters that aren’t held to accountability standards, like the Bill of Rights; the States should have the upper hand in all other matters where accountability is required for successful government. But that balance has been so badly corrupted that I fear we may not be able to recover, closing the last chapter on this grand experiment.

    In an attempt to end on a more upbeat note, I’ll say that I have found some success recently in arguing politics with people I’ve previously found impenetrable, by simply abandoning all the ‘my way is better than your way’ arguments in favor of the accountability argument. It’s fairly easy to come up with numerous examples of how local government works better than state government which works better than the Federal government, and to personalize these examples to the pet peeves of the audience. And to point out that if your local government screws you over, it’s a lot easier to escape to the next town or county than to another country.

  30. My scenarios and the reasons I chose them.

    Reading in public libraries. Here where I live in Cheltenham a free public library was proposed in 1889 and vigorously opposed by the local breweries who claimed that the working class wouldn’t buy beer if they could stay at home reading.

    Sex between children under sixteen. A young lady of my acquaintance was in a “PSE” class when the teacher announced that it was now time for the students to start experimenting with sex. (He meant in private not in class). He then asked all who intended to do this to stand at one side of the room and those who didn’t to stand at the other. My friend was the only abstainer. She is just 14.

  31. Ray, re your 12/26 2:49 PM comment.

    I think I know the 1967 report you mention, and no matter how much I dislike and distrust the Surgeon General, the report was not suppressed (but it’s not easy to find unless you know exactly what to look for). If I’ve got the right document, it was created by the National Center for Health Statistics, so it’s not part of the SG canon. The title is “Cigarette Smoking and Health Characteristics” (publication series 10 # 34, May 1967).

    http://www.cdc.gov/search.do?q=site%3Awww.cdc.gov%2Fnchs%2Fdata+filetype%3Apdf+“Cigarette+Smoking+and+Health+Characteristics”&submit1=Search It’s the first item on the list.

    See Table A (report page 8, PDF page 14) which shows that (for this sample) people who smoked under 11 cigarettes a day had fewer chronic diseases than non-smokers.

    For anyone interested, there’s a critique by Sterling: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/jdn02a00 and a response by the author plus Sterling’s reply http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/gaj32f00

  32. Well, confusing moral arguments with economic arguments will always get you into trouble. Moral arguments should be dealt with moral counter-arguments and economic arguments should be dealt with economic counter-arguments.

    And so on.

    When people mix them up, people like Briggs freak out. Correctly I should add.

  33. DAV,

    Did you find any groups that disagreed with the ban if wide state or national, after it was implemented?

    Here the ban was state wide so no bar could benefit from a local ban from a city or county.

    The reason we switch to english is more to facilitate communication than by any good manner.

    Before the ban, people were very accomodating to smokers, but it is really not the case anymore. People who smoke where they shouldn’t are told to move by the non-smokers.

    In 2000, we had 30% smokers, in 2010, 20%, and less and less people die from cancer for several causes including the smoking ban.

  34. Sylvain Allard,

    What matters for a ban on smoking in bars is not the percentage of the overall population that smokes, but the percentage of bar patrons that smoke.

  35. There is a few comments from UK people not completely enamored with the British NHS system and its inefficiencies here –
    http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/?s=NHS&submit=Search

    I particularly like their “Non-job of the week” sections.

    Als there are quite a few people that wonder why they are paying for a $19billion computerized record keeping system that failed. (Answer – it’s too expensive to get out of the contract with all the suppliers)

  36. Sylvain Allard Here the ban was state wide so no bar could benefit from a local ban from a city or county.

    Are you being purposefully dense? The claim in your link is that restaurants and bars benefited by increased business. I asked if you cold find any business group(s) lauding the ban because it increased their bottom line.

    If so, why didn’t you link to it instead? If not, why not?

  37. DAV,

    You are unable to provide proof that business were hurt by the ban unless the ban was local and I should prove that their business increased.

    The proof that their business were not hurt is in how much sell taxes the governement was able to take in from this business sector. The amount in taxes have increase by up to 9%. Meaning that they sold more.

    An ancient employer, a chicken restaurant told me that if he had known how much people prefered to eat in smoke free restaurant, he would have ban smoking in his restaurant much earlier.

    They banned cigarette publicity in sports, what happend new sponsored arrived and competition continued. Ferrari receives about tens of millions in sponsorship alone for their Formula 1 program.

  38. You are unable to provide proof that business were hurt by the ban unless the ban was local and I should prove that their business increased.

    I’m telling you what I have personally observed in the establishments where I live. I didn’t publish it. If you don’t want to believe me — fine.

    OTOH, you supplied a link effectively claiming it true. The ball’s in your court. Self-evaluation reports are notoriously unreliable. In fact, it looks cherry-picked. You don’t have anything better? You must rely on the government’s word that it did no harm?

    Incidentally, you have slipped away from the original point about bars. Where I live bars are restaurants by definition. You have done the equivalent of refuting a statement about bicycles by using a car example. For shame.

  39. Stump-the-host activity: praying in school.

  40. You say “England”; but I think you meant to say “United Kingdom” which is composed of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

  41. @JH, you will fail. To stump the host, you must find an activity which can be assigned to NEITHER the “mandatory” NOR the “prohibited” column by a progressive bureaucrat. Prayer in school is, as much as possible, already placed in the “prohibited” column.

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