Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Between Helmets and Smokers, Cognitive Dissonance Is Not Jerry Brown's Problem

If consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, then Californians should all breathe a sigh of relief that their governor is decidedly hobgoblin-free. At least, that's what we've figured out by watching Jerry Brown's behavior today. On one hand, the governor sounded downright sensible when he vetoed Sen. Leland Yee's SB 105. This law would have slapped a $25 fee on the parents or guardians of minors who failed to wear helmets while skiing or snowboarding. He based his veto on concerns about the "continuing and seemingly inexorable transfer of authority from parents to the state." Quoth the Governor: "Not every human problem deserves a law." Amen, brother. When we read this, we were almost tempted to think that Brown had finally grasped the connection between California's excessive regulation and its moribund economy. Alas, contradictions are not things that bother the Moonbeam. Later in the day, he signed Alex Padilla's SB 332 into law. This bill will give landlords clear legal authority to ban smoking in any portion of apartment complexes they own. As we wrote when Padilla first introduced this bill back in May, such a law would be unnecessary in a world where private property was respected. Unfortunately, California is not part of any such world, and people like Brown are decidedly less worried about the transfer of authority over property rights from individuals to the state. So, apparently second-hand smoke is one of those human problems that does deserve a law.

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