Ah, the power of the mass media.
No sooner had I taped not broadcast, mind you, just taped my latest installment of “Common Sense,” than the gears started going into motion.
Somebody at the studio must have phoned Montgomery County, Maryland, and said, “Hey, Paul Jacob is against this! You’d better veto it if you know what’s good fer ya!” And that’s what County Executive Douglas Duncan did.
Although he had supported it before, Duncan promptly killed council legislation that would have turned Montgomery residents into prisoners.
Imagine it! Prohibited from smoking in the privacy of your own home, if some vindictive neighbor decides to go after you. The new law would have fined people $750 for each separate infraction.
Quite a steep tax for being politically incorrect. Next they’d be throwing you in jail for burning a hamburger in the kitchen. You know, that’s what they can do if you refuse to pay a fine: throw you in jail.
Oh, sure. The uproar over this particular piece of Puritanical paternalism was instantaneous and worldwide. On ABC’s “This Week,” George Will compared the Montgomery Council to the Taliban. John Stossel made it the focus of his “Give Me a Break” segment on “20/20.” The ACLU threatened to sue.
Even the Moscow Times weighed in. You know you’re in trouble when the Russians start wagging their fingers at you for going over the top. But I still give myself the sole credit for stopping the Montgomery home smoking ban in its tracks.
After all . . . This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.