Moral Control

When the individual is relieved of the obligation of self-respect, he acquires the habits of helplessness; he is inclined to retreat to the security of the prenatal state. The more he is taken care of the more he wants care. – Frank Chodorov in 1954.

The letter below was published in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on April 15, 2004.


Whereas, the Board of Commissioners of Gwinnett County is authorized to adopt ordinances or regulations for the governing and policing of the County for the purpose of protecting and preserving the……morals of the citizens of the County.

Minus four words, this is the first paragraph of the new smoking ban that went into effect April Fools Day 2004. I’ve lived in Gwinnett County about 20 years and do not recall being told or asked to surrender my moral responsibility.

I asked the Commissioner’s office for the source of said authorization. According to their law department, county authority comes from the state constitution.

The 81 page state constitution does not contain the words ‘protecting,’ ‘preserving,’ or ‘morals.’ I couldn’t find anything in the Georgia constitution that implied the right to govern or delegate individual moral responsibility. We do know the state confiscated privately owned poker machines. Was this an effort to improve our morality; or just the enforcement of the state’s gambling monopoly?

Who gave Gwinnett County Commissioners permission to pass judgment on me? Who but God and my conscience can say what I may or may not do with my body, life, time or private property? I never delegated this authority to another man or woman! Who are the Gwinnett business owners that forcefully make patrons inhale second hand smoke? Surely the Commissioners should be able to find one or two such scoundrels! I know of a Peachtree Street pool hall that advertises and profits from the fact that it is always smoke free.

The state and county are the least qualified to pass moral judgment. It is—THEY—who use force or the threat of force to legally steal private property. Please recall how Gwinnett Commissioners used coercive condemnation law to force private property owners to hand over property when they didn’t want to sell. The names Deshong and Smith should ring a bell.

The Smith brothers lost their Freeman Lake property off Beaver Ruin Road when Gwinnett took over the property, ‘fixed’ it, and then sold it for $100,000 more than the cost of repairs. The Smith brothers appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and didn’t get a nickel.

These are the same people who rationalize legal theft pretending

Thou shalt not steal

applies to somebody else. I totally reject their claim to God-like authority.