While visiting my home country, the Czech Republic, for a few weeks, I have noticed a very interesting issue because of what I have been forced to attend a very sharp debate for a several times.
There is a new law being passed in these days, the act which prohibits smoking in all restaurants, bars and clubs. The bill was already approved by the Chamber of Deputies, now it is waiting for its consideration it the Senate and then for the President’s sign. Many discussions have been raised and strong arguments being given from both sides. The smokers and the catering services owners feel to be discriminated, the non-smokers are usually pleased by the fact that their health is finally taken seriously.
But I do not want to consider the appropriateness of this particular bill. The fact that really surprised me is how many people, smokers or non-smokers, generally perceive it negatively as they feel it as a too strong restriction of their freedom.
As a law student, I definitely believe in the benefit influence of the law to our lives. The idea of society without any rules where human beings naturally act honestly to each other, is nice but at least very naïve. I am also convinced that every law has its negative and positive side. Someone is restricted in behalf of the other one and we have to consider well whose interest prevails.
Why even in the case of the law whose essential purpose is positive inherently – the people’s health – is it still so difficult to achieve the affirmative perception by the people?
Is the main problem the lack of confidence in the governments as we do not believe that the average people’s welfare is really the major interest? I necessarily have to take into account the historical aspects as well: people of the Czech Republic had been restricted for the dozens of years by The Communist regime. Is it rooted in our thoughts that every law regulating our life is evil? Or is it just our human nature that makes us uncomfortable with any rules which tries to bound us?