Government Controlled Smells

Libertarians have a basic rule that your rights end where mine begin and vice versa.  That basic rule can be applied to government actions to determine if government is taking away your rights or protecting them from someone else.

For instance, if a person where to sit in their own home a smoke marijuana, they are doing nothing to harm anyone else around them so if government steps in and arrests them it is overstepping its bounds since this is what most people refer to as a victimless crime.

If a person on the other hand kicks in the door of their neighbor and beats them and takes their money, there is a person being directly harmed.

That brings us to the video found HERE.

In the video a city official is giving a homeowner a hard time because the smoke and smells from his cookout are leaving into his neighbors yard.

It doesn't say if the government official was called in by a neighbor or if they saw smoke as they were driving down the road.  If it's the later and no neighbors were bothered then this would be a clear cut case of government overstepping where it shouldn't but let's assume for sake of discussion that a neighbor did call in this case.

Because a cookout is something most people would consider a pleasant smell, the first question is whether the particular odor matters.  For instance, from the parking lot where I work I can sometimes catch a smell in the air of one of two things.  Some days I come out and smell the beer from the Merrimack Budweiser plant.  I consider that smell to be one of the most pleasant smells in the world.  Other days when I leave I can smell the local crematorium burning.  Smelling dead bodies burning is horrible to be kind.  So does the type of smell matter?

Second question that comes to mind is whether or not this is a normal expected smell of life.  People eat food, so on a nice summer day most families will cook and eat outside.  That's an expected smell.  Someone who chooses to pile gym socks outside in their yard however is not an expected smell.  And if it isn't expected as part of normal life, was it there when you moved in?  For instance, someone moving in next door to a pig farm should expect to smell pigs where as someone in the city shouldn't.

Last question is whether or not it can be controlled.  If you paint your house for instance, others may not like the smell of the paint but you can't be expected to contain a paint smell if you paint outside.

Over all I see very few cases where odor in the outdoors should be a concern for government intervention but I also don't think it's as cut and dry as some people would think.

Sound off below and let me know what you think.