It wasn’t that long ago that Fairfax County, Va., was a Republican stronghold.

It’s a county strongly associated with America’s founding. George Washington lived there, George Mason lived there.

In the 18th century, the principal crop was tobacco, and it was the main form of monetary exchange.

But with the vast increase of overpaid federal government employees in recent years, Fairfax County’s very character has changed. It voted for Barack Obama in 2012.

And with those cultural and political changes, Fairfax County has more in common with San Francisco than most of the rest of Virginia.

How bad have things gotten?

The Board of Supervisors in this county are currently debating an idea that would be, as far as I can tell, a nanny-state program that would be a first for the nation. Not even Montgomery County, Md., or San Francisco have considered such an idea.

What is it?

There is currently a proposal on the table there to mandate smoking-cessation classes for anyone who works for the county.

Yes, you heard me right: If approved, the country would force anyone working for Fairfax County to attend smoking-cessation classes.

The rationalization for this program is, of course, health. Actually, the justification for the supervisors’ involvement is “health costs.”

This is the mindset of the busybody politicians who, more and more, are dominating the landscape of America.

Everything is their business – except, of course, responsible, limited government and the protection of individual liberty.

Keep in mind, there would be no Virginia without tobacco. And, no matter what you personally might think about smoking, isn’t it up to the individual as to whether they indulge in the habit or not? Isn’t that the kind of society America’s founders sought to foster?

This debate goes way beyond the phony “second-hand smoke” risks formerly put forward by meddlers to try to stop everyone from smoking. Now local government actually thinks it has the power to mandate that you take classes if you smoke by yourself, away from others, in your car or home or outside, away from others.

There is also debate about banning smoking in county parks – at any time regardless of whether others are annoyed by your habit.

Not only do these people have too much time on their hands, they just don’t understand freedom. These are not the kind of people we should ever elect to any government position – not even dogcatcher.

Worse yet, ideas like this spread like viruses.

By the way, what brought up this subject in Fairfax County? It came up during the county’s overall review of the employee health-care plan that has to be adjusted to meet new requirements under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – better known as Obamacare – that takes effect in 2014.

Now, if memory serves, Obama himself smokes.

There’s not a doubt in my mind that he even smokes in parts of his current living quarters, known as the White House.

Just try doing that in any other government building in Washington.

You know where ideas like this lead.

Once county workers are forced to endure these intrusive, time-consuming classes, the supervisors will up the ante. Then anyone who smokes in the county will be forced to take classes. My guess is, if you scratched hard and deep enough, you’d probably find that someone on the county Board of Supervisors has a relative or friend who specializes in offering such classes. That’s usually the way these ideas come up.

In the old days, these were called kickbacks. But you can do anything in the name of “health” these days without arousing suspicion.

The lesson here couldn’t be clearer: The more Washington spending increases, the more Washington is surrounded by constituencies who have a vested interest to spend more and expand government’s power – local, state and national.

That’s why it is so important to stop Washington’s borrowing and spending binge. If Republicans are ever going to have a chance of reclaiming the executive branch, recapturing the Senate and holding on to the House past 2015, they need to start this process now.

You can jump-start that process quickly and inefficiently and inexpensively by participating in the “No More Red Ink” campaign right now.

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