Friday, September 29, 2006

Prohibition is alive and well.

The same flawed logic that brought about prohibition remains all too evident today. Despite the fact this is a free country, governments federal, state and local continue to pass laws to attempt to protect us from ourselves.

Alcohol Laws: Though the total ban on alcohol failed miserably they have continued to peel away on the edges. The current federally mandated drinking age of 21 has succeeded only in criminalizing activities that most 18-21 year olds will do one way or the other. I find some of the continued riot and party issues around the Ohio State Campus as a direct result of this. In the 70’s and 80’s drinking was done in the dorms, fraternities and bars. In that environment there was some supervision of Resident Advisors, Fraternity officers and alumni and bar employees. Now they all gravitate to apartments where there is no supervision, large numbers in small places and things get out of hand. The higher drinking age hasn’t stopped drinking by that age group, it just moved it.

Drunk Driving laws: Drunk driving is a dangerous activity that should be punished and punished hard. But continued lowering of the legal alcohol level once again dilutes the effectiveness of the law, making criminals out of people that are clearly not drunk. While true drunk driving violators continue to be repeat offenders and nothing seems to be done.

Smoking: Local governments have taken it upon themselves to ban smoking in businesses. It should be up to the business owner to decide what their customers want. Many businesses are now gone since the Columbus smoking ban went into effect. Remember all the Damon’s? The few that remain are in suburbs without smoking bans. I am opposed to the Smoke Free Ohio Issue and for Smoke Less Ohio's proposal.

The Scott Company in Marysville is now informing all employees that currently smoke, that they must quit before Sunday or be fired.

Smoke and lose your job, well at least you won't lose your kids,,,,errr hold up, Dispatch reports today some judges accross the country are using smoking as a factor in custody battles.

Gambling: Why is it illegal at all? In fact is it? With loopholes for charities and scratch cards and 50/50 drawings and riverboats across the border and horse racing, its not illegal its just restricted for reasons unknown to me. Like any vice some will over indulge, but they are adults it’s their problem, should all be denied a recreational activity because someone might misuse it? Issue 3 is a joke in how its being presented as being and education bill, but unfortunately that is the only way the “protect us from ourselves” crowd will ever let it happen. Dump all the charity bull reasons and just make gambling legal.

What’s next: The food police? Why as a matter of fact yes. The city of New York has banned foods prepared with trans fats, goodbye Krispy Kremes, French Fries etc. This is outrageous, what will they come after next, my soda, pizza? You feel safe as you eat your bagel do you? Don’t get too attached to that creme cheese.

Enough is enough, the government does not belong in any of these things, and I will continue to vote against any issue that tries to restrict the free choices of Americans. Prohibition didn't work then, it won't now no matter what they try to ban.

Well I must go, smoke, drink my coke, and have a little chocolate donut and a beer on the way to the Riverboat Casino.


Anonymous Jill said...

(note this comment ended up on the wrong post so I moved it to avoid confusion)

Jill said...
Joe - I appreciate your work in the blogosphere and assume you know that my comment is not personal in any way, shape or form.

But, you know, in case I haven't said it enough over on my blog (Bla bla bla , I know), these things you cite? They aren't necessarily about protecting people from themselves. And even people who think that these things are all about protecting people from themselves know that there is good in some of them.

Do you wear a seatbelt? Do you tell children to wear helmets or other protective gear?

I don't know who said it but I know there's a saying that just because your parents tell you so, doesn't mean it isn't right.

There is more than just this one aspect of leaving people alone.

8:46 AM

11:06 AM  
Blogger Joe R said...


I would never take it as personal. Especially since from what I read of your blog, (and I read it a lot) we agree way more often then we disagree. Which is good as I wouldn't want to try to figure out if I was the redundant one or not. (chuckles)

As far as wearing a seatbelt, yes I do, by my choice, though I still dispute whether it should be a law or not. Especially in a state that doesn't require helmets on motorcycles.

As far as the helmets and protective gear for kids, I in fact believe that is over done as well. I mean I have seen kids on big wheels with knee pads and helmets. We can't protect them from every possible bump and bruise in life. However this is slightly different, as we are now not talking about an adult making a personal decision for themselves we are talking about making a decision for a child.

Regardless from what I see in the polls Issue 3 has little or no chance in passing, and both smoking bans right now appear that they will pass. Now how they reconcile which one we go by I haven't a clue.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Jill said...

I do agree that the line that divides overanxious protectiveness (and violative at times) and common sense (which, I'm sure you've witnessed, isn't possessed by as many people as it needs to be) moves all the time, depending on the issue and the location and the people involved. BUt I have to wonder if that's just part of the imperfection in the world and the fact that we live in a big picture, not just our little corner that never affects anyone else.

11:45 AM  
Blogger Jason Sonenshein said...

Joe, I agree with nearly everything you say here. did you hear about the latest outrage? On Friday, Congress sneaked provisions into a port security bill that will force your bank to monitor your transactions, and keep you from transferring money to internet wagering sites overseas. It's great to know that your bank is there to babysit you on the government's behalf, isn't it?

One thing, though, about Smoke Free Ohio and Smoke Less Ohio: I don't like either proposal either, but, if they both pass, the less draconian Smoke Less Ohio would supersede Smoke Free Ohio. The only poll I've seen shows that Smoke Free Ohio has a lead. (Admittedly it's the Dispatch's mail-in poll, whose methodology I don't trust.) If Smoke free Ohio continues to lead in the polls, I'll vote for Smoke Less Ohio to keep Smoke Free Ohio from becoming law.

7:21 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

Ok - now you guys are going to think I'm nuts, but that thing about the port bill Jason mentioned? I would never support something like that. I do believe that if something is in fact legal, I'm not going to create rules like that to keep people from doing that kind of thing, based on my opinion about the value of the endeavor. So - for example, Las Vegas exists. People want to go there - I'm not going to support laws that make it harder for people to go there if they in fact want to lose their life there.

I'm only saying that as an Ohio citizen, I cannot and will not support making it easier for people to lose their life.

I know that might seem like a ridiculously thin line to draw, but I've always drawn it that way. Why? Because, as I've said before, law does a lousy job of affecting behavior in any meaningful way. I'm simply not going to support anything that I see as enabling debilitating behaviors. But I would never support increased obstacles or liberty violations a la what Jason mentions re: overseas transfers of money. Dumb as I find all that to be, I would never suggest that its the government's job to monitor or deter that.

I will say that I'm conflicted a bit only to the extent that little ripples add to a big wave pushing society down the toilet and at what point do we, as a society, decide that we all need to use our votes to help clean up our country.

But I'm still recovering from fasting and can't wrap myself around that right now.

Lucky you!

9:51 AM  

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