Thursday, March 11, 2010


Sometimes you give closer attention to something you take for granted and you find yourself amazed. Or in this case, appalled.

The Eighteenth Amendment. Banning the importation, manufacture or sale of intoxicating liquors.

Just think about it. They amended the effing federal Constitution to make people stop drinking.

Talk about moralistic statist intrusion and control. I guess it's more of an American tradition than I'd like to believe. I know that the Puritan impulse is strong in this country and it shows up in a myriad of ways. Nowadays among cool and groovy people who would never in a million years think of themselves as puritanical, just concerned about health and safety and the environment and the children.

Hey, good old Thomas Jefferson, friend of the French Revolution, wrote a law in Virginia that provided the punishment of castration for men who engaged in sodomy.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Apparently a very successful episode of cultural engineering, the 18th amendment resulted in greatly reduced per capita consumption of alcohol, and resulting family dysfunction, social dysfunction, car accidents, etc. This does not prove that the state ought to do such projects, but I guess we remember only the organized crime stories, the St Valentine's Day massacre, etc, and assume that the 18th amendment was a failure. Yet historia reveals a different reality, even though the amendment never escaped its "anti-joy" image in the press. ... The Nanny State, as you call it, begins with Plato, I guess. Difficult to prove that that state is unjust. Usually what results from libertarian arguments is only an artificial line between valid (rules for food and drugs; speed limits) and "going too far" (e.g. helmet laws for motorcyclists) state intervention. The rest is simply using examples of bad or silly state intervention to beat the state up in principle. Hobbes: the state in principle is "an intervention." We won't arrive at valid or just state intervention, including just limits, by discussions that simply urge limitedness for the state. Surgery too is only a necessity, but beating surgery up in principle and demanding limits doesn't constitute medical science for the right uses and techniques of surgery. IMHO

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