Upon starting my workday, I really shouldn’t be scanning beer blogs. Unfortunately, the disturbingly nocturnal Phil Cook seems to always post an excellent read just as I am about to begin something productive. Worse, this time it’s motivated me to bloggery with its libertarian-enraging opening paragraph talking about regulation and taxation. After the red mist cleared, and my higher brain functions returned to full (ahem) potency, one thought stuck in my head. The concept of alcohol causing violence, around which much of the latest round of moral finger-wagging and fun-policing seems to be based.
Now, while Phil doesn’t really mention the causes of all that regulation and taxation (and why should he? He’s talking about the context around a certain beer and its associated brandwank), it does seem to be taken as read that alcohol causes violent behavior. I mean, we’ve all heard reports of drunken idiots commiting various unsavoury acts, right? Most of us have probably witnessed this for ourselves. Naturally alcohol must be the cause. Best we tax the living bejeezus out of it to “fix” the problem! I mean, that’s always the right answer, isn’t it? Please Mr. Government, I am but a weak mortal. Please regulate others in order to save me from myself. After all, it’s their fault really…
Well, what if that’s backwards? Myself, my friends, and a ton of people I am acquainted with drink a fair amount on a regular basis. In the pursuit of flavour and social enjoyment, we often suffer the usual side effects. I’ve never seen any of these people become violent or act like idiots other than in harmless and usually lovable ways. Certainly nothing more than slightly irritating at worst. Where is the evidence that alcohol causes violent behaviour? Is it not far more likely that violent people use alcohol as an enabler or an excuse? If so, why do we punish the producers and sellers by taxing and regulating the crap out of the substance when the vast majority of those who consume it cause no trouble at all? Why should the violent intent of a few idiots impose regulations on the majority of us? More importantly, why do we all just seem to blindly accept this?
I think it’s about time we started telling the government and the useless brigade of fun police to just get their goddamn noses out of our business, our pockets, and our drinking habits. There are laws against violent and destructive behaviour already. Use them. Leave us alone.