Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Prohibition Returns!

Reason Magazine's cover story this month is about the new prohibitionary movement gaining momentum across the US. They lead off with a story about a woman who was pulled over in DC after having a single glass of wine. Her BAC was .03, or less than half of the level of intoxication. She was arrested and ordered to attend a 12 week alcohol counseling course. When she refused, her license was suspended. Then the tale of a man in Pennsylvania who had his license taken after he told his doctor that he drank a six pack of beer a day. "State law requires doctors to report any of a patient's physical or mental impairments if the doctors think it could compromise his ability to drive safely" He had no convictions, his work attendance record was good, he had exhibited no history of anti-social behavior except drinking. From the article:

Neoprohibitionists aim to muddle the distinction between drunk diving and driving after drinking any amount of alcohol. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) endorsed the idea at a Senate Environment and Public Committee hearing way back in 1997, contending that we "may wind up in this country going to zero tolerance, period." Former MADD President Katherine Prescott concurred, in a letter to the Chicago Tribune, where she stated "there is no safe blood alcohol, and for that reason responsible drinking means no drinking and driving."

I highly recommend reading the whole thing, especially the part about police in Fairfax county VA asking a woman in a restaurant who had just finished dinner and was enjoying her first drink to come outside and take a sobriety test.

I can only stress that as our government takes over our decision making process and becomes responsible for more of our lives, they will only continue to become more meddlesome. Already people justify these kinds of actions by saying that "we" pay for the hospital bills of people injured in accidents, so "we" have a responsibility help prevent drunk driving. As the state assumes new duties, it will use them to justify new powers.


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