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For And Against Prohibition
Weekend Libertarian ^ | June 18, 2011 | B.P. Terpstra

Posted on 06/17/2011 6:17:48 PM PDT by AustralianConservative

I oppose Prohibition in my kitchen. But – there is often a but - I’m also against professional libertarians and drunks making stuff up. Were American Prohibitionists really complete failures? You see, when a questioner proposes a few laws to curb drug addiction, your hysterical libertarian will unthinkingly scream, “Prohibition failed!” Or cry like a baby.

Critical thinkers armed with primary sources, by way of contrast, beg to differ. And we’ve known this for decades: Prohibition was far more moderate and successful than what some libertarians imagine. It wasn’t pure socialism or pure lassie-faire romanticism. On the one hand, mainstream commercial manufactures and distributors shut shop. On the other hand, personal production and consumption was openly allowed.

The results were mixed. But it wasn’t a complete failure as made-for-HBO shows and libertarian propagandists would have you believe. In 1989, for example, Mark H. Moore, a professor of criminal justice at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government advanced an evidence-based position. In truth, “alcohol consumption declined dramatically during Prohibition. Cirrhosis death rates for men were 29.5 per 100,000 in 1911 and 10.7 in 1929. Admissions to state mental hospitals for alcoholic psychosis declined from 10.1 per 100,000 in 1919 to 4.7 in 1928.”

What’s more, Moore noted, arrests for public drunkenness “and disorderly conduct declined 50 percent between 1916 and 1922. For the population as a whole, the best estimates are that consumption of alcohol declined by 30 percent to 50 percent.”

A complete failure? As well, this idea that crime exploded is a fiction. There were no historically significant crime explosions, but in any case, criminal gangs existed before and after Prohibition. “The real lesson of Prohibition is that the society can, indeed, make a dent in the consumption of drugs through laws,” concluded Moore.

(Excerpt) Read more at weekendlibertarian.blogspot.com ...


TOPICS: Health/Medicine; History; Politics; Society
KEYWORDS: libertarianism; prohibition; propaganda; success
http://weekendlibertarian.blogspot.com/2011/06/for-and-against-prohibition.html
1 posted on 06/17/2011 6:17:52 PM PDT by AustralianConservative
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To: AustralianConservative
Cheers Mate!

As the heat builds today I'll pop a tube and ruminate on your theory!
2 posted on 06/17/2011 6:23:16 PM PDT by Tainan (Cogito Ergo Conservitus.)
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To: AustralianConservative
Whether prohibition succeeded or failed on a social plain is irrelevant.

It was against personal liberty.

Yes, criminal ganga existed before prohibition but prohibition gave them an extreme chance to proliferate into the everyday life of citizens.

If prohibition succeeded so well why was it repealed?

3 posted on 06/17/2011 6:24:57 PM PDT by Just another Joe (Warning: FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: AustralianConservative
Cirrhosis death rates for men were 29.5 per 100,000 in 1911 and 10.7 in 1929.

Even if these numbers are true (highly doubtful), do they justify government intervention in people's personal decisions? Prohibition was a disaster that lives with us to this day in the spider-web of laws that attempt to regulate what?

4 posted on 06/17/2011 6:27:27 PM PDT by BfloGuy (Money, like chocolate on a hot oven, was melting in the pockets of the people.)
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To: AustralianConservative

I have heard of these stats before and agree that Prohibition wasn’t the disaster it was portrayed to be. Today, however, the state’s apparatus has grown immensely from efforts to fight drugs and I’d rather see violent criminals only being put in prison. If and when this includes drug traffickers, so be it, but putting minor users in jail is a waste.


5 posted on 06/17/2011 6:28:46 PM PDT by Amberdawn
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To: AustralianConservative

My Lord G-d blessed/cursed me with free will at the moment of my birth. Who is The Government to take it away?


6 posted on 06/17/2011 6:29:26 PM PDT by Marie (Obama seems to think that Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel since Camp David, not King David)
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To: AustralianConservative

The problem with Prohibition was that the law was a) rather vague, b) gave the Federal Government the power to [arbitrarily] define “intoxicating liquors” [something most would think would be hard alcohol; yet the definition supplied by the federal government disallowed even beer], and c) was by its nature unenforceable.

C is perhaps the most disturbing in-nature, it is the method by which the government is stripping away our rights: turning Justice from something that is blind and treats everyone equal into something wicked and evil that is wholly dependent on the whims of the police/judge/prosecutor.


7 posted on 06/17/2011 6:29:59 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: AustralianConservative

Interesting and probably containing some truth. I know my Grandfather on my Dad’s side made a little beer for personal consumption.


8 posted on 06/17/2011 6:46:44 PM PDT by AEMILIUS PAULUS (It is a shame that when these people give a riot)
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To: AustralianConservative

Actually you lie about being against prohibition. You are for it as your article clearly shows. Prohibition was a total failure and led to huge criminality across America,just as the drug laws in effect do today. And, just like the drug laws today prohibition and the frenzy of law enforcement agencies to control it led to huge losses of freedom for the citizens of the USA.


9 posted on 06/17/2011 6:48:49 PM PDT by calex59
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To: Just another Joe
You said: "It was against personal liberty."

Response: Every law known to man restricts "personal liberty," and in that sense is "against personal liberty." In most instances Libertarianism means Libertine-ism. The isolated individual floating in the void with relation to any other person, place or thing. Solipsism comes to mind.

10 posted on 06/17/2011 6:54:41 PM PDT by AEMILIUS PAULUS (It is a shame that when these people give a riot)
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To: Just another Joe

Excellent!

I started thinking of all the reasons it failed when you post jolted me back from the brink of a pointless exercise.


11 posted on 06/17/2011 6:54:55 PM PDT by SJSAMPLE
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To: AEMILIUS PAULUS

“With” equals “Without”


12 posted on 06/17/2011 6:55:56 PM PDT by AEMILIUS PAULUS (It is a shame that when these people give a riot)
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To: Just another Joe

It was repealed because people like to drink and be drunk, a little or a lot. When we can vote to get what we want, regardless of the consequences on larger culture, we do. Self restraint in the individual is rare, in the broader society rarer still.


13 posted on 06/17/2011 7:25:54 PM PDT by reflecting (Calvinism: when physics is just too hard)
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To: Marie

Ours, in government, it is the collective will of the people. Who may say to you it is forbidden to engage in actions that damage all of us. Where and what those limits are is shifting sand.


14 posted on 06/17/2011 7:29:36 PM PDT by reflecting (Calvinism: when physics is just too hard)
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To: AustralianConservative

One bad law breeds disrespect for all. Prohibition turned a relatively law abiding nation into an utterly lawless one. Other more standards plummeted terribly during that time. We have still not recovered.

Drug Prohibition is doing the same, and worse, we have a far more corrupt government now, which uses it as an excuse for deprivation of civil rights. I am more afraid of the government than I am of drug users.

The Prohibition Party still soldiers on, obscurely and irrelevantly. Their 2008 presidential candidate got a grand total of 643 votes. Yet, they did manage to elect one public official in the 21st century, a Pennsylvania township tax assesor. Not exactly relevant....

http://www.prohibition.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prohibition_Party


15 posted on 06/17/2011 7:34:28 PM PDT by Rytwyng (I'm still fond of the United States. I just can't find it. -- Fred Reed)
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To: Rytwyng
Other more standards

Make that "other mores and standards...."

chalk it up to a 3 year old climbing on me while typing...

16 posted on 06/17/2011 7:39:55 PM PDT by Rytwyng (I'm still fond of the United States. I just can't find it. -- Fred Reed)
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To: AustralianConservative

Christ’s first miracle was to make wine.
Lots of it.


17 posted on 06/17/2011 7:52:09 PM PDT by ctdonath2
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To: Tainan

You’re welcome mate.


18 posted on 06/17/2011 8:31:36 PM PDT by AustralianConservative
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To: Just another Joe

Just another Joe:

“Whether prohibition succeeded or failed on a social plain is irrelevant.”

Really? Now you tell me. For years, elite libertarians were screaming prohibition didn’t work, and now when I confront them with facts, it doesn’t matter? Okay. Tell that to them.

“It was against personal liberty.”

That depends on who we’re talking about doesn’t it? Liberty for the drunk or the beaten wife? Sure there are beer-first libertarians but there are road-safety libertarians too, my guess.

Interesting too how some professional libertarians define “liberty” for the rest of us with a communist iron fist.

“Yes, criminal ganga existed before prohibition but prohibition gave them an extreme chance to proliferate into the everyday life of citizens.”

No it didn’t. In many places crimes dropped.

“If prohibition succeeded so well why was it repealed?”

For numerous reasons related to culture, as Coulter points out. Read the whole piece. But I never said it was perfect, the point being it wasn’t a disaster either. There is a middle ground!


19 posted on 06/17/2011 8:40:43 PM PDT by AustralianConservative
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To: BfloGuy

The statistics from the Harvard professor are very reliable. In any case, I think alcohol positives offset negatives, personally, but the key issue is: Prohibition has a good side and a bad side.

Without laws, we could sell LSD lollipops to kids. I’d call for balance, not romantic libertarian dreams or pure socialism.


20 posted on 06/17/2011 8:44:41 PM PDT by AustralianConservative
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To: Amberdawn

I think we should see it on a case by case basis.


21 posted on 06/17/2011 8:45:48 PM PDT by AustralianConservative
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To: Marie

“My Lord G-d blessed/cursed me with free will at the moment of my birth. Who is The Government to take it away?”

In some cases, we have the opposite of Prohibition whereby taxpayers are forced to feed and clothe drunkards. It depends on how one defines liberty.


22 posted on 06/17/2011 8:48:37 PM PDT by AustralianConservative
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To: OneWingedShark

Yes, Prohibition had its faults, as the post states. And yet in many cases, thousands were saved. People see what they want to see. I try to see the good and bad.


23 posted on 06/17/2011 8:50:30 PM PDT by AustralianConservative
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To: AEMILIUS PAULUS

“Interesting and probably containing some truth. I know my Grandfather on my Dad’s side made a little beer for personal consumption.”

Haha – I bet it was tax free too. Good for him.


24 posted on 06/17/2011 8:52:29 PM PDT by AustralianConservative
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To: Rytwyng

“One bad law breeds disrespect for all. Prohibition turned a relatively law abiding nation into an utterly lawless one. Other more standards plummeted terribly during that time. We have still not recovered.”

I think you’re exaggerating. The crime stats don’t show a massive rise after Prohibition, at all. In fact there were crime drops across many states. To blame one “bad law” on disrespect is just an excuse for anarchy. There have always been “good” and “bad” laws, that’s just a cop out.


25 posted on 06/17/2011 8:57:34 PM PDT by AustralianConservative
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To: AustralianConservative

Could be a good discussion.
Just look at DUIs, auto insurance costs, child abuse, health care costs, lost work time........to mention a few costs.


26 posted on 06/17/2011 9:01:29 PM PDT by aumrl (let's keep it real Conservatives)
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To: calex59

calex59: “Actually you lie about being against prohibition.You are for it as your article clearly shows.”

Read the whole piece. I drink wine! I just don’t have a black and white position.

Read the title too: “For And Against Prohibition”!

I think prohibition can work in some circumstances, and not in others.

“Prohibition was a total failure and led to huge criminality across America,just as the drug laws in effect do today.”

Yes, all laws are bad, let’s have anarchy! I provided real medical records, and crime facts, from the period, but you feel the truth.


27 posted on 06/17/2011 9:03:00 PM PDT by AustralianConservative
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To: calex59

calex59: “Actually you lie about being against prohibition.You are for it as your article clearly shows.”

Read the whole piece. I drink wine! I just don’t have a black and white position.

Read the headline too: “For And Against Prohibition”!

I think prohibition can work in some circumstances, and not in others.

“Prohibition was a total failure and led to huge criminality across America,just as the drug laws in effect do today.”

Yes, all laws are bad, let’s have anarchy! I provided real medical records, and crime facts, from the period, but you feel the truth.


28 posted on 06/17/2011 9:03:34 PM PDT by AustralianConservative
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To: AustralianConservative; All
This 'blogger' needs some remedial lessons in research.

A ten-second google search produced this well-researched and attributed article which destroys the author's fantasies and fallacies. The graph images wouldn't load for me, but the text makes it clear: cirrhosis rates were at their lowest right before prohibition, and murder rates jumped considerably during prohibition - and murder rates jumped again when the current WoD was escalated.

Does trading victims of cirrhosis for victims of murder make sense in any logical or ethical system? Perhaps some people are confused by the use of the term 'victim' in both cases. To be clear: people that died from cirrhosis slowly killed themselves, most often with ample warnings and opportunities to stop. If I have to explain the difference between this and murder, you should stop reading now and instead immediately seek professional counseling.

There is scant official data on how many people were killed or blinded by unregulated alcohol products, but there's no doubt that it happened far more frequently during prohibition.

In addition, alcohol consumption patterns were changed dramatically by prohibition - hard liquor gained precedence over beer and wine, due to the risk/reward of transporting illegal goods. This pattern is repeated by today's WoD.

There is nothing new or novel or noble or "successful" about a prohibition. A prohibition says, in effect, "You will adhere to this moral standard or we will kill you." Prohibiting an otherwise lawful transaction between consenting adults is simply wrong, regardless of whether you personally like or dislike the transaction. The supurious argument 'well why not remove the prohibition on murder' is fallacious: murder is not consensual. In a prohibition, there is no victim to protect. No one's rights are violated. "Society" is not a victim, "society" is not a partner in the transaction, "society" is nor harmed by the transaction, "society" - an imaginary collective - has no rights. The attempt to justify prohibitions by using "society" in this manner are illogical, and every bit as reprehensible a tactic as politicians hiding their personal ambitions and pet schemes behind the smokescreen of "the chilrun".

Arguments about the costs of alcohol, drug, and/or tobacco users on government-supplied systems such as Medicare or Welfare et al are equally irrelevant. You cannot justify keeping one bad policy or program because of its impact on another bad policy or program. If anything, these are just more reasons to discontinue these policies/programs.

Prohibitions cause crimes beyond the simple violation of the prohibition itself, by unbalancing the supply, demand, and price. Worse, prohibitions get people killed. It's a race to see if tainted products claim more victims in the long run than associated violence - but regardless of the final numbers, there is no winner.

29 posted on 06/17/2011 9:10:45 PM PDT by CzarChasm (My opinion. No charge.)
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To: ctdonath2

“Beer is God’s way of telling us he loves us” Ben Franklin


30 posted on 06/17/2011 9:14:33 PM PDT by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: AustralianConservative

It depends on the drug, for sure.


31 posted on 06/17/2011 9:37:55 PM PDT by Amberdawn
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To: AustralianConservative

I did read the article and your love of prohibition stood out. You think, somehow, prohibition should work. Not all laws are bad but laws such as prohibition and the ones that spawned the war on drugs eventually lead to huge losses of freedom and a watering down of our rights under the constitution.


32 posted on 06/17/2011 10:53:54 PM PDT by calex59
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To: AustralianConservative
There is a middle ground!

The mmiddle ground is personal,family, or public, responsibility.
If you can't handle your drink then family, or the gendarms, handle you.

I am not against laws. Laws are one of the things that allow mankind to exist in a, somewhat, orderly manner.

Sweeping laws that affect everyone, whether the action will hurt anyone besides the actor, are another thing altogether.

33 posted on 06/18/2011 4:43:40 AM PDT by Just another Joe (Warning: FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: AEMILIUS PAULUS

I am not against laws. Laws are one of the things that allow mankind to exist in a, somewhat, orderly manner.

Sweeping laws that affect everyone, whether the action will hurt anyone besides the actor, are another thing altogether.


34 posted on 06/18/2011 4:44:08 AM PDT by Just another Joe (Warning: FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: reflecting
Self restraint in the individual is rare, in the broader society rarer still.

Self restraint in the individual is a learned action.

Self restraint in the broader society is imposed by laws.

Laws that affect the individual for actions that impose direct harm on no one but themselves are not good.

35 posted on 06/18/2011 4:47:48 AM PDT by Just another Joe (Warning: FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: calex59

So you believe in a prohibition against Prohibition? You obviously do believe in bans when they suit you then.


36 posted on 06/18/2011 4:50:43 AM PDT by AustralianConservative
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To: Just another Joe

What’s a good law? What’s a bad law? I have more faith in the average American than a libertarian think tank.


37 posted on 06/18/2011 4:52:53 AM PDT by AustralianConservative
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To: CzarChasm

CzarChasm: I’m going to go with the Harvard guy over the Boston University guy who demonstrates that there were successes. It’s interesting how Miron admits that some health outcomes improved (but has to spin his way out of it) and that he only focuses on one type of crime because it interferes with his narrative.

Nice try though. Anarchy is not my cup of tea. Blaming laws for crime is often ludicrous. I’d love to know your position on LSD lollipops for kids though.


38 posted on 06/18/2011 5:06:39 AM PDT by AustralianConservative
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To: ctdonath2

True. Christ loved wine and exercised moderation.


39 posted on 06/18/2011 5:08:18 AM PDT by AustralianConservative
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To: AustralianConservative
If it wasn't for The Great Depression and Herbert Hoover's incompetence, we'd still have Prohibition.

The drys didn't lose because they were drys. They lost because they were the ones running when everything came down.

I think 0 is going to do to his party what Hoover did to the Pubs, btw.

Anyway there is a lesson for libertarians regarding Prohibition: booze makers and distributors following their "rational self-interest" created such a mess that the ground was seeded for regulatory extremism to where a constitutional amendment actually passed.

Something very similar is happening with cigarettes. Tobacco companies following their "rational self-interest" managed to get 2/3s of Americans smoking at least a pack a day by the mid-60s.

A backlash occurred and now there are bans on smoking in restaurants and cars.

40 posted on 06/18/2011 7:43:23 AM PDT by Tribune7 (We're flat broke, but he thinks these solar shingles and really fast trains will magically save us.)
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To: Just another Joe

Do you suppose that alcohol consumption only harms the consumer? Well beyond 25,000 lost each year due to drunk driving. what are the dollar numbers, born by society, of the alcoholics, the wife beaters, the derelicts and the growing stupidity of our ‘party nation’.


41 posted on 06/18/2011 9:19:37 AM PDT by reflecting (Calvinism: when physics is just too hard)
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To: AustralianConservative

I would think whether prohibition failed or succeeded depends on it’s original intent. As soon as it was repealed, alcohol sales did what? Go down, stay level, skyrocket? If it did anything, it proved that people with a taste for alcohol were forced to drink discretely as they tended to dislike being arrested. Once the threat of arrest was lifted, discreteness was immediately dropped.

Look at smoking. We couldn’t buy smokes as a teenager, but many high-schoolers smoked. Discretely when there was a risk of being punished and openly otherwise. Jump to today and teen smoking is down — not because there are laws & regs against it, but because it has fallen out of fashion. No one “cool” smokes anymore. Well, at least in our area.

When it comes to tobacco, alcohol or drugs, laws may artificially reduce consumption, but it has a greater tendency to force discreteness and promote a thriving black-market. I’m not saying legislating morality is good or bad, but the “good” of the legislation is often overshadowed by the “bad” of the unintended consequences. How to better address the desired outcome is beyond me. But personal observation shows that what’s been tried so far includes some *seriously* bad unintended consequences.


42 posted on 06/18/2011 9:40:28 AM PDT by jaydee770
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To: AustralianConservative
What the f*** are you talking about? Have a problem reading do you? Maybe a few reading comprehension classes might help you. I am against prohibition, whether it be for alcohol or drugs, prohibition leads to more laws that suck our freedoms plus crime runs rampant due to the huge amounts of money capable of being made illegally.

The government has no business telling us what the f*** we can eat, smoke or drink. Plain enough for you?

Your last comment was totally idiotic, please don't make any more, you disgust me.

43 posted on 06/18/2011 1:18:35 PM PDT by calex59
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To: AustralianConservative
I have more faith in the average American than a libertarian think tank.

I agree. The average American did not want prohibition.

44 posted on 06/18/2011 1:43:05 PM PDT by Just another Joe (Warning: FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: reflecting
Do you suppose that alcohol consumption only harms the consumer?

I said "direct harm".

There are laws against beating your wife, or anyone else for that matter, drunk driving, etc.
Personal reponsibility should handle the rest.

BTW, I agree about the stupidity of our "party nation".

45 posted on 06/18/2011 1:45:40 PM PDT by Just another Joe (Warning: FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: AustralianConservative

Thanks for that entertaining strawman, AC. Much more creative than expected.


46 posted on 06/18/2011 3:56:22 PM PDT by CzarChasm (My opinion. No charge.)
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To: Just another Joe

Actually, they did, if you studied the history. Needless, to say, I’m not for alcohol bans but oppose LSD for kids. The fundamental issue is: Anarchy or some laws?


47 posted on 06/18/2011 7:01:44 PM PDT by AustralianConservative
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