Skip to comments.Puritanical Government
Posted on 06/26/2013 4:28:56 AM PDT by Kaslin
People say America is a free country. But what if you want to drink, have a cigarette or make a bet? Government often says "no" to protect us from ourselves.
It's as if the government is still run by the Puritans who settled this land four centuries ago. They said pleasure and luxury are sinful.
Today's government has a better argument when it seeks to restrict activities that might harm others, but I notice that even then, it often focuses more on things that upset modern-day Puritans.
Drinking and driving can be fatal. But government data show that sleeplessness and driving are just as deadly. Having kids in the back seat, looking at GPS map instructions, fiddling with the radio and eating while driving are often deadly, too.
But sleeplessness doesn't seem as decadent and irresponsible as drinking. Nor is there an easy way for police to test for such discretions -- no breathalyzer test for excessive radio tuning.
Why is the DUI test all about alcohol level, rather than behavior? Government keeps lowering legal blood-alcohol levels -- recently from .10 to .08 -- and now they want to lower it to .05. But some people are good drivers even after a drink or two. It would be better to punish people for "reckless" driving.
Alcohol-related driving deaths are down. Groups like MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) credit tougher DUI laws, but it's not clear that they are right.
Maybe people are simply more aware of the dangers, thanks to publicity from groups like MADD. Safer car designs helped, too. Non-alcohol-related driving deaths are also down.
Stats that some cite to claim alcohol is the cause of a third of highway accidents are misleading. That just means that a third of the people had alcohol in their systems; it doesn't necessarily mean alcohol caused the accident.
I don't suggest that drinking and driving is safe or smart. But the puritanical obsession with drinking distracts us from other ways we could make driving safer.
At least DUI laws seek to protect people from others. But government puritans go well beyond that, banning activities that harm only the individual engaged in them -- like gambling.
Polls show 70 percent of you support the current ban on Internet gambling.
Why? It's true, for some people, gambling becomes addictive. Some wreck their lives. But for most people, gambling is entertainment, practice in using strategy and an excuse to socialize. A little risk is fun. And the laws don't stop the activity. They drive it underground, where it's run by criminals.
If we banned every activity that had the potential to become addictive, we'd have to ban fatty foods, sex, alcohol and investing in the stock market. Life means risk.
Sometimes puritans want to ban things without any evidence that the activity is harmful. After every mass shooting, someone wants to tax, or ban, violent video games.
Yet violent offenses by youth fell by more than half over the past two decades, while video game sales doubled. If there's a causal relationship, maybe playing video games prevents kids from behaving violently.
Japan spends much more on violent video games than the U.S., but its crime rate is much lower. Maybe the Japanese get it out of their system through make-believe? I don't know. But I do know that a lack of evidence rarely stops the puritans.
The puritanical panics of today may look silly someday. In the 1950s, a psychiatrist testified that Superman comic books inspire juvenile delinquency.
After hearing about those moral panics, you might feel like relaxing with a cold beer. But don't try buying one from a convenience store in Indiana. The state requires that the beer be sold warm.
In theory, warm beer will discourage drinking on the road.
I doubt that such laws help. Perhaps puritanical laws don't have to make sense. They just have to leave us feeling righteous because we've done something to crack down on bad behavior.
We are dealing more with “PC”.
It should be about regulating behavior but the other is more easily “measurable”. However the breathalyzer is built on crap science and people should get good lawyers and pay the money it takes to contest these rather than just get a lawyer to cut a deal.
I for one, according to my kids, am a terrible driver, too sick of driving, too distractable.....I will never be a good driver, although I have no wrecks and only a few speeding tickets after 40 years of driving
Well, John, what if we want to run around in public nude, post graphic pornography - even “simulated” child pornography - in public, or shoot heroin. I guess you’d call us “puritans” for wanting to ban those?
Yes, he would. Regular reading of his articles reveals that sexual libertinism is his crucial “freedom.”
John is just a Demonicrat who can balance a checkbook.
It was said of the Puritans that their biggest worry was that someone, somewhere, was enjoying himself. The Neo-Puritans, like Doomberg, have the same worry.
Political Correctness, originally called “Cultural Marxism”, seeks to punish the telling of any truth that thwarts the Marxist agenda.
Plain and simple, that’s what it is.
Oh! but you can have perverted sex which is known to cause Aids............
He’s an arrogant agnostic who knows nothing of the Puritans. I wish I could send him a copy of Leland Ryken’s book “ Worldly Saints: The Puritans as They Really Were.”
Its just government, seeking things to do.
Let’s see, we talking Freedom/Liberty based?
Nudity does nothing in and by itself. It is the religious tenant of ‘modesty’ that makes that taboo. There is nothing wrong, nor harmful, in the naked human form/body.
Pornography, between and of legal consenting adults? Again, no harm, no foul. No one is forcing it on/from another.
Simulation based? Live or virtual, it’s still simulated. Now, as we are (or were) a Nation of Laws, DO something and be punished, if not put to death.
Posting porn in public? I don’t believe I’ve ever seen that in real life, even overseas.
Heroin? Sure. Pot/weed? no problem. Why stop at one vice when we allow it for smoking, alcohol, etc.? Again, punishment on DEEDS; though, I have still, as of yet, figured how/why harming another while under the influence is any worse than say, playing w/ the radio or falling asleep. When one travels...DRIVE, stop f* around.
And, are there still not blue laws? Dry counties? Were those not based on religious grounds?
Your incoherent post almost doesn’t deserve a response.
“Alcohol-related driving deaths are down. Groups like MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) credit tougher DUI laws, but it’s not clear that they are right.”
Actually, coming from someone whose worked a few drunk driving crashes, it’s probably because drunks tend to be relaxed when the crash happens, making them less prone to injury.
We had one guy run his truck off a bridge about ten feet off the ground, land on the roof, and he got out with barely a scratch. We had another guy run off the road and end up upside down a lake, and he got out and swam over to the other side.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.