Modern Pharisees Think Government Creates Virtue – San Bernardino Sun

SACRAMENTO – On my first trip to Salt Lake City, I wandered from my hotel room in search of a drink, found a modest pub, and ordered a beer or three. “Sir, this is a private club,” the guard told me. I walked towards the door feeling depressed and confused. This certainly does not look like a monopoly business.

At that point, the guard started to laugh when he realized that I was the latest backward ignorant of Utah’s Mormon-inspired drinking laws. He was able to sell me a temporary membership for five dollars, which I happily accepted. I still have that membership card in a drawer somewhere.

To reduce drinking, Utah banned bars, but allowed an exception for private clubs – so bar owners came up with an impossible solution other than adding fees to bars. bar. It is a reminder of the words of Dwight D. Eisenhower: “We have never stopped sin by passing laws; and in the same way we will not carry out a great moral ideal and achieve it only by law. ”

Utah removed the silly requirement for private clubs in 2009, although the states still have vestiges of what’s known as “green laws,” referring to Puritan relics that restricted alcohol sales and a some activities such as shopping on Sunday (to observe the Sabbath). The term may be “based on 18th-century usage of the word blue to mean ‘rigid morals’ in a pejorative sense,” according to Brittanica.

Curiously, a neo-liberal conservative group (in the free-market sense of the word) is pushing for the restoration of these religion-based laws. Squeezed by the policy provisions of their traditionalist agenda, Harvard Law Professor Adrian Vermeule and Sohrab Ahmari of the New York Post floated the idea of ​​restoring the sanctity of the Sabbath.

“A campaign for the Sabbath could bring together labor unions, religious conservatives, and small business owners (the last group opposing green law repeal for lack of competition), Ahmari wrote this month in The American Conservative. However, Ahmari unintentionally pointed out one of the major problems with these laws.

Instead of promoting virtue, they become vehicles by which special interests – such as small businesses and beer distributors – abuse the legislative process to limit competition. For example, liquor distributors and unions have united to oppose California’s law that allows distilleries and breweries to ship their products directly to consumers. It’s a cynical – not ethical – attempt.

Likewise, small businesses try to ban stores on Sundays to give them a chance to compete with the big stores. Of course there are still a lot of crazy green laws, especially in the Belt Bible. States impose countless limits on alcohol sales, car sales and other Sunday activities, most of which are the result of interest group pranks. Today, such laws would only promote more online commerce.

These rules merely annoy the public. If you want to abstain from drinking alcohol or keep the Sabbath, then abstain from drinking and observe the Sabbath. California has relatively few such restrictions (although our state has many other asinine restrictions on work and commerce) and other states have relaxed them over the years.

“Texans can buy beer on Sunday but not diapers,” noted a 1984 article in The New York Times. “A woman in Mississippi can’t choose a pair of socks on her way to church. In New Orleans, people can buy anything on Sundays, but they are forced to go to the… French Quarter to do so.” Why would anyone want to go back to those days?

The goal of using government to achieve socially conservative ends, as conservative writer Thomas Fitzgerald has argued, is “a bit of a modernist utopia, to be sure. will be brutal but crunchy, when confronted with political reality.” Americans will simply find the workarounds ridiculous – just as drinkers have done for decades in Utah. The government will have more reason to control, fine and harass us. Modern Pharisees Think Government Creates Virtue – San Bernardino Sun

Tom Vazquez

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