The head of the Locke Foundation rarely speaks or writes without having thought through the implications of his prescriptions for American society so it would seem that we must take him at his literal word when he said the following in his daily column this morning:
The only laws about alcohol that should remain on the books are these:
No one under the age of 18 should be permitted to purchase alcoholic beverages.
Anyone who gets drunk and injures or kills another because of it – like what happened so tragically over the weekend to a young Carolina Ballet dancer here in Raleigh – should receive a draconian sentence.
Anyone selling alcohol beverages should be required to label their products accurately.”
To which one might reasonably reply: Really? Those are the ONLY laws? No laws about drinking and driving (or drinking and flying) if no one is injured or killed? No laws about drinking and performing other inherently dangerous activities? No laws about giving children alcohol for free? No laws about selling homemade moonshine at your corner convenience store? Is it okay to sell potentially poisonous stuff if you say so on the label?
And they call us progressives a bunch of anything-goes softies!
Seriously, there is something to be said for this brand of no-holds-barred libertarianism. Many progressives would agree that the government plays too big a role in regulating private, personal behavior. Indeed, it would be great if the Locke people would speak up and join their Libertarian friends in endorsing full and complete equal rights for the GLBT community. Decriminalization of marijuana is probably another area in which the Locke people could give a boost to a legitimate position of the Libertarians.
Having said this, the notion that modern society should simply do away with almost all alcohol regulation is, in a word, nuts.
What’s also nuts is that a group that voices so many loony ideas on so many issues continues to be taken seriously by so many in the North Carolina news media as a responsible voice in state policy debates.