Enough with banning things!

If you watch the news regularly then you’ve probably heard of Four Loko – a caffeinated alcohol drink that became enormously popular over the last couple of years.  Of course, that brought it to the attention of the nanny-staters in the federal government because apparently adults can’t be trusted to drink caffeine and alcohol at the same time:

“On November 17, 2010, the [Food and] Drug administration (FDA) sent a warning letter to the company that essentially advised Phusion Projects to remove Four Loko from the marketplace or else face potential product seizures, injunctions, and prosecutions.”

After receiving this letter, the makers of Four Loko agreed to take out the caffeine altogether… and that still wasn’t good enough for those who want to see the product banned altogether.  For example, an influential advocacy group called Alcohol Justice said that caffeine-free Four Loko and it’s competitors:

“may be just as dangerous as their caffeinated predecessors because of the combination of high alcohol with sweet flavors.”

In other words, the problem isn’t that the product poses a health risk… it just tastes too darn good.  So now American citizens aren’t responsible enough to enjoy alcoholic drinks that have caffeine or that taste too good.  Thanks to the FDA and the busy-bodies at Alcohol Justice, we’re about one step away from requiring a government monitor be present while you drink alcohol to make sure you are doing it properly.

Of course, they wouldn’t even be happy stopping there.  Everything I’ve seen from the opponents of Four Loko leads me to believe that they won’t be happy until it’s banned completely.

If you’ve known me for any period of time, you know that I’m not a fan of banning much of anything.  The reason for that is, it violates our God-given right to liberty.  Every time  some over-active politician bans something he is taking away your ability to do what you choose with your body.

For example, let’s say the politicians pass a law that bans hitting yourself in the head with a hammer (don’t put it past them).  Believe it or not, I have no current plans to hit myself in the head with a hammer – at least not intentionally.

Does that ban still violate your right to liberty?  Yes it does – it has taken away a choice in how I live my life.  Once that law is passed, I’m no longer choosing not to hit myself.  I’m doing it because the government has told me I cannot do it.

Whether or not I had plans to do whatever activity is being banned is incidental to whether or not the ban violates my right to liberty.  Freedom means having the ability to choose how I live my life to the greatest extent possible – and this ban removes one of the choices for how I live my life.

So even though I had no intention of ever trying the caffeinated Four Loko, I am a little less free today thanks to our nannies in the FDA.  Frankly, it’s insulting that they believe the American people aren’t responsible enough to make our own choices when it comes to alcoholic beverages.

“Let People alone, and they will take Care of themselves, and do it best; and if they do not, a sufficient Punishment will follow their Neglect, without the Magistrate’s Interposition and Penalties.” 

John Trenchard, Cato’s Letters #62

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