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“First They Came for the Four Loko, and I Said Nothing, Because That Stuff Tastes Nasty…”

Posted on February 15 2011 5:40 pm
Jesse Hathaway survived the progressive re-education camps of Ohio University and the People’s Republik of Athens, and now lives and blogs in beautiful Myrtle Beach, SC. Follow him on Teh Twitter, and become part of his Right Turns Only posse.
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It’s always done “for the children.”

Whether it’s ostracizing home-schooling, making power tools less useful and accessible, or reminding parents that Daddy Barack and Mommy Michelle know better than you which foods your children should eat, Big Government Progressives always seem to want to have control over you, from cradle to dinner table to grave.

In the past few months, states have been rushing to ban so-called “alcoholic energy drinks,” out of fears that minor children may die from ingesting too many mixed drinks. The most recognizable of these alcoholic drinks is called Four Loko, the so-called “black-out in can.”

In 2009, several state attorneys general—led by progressive Democrat and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (whom the New York Times believes to among the most likely women to become the first female President some day)—began an investigation against drinks similar to Four Loko, worried that the idea of mixing an energy drink and alcohol was an insidious plot by Big Booze to get kids illegally drunk. Four Loko, which is produced by graduates of Ohio University, fell under similar suspicion.

In 2010, progressive universities such as the University of Rhode Island made possession of Four Loko a crime; New Jersey’s Rampao College, Worcester State University, and Boston College banned the sale of Loko, effectively dictating legal consumers’ choices—because everyone knows that Adam Smith and his “invisible hand” would otherwise force energy drinks down little Johnny and Jane Collegiate’s throats, if given the choice.

The dangerous epidemic of consumers being able to choose products that Big Brother disapproved of went on merit outright bans in Pennsylvania, Oregon, New York, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Washington.

A few months ago, the Obama administration issued a warning to the manufacturers of Four Loko and similar drinks, warning that caffeine was an “unsafe food additive,” and that the federal government may issue sanctions against them, up to and including the seizure of all of their products currently on the market. Naturally, the justification for this draconian threat was “public health [concerns]”… because we can’t have any of the little people making decisions about what legal products they consume, can we?

Now, this exercise in creeping nanny statism has made its way to a most unlikely state—South Carolina. The same state that is leading the charge to allow states to opt-out of Obamacare, is now seeking to dictate what legal products consumers can consume.

The legislation, which passed with sadly bipartisan support, introduced a bit of twist during debate—a Democrat called the Republican-held House “socialist.” State Representative Todd Rutherford (D-Richland) wondered aloud why the allegedly conservative House GOP was seeking to create, in his words, “a nanny state.”

Rutherford went on to ask the deaf ears of his colleagues, “Why are we stepping in and becoming communists and socialists? Why is this not up to the individual 21 year old to drink, if they want?”

The refrain of the Four Loko haters is that they’re “concerned about underage consumption,” and about the “health risks” that the drink may pose—consumers may not be able to correctly gauge how inebriated they are after consuming alcohol, therefore Big Government must step in, because people might make bad personal decisions.

If one believes that the power of determination lies with the individual, and not the Government, then one should not support the banning of legal products, “for our own good.”

I don’t care if it’s “for the children,” there are already laws on the books to prevent children from getting “crunk in da club” off of Four Loko, or anything else alcoholic. If one decides to imbibe an adult beverage, one does so knowing the risks involved.

When it’s all said and done, it may be that the road to Nanny State Hell is paved with good intentions, and the road crew is manned by do-gooders from both political parties.

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