History doesn’t always repeat itself, but it sure plays to the same beat. Nearly a century after the failed experiment of Prohibition was introduced, influential media outlet Bloomberg suggests in a recent op-ed that taxes are the answer to alcohol abuse and various other forms of addiction crisis. In their view, addition is an economic burden, and fiscal weapons are a means to effectively combat the dilemma.
Really? Between 1920 through 1933, the federal government implemented what was pejoratively known as the “noble experiment.” According to the Cato Institute, Prohibition was designed ” to reduce crime and corruption, solve social problems, reduce the tax burden created by prisons and poorhouses, and improve health and hygiene in America.” But to paraphrase another old saying, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Prohibition was an abject failure. Rather than cure alcohol abuse, America’s addiction crisis created waves of criminal activities. Legitimate businesses were replaced with speakeasies, while traditional distilleries fell victim to government mandates, and opened an unfair door to moonshiners.
But the real crime of using legislation to cure alcohol abuse was that it failed to spark any fiscal or societal benefit. Instead, Prohibition’s social engineering protocol destroyed fair and free enterprise, and eventually, created an economic burden on multiple sectors. For instance, several restaurants fell into bankruptcy because alcohol sales provided a massive profitability boost. Instead, they had to make due with food alone, which was an overly difficult task.
On a more fundamental level, an addiction crisis is not rooted in fiscal matters, but in deep-seated factors, such as culture and upbringing. Certainly, alcohol abuse or any social ill cannot be legislated away with Big Brother tactics. In fact, history has proven that social engineering protocols often cause an economic burden, not ameliorate it.
But the truth never stopped the liberal media from spreading deliberate misinformation, and we are victims to it yet again. Rather than an outright ban, Bloomberg would like to significantly raise the alcohol tax. That way, those who suffer from alcohol abuse will receive a penalty in their wallets, and therefore, quit drinking.
The only problem here is that these kinds of Big Brother social engineering directives also punish those who are not part of the addiction crisis. While Bloomberg points out that there are over 90,000 alcohol-related deaths in America, they should also provide the context that hundreds of millions of Americans can enjoy an adult beverage without killing themselves.
Perhaps this debate about alcohol abuse articulates a critical flaw of liberalism and the political correctness machinery. Rather than address the root of the problem, liberalism wants to solve the symptom. In so doing, they’re willing to raze an entire forest just to rid itself of a few bad apples.