The Spectacle Blog

The Beer Spectator: Prohibition Will Solve All Our Problems

By on 5.30.14 | 3:25PM

And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine without knowing where it came from (although the servers who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom

And said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.” 

-John 1:9-10

What’s the Beer Spectator doing quoting the Gospels? Doesn’t he know this is an alcohol column?

Indeed I do. The example of Christ turning water into wine at a wedding for his first miracle actually applies.

The tradition of Western civilization is built upon wine, beer, and the spirits that arise from these creations.

Yet for the past few centuries, some Western governments have sought to block that luxury through prohibition. Even the United States, that bastion of liberty, gave banning the purchase and distribution of alcohol the old college try.

That turned out horrendously. Bathtub gin, Al Capone, the Kennedys, and NASCAR are a few of the byproducts. And let’s not forget about the thousands of deaths resulting from high-proof moonshine and gang killings.

Still, legal alcohol has its downsides too. Didn’t Jesus know that his shenanigans would kill millions through homicides and car accidents?

Don’t worry! The government is here to help, led by the unintentionally progressive writer Reihan Salam. It’s time to give “the war on booze” a second chance:

But alcohol is crazily dangerous, and it needs to be more tightly controlled. Everyone knows Prohibition was a disaster. What most of us forget is that the movement for Prohibition arose because alcohol abuse actually was destroying American society in the first decades of the 20th century, and the strictly-regulated post-Prohibition alcohol market was shaped by still-fresh memories of the pre-Prohibition era.

Salam wants to triple the federal tax on alcohol to prevent “6 percent of homicides and 6 percent of motor vehicle deaths, thus sparing 3,000 lives.”

When wonks sit in front of their computers for four hours or longer, side effects may occur. I blame carpal tunnel and the scent of dry erase markers; perhaps it’s time to tax every white paper by the word.

Quadruple the social scientist tax! License all economists!

Salam argues that alcohol is harmful, especially to teenagers. He then uses Russia and Great Britain as two examples. As for the United States, we seemingly don’t have a drinking problem. The reason for that, he explains, is post-Prohibition policies that heavily regulate the alcohol market.

The real problem is death. Too many American citizens are dying. Big Liquor is killing our fathers and wrecking our cars. That’s why it’s time for a drinking license and an increase from 10 cents per drink to 30 cents.

As for those damned Millennials, it’s simple. Just make binge drinking “mainstream and thus lame.” Has Salam been to a college campus lately? It’s already mainstream, and it’s still pretty awesome. 

I don’t think I really have to logically argue each point here, as the idea is, prima facie, a farce.

But let’s think about the beer industry that has grown over the past forty years. Brewpubs and micro-breweries hire thousands of hard-working Americans and provide great beers to local communities. Conservatives care about those things still, right?

How many of the 2,768 craft breweries in this nation will have to close because of these government regulations?

The closings will then lead to further consolidation, which is ironic, considering the author names Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors as the leading demons of Big Liquor. With his policies, only the latter two will benefit as they easily absorb the costs. Taxes and regulations stifle competition and innovation, which we’ve seen ever since Prohibition.

So ultimately Reihan Salam emerges as a crony capitalist in his piece, appearing anti-small business, ignorant, and elitist in only 1,000 words.

With “conservatives” like these, who needs progressives? 

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