Cartoon; Rue Britannia
Some of the activities of the more extreme elements of the Libertarian Party tend on occasions to be an embarrassment, what with truthers, anarchists etc parading around making their positions sound like all that matters.
The more articulate moderate libertarians with good analytical minds and common sense solutions tend to be left in the background. Let me introduce you to Seb, from ’ a true blue libertarian and one of the people that we could do with a lot more of. (For those unfamiliar with Australian idiom, true blue roughly translates as ‘fair dincum’)
With the governments, both state and federal thrashing around for ways to deal with binge drinking and associated violence, it is refreshing to find a libertarian coming up with the most logical conclusion offered so far. In his article “Going out” - three ways to tackle a negative drinking culture,” Seb has this to say: -
As we have heard more and more in the news recently, alcohol fueled violence is on the rise. This has of course raised the eyebrows of many a politician keen to expand their regulatory agenda. As usual, the solutions presented such as shortening opening hours, removing high alcohol drinks and increases in taxes are off target. These are problems born of regulation and cannot be addressed by further regulation. Following are three real solutions to help quell the violence:This brings back memories of when I was a kid in freer times. In the aftermath of WW2 money was short, we did without those things taken for granted these days, walked 2 miles to school each day, but life was fun.
1. Liberalize the liquor licensing system. For those that have lived in a major city, particularly Sydney, this is easily identified as the most obvious problem. If you were to head “out” on a Saturday, you are all but restricted to a venue whose sole purpose is to serve liquor. Complex and difficult liquor licensing laws really reduce the ability of a young person to avoid violent cesspools, which are designed to accommodate only two types of patrons, drinkers and gamblers.
2. Provide an alternative - deregulate, deregulate, deregulate. Gone are the days when there was something you could do on a weekend night, cheaply, other than drink. No longer can a group of mates grab some poles and go down and fish on a whim. No longer can a group of mates grab their .22s and go get some rabbits. No longer can you take your dog to the park for a run.
Licensing, registration and regulation put an end to that. This is not 1960 and I do not wish to suggest these are the only alternatives, however it is little changes like this that are symbolic of a shift in power from the people to the government. Public land and individual autonomy have become accepted as things of the past; the people in Australia have no power to exercise a responsible choice because all responsibility has long been taken from them.
3. Foster a climate for responsible choices Perhaps a combination of the above, but in order to expect a person to make responsible decisions about their drinking habits it is time to force an understanding of the consequences of alcohol consumption. Alcohol should never be considered a contributory factor in the defense of a violent perpetrator.
We all know the effects of alcohol just as the violent offender does. Why do we still enjoy an incredibly low murder rate? Why aren’t drinkers offing each other in massive numbers?
Because a drunk makes a moral choice just as a sober person does. If alcohol diminished the ability of a person to make a choice to the degree that is often suggested, it would be illegal. If anything, violence committed under the influence should be more heavily punished than it would otherwise.
Maybe these are something of an over-simplification. However, from my experience living in working class suburbs of two of Australia’s largest cities, these three points should certainly be primary considerations for any place wanting to reduce alcohol fueled violence.
In a farming area you would ride a bike several miles to a friends place, toss a line in the creek, swim, check out old mine adits, all the fun things kids miss out on today, but mostly physical. Mainly because of the restrictions placed on us by the nanny state for ‘our own good’ these options are difficult to carry out, and obesity is rampant.
The government is looking around for a legislative solution for this too, actually a lot of them.