Saturday, December 23, 2006

Madison Prohibitionism

The city of Madison has an alcohol coordinator. In the hundred plus years of its existence, Madison has managed without an alcohol coordinator. So the new coordinator is naturally tampering with the heretofor voluntary coordination of alcohol related activity. Until now, people interested in drinking alcohol did so at establishments run by people interested in selling alcohol. But with binge drinking identified as the problem dejour, this will no longer do.

Enter alcohol coordinator Joel Plant. He is proposing a ban on new bars. This is clever insofar as he may gain the support of some bar owners who would enjoy the protection from competition and the profits that would flow as a result of the ban.

Thankfully, some are fighting back. City Council President Austin King is opposed to the ban. "It is a huge fear of mine that this modern prohibitionist bent that we're headed around will drive students out of the bars and into less safe drinking environments."

A ban on new bars will do nothing to stop binge drinkers. It does undermine property rights and it may endanger more drinkers. Not a good idea.

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