Boston Globe Magazine: “Our Regulation Addiction”

In Sunday’s edition of the Boston Globe Magazine, contributor Tom Keane penned a provocative essay exploring the merits and faults of alcohol regulation in Massachusetts. He touched on issues such as alcohol taxation, legislation targeting the concentration of liquor stores in local communities, and finally on the legal drinking age. He concluded,

“The lesson here is an old one: The law is a poor way to regulate private human behavior. So what to do? First, we should rethink our rules. Make the drinking age 18. Let the standard for issuing a liquor license be the character of the license holder, not the number of licenses in a town. Bring back price competition ā€“ including happy hours ā€“ and allow the market for alcohol to be the same as it is for any other foodstuff, which is to say, largely free and unfettered. But we also need to change our attitudes. At the heart of our problem with alcohol is that we think it something evil when it is not. Sure, misuse and overindulgence are bad, with sometimes terrible consequences. But this is true of many things; a car careening into a crowd does not make the car itself evil. Iā€™m with the poets. What we really need is a culture that celebrates the wise use of alcohol rather than a body of laws whose aim is to make us feel guilty.”

What do you think of his argument? Read the whole thing, then give us your take by leaving your reactions in the comments.

One Response to “Boston Globe Magazine: “Our Regulation Addiction””

  1. Edwin Says:

    The drinking age must be lowered to 18 along with its important components. Tom Keane is correct in that Massachusetts is restrictive when it comes to alcohol and as a result of that, restrictive when it comes to the rights of the young. He’s also correct in that the reason why there’s so much restriction on alcohol, including the ageist drinking age, is because alcohol is viewed in a negative manner. “Celebrat[ing] the wise of alcohol” is going to improve the attitude of which young people have of alcohol.