Explosive Controversy


I was depressed by yesterday's Cato Institute press release about "health and safety groups…calling for a ban on consumer fireworks use"--not because fireworks are so vitally important but because they are completely unnecessary and demonstrably dangerous. Their continued legal availability in 43 states is strong evidence that fun still counts for something in this country.

So I was heartened to read that the same coalition of busybodies has been calling for a national ban on fireworks since 1910. Since then, we have seen bans on a long list of psychoactive substances (including alcohol, for a while), along with many other nonessential, risky, but undeniably fun products. (Lawn darts and machine guns spring to mind.) Yet the prohibitionists have not managed to prevent (most of) us from lighting up sparklers, fountains, and bottle rockets. No doubt the patriotic glow that surrounds fireworks helps. Still, it's another small freedom to celebrate on Sunday. I'll leave it to you to think of an appropriate way to do so.