Alcohol

The Wets and the Drys Rumble in Athens

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Today the residents of Athens, Alabama, who less than four years ago voted to allow alcohol sales in the city, have a chance to go dry again:

Business interests are against repeal, but church leaders who helped organize the petition drive that got the measure on the ballot are asking members to pray and fast in support of a ban.

Christians who oppose drinking on moral grounds believe they have a chance to win, however small….

[The Rev. Eddie] Gooch isn't worried about the city losing businesses or tax revenues if alcohol sales are banned. Normal economic growth and God will make up any difference if residents dump the bottle, he said.

"We believe that God will honor and bless our city," Gooch said.

Meanwhile, south of Athens, residents of Thomasville, Alabama, may vote to go wet today.

Like the federal government during National Alcohol Prohibition, dry cities ban sales only, not possession or consumption, so their policy is notably more tolerant than the war on drugs. No doubt some commenters (you know who you are) will be quick to point out that people who don't like the policy can always drive a little farther for their booze, or even move. While those options do make local bans on alcohol sales less burdensome than state or federal bans, we should not pretend that we live in a nation of private Nozickian experiments in living, where people agree to a certain set of rules when they buy their homes or open their businesses. The crucial difference between such voluntary arrangements and government-imposed bans is that in the latter case one group of people can change the rules at will, destroying businesses and inconveniencing consumers in the process. As the back-and-forth votes in Athens clearly demonstrate, this is not a community organized around a consensus about the morality of drinking.

In my book Saying Yes, by the way, I show how implausible the teetotalers' reading of the Bible is.

NEXT: The Pantsuit Paradox

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  1. “We believe that God will honor and bless our city,” Gooch said.
    What historical precedent is he basing this on?

  2. Cool, Mr. Sullum is offering pre-emptive Dan T. arguments!

    BTW, I really did enjoy Saying Yes, Jacob.

  3. That having been said, I still hold to my position that it’s not the business of non-residents of Athens as to how the people of Athens wish to govern their community.

  4. JasonC,it’s belief,just like the belief a carbon tax will be revenue neutral.

  5. So the Gooch became a minister after all those years of tormenting Arnold and Dudley. It must the been the time they tricked him into going to Horton’s Bike Shop that sparked his conversion.

  6. @Michael Pack

    You switched threads on me!

  7. I get less libertarian as the politics gets local. My house is a dictatorship.

    The crucial difference between such voluntary arrangements and government-imposed bans is that in the latter case one group of people can change the rules at will, destroying businesses and inconveniencing consumers in the process.

    How is that not true for the former group?

  8. That having been said, I still hold to my position that it’s not the business of non-residents of Athens as to how the people of Athens wish to govern their community.

    Well, we don’t get a vote, but why can’t we still make of it?

  9. That having been said, I still hold to my position that it’s not the business of non-residents of Athens as to how the people of Athens wish to govern their community.

    OTOH, if they’re voting on prohibition because Thats The Way (Our) God Wants It, they’re violating the First Amendment. Also the message of Christ.

  10. How is that not true for the former group?

    In a voluntary arrangement, all parties need to consent to change the terms of the arrangement. The government-imposed rules can be done by a simply majority deciding “Do it because we said so” for everyone.

  11. I can understand the disdain of residents who oppose the law, but I can also accept that there may be some who prefer to live in a dry community. The important issue is that over time, residents come and go with full knowledge of the laws of the town, and that those laws shouldn’t be changed as the wind blows. A recovering alcoholic may move to a dry town, while someone else may establish a bar in a wet town. The overriding issue is that both should have some reassurance that the laws that drew them to their respective town won’t change on them.

  12. “We believe that God will honor and bless our city,” Gooch said.”

    “What historical precedent is he basing this on?”

    The precedent of all gods being magical political tools. Duh.

  13. In a voluntary arrangement, all parties need to consent to change the terms of the arrangement.

    Not true, homeowners associations change their rules either through a governing board of directors or direct membership voting. In any case any voluntary covenant of significant membership can change the terms of the arrangement without your individual consent.

  14. In any case any voluntary covenant of significant membership can change the terms of the arrangement without your individual consent.

    Assuming that the terms of the agreement allow them to do so, of course. i.e. the agreement that you sign has to say “This may be changed by a vote of the members in the Homeowners’ Association [or whatever] provided that X% approve, blah blah.”

    Still, point taken.

  15. The overriding issue is that both should have some reassurance that the laws that drew them to their respective town won’t change on them.

    And how do you assure that?

    In lieu of, y’know, a contract?

  16. For people that actually read the Bible and take it seriously, I would recommend Drinking with Calvin and Luther, or God Gave Wine as a starting point.

    I’m not one of those people, but the books are well written and well argued.

  17. Still, point taken.

    I can’t see the point. I see zero difference between joining a gated community and moving into a township. Both tax and regulate, and provide services. Both provide you with meaningful opportunity to participate in the governing process. And if you don’t like it, both can be avoided by moving a few miles down the road.

  18. Kinda Sorta related:

    Apparently there is a movement afoot to lower the drinking age to 18

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20249460/

  19. Warren-

    I see your point, but I would say that there are still 2 differences between a gated community and a town. The first is that the gated community generally covers a smaller area. The second is that it generally has a narrower scope of powers, especially in matters of law enforcement and regulation of personal conduct inside the home. (Or so it seems to this outsider, somebody correct me if I’m wrong.) Less power over fewer people probably means less chance of abuse.

    However, within the scope of a gated community’s powers, I will grant you that it bears a striking resemblance to a government. Oh, it has different letterhead, and a different name and everything, but it’s still basically the same.

    It’s interesting to me that when given a chance to experience the sort of institutions that anarcho-capitalists prescribe (i.e. privately owned communities, where authority is vested in people chosen by property owners, and everything is subject to a contract), many people create an institution of busybodies who often enforce very stringent and nitpicky rules.

    Very interesting indeed.

  20. “In my book ‘Saying Yes,’ by the way,I show how implausible the teetotalers’ reading of the Bible is.”

    Do you also show how implausible every other reading of the Bible is? I mean, every other reading that extracts a consistent message from that mass of spiritual profundity, superstition, contradiction, and outright deceit, that quasi-random collection of myth and hearsay that achieves an almost perfect record of factual error?

  21. This has been the ONLY thing that the local talk radio hosts have talked about for a month here in North Alabama. It’s getting ridiculous, and I doubt Athens will go dry. The main push for the prohibition has come from rural Limestone County, which surrounds the city. Only Athens residents can vote in this election, and so it will most likely stay wet.

  22. “In my book Saying Yes, by the way, I show how implausible the teetotalers’ reading of the Bible is.”

    Jacob, I finished your book the other day. It’s facinating and I recommend it to anyone on either side of the WoD.

  23. thoreau,

    the gated community generally covers a smaller area.

    And therefore I’m just that much less forgiving of the township.

    it generally has a narrower scope of powers, especially in matters of law enforcement and regulation of personal conduct inside the home.

    I don’t agree. I’m not sure about this in practice. But in my Libertopia, the housing association should be allowed to govern all manner of things, such as requiring grace be said before a meal. This is an important aspect of libertarianism to me. The freedom to form associations with like minded individuals and self govern.

    Libertarianism isn’t bohemianism (though some non-libertarians like to equate them). The right to bind yourself from exercising your rights is just as important as having them.

    The ability of the individual to extract himself from communities he doesn’t wish to belong, is what determines how much authority the community should be allowed to wield over the individual.

  24. Say, that’s mighty close to Lynchburg. Also a dry county but home of, of course, Jack Daniels.

    No way that Huntsville will ever go dry with all of the engineers and military folks in the area. Just drive over there if Athens goes dry.

  25. There are a number of diffs between a HOA and a government, as covered in a thread a month ago.

    For one thing, in a city government, all citizens of legal age get to vote. In a HOA, each property gets one vote. Thus, in my condo association, I have the same voting power as the couple across the hall.

    There are other things, a HOA has no power over anything not in the covenant to begin within. It cant add brand new powers at all, or at least not without a super-super majority. (My association tried to limit the number of units being sublet, to change the contract required 75% vote of owners, not a 75% vote of those voting. I voted no [and helped defeat it] but not showing up).

    Also, HOAs dont rely on “social contracts”. They write the frickin thing down.

  26. OTOH, if they’re voting on prohibition because Thats The Way (Our) God Wants It, they’re violating exercising the First Amendment.

    fixed

    Whether they should be able to vote on this is an issue; why they vote that way is not.

    Regulating the type of businesses that may operate within a defined community does not rise to the level of other outrages; this is zoning not prohibition.

  27. by not showing up.

    Sigh. If only there were some button that would allow me to “preview” before I posted.

  28. Libertarianism isn’t bohemianism (though some non-libertarians like to equate them). The right to bind yourself from exercising your rights is just as important as having them.

    Therein lies one of the major problems of libertarianism – no useful definition of what liberty is.

  29. Christians who oppose drinking on moral grounds believed they had a chance to win until Jesus himself appeared at an anti-initiative meeting.

    “Look, alcohol is fine,” said Jesus, as he passed his hands over a case of Aquafina, transforming the water into 1945 Mouton Rothschild. As an attendee approached, Jesus grabbed one of the plastic bottles and passed it to her, saying, “This is my blood, drink it in remembrance of me.”

    “As I was saying,” he continues after the woman left with the bottle, “I’m fine with wine.” Jesus then took a sip of a gin and tonic. “Like wars of religious conversion or iconoclasm, teetotalism was introduced by Satan as a Mohammedist doctrine, and these supposed Christians occasionally decide to adopt these Satanic doctrines as fervently as the ones I actually preached.” After taking another sip, he continued, “No, make that more fervently. Look, why aren’t they putting their efforts into anti-divorce measures? Wasn’t I clear on that? I made wine for a wedding, then I declared that marriages were undissolvable. I know that got written down and translated right.”

    “Anyway, look, I’m not going to force them to do anything, but I want them to stop pretending to be my followers. If you want to ban alcohol, have divorces, and fight wars to convert people, there’s a false religion invented by an illiterate Arabian merchant that endorses all three. The Saudis will be more than happy to pay for your new mosques and Semtex belts. Then I’ll send you to Hell for all eternity after you die, but you wouldn’t be happy in Heaven anyway. We’ve got Sam Adams up there, and he brews some killer beer.”

  30. Actually,to me ,it looks like the 5th amendment.They are voting a buisness out of existance,That sounds like a taking.I’ve always considered direct democracy to be the a dictatorship of the majoritiy.

  31. I’ve taken a few potshots at Vanneman in the past. As of 5:28, I would like to retract them.

  32. robc,

    Sure there are differences, but thes aren’t the kinds of things that matter when viewed through my libertarian lens

  33. Warren,

    Thru my libertarian lens, the difference between the social “contract” and a real one is HUGE.

  34. in my Libertopia, the housing association should be allowed to govern all manner of things, such as requiring grace be said before a meal. This is an important aspect of libertarianism to me. The freedom to form associations with like minded individuals and self govern.

    How do you figure that requiring others to say grace amounts to self-governance?

  35. Jennifer,

    The self agreed to the grace clause up front.

  36. The other HUGE difference between a HOA and a city government is that the HOA is voluntary.

    When I bought my current condo I agreed to be in the HOA. I wasnt in the city of Louisville. Now, I magically am in the city of Louisville. I never agreed to it, in fact I voted against it. They forced me to join the city anyway. No HOA can annex property against the owners will.

  37. robc,they can’t vote you property out of existance either.

  38. The crux of whether someone else has control over you is whether you agreed to that control. Also called consent. The one big difference between a covenant community and the law is that you’ve given your consent to be controlled by the covenant when you signed the deed. If there’s no language in the deed that reflects your consent to be controlled beyond being forced not force your will on others, than you haven’t given your consent. Just because you move somewhere where coercive laws are in effect does not mean you have consented to those laws. This may seem like a subtle distinction, but it’s at the heart of what liberty is all about. Warren, I don’t see how the size of the governed area affects the basic principles. The logical extension of your logic is that as long as there’s any country that would take you if you decided to move there, any government presiding over where you live now could do anything it wanted to you (as long as they gave you a chance to move away first, I guess?).

  39. I grew up in Alabama, and we had some property on Smith Lake, in Winston County (during the Civil War, the Free State of Winston), which is a dry county. While consumption is allowed, more than a suitcase of beer (24) per car is “bootlegging”, and is punishable by some cop, who is having way too much fun, taking the beer home for himself. Which happened to my family on more than a few Labor Day weekends.

    On one occasion they poured the beers into a ditch on the side of the road (guess they had already confiscated enough), but 90% of the time, it was simply a transfer of beers from one trunk to another. Which resulted in us driving 30 miles one way to restock. With gas prices what they are, that can translate to a pretty hefty alcohol tax.

  40. Pro Lib,
    Huntsville will never go dry because we’re the only den of liberalism in Alabama.

  41. Seriously, what is the deal with Christians being against alcohol sales? I honestly don’t get this one at all. According to your holy book, your Lord and Savior created and distributed alcoholic beverages. How do you go from that to “I don’t drink, I’m a Christian”? I’m not trying to make a point here, I’d like a real answer from someone who understands.

  42. I really think that it’s an issue of moderation. It doesn’t make news when somebody drinks in moderation. What does make news is when people get plastered and do something stupid. The fact is most Christians are empty-minded, and they believe that stopping the sale of alcohol will stop the abuse of it. They aren’t a solution-minded people.

  43. Dave, as a Mormon, I’d say it boils down to a (mis)interpretation of the concept of free agency. To be baptised into our church, you have to voluntarily give up drinking alcohol. Totally consistent with libertarianism, since that is a voluntary act. And in fact, Mormon scriptures say allowing free agency was advocated by Jesus, and coercion was advocated by the devil. Which is why it is so dismaying for me to see someone like Mitt Romney advocating for taking away people’s free agency to save them from themselves.

    The same sort of “logic” appears to apply with other Christian denominations, who also want to save others from Demon Alcohol despite clear indications in the Bible that it is OK to choose to drink it, even those denominations in fact don’t have any scriptures prohibiting it, unlike the Mormon Word of Wisdom.

  44. even *though* those denominations …

    I, too, wish they had a “preview” style button.

  45. As Hit & Run’s resident Athens, Ala., resident, I can’t say I’m surprised by this. When the city finally went wet four years ago, all of the local church folks were caught off guard. Frankly, the anti-prohibitionists were surprised, too. But now there are too many people with a vested interest in liquor sales for the prohibitionists to win. I think. Plus, all of the prohibitionist scare tactics have been proven false. Crime has remained stable, and DUIs have been stable to down, mostly because people don’t have to drive home after getting drunk in one of the neighboring cities.

    Anyway, the polls are closing as I type, so I’m off to the courthouse to watch the results as they come in. I’ll post them ASAP.

  46. I totally don’t get the “dry” thing either. It just seems so stone-age.

    in my Libertopia, the housing association should be allowed to govern all manner of things, such as requiring grace be said before a meal.

    I think you mentioned that this is only acceptable if all the terms are spelled out in advance, and I agree, but… when has there ever been a contract that’s written in stone and never, ever changes? It’s just not realistic.

  47. PS, if Athens goes dry again, I will be available for profanity-laced interviews.

  48. I think Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding to help the newlyweds enjoy their honeymoon. Drinking water was risky back then. Especially if you consider the plumbing of the day.

  49. Christians who oppose drinking on moral grounds……

    To which I would respond: How does the guy with the big G on his pocket know if you are not drinking because you are a morals kind of guy or if you are not drinking because the government says you can’t?

    Secondly, what kind of moral resolve does it take to avoid a vice that you can’t have anyway?

    I went to the beach on Saturday, where I noticed a stunningly beautiful blond chick in her early twenties who smiled my way briefly as she walked by. Being that I’m a stand-up guy I did not sleep with her (thus keeping my marriage vows intact). See how steely-eyed resolve works?

  50. …..Jesus turned the water into wine…..

    My favorite miracle.

    Just that alone is reason enough to go with the Christians.

  51. Franklin Harris, Should Athens go dry, I stand ready to provide you with a box of razor blades and a couple bottles of good wine. You must provide your own hot bath.

  52. I still hold to my position that it’s not the business of non-residents of Athens as to how the people of Athens wish to govern their community.

    An interesting position that many hold. The idea that a community can band together to forge a better environment is a fine one except that it is not the business of my neighbors to decide where I may buy wine.

  53. Drinking water was risky back then. Especially if you consider the plumbing of the day.

    IF Jesus was anti-booze, couldn’t he have just turned water into *cleaner* water? Or maybe a nice seltzer.

  54. IF Jesus was anti-booze, couldn’t he have just turned water into *cleaner* water? Or maybe a nice seltzer.

    No problem, dude, Jesus actually turned the water into grape juice. Because it had such a long shelf life.

  55. So, some individuals living in a certain community are forced to put up with laws they don’t like. Welcome to democracy.

  56. “Drinking water was risky back then. Especially if you consider the plumbing of the day.”

    This is one of the silliest arguments ever penned. I argued with my mother over this very topic once by stating the same point made by Seitz: “If Jesus was anti-booze, couldn’t he have just turned water into *cleaner* water?” Boy, did she get pissed. I have never understood why certain denominations of the Christian church consider the consumption of alchohol, even in moderation, to be a sin.

  57. “The fact is most Christians are empty-minded,”

    This is, without doubt, the most ignorant thing I have ever read on this message board. Kudos to you.

  58. Democracy is a tool. It is a means to reaching the end (liberty) not an end itself. If it fails to do its job, it should be replaced with a better tool.

  59. “Democracy is a tool. It is a means to reaching the end (liberty) not an end itself. If it fails to do its job, it should be replaced with a better tool”

    And exactly which tool would that be?

  60. OK, I’ve been standing outside the courthouse annex in hot, muggy, Alabama weather to bring you these results. No Bothans died for this information:

    Athens voters voted to remain wet by a 2-to-1 margin.

    Also, voters countywide voted down a 1-cent sales tax increase by almost 3-to-1.

    I’ll drink to that.

  61. Athens voters voted to remain wet by a 2-to-1 margin.

    Also, voters countywide voted down a 1-cent sales tax increase by almost 3-to-1.

    I’ll drink to that.

    I’ll raise a Legend Brown Ale to that, indeed.

  62. Wooooooooooo!

    Now you won’t have to drive to Decatur.
    An aside about Alabama State liqour stores:
    The pricing on mini bottles often had no relation to the price of full size bottles. Example: on a cost per ounce basis mini bottles of Vox vodka cost nearly half that of the 750ml bottle for months before the price was “corrected”.
    When working in Muscle Shoals and Decatur we used to check the prices and stock up on the under-priced mini bottles of whatever was especially cheap.

  63. And exactly which tool would that be?

    It isn’t the tool per se, it’s how the tool is used. In my grandfather’s day kids learned that the USA is a Republic. The purpose of a Republic is to define what it is that the rabble is allowed to vote for or against.

    Fast forward to a somewhat idealized libertarian style republic, one simply wouldn’t get to vote on the Athens booze question at all.

    The idea, perpetrated by the public education system, that we are entitled to vote on any and every question is behind all of this nonsense.

    Don’t like something? Write your congressperson. Do it today.

    And Dan, been thinking about your contention and had a question about that. What if Athens Ga voted to ban oral sex between consenting adults? Would you still insist that this is not the business of non-residents of Athens as to how the people of Athens wish to govern their community?

  64. TWC, I totally agree the “democracy” crap is the biggest fraud taught in the public school system.

  65. Careful with the broad brush there, Jacob. Being a teetotaler only means that you don’t drink. I’m a teetotaler, and I’ve never supported the notion that the state should intervene in people’s right to pickle themselves any way they choose.

    -jcr

  66. TWC, I totally agree the “democracy” crap is the biggest fraud taught in the public school system.

    I heard of a classroom in which the teacher approached the question of whether a particular frog was male or female by having the students vote.

    (= Back at ya, TWC.)

  67. If I was voting, the Frog dang sure better look like a chick. One that’s hanging at St Tropez. Wait, is that in France?

  68. And that nom de plume (or nom de guerre iffen you’re from Nu Awlins) fools no one. No one I say.

    More wine is the only answer.

  69. First, let me say congradulations to the Athens residents who voted against this prohibition of alcohol sales.

    Second, as for the city-housing association comparison, a few differences I see are these:

    – There is a specific, finite list of restrictions a housing association can impose. The presumption is that they don’t have the power to restrict doing something unless the contract specifically states that such a restriction exists or may be imposed. That may not be the case with a town. A city council might be presumed to have a general legislative power.

    – It may be economically impossible or exceedingly difficult for someone to move out of a town. However, I doubt that is the case for anyone living in a housing association (and if it is, I’d probably support some kind of assistence-in-moving program).

    – If you move out of one housing association, you can easily avoid moving into another. But you can’t really move out of the juristdiction of one local government without moving into the jurisdiction of another.

  70. Reviewing the comments above, it seems that there is some overlap between other commenters’ distinctions and my own. For example, Thoreau’s observation about the size of gated communities versus towns is related to the level of economic difficulty of moving out of them.

    And I generally agknowledge the signifigance of the distinctions other commenters brought up; whether they have something to do with those I mentioned or not.

  71. Now you won’t have to drive to Decatur.

    I work there, so I do that anyway. In fact, my usual watering holes are there. But it’s still nice to be able to get a six-pack or a bottle of wine on a whim.

    Of course, if Decatur’s mayor doesn’t veto a recently passed anti-smoking ordinance (which doesn’t even exempt bars!), I’ll probably end up doing my weekend socializing in Huntsville.

  72. We’re not much better on the smoking, Franklin. We have the ban on smoking everywhere kids can eat.

  73. “Seriously, what is the deal with Christians being against alcohol sales?”

    It’s not so much Christians, as it is Southern Baptists.

  74. That having been said, I still hold to my position that it’s not the business of non-residents of Athens as to how the people of Athens wish to govern their community.

    Tell that to the state and the feds, both of which have so many fingers in Athens’ pie the locals can barely get a crust.

  75. “Seriously, what is the deal with Christians being against alcohol sales?”

    It’s not so much Christians, as it is Southern Baptists.

    My family is Pentecostal, and they’re also teetotalers. My uncle and I make it a point to spend family get-togethers drunk. To prove a point, or something.

  76. To be baptised into our church [LDS aka Mormon], you have to voluntarily give up drinking alcohol.

    Or be dead. ;->

  77. And Dan, been thinking about your contention and had a question about that. What if Athens Ga voted to ban oral sex between consenting adults? Would you still insist that this is not the business of non-residents of Athens as to how the people of Athens wish to govern their community?

    That is, I admit, a somewhat tougher question as I see a difference between private sexual conduct and public commerece. Also, I don’t know how such a statute would be enforcable without violating people’s right to privacy and due process. Maybe it’s subjective – I can understand legitimate reasons why people might want to live in a booze-free town but I don’t see what difference it makes to anybody about the consentual sexual habits of one’s neighbors.

    So I’ll have to remain undecided on that issue, as I still think that as long as people are free to leave a town for another one that better suits their preferences it’s hard to see what the problem is. In a way, I’m advocating a “free market of cities” where plenty of different options for living are available for people with different preferences.

  78. There is one good thing, if the dry faction wins, they won’t have all that tax money for swat teams to bust in on little old ladies.

  79. Dan T,

    What if the majority of the town votes to get rid of the right to privacy and due process? Then the oral sex law doesnt have a problem anymore, right?

    As long as cities can steal your land and make it a part of their city against your will, there can be no “free market of cities”.

  80. What if the majority of the town votes to get rid of the right to privacy and due process? Then the oral sex law doesnt have a problem anymore, right?

    Those are constitutional rights that would supercede anything a city could implement.

    Don’t misunderstand my argument – I’m not advocating the idea that a local government can literally do anything it wants within its city limits. But I do think that communities can best decide how to govern themselves when it comes to issues that are outside generally agreed upon human rights. So I don’t think a community can jail someone for exercising free speech, but I do think they can limit the types of products sold in their marketplace.

  81. But I do think that communities can best decide how to govern themselves when it comes to issues that are outside generally agreed upon human rights. So I don’t think a community can jail someone for exercising free speech, but I do think they can limit the types of products sold in their marketplace.

    And obviously that’s where we differ. We think the right to exchange in mutually agreed upon commerce is every bit as basic a human right as the right to say what you want. Now, it’s not my goal to hash out that difference right here and now, but this is really where we differ, not on the right or propriety to criticize what laws get passed by a municipality in which the critic does not reside, since you might very well say something if you thought laws were passed by a city that would violate basic human rights. Since you made your disagreement out to be something other than what it genuinely was, j’accuse you of: DISENGENUOUSNESS. (Or else plain old confusion.)

  82. fydor, I suppose that is where we disagree.

    You feel that within certain parameters, an individual should be able to do whatever he likes, and I feel that within certain parameters a community should be allowed to govern themselves.

    I still maintain that it’s odd that a libertarian believes that other communities must adhere to his beliefs of how a community should be run but that’s not an issue we’re likely to agree upon.

  83. edit: “…govern themselves how they like…”

  84. You feel that within certain parameters, an individual should be able to do whatever he likes, and I feel that within certain parameters a community should be allowed to govern themselves.

    I know I shouldn’t really bother, but there’s no contradiction between the two positions you stated above. And in fact, both of us undoubtedly agree with both positions. So to repeat, that’s NOT where we differ. The difference between us is where we draw those parameters, and in this case it’s very clear. You think regulating mutually voluntary commerce is okay, even to the point of making illegal an entire class of commerce, and we don’t that’s okay. That’s the issue, not whether it’s okay to comment on what some particular community does, and that’s my point.

  85. It’s kind of like me commenting that I don’t like the rules of a country club that I’m not a member of. Sure, I have the right to comment but no doubt you’d wonder why I cared or at the very least tell me that nobody is forcing me to join the club.

  86. “The fact is most Christians are empty-minded,”

    This is, without doubt, the most ignorant thing I have ever read on this message board. Kudos to you.

    So “ignorance” based on 22 years of observation isn’t good enough? How much longer do I have to observe in order to generalize that most Christians are good at one thing: doing as they’re told. That sounds pretty empty-minded to me.

    A generalization doesn’t mean there aren’t exceptions to the rule, but that those exceptions are few and far between.

    Hell, maybe it’s just the Catholics that I know that are the empty-minded ones…

    Please, tell me that what I have observed makes me ignorant. Especially considering I have spent my entire life being in a Christian sect.

  87. It’s kind of like me commenting that I don’t like the rules of a country club that I’m not a member of. Sure, I have the right to comment but no doubt you’d wonder why I cared or at the very least tell me that nobody is forcing me to join the club.

    Except that it’s kind of very different too because governments, even local ones, enforce their laws coercively against people who didn’t necessarily give their consent to be governed by such laws. Now, whether a municipal government more closely resembles a private club or any other government, including larger ones, is a whole ‘nother issue, and one which I have already addressed in response to others’ posts.

    Furthermmore, there is nothing necessarily unlibertarian about commenting on a private business’s practices short of advocating coercive laws against noncoercive practices. True, some libertarians may indeed say those practices are none of anyone else’s business to comment on in any way, but saying that goes beyond the bare bones of libertarianism which addresses matters of public policy only.

  88. Except that it’s kind of very different too because governments, even local ones, enforce their laws coercively against people who didn’t necessarily give their consent to be governed by such laws.

    Actually, even a private club will eventually resort to force against a member who is breaking the rules (for example, the club may ask you to leave if you violate their dress code and call the police if you refuse).

    Now, you’ll probably say that the members of the club consented to the rules when they joined, but then I’d counter that residents of a community also consent to the rules when they choose to live there.

  89. Now, you’ll probably say that the members of the club consented to the rules when they joined, but then I’d counter that residents of a community also consent to the rules when they choose to live there.

    Read above and you’ll see that I addressed that.

  90. … church leaders who helped organize the petition drive that got the measure on the ballot are asking members to pray and fast in support of a ban.

    It’s the plot to “Footloose” played out in a small town in Alabama!

  91. … church leaders who helped organize the petition drive that got the measure on the ballot are asking members to pray and fast in support of a ban.

    Given that I cannot think of more useless activities than prayer and fasting, this was the best news I heard over the course of the build-up to the vote. I mean, the prohibitionists could have been organizing phone banks, sending out direct mail, or, you know, things that might work.

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