John Stossel: Puritans are still trying to run our lives
It's as if the government is still run by the Puritans who settled this land four centuries ago. They said pleasure and luxury are sinful.
Drinking and driving can be fatal. But government data show that sleeplessness and driving are just as deadly. Having kids in the back seat, looking at GPS map instructions, fiddling with the radio and eating while driving are often deadly, too.
Why is the DUI test all about alcohol level, rather than behavior? Government keeps lowering legal blood-alcohol levels — recently from .10 to .08 — and now they want to lower it to .05. But some people are good drivers even after a drink or two. It would be better to punish people for "reckless" driving.
Maybe people are simply more aware of the dangers, thanks to publicity from groups like MADD. Safer car designs helped, too. Non-alcohol-related driving deaths are also down.
At least DUI laws seek to protect people from others. But government puritans go well beyond that, banning activities that harm only the individual engaged in them — like gambling.
Why? It's true, for some people, gambling becomes addictive. Some wreck their lives. But for most people, gambling is entertainment, practice in using strategy and an excuse to socialize. A little risk is fun. And the laws don't stop the activity. They drive it underground, where it's run by criminals.
Sometimes puritans want to ban things without any evidence that the activity is harmful. After every mass shooting, someone wants to tax, or ban, violent video games.
After hearing about those moral panics, you might feel like relaxing with a cold beer. But don't try buying one from a convenience store in Indiana. The state requires that the beer be sold warm.
I doubt that such laws help. Perhaps puritanical laws don't have to make sense. They just have to leave us feeling righteous because we've done something to crack down on bad behavior.
John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed."
READER COMMENTS: 8
- Strategery: A war by any other name - 20
- Freeh dumb: Favoritism in Vt.? - 5
- Public be damned: Litchfield latest example - 2
- NH's 9/11 victims: We cannot forget - 0
- Celebrating Stark: And America, in Manchester - 0
- NH's Obamabots: Taking their cues from party bosses - 57
- Spending & voting: MayDay's wasted money - 5
- For the NH GOP: Two new stars - 13
- 9/11 memories revived: 'A quiet, unyielding anger' - 8
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Bella, a chihuahua mix, is still missing in Auburn - 0
- Nashua man charged in domestic knife threat - 0
- Manchester man detained on Nashua rape charges involving child - 0
- Pair accused in Hampstead home invasion also face witness tampering charges - 0
- Suicide car bomber kills 3 foreign troops in Afghan capital; Taliban claims responsibility - 0
- City officials to review proposed 'spice' ban - 0
- Widow of chiropractor killed this summer says fatal shooting was no accident - 0
- Manchester's Delana Curtis is left out in the cold - 0
- Another View -- Sharon Day: The Democrats' claim to be the party for women is just not believable - 11
DWI license revocations
Mexican man pleads guilty in international conspiracy to traffic hundreds of pounds of cocaine
Another View -- Sharon Day: The Democrats' claim to be the party for women is just not believable
Strategery: A war by any other name
Freeh dumb: Favoritism in Vt.?
Seabrook mom pleads not guilty by reason of insanity to attempted murder of her two children
Lawyer wants cellphone evidence thrown out