A coworker of mine mentioned that when he was at the gas station earlier this morning he was in line behind a woman, who by all appearances was probably a prostitute, trying to purchase a can of one of those new-fangled alcoholic energy drinks. He said she was denied on the basis of a new law that disallows the sale of single-serving alcoholic beverages before noon. I immediately expressed my immense disapproval of such legislation.
“Yet another example of how society deftly screws the poor,” I snarled.
“How do you figure?” asked my coworker.
“Well, let’s see, the law basically says that if you don’t have enough money to purchase more than a single can, you aren’t allowed to buy it at all. It’s discrimination based on income.”
“I think you’re extrapolating a tad there. The law isn’t necessarily based on income, but rather a desire to keep drunken transients to a minimum. Besides, how can you say that making it harder for them to acquire their poison a bad thing? It could be argued that the law is designed to help them.”
“That isn’t why the law was passed and we both know it,” I rebutted. “Withholding a can of beer isn’t going to cure a raging alcoholic, especially one who has no home. It’s not as if that woman you saw this morning walked out of the store thinking, Gee, now I see the light. I’m never drinking again! Time to start filling out employment applications and finally making something of myself! The fact is that law was created so that ‘regular’ people wouldn’t have to look at others less fortunate than themselves doing whatever they can to get by for one more lousy day.”
The debate continued for a few more minutes. He’d contend that because the people affected were alcoholics, a law prohibiting them from buying booze was justified, brushing away my counter-argument that what he described was merely one faction imposing its system of ethics upon another, less powerful faction.
Eventually, we pretty much just had to agree to disagree.
Anyway, I’d love to know what my politically inclined readers* think:
Is prohibiting the sale of booze to people who can only afford a single can discrimination or justified therapy?
If you have an opinion, let’s hear it!
*Save for the insufferable, close-minded neo-cons I’ve blocked, of course.