11.17.2010

The government is what's Loko 'round here.

I know you've heard of Four Loko. The fruity, canned beverage contains a mix of caffeine, booze, guarana and taurine (plus flavoring, sugar and some carbonated water) and packs a boozey punch equal to several beers plus several cups of coffee. It's been around for years but for some reason it's become notorious and buzzed about ad nauseam over the past month. I'll add to the discussion-nausea!

Colleges and universities have been cracking down and placing bans on possessing and consuming the drink. Now states and the feds are getting involved by trying to get the stuff completely banned. They apparently didn't realize a similar concoction is easy to recreate on your own with some energy drink, like Red Bull, and vodka. Don't forget Irish Coffee. But please don't tell them in case they want to re-instate the 18th rape-age of your freedom.

Because I really love OUTLINES, especially the kind that were drilled into us in high school, I will go with my favorite layout here:

Thesis: The government is annoying

Developmental ideas:

1. Banning Four Loko won't stop people from getting jacked up on caffeine and alcohol, and therefore it is a waste of congressional efforts and shouldn't be done. Just like I mention above, it's a simple, classic combination to keep you raging and lose your mind. It can be recreated easily, quickly and in an affordable manner therefore a ban on Four Loko will not solve the "dilemma" of people getting really shit faced and hyper.  

2. As long as no one can prove drinking Four Loko actually has an impact on rape, murder, accident and other types of crimes which are committed against others they don't have an argument. Four Loko has proven itself to be a powerful combination of elements which stupid people are having trouble handling when they drink it to excess. Call it Evolution or libertarianism (little "l", mind you), I don't give a hoot. But I retain my right to get as effed up as I would like to so long as I don't harm anyone else. This is very scary to people who don't support civil liberties and don't think people should be able to make their own choices. Please stop trying to protect me from myself, thank you.* 

If people are in hospitals because they're consuming too much of this beverage these people should feel the full weight of those choices. They should pay the subsequent hospital bills, endure the humiliation of being unable to monitor his/her own alcohol intake, deal with the wrath of family/friends, and feel all around like crap the next day or whatever health issues arise as a result. This is the only way people will learn to make better choices for themselves next time. Once we rely on external forces to make our choices for us, we lose the ability to make these choices for ourselves completely and become completely dependent upon that external force. Is that what you want? Because it's what they want.

3. Don't we have an enormous budget deficit to work on and one-sided war to wage? If this is really what these fools are worrying about, and spending their time (our tax dollars) contemplating and regulating then they should should take a pay cut. I'm not fucking kidding. Do something worthwhile that will actually impact the country in a beneficial way. Like fixing the SS system. Or keeping the internet free. Not financially free, idiot.  

Conclusion: Rational choice theory, per economics, employs a utilitarian method of approaching an issue. If the gains are greater than the costs, a choice is rational. If we exclude my Big Brother paranoia for a minute we can conclude the proposed bans are irrational as far as the government's true purpose. Because there is not measurable harm on society (no proven link to increase in homicide, bankruptcy, unemployment, rape - anything that affect society negatively when rates change in some way) that can be directly attributed to Four Loko and yet it costs tax payers money to have these buffoons put the bans in place, and time spend addressing Four Loko means time NOT being spent on issues that are actually important, I argue the cost to society is much greater than the non-existent gain. 

HOWEVER. If you're on the same page of Paranoia, A Novel as I am and see the government as an entity that doesn't care about your civil liberties and fear we're going by way of V for Vendetta, you'll agree they're being quite rational. Any legislation that removes personal choice from the people is gain for them.

It appears I am getting worked up over potential bans on a drink I've never even consumed (and don't want to consume - I like my Santa Margarita Reisling), precisely because we need to react in full force to every push against our ability to make our own lifestyle choices. How easy is it to justify prohibition? Very easy. Drinking inhibits your physical functions, your mental functions, there is an established medical addiction linked to it, etc. Being totally disciplined, straight edged and completely focused on productivity maximizes your value to society. Hell, I'm almost convinced. Do you really want to die knowing the only thing you ever lived for was maximizing your benefit to society? Pretty bleak. That's why I'm hitting an innocuous issue so hard. It's one regulation at a time. It's getting sexually assaulted by TSA at the airport - legally. It's being told how to spend your free time. It's government curfews. It happens slowly, over time, so you don't notice it.

*I have a heart condition which forces me to limit my intake of stimulants. I can't drink much caffeine without getting heart palpitations and, if I have enough, tachycardia. I am, shockingly, able to regulate my consumption of uppers (in my case, this just means caffeine) without the government seizing my medical records and removing my Dunkin' Donuts Trubo ground coffee from my kitchen "for my own good".

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