Two-Vice Maximum by David Greenwalt
We’ve been allowed two legal vices, three if you count gambling in specific locations.
I’ve pitched this idea that follows to a few close friends and we’ve always got a good chuckle out of it. This is really just a mild rant and is not to be taken all that serious. Just some food for thought and a tongue-in-cheek theory I have.
In an effort to make sense of nonsense I’ve recently come to the conclusion that the government has decided we, the people, are not allowed more than two vices legally at a time. It’s not that one particular vice is more harmful or morally bankrupt than another–it’s just that the two vices we’ve been given are the maximum allowed–“I’m sorry, you cannot exceed the two vices you have been given.”
The two vices we’ve been given? Tobacco and alcohol. Between 1920 and 1933 the government actually tried to take away one of the two given vices and it failed miserably–it was called prohibition. Here is what one source had to say about it:
“National prohibition of alcohol (1920-33)–the “noble experiment”–was undertaken to reduce crime and corruption, solve social problems, reduce the tax burden created by prisons and poorhouses, and improve health and hygiene in America. The results of that experiment clearly indicate that it was a miserable failure on all counts. The evidence affirms sound economic theory, which predicts that prohibition of mutually beneficial exchanges is doomed to failure.”
As for tobacco? It’s just too big to ban. Too much money flowing into the government from big tobacco to abolish it and even if the government really wanted to, the uproar from addicted nicotine addicts would be not dissimilar to prohibition–a huge colossal failure.
The government’s message to us is clear. “We hear you oh addicted souls of democracy. And we concur. Thou shalt have two vices to satisfy the need for escape and inhibition (alcohol) and the need for artificial countering and coping (tobacco).”
Once you understand the government’s position it’s easier to understand why they continually say no to other vices–it’s not that the other vices are more harmful–it’s just that it would exceed the two-vice maximum allowed by law.
Moreover, it is my belief the government has established the two-maximum vice not so much because they care about the health and welfare of we Americans but because of image problems internationally. I mean, it’s okay if they allow us to drink and smoke, what’s so bad about that? But what if they let us drink, smoke, smoke pot, gamble and lie around with hookers while doing anabolic steroids purely for muscular enhancement? What would the international community think of us then?
So, when bills are introduced to make marijuana legal or even to make it medically legal for those who get no pain relief from anything else, there is a HUGE resistance by the government for one reason–it will have exceeded the two-vice maximum and our international image may be EVEN MORE tarnished than it already is. It’s simply unacceptable. It’s not that marijuana is going to harm more people than tobacco and alcohol. Get real.
One source said this about both … “According to the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependency, 105,000 Americans die annually from alcohol-related causes which could include everything from falls to drunk driving accidents to cirrhosis of the liver. For comparison sake, there are 365,000 tobacco-related deaths in the U.S. each year.” And as a former police officer? If it weren’t for alcohol half the police in America could be sent home. That’s a conservative estimate.
So, since I’m all about solutions and not just pointing out problems, let me give my solution to the two-vice maximum.
I say let US choose our two vices. Okay, okay, we understand the government doesn’t want to give the appearance of the United States being a bunch of hedonistic, whack jobs. Got it. But since it’s barely arguable that the two vices we have are the worst we could have (when compared to pot, steroids, hookers, gambling) then just let us choose which two vices we want every year. And maybe if you choose no vices you get a $1,000 tax credit or something.
I think it could work. It would go like this. Every year, maybe at the department of motor vehicles, you could register for which two vices you want to partake in that year. Maybe a guy is single or divorced and decides he wants to buff up 20 extra pounds of muscle so he checks the “hookers” and “steroids” boxes. Fine. So he can’t smoke or drink. Maybe in another year stress is really high and business isn’t all that great. Just check “marijuana” and “gambling” so you get to relax and try your hand at lady luck for income.
In either example it’s barely debatable that the two vices chosen by either person are less harmful than tobacco and alcohol–I’m pretty certain they are–or at least no MORE harmful. And they fit the “escape” and “addiction” needs of we Americans as well.
I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, I think this case is closed. Problem solved. Someone needs to run this up the flagpole and see if it’s got any bite on capitol hill.
Two-Vice Maximum by David Greenwalt