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Intent vs Impact

December and 2020 are almost over! This month is chock full of holidays - Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Pancha Ganapati, Boxing Day, Pearl Harbor Day, Forefathers Day, and 21st Amendment Day. The last seems most pertinent in 2020.

From the National Archives (archives.gov), “On December 5, 1933, the 21st Amendment was ratified. The 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment of January 16, 1919, ending the increasingly unpopular nationwide prohibition of alcohol.”Governments seem eager to regulate human behavior - deeming some behaviors verboten and others mandatory. 2020 was not the first time those in public office tried to alter our behavior in the name of safety or improved health. Such efforts are not always without merit.

Certainly we have speed limits, and licensing requirements for all sorts of things. These seem to be nescessary in a civil society. Improved building codes and environmental regulations (for example) have led to safer living conditions without impinging on personal freedoms. However, some requirements are often proven to be too burdensome or not nescessary. In all cases, there are always unintended consequences!

The most recent issue of Cigar Aficionado features mobsters. There is an especially good article by Jack Bettridge about Prohibition. The last paragraph follow...

“The mobsters that Prohibition had enriched did not skip a beat upon repeal. They simply moved on to new ventures: prostitution, loansharking, protection rackets, the numbers games, drug dealing and the like. The noble experiment that was meant to cure all America’s ills had created more strife.” (italics added)

A new year, a new Congress, a new President -let us hope they don’t make the same old mistakes...


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