Oh, Dear

Oh, Dear:

Cassidy wants you to play a game with her.

All I can say is, I hope they write better laws than... who am I kidding? We already know they don't.

THW Gov't Fathers

Government is not a Father to Us:

I realize it's been fully a week since I felt like I had anything to blog about at all. There's lots going on, but I just haven't felt like I had anything particular to add.

I still don't, but I am feeling irritated today, so I'm just going to resort to a rant. The subject of the rant will be bad behavior related to alcohol.

Whose bad behavior? Not the drunks, of whom there are noticably fewer these days. There's a great deal less drinking, smoking, and fighting in America, which most people regard as unmitigated improvements. I'm not sure we couldn't use a little more of all three.

I am entirely sure we have gone too far in trying to curb these activities. Last night I took my wife and family to dinner at a local restaurant. I ordered a pint of Guinness with my burger. The waitress carded me.

"I'm so sorry," she apologized as she did it. "I have to card absolutely everyone. My parents come in here, and I have to card them too."

She's right, of course. The law now requires it in Georgia. No one could possibly mistake me for a teenager trying to sneak a drink, but even were I 75 years old I should have to show my identification. There is no need for it to enforce the laws against underage drinking, as only borderline cases really require identification. There is no need for it to enforce the laws against serving people who are already intoxicated, as your age is immaterial if you're obviously drunken.

Rather, it is a pure form of harrassment. The intention is to make having a beer seem like a dirty activity, something of which society is rightly suspicious. I find that plainly offensive. Drunkenness is surely bad, but beer, as David Allen Coe used to say, is good for you.

This absurd treatment has surely had some positive effects. I understand that DUI-related deaths are down these last few years, as the anti-drinking movement has managed to push the acceptable blood-alcohol level down in most states. I'm not even sure what it is in Georgia now; it seems like it changes ever year, although always only in one direction.

Not that further gains aren't possible. Britain is enjoying a 48% decline in alcohol related violence in its rowdiest party town. The cost of such a decline?

Customers entering the town's six main late-night drinking and dancing joints were being asked to register their personal details, have their photograph taken and submit to a biometric finger scan.
Fingerprints. And a mugshot. Just for walking in the place.

But hey, it works, right? Sure it does. 48% drop in alcohol-related violence -- can't argue with that.

Except, I think, by looking at what these things do to us as citizens. It makes us accustomed to a level of control that is unfit for a free people. It makes us learn to accept the idea that it is perfectly right for the government, or its appointed agents, to examine us in whatever detail it may wish, at any time.

I want to be able to sit and have a beer in peace, without the government leaning in from Atlanta to demand my papers. I don't think it's wrong for people to have a pleasant smoke, so long as it's not in such an enclosed area that other people can't get away from it if they like.

Joel Leggett and I once had a good exchange on the topic, starting here and ending here. Joel reminded us of John Wayne, in The Alamo, who said that in a Republic people could "be drunk or sober, however they choose."

Kim du Toit once posted a fine essay asserting that, "I want men everywhere to going back to being Real Men. To open doors for women, to drive fast cars, to smoke cigars after a meal, to get drunk occasionally and, in the words of Col. Jeff Cooper, one of the last of the Real Men: 'to ride, shoot straight, and speak the truth.'"

As we should. There are benefits, in some cases, to the nanny-state approach. Those benefits are undercut by the fact that they make it harder -- and make it seem, to some, shameful -- for a man to behave like a man.

To hell with that.

October 25th

Today marks two notable occasions:

End of the Siege of Lisbon and recapture of the city from the Muslims, and the Battle of Agincourt where the English overcame the odds.

Along with Chesterton's 'The Last Hero', and the anonymous 'The Battle of Maldon', the below is another reading which I employ regularly.

What's he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin:
If we are mark'd to die, we are enough
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires:
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England:
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more, methinks, would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made
And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say "To-morrow is Saint Crispian":
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say "These wounds I had on Crispin's day."
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.