Too much government control?

Our coalition government, which like all governments talks a good deal about individual liberties, has recently produced a clever new plan to curb irresponsible drinking.

It is going to stop supermarkets, stores and pubs from selling alcohol below a certain price. The minimum price will still be quite low, but it is a first step -- and we are promised more price rises will follow. The government hopes to stop the young and down and out from drinking too much alcohol by simply making it too expensive for them.

The arguments seem compelling -- you might even cut crime and improve the nation's health. The only real criticism of the government has been from those who say the minimum price should be set far higher if it is have a real impact.  The health argument is also used every time the government pushes up the price of cigarettes. 

British governments of both right and left now see it as their duty not just to encourage us to do the right thing, but if necessary to force us to do so.  To wear a helmet on a bike, to eat low fat foods, to inoculate against disease -- even to encourage marriage.

It all began of course in this country with what they called the clunk click law -- a law to force you to wear a seat belt in your automobile.  And why was that law so important?   Because for the first time I found myself obliged to do something not for the good of other people, but for my own safety. And once the principle had been established, then further action on making us preserve our own health and life was inevitable. 

I have no objection to laws such as speed limits which prevent me from hurting other people -- well, I do object sometimes, but at least I concede the law is legitimate.   But I have every objection to being told what to do for my own good.

Logically if you follow this path then the government has the right not just to control your drinking, but your diet, and your lifestyle.   It's old fashioned, I know. But I feel I can make up my own mind.  My advice to government is -- butt out. 

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