The "communism" of drunk-driving laws
Plus: Desperately seeking Daddy Boozebucks!
I’m finishing up an extremely illuminating/depressing book right now called The Big Myth: How American Business Taught Us to Loathe Government and Love the Free Market. Written by coauthors Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway,1 the book lays out in painstaking detail how industrialists and their fellow travelers in these United States spent bajillions of dollars on propaganda programs to mainstream their preferred “market-fundamentalist” ideals in the back half of the 20th century.
They did this by conflating unfettered business freedoms with personal liberty, and smearing any economic model to the left of rawdog libertarianism as socialism—which, of course, they insisted was a guaranteed path to full-blown Soviet-style authoritarianism. I.e., if the government can regulate a firm’s “right” to pollute as much as it wants in pursuit of sweet profit, it’s only a matter of time before it seizes your family farm and sends you to Stalin’s work camps.
This is a textbook example of the slippery slope fallacy, and decades’ worth of bludgeoning the American public with it paid off big time. But you don’t have to read The Big Myth to see it in action. Just look at how Californians in the ‘80s responded to the state’s efforts to cut back on rampant drunk-driving deaths just a smidge: