At risk of delving into
libertarian cliches, even if you buy the dubious notion that protecting
us from "addictive behavior" is a legitimate function of government,
even the most well-intentioned of paternalistic legislation is,
ultimately, enforced at the point of a gun. The people who break these
laws are arrested. The people who resist arrest risk getting shot. The
end result of legislation like Frist’s is, absurdly, that government
will eventually use violence against American citizens to "protect"
them from violating Sen. Bill Frist’s morals.
Here’s a real-world example: At last week’s forum for my Overkill paper, I met Salvatore and Anita Culosi, parents of Sal Culosi, the Fairfax, Virginia optometrist shot and killed by a SWAT team
earlier this year. The SWAT team came to Culosi’s home to enforce
Virginia’s prohibition on gambling, ostensibly designed to "protect"
Virginians like Sal Culosi from wagering their own money on games of
chance. Culosi, an accomplished, single man who had the means to back
up his wagers, had been placing bets on football games with friends.
He’s dead because there are people in Virginia government who fail to
see the absurdity of sending a military unit to arrest a man guilty of
nothing more than spending his own money in ways some people find
unseemly. That’s it.
I suppose Radley’s right. It has become cliché.