Iowa Considering Everclear Ban: Where’s the Spirit of Rebellious Youth?

( State regulators weigh ban, limits on Everclear:

State liquor regulators are putting Everclear – one of the most potent alcoholic beverages – under the microscope following a November drinking incident that nearly cost the life of a Drake University student. College students, liquor industry officials and other Iowans are debating the merits of restricting or banning its sale.

It is popular at parties frequented by young people. State records show the leading counties in 2009 for sales of 1.75-liter bottles of Everclear were Story, home to Iowa State University, and Johnson, home to the University of Iowa. The 1.75-liter bottles, nearly two quarts, are the largest available.

College students say Everclear is often added to potent punch-style drinks and sometimes other types of liquor.

“Personally, I don’t drink it, and I wouldn’t have a problem with banning it,” said Drake senior Matt Poindexter, 22, of Kansas City, who is majoring in marketing and information systems.

But Chris Donahue, 25, a Drake freshman from Norwalk who is studying health sciences, is skeptical. He believes restrictions on alcohol only make young people more curious. “I think they should do a better job of educating kids and telling them that it is not necessarily a great thing to go out and get drunk,” Donahue said.

It makes sense we don’t value freedom as much as Americans did after the revolutionary war, because we haven’t experienced the same loss of freedom. I’ve mistakenly believed young Americans would always be some of the best defenders of freedom, because they could remember a time would they weren’t allowed to make decisions for themselves.

Has the spirit of rebellious youth died? Mr. Poindexter has had the freedom to choose for himself to drink alcohol or not for only a year, and is already willing to go back to having someone else make those decisions for him. Mr. Donahue is only seven years removed from parental control, but seems undisturbed by parental figures forcing their advice on himself and others.

Rebellious youth are supposed to be one of the first lines of defense for liberty. Young Americans are supposed to remind others what it’s like not to be able to decide things for yourself. Being an adult doesn’t mean its your turn to start running other peoples lives.

To Mr. Poindexter – Your comments suggest it is fine for the majority to tell others what to do. That works as long as you are in the majority. What if the roles were reversed? You don’t have a problem with banning Everclear, but would you have a problem being forced to drink Everclear? From this perspective, as long as the group you are in isn’t impacted, there is no problem. Would it be OK with you to ban a different ethnicity or women from college? It’s no loss of freedom for you personally, after all.

To Mr. Donahue – Alcohol is for adults, not kids; one of the responsibilities adults have is deciding for themselves if something is a great thing or not, Mommy and Daddy’s opinion notwithstanding. I suppose it would be fine for me to better educate you to the dangers of allowing others to run your life?

To the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Commission – If it exists, there is a stupid way to use it. If being able to harm yourself with an object is criteria for a ban, then virtually everything would be banned! College students also do stupid things with cars, food, clothes, etc.–in fact, sometimes they do stupid things because they enjoy doing stupid things!

It is a mistaken belief that there is no loss of freedom to ban something you would never do. I’ll probably never be a Moonie in the Unification Church, but if Moonies were banned, we all lose freedom of religion.

I don’t drink Everclear, and I have a problem with banning it. I don’t think it’s great thing to get drunk, but I wouldn’t force my opinion on other adults. And as as reminder to the lost rebellious youth: there is always a loss of freedom allowing others to make decisions for you.

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