Tobacco, Alcohol, and Perhaps People?

Friday, November 28, 2003
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It seems that the Lifestyles Nanny State is everywhere. Resident Buttinski-Nanny Staters wish to rule out smoking and drinking, so how about just banning people altogether? Bhutan is moving toward becoming the first smoke-free nation. And the BBC reports that “Diageo, Heineken, Bacardi and Coors are among seven producers named in a lawsuit that accuses them of deliberately targeting young drinkers.” But now that we know that “smoke from indoor cooking fires kills one person every 20 seconds in the developing world,” so maybe we should oversee that area of life as well.

Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for lawmaking hacks everywhere to get up the guts to strike down our Puritan blue laws regulating moral behavior, such as the cannot-buy-alcohol-before-noon-on-Sundays horror. Thanks to the temperance movement and Prohibition, some of these morality laws were brought back in the 20th century, and we still can’t seem to rid ourselves of them. Here are some of the Connecticut blue laws enacted by the people of the “Dominion of New Haven”:

CONCERNING THE SABBATH:
No one shall cross a river on the Sabbath but authorized clergymen.

No one shall travel, cook victuals, make beds, sweep houses, cut hair, or shave on the Sabbath Day.

No one shall kiss his or her children on the Sabbath or feasting days.

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Whoever wears clothes trimmed with gold, silver, or bone lace above one shilling per yard shall be presented by the grand jurors and the selectmen shall tax the estate 300 pounds.

Whoever brings cards or dice into the dominion shall pay a fine of 5 pounds.

No one shall eat mince pies, dance, play cards, or play any instrument of music except the drum, trumpet, or jewsharp.

A man who strikes his wife shall be fined 10 pounds.

A woman who strikes her husband shall be punished as the law directs.

No man shall court a maid in person or by letter without obtaining the consent of her parents; 5 pounds penalty for the first offense; 10 pounds for the second, and for the third imprisonment during the pleasure of the court.

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