Friday, January 11, 2013 | No comments

Utah Drunk With Power

By Jeremy Lyman

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Undercover agents from the state liquor-control agency are busy conducting sting operations throughout the Wasatch Front.  It reminds me of the days of prohibition when the FBI battled it out with gangsters like the infamous Al Capone.  What is the current crime they are focusing on?  Selling alcohol to minors?  Nope.  Selling illegal “moonshine”?  Nope.  Selling alcoholic beverages without a license?  Nope.  Selling alcoholic beverages with an alcohol content above the legal limit?  Nope.

What could it be?   Shockingly enough, there are restaurants with the audacity to commit the insidious crime of allowing patrons to sip an alcoholic beverage before they have ordered their food.  Oh, the humanity!  How unthinkable that this could be going on in our state right under our noses.

In all seriousness though, the state is taxing its citizens to pay to have undercover officers patrolling restaurants before and during the Sundance Film Festival, which begins on January 17.  All this to prevent restaurant patrons from ordering drinks while they wait for their table or while they peruse the menu and decide what they will eat.

When will Utahns say enough is enough?

The nanny state of Utah seems to be growing in lockstep with our out-of-control federal government.  Many Utahns are jobless and facing foreclosures and bankruptcies, and most of us are wondering how secure our ability to provide for our families really is in this economy. Does the state really need to confiscate our hard-earned money to pay “undercover agents” to violate the rights of adults engaged in the free exchange and consumption of a beverage?  Do we really need the state interfering with one of the biggest economic contributors to our state from the private market (the Sundance Film Festival)?

The state has no business interfering in the private exchange and consumption of alcohol among consenting adults and private enterprises on private property.  This violation of liberty cannot in any way be justified.  Would supporters of this kind of policy feel justified in using force to stop their neighbors from drinking an alcoholic beverage in their home before they have cooked their meal?  Would they point a gun at their neighbors and force them to put the glass down?  The notion is absurd.  If an individual would not be justified in doing so, then they cannot rightly authorize government to do so on their behalf.

I don’t drink alcohol. I never have and never plan to. But I urge all Utahns to oppose draconian government intervention in the lives of private individuals.  Governor Herbert should be embarrassed by these nonsensical actions by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control; the legislature should repeal these ridiculous statutes. Utahns should decry these interventions and support freedom and liberty for everyone—resident, visitor, drinker, and non-drinker alike.

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About the Author

Jeremy Lyman is Director of the Center for Private Property. For the past nine years he has held a real estate license in the State of Utah and has served on the board of directors for the Salt Lake Board of Realtors®, the Utah Association of Realtors®, and the National Association of Realtors®. He is currently the CEO for Blue Mountain Hospital, a Critical Access Hospital located in Blanding, Utah.