Sex and Beer Versus The Government: The Disease of Bureaucracy

by | Jul 24, 2000

Some months ago MSNBC.com reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate raising the state tax on a six-pack of beer by 20 cents could reduce the nation’s gonorrhea rate by almost 9 percent.1 How are beer and a sexually transmitted disease linked? The CDC holds that beer consumed by young people […]

Some months ago MSNBC.com reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate raising the state tax on a six-pack of beer by 20 cents could reduce the nation’s gonorrhea rate by almost 9 percent.1

How are beer and a sexually transmitted disease linked? The CDC holds that beer consumed by young people is linked to their having “risky” sexual behavior, such as unprotected sex and multiple sexual partners, and that studies demonstrate alcohol consumption declines when alcohol tax increases. Said Dr. Kathleen Irwin of the CDC’s Division of Sexually Transmitted Diseases Prevention: “Of the 36 beer tax increases that we reviewed, gonorrhea rates declined among teens aged 15 to 19 in 24 instances. Among young adults aged 20 to 24, they declined in 26 instances.”

In reality, what this estimate demonstrates is how bureaucrats conjure up any excuse to justify wielding greater dictatorial controls over Americans.

The ostensible justification for the CDC is that citizens must be protected from disease. Since government’s only proper function is to protect the individual rights of its citizens, it does hold a limited role in this purpose. For example, government must prevent immigrants from entering this country who have transmittable diseases, particularly if deadly, which pose objective threats to its citizens. But the CDC extends and thereby corrupts this power; infecting and ultimately killing in Americans the values they must employ to live as free people.

In a nation that upholds freedom and capitalism consistently, the service of studying, controlling and preventing disease would exist to the extent its citizens understood their health and lives depended on supporting private companies that provide this. Just as hospitals and food stores, other services on which man’s life depends, exists under capitalism, so would disease-fighting companies.

But the CDC, being a government agency empowered with the rule of fighting our nation’s diseases, conducts this service at gunpoint. It uses coercion to prevent Americans from fighting disease in matters where freedom demands that they do so by using their own independent judgment and self-responsibility, such as employing these values in evaluating the quality or trustworthiness of disease-fighting companies.

To illustrate how the CDC corrupts government coercion, let us assume its studies are fact: raising the price of beer does reduce incidents of youths contracting gonorrhea after drinking beer and having “risky” sex. Observe that instead of the CDC wanting parents to try to responsibly prevent their children from indulging in these activities, or wanting youths themselves to take up this responsibility, its un-elected or self-appointed officials offer a pretense of exercising this task — by blaming the beer-makers and pointing government guns at them.

The CDC not only wants to usurp from individuals the responsibility of preventing a disease and refraining from the activities that cause it, it wants to shift that responsibility to individuals who are actually blameless. Just as when bureaucrats shift blame to gun-makers when students choose to shoot their schoolmates, they want to shift blame to beer-makers and other beer drinkers and forcibly impose on them what amounts to an alleged disease-preventing tax when youths get drunk, have “risky” sex and contract gonorrhea.

The CDC’s method is not to offer solutions that can appeal to an individual’s rational mind and potentially persuade him to exercise his responsibility in caring for his health and life, and to responsibly accept the consequences of his choices and actions, whether positive or negative. Instead, it bypasses this to point guns at innocents, which does nothing to fundamentally help to discourage an individual from wanting to get drunk and have “risky” sex.

Thus, what a government agency such as the CDC fundamentally institutes is both the destruction of the individual’s independent judgment and responsibility and the punishment of innocents. As with all regulatory agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration, the CDC partakes in forming a nation of people increasingly manipulated or coerced into becoming less responsible for making their own choices about their lives.

If the independent-minded Americans who take responsibility for their lives are to be saved from extinction, then part of this task requires that the CDC and all other agencies like it be dismantled before such individuals are robbed of these values and turned into obedient slaves kowtowing to the commands of any bureaucrat.

References:

1. “Higher beer prices tied to STD drop,” MSNBC.com, April 27, 2000.

Joseph Kellard is a journalist living in New York. To read more of Mr. Kellard's commentary, visit his website The American Individualist at americanindividualist.blogspot.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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