Thursday, December 05, 2013

Today Is Repeal Day - Let's Celebrate!

Today, across the country, Americans are celebrating "Repeal Day." As David Boaz of the Cato Institute put it, "Today is a great day for freedom."

What's the celebration about? We are commemorating the 80th anniversary of the 21st Amendment, which was ratified on December 5, 1933, and took effect ten days later (coinciding with Bill of Rights Day). Ratification was confirmed by a vote of the Utah legislature to repeal the 18th Amendment that prohibited the manufacture, distribution, and sale of alcoholic beverages within the boundaries of the United States.

While it would be easy to attribute the celebration to nothing more than the desire of Americans to imbibe a shot and a beer without bribing a police officer or paying a mobster, the repeal of the Prohibition amendment represents something far more fundamental: It means that, despite Ronald Reagan's quip that "the nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program," it is indeed possible to end programs that fail miserably, are counterproductive, increase the size and scope of government, and intrude in the private lives of citizens.

In other words, the 21st Amendment should offer a lesson for everyone who wants to repeal Obamacare (or, for that matter, marijuana prohibition and NSA domestic spying).

Although recent history may give more reason for pessimism, it is not impossible to reverse a bad government program. The effort may take hard work, extend over a long time (Prohibition lasted almost 14 years and its effects are still with us -- such as Virginia's socialist liquor monopoly), and encounter setbacks, but success can happen.

With that in mind, to quote Franklin D. Roosevelt, "What America needs now is a drink!" Toast now; legislate later.

(Cross-posted from Bearing Drift)

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