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I am a neolibertarian minded individual who feels that freedom and individual rights take precedence over the wants of government. I believe government exists to serve the people and not to protect us from ourselves. I am an advocate for private firearms ownership, smaller government, reduced taxes and freedom to live your life however you choose, providing you do not directly hurt others.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Brits Banning Glass Pints

When I think of going to a pub for a pint of beer, I have a few specific ideas in mind:
  • beer will be good
  • beer will be served at the perfect temperature
  • beer will have the perfect amount of carbonation from the tap
  • beer will be served in a nice and heavy pint-sized glass
If I'm going to leave my home, travel to a pub and then spend as much on a single beer as I would on a six pack at the grocery store, I want that beer to be perfect. I suspect that an awful lot of pub-goers share these opinions, especially during a global recession in which it is getting increasingly more difficult to come up with recreational spending money.

According to the BBC story in the title link, Britain has decided that pint glasses made out of actual glass are too dangerous to be tolerated and are considering banning them from pubs. The plan is to replace the traditional glass with shatter-proof plastic. Here's why:
"Official figures show 5,500 people are attacked with glasses and bottles every year in England and Wales."
At first glance, 5,500 people being attacked does sound frightening. A closer look reveals that this number includes both bottles and glasses. Of those attacks committed with glass pints, no indication is given as to how many people were actually harmed. Thus, the relevant number could be a lot less than 5,500. It sounds like a nanny state government is just blowing everything out of proportion in order to get credit for "doing something". When you weigh these 5,500 attacks against the roughly 6,552,000,000 (six point six billion) pints served annually, you end up with less than 0.00008% of the pints actually being used in attacks.

This is why I loath and detest government bans against practically any object. Bans almost always start the same way. Somebody gets harmed by a person using a particular object in an unlawful manner and makes a fuss. Law makers and bureaucrats eager to earn their keep decide to "do something" and protect people from an alleged new public menace. The object that was used for an unlawful purpose suddenly becomes "bad" or "dangerous", without regard for its usefulness and without any responsibility being assigned to the attacker who used it in an unlawful manner. The next thing you know, a ban deprives society of a useful object and the thug grabs the next closest item and uses that as a weapon and the whole process starts over again.

For the most part bans are nothing more than knee-jerk reactions foisted onto simple-minded people who lack the reasoning skills to comprehend that they won't solve societal problems. If the goal is to disarm thugs in pubs, banning glass pints won't help. Bar stools, chairs, silverware, bottles, billiard balls, pool cues, darts, loose coins in a sock and countless other objects are just as dangerous. The only way to make pubs perfectly "safe" would be to turn them into padded cells where customers are stripped naked and chained to the wall while a medical team carefully administers alcohol-free beer through a tube.

To make matters worse, the pubs are already being hit hard by the recessions, as shown by these other BBC stories:

UK 'is losing 52 pubs each week'
Pubs are closing, but who cares?
Our pub's about to shut?!?

Here we are, in the middle of the decline of an industry, and these people want to make struggling businesses spend money to replace their glass inventory with a product that is likely to annoy their customers. All so that less than one ten thousandth of one percent of the pints served each year can no longer be misused by criminals who will undoubtedly pick up something else to wield as weapons.

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