Part of what makes the LC so easy to ridicule is the undercurrent of holier-than-thou piety that runs through many of the department’s decisions. Rather than tackling its job from a purely pragmatic standpoint, the LC seems determined to weigh things against its own obtuse ethical code.
Let’s grab an example from the department’s rulebook. Here’s how it defines “immoral conduct”: “any act which is contrary to good morals; inconsistent with the rules of the liquor commission and principles of morality…”
Did you catch that sleight of hand? In one swift sentence they managed to conflate “principles of morality” (presumably in the vague, universal sense) with their collection of often arbitrary, heavy-handed, ill-conceived rules. All of the sudden the LC isn’t just a public agency, they’re arbiters of right and wrong. They tell you where to dance, they tell you what to sing—they’re the judge, jury, Mom and God all rolled into one.
OK, we’re being dramatic. But really, what is the LC doing defining “immoral conduct” in the first place? That isn’t their job. That isn’t any government agency’s job, not in a free society.
This, folks, is the problem in a nutshell, the recipe for disaster if you will: an inflated sense of power mixed with a false sense of moral responsibility seasoned with a dash of good old fashioned corruption.
None of this is new of course. In an issue dedicated to Repeal Day, it’s fitting to note that overzealous moralizing and the policing of alcohol have gone hand-in-hand for generations. And, it’s safe to say, that isn’t gonna change anytime soon.