Carrie Nation, M.D.: The neo-prohibitionists are on the march

R Street's Kevin Kosar on the neo-prohibitionist movement:

To a degree, the British government’s recent freak-out over alcohol is understandable. The nation’s tabloids regularly carry stories featuring individuals getting falling-down drunk and doing stupid things. “Drunk chef, 23, who used an aerosol deodorant can and lighter as a makeshift flamethrower to set his neighbour’s head on fire is jailed” is just one of the recent stories. Do a Google photo search of “London binge drinking” and pages of appalling images appear. So too with “Liverpool binge drinking,” “Manchester binge drinking,” etc. The photos are modern versions of Hogarth’s Gin Lane.

U.K. media reports on binge-drinking stupidity are not limited to lads and yobs. The nation’s best and brightest turn up in the news for puking in the streets. Women also regularly star in these sordid media tales: “Furious judge blasts a drunk mother-of-five who ‘offended veterans around the world’ when she urinated on a war memorial TWICE as she REFUSES to apologise to families of the war dead” and “Drunken woman who attacked a policeman with a bottle as he tried to break up a fight outside a bar is spared jail because she is now pregnant.”

Read such things, day after day, and it’s no wonder some of Britain’s elites have panicked. “There is no safe level of drinking,” declared Dame Sally Davies, the United Kingdom’s chief medical officer, shortly after releasing new guidelines that told Brits to cut their intake. Any alcohol consumption could cause cancer, she warned. Talk is in the air of government imposing higher prices and mandating scarier warning labels....