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August 2006
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How prohibition works

[Via Hit and Run]
In my lifetime, I have eaten in restaurants in Chicago thousands of times, yet I don’t remember ever seeing foie gras on the menu. The people of the Windy City are great eaters, and they love their deep dish pizza, polish sausage, italian beef, ribs, and a whole lot more. But Chicago foie gras? You won’t find it at the Taste. Oh, I’m sure there are plenty of places that had it — it’s just that most people don’t go to those places.
That didn’t stop the Chicago city council from deciding to prohibit foie gras. That’s right, a law against goose liver. The ban went into effect yesterday, and the results could have been predicted.

CHICAGO, Aug. 22 — On Tuesday, this city’s lawbreakers were serving foie gras.
The illicit substance could be spotted in places it was rarely seen when it was legal: buried in Chicago’s famed deep-dish pizza, in soul food on the South Side, beside beef downtown.
In one of the more unlikely (and opulent) demonstrations of civil disobedience, a handful of restaurants here that never carry foie gras, the fattened livers of ducks and geese, featured it on the very day that Chicago became the first city in the nation to outlaw sale of the delicacy.
“This ban is embarrassing Chicago,” said Grant DePorter of Harry Caray’s Restaurant, which dreamed up an appetizer of pan-seared foie gras and scallops ($14.95) and a Vesuvio-style entree pairing foie gras and tenderloin ($33.95) just to buck the new ordinance. “We really don’t think the City Council should decide what Chicagoans eat. What’s next? Some other city outlaws brussels sprouts? Another outlaws chicken? Another, green beans?” […]
Jerry Stout, a lunchtime diner at Connie’s Pizza, said city leaders should have more pressing matters to worry about than fattened duck liver. Hardly a foie gras connoisseur — he could not remember whether he had ever tasted it before — Mr. Stout, 54, tried it on his pizza and said he would recommend it because of its mild flavor.

Now I’m not going to take a position on animal raising ethics here, but clearly, if people have a problem with foie gras, they can educate and influence people not to eat it. That might actually work. But prohibition? Just look how people responded to the prohibition of something as irrelevant to them as goose liver!
Prohibition not only has disastrous side effects, but… it doesn’t work. Prohibition not only doesn’t work, but… it can be counter-productive.
Prohibition is… a disease, that infects and corrupts everything it touches.

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