Once again, fear, overreaction, and the Nanny State have crushed liberty and common sense. Four Loko, a caffeinated, alcoholic beverage, will no longer be distributed in New York State. This follows previous Four Loko bannings in Washington, Michigan, Utah, and Oklahoma.

Good job parents, you’ve succeeded in making a foul tasting alcoholic beverage the most sought after item at college parties. Because telling kids that they can’t have something always works so much better than educating them about proper use and moderation, right? “Just say no to drinking Four Loko!” (Instead, funnel it on an empty stomach if you really want to get wasted.) Oh wait, was that supposed to be a secret? Well you know parents, if your kids don’t learn how to drink from you, I guess they’ll have to learn it from me.

How obvious is it that all of this government attention is helping Four Loko sales? So obvious that the makers of Four Loko agreed to the ban voluntarily. It’s like that scene in Jedi only if Four Loko was the Emperor sitting there saying “Take your Government weapon. Use it. I am unarmed. Strike me down with it. Give in to your anger. With each passing moment you make yourself more my servant.”

I am taking crazy pills, or is the government playing right into the hands of Four Loko makers?

Here’s the best marketing campaign Four Loko could have ever hoped for. From the Wall Street Journal:

“This drink is too easy for teens to get and too dangerous for them to consume,” said state Sen. Joel Klein in a statement. He announced on Sunday, along with the State Liquor Authority, that a minor working undercover for the police was illegally sold Four Loko at 11 of 28 stores in the Bronx on Nov. 9.

College students have been hospitalized after drinking the beverages, including in New Jersey, where one school banned them on campus.

Here’s how teens interpret that message:

  • Dangerous? Check.
  • Easy to obtain? Only if you are cool enough.
  • Get’s people all kinds of f***ed up? It’s putting people in the hospital!

That’s young people code for “how the hell do I get my hands on this?”

The law is good at a great many things. But it is especially talented at making kids want something they are not supposed to have. Placing all of this attention on Four Loko is only going to make kids want the product more, and abuse it when they get their hands on it.

What good is banning it going to do? Remember, the underage people who are drinking it already are not supposed to have it. Kids will get their hands on it, somehow, and since it’s already “illegal” when they do they will just abuse it more.

I mean, college students are already promising to do this. Check out this quote in a local ABC News story about Ramapo College in New Jersey. The President of the school recently banned the drink — he claims 20 students have been hospitalized because of Four Loko already this year. One of his students shot back:

“It isn’t good. It’s gonna kill all the fun here,” Omar Alkhalili said.

Alkhalili is a junior here. He’s had the drink and knows what it can do.

He says ban Four Loko and you have another problem.

“I feel like people will hide it more. Maybe they won’t be as inclined to tell people their friends are sick, which could be a bad thing,” he said.

If you want to stop Four Loko you have to start educating kids how to handle alcohol responsibly. But that is hard, that takes time, and there are going to be mistakes. And we know how Baby Boomers (the ones making the decisions about this product) handle things that are hard and don’t have a 100% chance of success. They whine to politicians and wait for the government to fix all of the problems associated with young people. Why talk to your kids when you can just make the government do your job? Why educate your kids when you can just sue colleges and universities when your kids act like idiots?

If I had a kid who was interested in drinking Four Loko, you know what I would say? I’d say “Son, this here is a bottle of Glenlivet. It’s what your grandfather used to drink. You can drink your alcohol out of a can like an animal, or you can drink it out of a glass like a man. The choice is entirely up to you.”

Parents should be telling kids how to handle alcohol, not erecting an entire legal structure which will only-slightly-inconvenience their children on their way to getting drunk.

Maker of Four Loko to stop shipments to NY state [Wall Street Journal]
Ramapo College bans alcohol energy drinks [Eyewitness News]

Earlier: New From the Nanny State: Lawmakers Try to Protect Kids/Bros From Four Loko


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