Why is the government involved in alcohol sales?
Federal, state and local governments are involved in the regulation of alcohol because alcohol is destructive to individual agency, family bonds and, ultimately, freedom. The very first major piece of legislation in the First Congress of the United States, sponsored by James Madison, regulated the sale and consumption of alcohol.
Many people in support of alcohol regulation seek to justify in terms of tax revenue. Most conservatives justify its regulation on the grounds of virtue and clear-mindedness required of responsible citizens in a free society – the fact is that consuming liquor has never made a human being a better person of character. So why is its sale and consumption allowed at all? Because of human nature and our personal coping mechanisms.
Prohibition, the constitutional amendment to prohibit the sale and consumption of alcohol, was repealed precisely because people need ways to cope with difficult lives and circumstances. The demand for repeal was overwhelming after World War I, amid new feelings of prosperity in the 1920s, and especially heading into what became known as the Great Depression.
Newsletter: Support regulation of alcohol
Article: Prohibition explained