Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

““The real damage is done by those millions who want to ’survive.’ The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who won’t take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness. Those who don’t like to make waves or enemies. Those for whom freedom, honour, truth, and principles are only literature. Those who live small, mate small, die small. It’s the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you’ll keep it under control. If you don’t make any noise, the bogeyman won’t find you. But it’s all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I choose my own way to burn.””     Sophie Scholl

March 9, 2009

Outlawed in Alabama: A Tale of Two Videos

by Stephen Gordon

What do sex toys and microbrewed beers have in common?  In Alabama, they are both more-or-less outlawed.

What’s that, you say?  They don’t have statewide prohibition in Alabama, do they?

Before I respond, here’s an interesting video just produced by reason which celebrates the “American beer revolution.”

Of Alabama’s 67 counties, 14 are completely dry counties and 12 are partially dry.   While the rest of the country repealed prohibition in 1933, Alabama is still stuck in the previous century.

For those fortunate enough to live in a place where drinking is allowed, one still can’t consume many of the better beers in world.  That’s because “Alabama is one of only three states in the country that limits alcohol by volume (ABV) for beer to only 6%, and the only state that limits beer containers to a size of no more than 1 pint (16 ounces).” Fortunately, an organization called Free the Hops is working hard to change the law.

Additionally, homebrewing is outlawed in the state. Even if you happen live in one of the 41 wet counties in the state, there’s still no way to get many decent beers — unless you happen to like the choice of Bud or Bud Light.

Some might say that if you can’t have a good beer, at least you can have good sex in Alabama.  Well, that depends on whether you enjoy using one of the toys described in the not-safe-for-work video below.

It’s against the law to sell sex toys in Alabama. People have tried to challenge the case in court, but to no avail. In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the Alabama sex toy case.  Here’s how the AP reported it:

The U.S. Supreme Court declined today to hear a challenge to Alabama’s ban on the sale of sex toys, ending a nine-year legal battle and sending a warning to store owners to clean off their shelves.

An adult-store owner had asked the justices to throw out the law as an unconstitutional intrusion into the privacy of the bedroom. But the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal, leaving intact a lower court ruling that upheld the law.

Sherri Williams, owner of Pleasures stores in Huntsville and Decatur, said she was disappointed, but plans to sue again on First Amendment free speech grounds.

“My motto has been they are going to have to pry this vibrator from my cold, dead hand. I refuse to give up,” she said.

Alabama’s anti-obscenity law, enacted in 1998, bans the distribution of “any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs for anything of pecuniary value.”

This isn’t a case of one of those archaic laws ignored by law enforcement, either.  Alabama’s Attorney General Troy King wants to throw people in the pokey for engaging in such activities.  Fortunately, this led libertarian activist Loretta Nall to start a campaign to mail in “Sex Toys 4 Troy.” Nall personally mailed the Attorney General an inflatable pig, which led to this editorial cartoon in the Mobile newspaper.

The bottom line is, when planning your next vacation, be sure to consider Alabama.  It’s a whole lot of fun here and at least our women aren’t running around willy-nilly having orgasms all over the place.

<snark>This blog posting was brought to you by the Alabamastan Department of Tourism and Travel.</snark>

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