On the “Yes” side, the chief idea is that of convenience. “Vote yes on Question 1 for consumer choice and convenience.”
First off, if you really stop and think about it, convenience and consumer choice are not really the same thing at all. Think about making this same sort of argument when you’re considering whether a Wal-Mart should open in your community. “Let Wal-Mart in for consumer choice and convenience.” This may be something of an extreme example, but it does show that choice and convenience can be at odds with one another.
Overall, though, convenience is perceived a good thing. The modern American economy is practically built around it. Inconvenient things certainly don’t sell, as we’re less likely to seek them out. It doesn’t necessarily actually make the thing in question better, but it sure seems like it.
Likewise for choice. We’ve always rallied against monopolies, even the ones that give us the ultimate in convenience. Choice is always good, or so we are taught.
How can a question dedicated to giving you more choices in where to shop, and making access to wine more convenient, be a bad thing?
Enter the No faction, whose campaign is based on the safety issue.
Decades of MADD and general anti-DUI ads (usually featuring a guy in a business suit walking down the side of a busy highway) have heightened awareness of the pitfalls of alcohol. We have to take measures, argue the No supporters, to balance access to alcohol with the public safety.
And safety, especially these days, is a resounding issue. We’re taking all these steps in the War On Terror in the name of public safety, and furthermore its always been one of the driving forces in government to protect the public safety.
But nobody would argue that we need to do everything we can to ensure the safety of the populace. Not after you point out that doing everything you can would involve reducing speed limits to 20 mph everywhere and/or requiring everybody to drive an SUV (and not the ones that roll over!).
So there are flaws to both sides of the argument. We don’t, and shouldn’t, do everything in the name of convenience and choice, and we don’t, and shouldn’t, do all we can for safety.
On the question, though, it seems to boil down to convenience vs. safety. Which side has the stronger argument? I’m guessing that safety will probably win as this country seems to obsessed with it lately, though I could be wrong…
(Personally, I oppose the question, but not for the safety issue. I think the safety issue is a load of nonsense. I actually oppose it because I think it will work against consumer choice. I think the Wal-Mart effect could drive more than a few small liquor stores out of business, and that would be bad for all of us.)