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IPFS News Link • Philosophy of Liberty

Cheap Spirits and the Spirit of Freedom

• Pajamas Media
When I learned that liquor can be sold in Louisiana all day and night, I was stunned. And then I was stunned at myself for being stunned. More than stunned — appalled, actually. I’m an American, but in that moment I realized I’ve lived in Norway so long that — for all my endless ranting about it — I’ve grown accustomed, on some level, to that illiberal, menacing, infantilizing monster, the Nanny State. Despite all my best efforts, I’d turned into somebody who was thrown by the idea of a laissez-faire liquor law. “I’ve lived in Norway so long,” I lamented on Facebook, “that I’ve forgotten what it’s like to live like an adult.” Of course this isn’t about liquor — it’s about freedom. Liquor prices and opening hours are hard facts. But the larger subject here is a more elusive one, which involves not just facts but feelings. It’s about the whole experience of living in one kind of place or another. In some places, so many of the establishments and institutions that figure in your life a