Monday, April 09, 2007
You wouldn't know it from this blog, as I paid it no mind, but President Chavez's decision to restrict alcohol generated quite a bit of contraversy - from the usual suspects of course. No sooner does Chavez decide to do anything than his opponents start falling all over each other criticizing it. Heaven forbid they have to admit that Chavez actually made a good decision and did something worthwhile.
So of course, we had some calling calling the ban on alcohol a "bone-headed decision" while others equated it to mandating "less elbow-bending". Some of this criticism is particularly ironic coming from New York Times reporters. One can only imagine they haven't been back to the home office for quite some time - if they had been they'd know that pretty soon eating anything with trans-fats in them will be enough to get handcuffs slapped on you.
Of course, what matters isn't what a bunch of chronic naysayers think. What matters is whether or not the decision did any good.
It appears it did. Today we learn that automobile accidents were down 13.2%, injuries were down 11.2% and deaths were down 1%. Modest gains to be sure, but significant when one considers that there are hundreds of thousands more vehicles on the roads this year than last. And having hundreds fewer people going through the trauma of being in an accident and being injured more than justifies keeping people from hitting the booze for a few days.
Of course, there are other ways of combating drunk driving besides banning alcohol sales during holidays. Tough enforcement with sobriety checkpoints is one and Venezuela has them. Banning alcohol related advertising would be another idea that could prove effective and which I would like to see.
Needless to say though if that were done our same friends would immediately yelp about how limiting advertising infringes on their freedom of speech and probably some other non-sense that they would manage to dream up.
Fortunately for Venezuela Chavez has how to deal with these people down to an art form - he just ignores them. That sounds like another great idea by Chavez.