Four Loko ban based on insanity
The current Four Loko ban (read: travesty) is the latest and most glaringly-obvious example of America's inability to take any accountability whatsoever for its actions, especially when it comes to consuming in moderation. In the same way that McDonald's is making people overweight, Four Loko is making people overdrunk, and as long as there's a successful corporation profiting from our gluttony, we don't hesitate to blame the corporation instead of our own failure at practicing self control. For whatever reason, the American collective seems utterly determined to play the victim, and to have regulatory bodies monitor and delegate everything we do, because once a company makes a product we want, we simply do not have the power to stop consuming it until it makes us die. This of course, has little to do with our continued purchase of said goods, and everything to do with the corporations selling us things that we are powerless to refuse. Since we can't do it, the government should save us from ourselves. Ironically, this is the same culture that expresses a nearly universal disdain for Big Brother's gradually tightening grip.
When are we going to stop pointing fingers and start looking in the mirror?
First of all, stop blaming Four Loko for your blackouts – I know this will come as a surprise to everyone, but alcohol has been doing that on its own since the dawn of man.
Besides, an inanimate aluminum can didn't make you march yourself to the liquor store to fork over your hard-earned money for booze. You did that. And when you drank your third can knowing good and well that you probably didn't need another drink because you spent the last hour drunk-dialing your exes while humping someone's parked car in broad daylight, it didn't matter that you still felt hyper – you voluntarily did that too. So tomorrow, when you wake up in the hospital because you decided to play chicken on the 405 with a blood-alcohol content hovering around .3, consider this question before you go firing off angry letters to the FDA about how you were taken advantage of by alcopops: did Four Loko come over to your place and inject itself into your body? Or did you do all the work?
The argument against Four Loko is immediately absurd because it focuses on how the drink chemically tricks us into drinking unsafe amounts of alcohol, without ever suggesting that drinking alcohol of any chemical makeup is inherently dangerous, and should be done in moderation. Because the caffeine counteracts drowsiness – the human body's natural defense against alcohol poisoning – we are left completely oblivious to the fact that what we're doing might be bad for us.
It's alcohol people, it's a poison. If you put it in your body you are knowingly taking a risk. If you can't control the rate at which you put this poison into your body, it's because you lack the fortitude to simply say "that's enough." You are not the victim of clever advertising. You have not been swindled by chemical wizardry. You simply drank too much because you don't know your limits. Saying that the caffeine makes it impossible to gauge your own level of intoxication is like saying the surge of adrenaline we get from mashing the accelerator makes us unaware that going over 100 miles per hour into a hairpin turn on a wet road is BAD FOR US.
And let's be honest: Four Loko has a pretty direct allure because it's a cheap, quick drunk that keeps us from passing out first – but alcopops in general taste like shit. So when they return to our liquor store shelves, full of alcohol but devoid of stimulants, we'll leave them on the shelves like we did with the Sparks when they pulled the same stunt last year, and we'll all go right back to the original, palatable alcopops: Jack and Coke, Red Bull and vodka, Absinthe and 5-Hour Energy.
It comes down to this simple logic: If we, as Americans, keep telling ourselves that we don't have the testicular fortitude to control ourselves – that nicotine is a chemical addiction, that alcoholism is a disease, that obesity is genetic – then we are willingly revoking each other of our inalienable right as human beings to choose between right and wrong. All of these vices are usually pretty fun, but the right thing and the fun thing are not always the same thing.