I respect your view Séan, and I said up front mine was an unpopular view, but I guess I take the line that even sensible moderate drinkers like the members of Beoir would be better off having to stop at 11pm. Like you say we are quite capable of deciding to leave early ourselves, but we sometimes don't, and on those occasions legal compulsion would keep us on the straight and narrow.
I am not trying to win any converts here and I know I'm likely to.[/quote:1jve0js4]
The problem with the kind of thinking that has people being forced to do things for their own good is that it can be used to justify many kinds of tyranny.
Applying the same logic I submit that everyone would be better off sticking to 17 units per week and maximum of 5 units on any day, so we should all have electronic ration cards limiting each of us to that consumption. In order to facilitate this it will be illegal to purchase more than 1 days worth of alcohol at any one time, or to have in your possession more than a days worth of alcohol. Buying alcohol for others will be illegal as will the unlicensed manufacture of alcohol.
I guess I take the line that even sensible moderate drinkers like the members of Beoir would be better off having to stop at 5 units and while we are quite capable of deciding to drink less than 6 units at a sitting, we sometimes don't and on those occasions legal compulsion would keep us on the straight and narrow.
See what I mean?
Once we have that in place we can work tackling other things people would be better off doing or not doing. Saturated fat, salt, sugar, exercise, gambling, smoking, etc. a suite of bans and compulsions could be enacted to make people do the things our masters judge we should and limit the things our masters judge we should limit. It'll be for our own good.
Also bear in mind that legal compulsion does not mean people always comply. If you have a law you will have violations of that law. If the law is violated people must be punished, so you have people being punished for not going home by some arbitrarily arrived at time. (I sometimes work 1pm to 8.30pm. I don't have to be up early but I am still bound by the same bad law.)
No worries if you don't get caught though, the chances of which can be minimised if you are smart. For example, having your after hours drinks in the pub where the local Garda like to have their after hours drinks means you are quite safe. That brings me to another problem with such laws: corruption. Everyone knows it's not all that important that these laws get enforced. Not like the laws on assault or theft. This means that blind eyes can be turned, particularly if those enforcing the law are themselves violators.
I think most people have a fairly strong belief in freedom as a principle in a democratic society. I don't think you can call yourself free if you are not free to make what others might judge to be the wrong decision.