Freedom to drink

Liquor stores should have the right to stay open on Sundays.

Ronald Dixon

One of the advantages that we have as Americans is that, according to the principle of separation of church and state, the government cannot impose religious doctrines onto the people.

Unfortunately, though, rules are rarely universally applied.

Minnesota remains one of 12 states in the union that maintains a ban on the sale of liquor on Sundays. The rationale for this rule is strictly religious; one should not drink alcohol on the day of the Christian god.

Given the fact that we enjoy a separation between church and state, this rule should be abolished. There is, however, an even better reason to abolish this archaic tradition: private-sector economic improvement.

If a business sector is unable to operate 53 days out of a year, it forcibly loses profit. This deprives businesses of earnings, as well as hours for employees who need more work in a stagnant economy. Moreover, Minnesota residents who really have a strong thirst for beer and do not have any at home or do not wish to pay bar prices, travel to Wisconsin to purchase booze, depriving the Minnesota economy of needed business — perhaps even risking driving while intoxicated.

The call to abolish this rule has its critics. Some have complained that it would add an extra cost to businesses to stay open all week, but they would not be forced to adopt the new law. Some employees, particularly college students, have argued that they lack the time to work an extra day, but this is an issue that would be cleared with the employer; plus, I am confident  there would be at least a few workers willing to make the extra money. Finally, there exists the argument that bars will lose business, but even if they do, that is the beauty of a free-market, capitalistic system; the market chooses the winners and the losers. I highly doubt, though, that bars will succumb to any serious issues by this legalization.

Last week, Sens. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth, and Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, introduced a bill to legalize the sale of alcohol by liquor stores on Sundays. Let us hope that the outdated, economy-hampering, doctrinal law gets repealed through this bipartisan bill.