Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A disappointing president

When I was young, Thomas Jefferson was my favorite Founding Father. Mostly because we had the same first name, but then, I was young in an era when the Founding Fathers were all pretty much superheroes.

So I'm not so much angry as disappointed to read the following from his pen:
I think it a great error to consider a heavy tax on wines, as a tax on luxury. On the contrary it is a tax on the health of our citizens.
So far, so good, you say? But see where he's going with it (with added emphasis):
It is a legislative declaration that none but the richest of them shall be permitted to drink wine, and in effect a condemnation of all the middling & lower conditions of society to the poison of whisky, which is destroying them by wholesale, and ruining their families. Whereas were the duties on the cheap wines proportioned to their first cost the whole middling class of this country could have the gratification of that milder stimulus, and a great proportion of them would go into its use and banish the baneful whisky. Surely it is not from the necessities of our treasury that we thus undertake to debar the mass of our citizens the use of not only an innocent gratification, but a healthy substitute instead of a bewitching poison....

These, dear Sir, are the thoughts which have long dwelt on my mind, and have given me the more concern as I have the more seen of the loathsome and fatal effects of whisky, destroying the fortunes, the bodies, the minds & morals of our citizens.
A total coincidence, no doubt, that Jefferson was a winemaker.

No comments:

Post a Comment