A 73-year-old Virginia man is now facing felony charges for making moonshine in his home. Now, before you get the idea that this is some dangerous form of alcohol, the term “moonshine” simply references liquor that is made without a license (Think that whole permit versus right sort of stuff that government engages in all the time to both control and profit.)
Different forms of “Moonshine” can be purchased at your local liquor store, but the difference is that people sometimes enjoy producing alcoholic beverages as a hobby for themselves and friends, whether it’s beer, wine or liquor.
Local Virginia affiliate WSET reports:
RICHMOND, Va. (WSET) — The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission said a collaborative effort is expected to result in multiple felony and misdemeanor indictments for a man caught selling moonshine in Virginia and Tennessee.
ABC officials said after a four month investigation, special agents got a warrant to search the home of Winston Delano Terry, 73, of Jonesville.
On Friday, with help from state police, special agents seized 67 gallons of moonshine, 22 firearms, and a vehicle from his home.
“The bust was the direct result of information supplied by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s Enforcement Section,” said ABC Special Agent in Charge Steve Baffuto. “Our undercover operatives made numerous buys during the past several months, culminating in the enforcement activity.”
Now, there are several issues going on here. First, Terry’s property was seized in clear violation of the US Constitution’s provisions in the Fifth Amendment:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
This is simply asset forfeiture and it is unlawful and unconstitutional. Mr. Terry has not faced due process of law and to confiscate his guns and car is a clear violation of the Fifth Amendment’s protections.s
Furthermore, what business does the state have in controlling the flow of alcohol? They have no business in that. They merely do it, like most things they do, for the money.
Cary Wedler reports on this issue at Anti-Media:
The government insists moonshine is a threat to public safety, a claim bolstered by the fact that homemade liquor is more likely to have lead in it. As Slate has pointed out, “there’s no inspection of the manufacturing process, so quality — and levels of contamination — vary.” Even so, drinking moonshine is hardly a greater threat to the public than “legal” alcohol.
“Aside from drinking too much and doing something dumb — oh, like attacking somebody with a chain saw and fire extinguisher — the biggest risk is lead poisoning, since a homemade still might consist of car radiators or pipes that were dangerously soldered together,” Slate noted.
In other words, the greatest danger of moonshine is to the person who chooses to consume it, as with most other drugs — legal or not. Though authorities may insist they are doing a public service (NBC Washington reported that “ABC’s chief operating officer said the charges against Terry help protect public safety”), the primary reason moonshine is illegal is far less altruistic.
As Slate explained:
“Because the liquor is worth more to the government than beer or wine. Uncle Sam takes an excise tax of $2.14 for each 750-milliliter bottle of 80-proof spirits, compared with 21 cents for a bottle of wine (of 14 percent alcohol or less) and 5 cents for a can of beer.”
The ban on moonshine is about guaranteeing revenue for the government at both the federal and state level. It’s no surprise Virginia authorities seek out illegal alcohol producers; the state levies a tax of $19.19 per gallon, one of the highest rates in the nation.
“No one knows exactly how much money changes hands in the moonshine trade, but it’s certainly enough for the missing taxes to make a difference: In 2000, an ATF investigation busted one Virginia store that sold enough raw materials to moonshiners to make 1.4 million gallons of liquor, worth an estimated $19.6 million in lost government revenue. In 2005, almost $5 billion of federal excise taxes on alcohol came from legally produced spirits.”
See? Government plays on the “health risks” of such a product while at the same time controlling and profiting from similar products. I call it hypocrisy.
Our country installed prohibition on alcohol and it resulted in the opposite effects that representatives told us it would have. Thankfully, prohibition was repealed.
As a homebrewer and winemaker, I consider it ridiculous that a government that profits from the very same kinds of products they are seeking to throw Mr. Terry in jail over is allowed to continue to do so.
So many things in our culture today are facing prohibition. The idea that a plant like marijuana is considered to be under prohibition and the fact that gun grabbing politicians are eager to institute prohibition against guns is two big items that demonstrate the glaring hypocrisy of what government engages in in their impotent attempts to play God. All of these attempts merely give the opportunity for government to violate the rights of the people and we have seen that grow and grow and the problems they claim to be handling through such a process are not diminished but continue to grow alongside their tyranny.
The reality is that alcohol is considered to be a gift from God and that it is not bad in an of itself. However, when men abuse the gifts God has given them, that is where the problems arise, but that is in the heart of man, not in a drink.
The great reformer Martin Luther once wrote in Works of Martin Luther: With Introductions and Notes, Volume 2 with regard to images, in which he made reference to alcohol:
…nevertheless we must not on that account reject them, nor condemn anything because it is abused. That would result in utter confusion. God has commanded us not to lift our eyes unto the sun, etc, that we may not worship them, for they are created to serve all the nations. But there are many people who worship the sun and the stars. Shall we, therefore, essay to pull the sun and stars from the skies? Nay, we will not do it. Again, wine and women bring many a man to misery and make a fool of him. Shall we, therefore kill all the women and pour out all the wine? Again, gold and silver cause much evil, she we, therefore, condemn them? Nay, if we would drive away our worst enemy, who does ut the most harm, we would have to kill ourselves, for we have no greater enemy than our own heart, even as Jeremiah says, “The heart of man is crooked,” or , as I take the meaning, “always twisting to one side or the other.” And what good would that do us?
Control of alcohol by the government for profit while condemning men for producing it themselves for either consumption or profit is the height of arrogance and hypocrisy.