Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tilting at Windmills

From the name of this blog, one might expect to find more posts concerning adult beverages and the second amendment. While I do write such posts on occasion, most of my writing tends to be political in nature.

Sometimes, though, politics and blog titles collide.

I am a strong believer in limited government and individual freedom and liberty. Therefore, I find any law restricting the right of the individual, while at the same time expanding the power of the government, to be abhorrent. One such law is the prohibition of distillation of alcohol spirits.

The federal government has seen the errors of its ways, and currently allows ethyl alcohol spirits to be distilled, at least for fuel use, by individuals in private. One need only make application for, and be granted, a permit to do so. There is no fee (that I know of) involved in the permit process. And the permit allows one to produce up to 10,000 “proof” gallons (!) per annum. The alcohol spirits must be denatured to prevent human consumption, of course. And the permit holder must keep a log detailing production runs, volumes, usage, etc. of the alcohol spirits.

And then there is the Glorious Commonwealth of Virginia. We have some screwy laws and taxes here. After a discussion with an anonymous source at the ABC (Virginia-ese for Alcoholic Beverage Control), it is illegal to even own a still without a Virginia distiller's permit. My letters asking for this law to be changed have fallen upon the deaf ears and blind eyes of our Delegate, Watkins Abbit (a self-styled good-ole-boy; one would think he would be in favor of legalizing home distillation).

Alcohol spirits are what is known today as a “bio-fuel.” A “bio-mass” such as corn, sugar beets, even garbage, is fermented into an alcoholic “wash.” The wash is then distilled into alcohol spirits; the alcohol separated from the watery mess and condensed into spirits through distillation.

Many people believe, erroneously, that bio-fuels are the answer to our energy problems. Gasoline is terribly expensive because oil is so expensive. As of this writing, a barrel of crude is selling for over $100. But alcohol spirits, and other bio-fuels, are expensive to mass produce. The production of bio-fuels also raises the price of food, since agricultural land used to grow food crops is instead used for growing the bio-mass needed for bio-fuel production. Available land for food production is thereby reduced. Corn in particular is more expensive now due to the bio-fuel craze, e-85 cars, and the rest. Alcohol has the additional problem, and expense, of being impossible to ship through pipelines, as it would leak through the joints that oil runs over. It must be trucked in containers in order to distribute, burning more fuel and releasing more carbon into the atmosphere! I say, cut out the middle-man and allow (do you hear me Delegate Abbit?) individuals to make their own alcohol spirits for fuel use. Once that is done, it will be easier to legalize alcohol spirit distillation for beverages. That's my evil plan, anyway.

No, bio-fuels will only be a short term band-aid on our national sucking-chest-wound energy problem. The bottom line is: We need to go after and refine our own petroleum until something better than oil or bio-fuels is found. I don't care if we kill a few caribou in the process. They are good to eat, by the way. We could feed them to the homeless.


Mark Tueting said...


Polymath said...

I will stand next to you in the name of raw milk anytime, brother.