“If you don’t like Utah, leave!”

—Many people responding to my “Utah bashing” columns.


by Harry Caines

Utah just cannot help itself when it comes to booze. More specifically, Mormon politicians that run Utah like a theocracy just will not stop passing laws that make beer drinkers feel like 2nd class citizens. It is a fetish they cannot quit.

Earlier this year, Utah pols voted to lower the legal drinking limit to .05 from .08. That is no better than a single drink for someone of average height and weight. The blowback was immediate. There was a chance that this short-sighted law might have been amended, but that was put to rest on Wednesday when a commission determined that no changes should be made to this hideous law that will not prevent a single fatality due to alcohol consumption. Kiss logic and reason goodbye.

They doubled down by raising the price of liquor and beer sold at state-run stores.

And let us not forget the “THIS IS A BAR, NOT A RESTAURANT” farce.

Coming up soon, the state legislature will debate raising the legal ABV (alcohol percent by volume) from its’ notoriously low 3.2% up to a nationally recognized norm of 4.8%. Only Minnesota stands with Utah regarding this nutty, counterproductive number. Brewers are most likely going to stop producing beer at that enervated percentage.

Utah pols will not let anyone tell them what to do! It is probable the “religouslature” might keep the law as is and if there is no more beer in Utah…well, that is that.

If you don’t like it…leave!

That is the ad hoc retort towards anyone that laments these laws. Utah will continue to pass nutty, arcane laws that are nothing but nocuous to the casual drinker as a means to impose Mormon control over an activity they despise. No need for civil debate. Just leave.

OK. What if they did? What if, as a grand protest, every single drinker in this state packed up on the same day and left the Beehive State? What would the impact on Utah be? As I see it, five major problems would cripple Utah and lead to its regression as nothing more than a backwater shanty mooching off the tax dollars of bigger, more lucrative states.

Allow me to enumerate some problems I believe will manifest themselves if such a scenario came to fruition.

1) Utah’s economy would fall to 50th in the Union. Simply stated, half this state is made up of non-Mormons and people that are on the LDS Church’s membership rolls but do not adhere to Mormon doctrine. Not all of them drink, but in this hypothetical situation if they all left, Utah would lose approximately 1.5 million residents.

Yes, Utah would close all the bars and coffee shops in the state. But they might also close half the chain and fast food restaurants, Wal-Marts and Targets. And this is not just because half the people disappeared in a pseudo-Rapture. Many of these stores rely on Sunday sales. Non-Mormons shop on Sundays because less people are in these stores on that particular day of the week.

You might find this hard to believe, Utah Mormons, but the rest of the state likes having these stores and restaurants to ourselves one day a week. Cutting 1/7th of a business’s revenue would force many to close.

2) Salaries in Utah would go down. With only Mormons shopping 6 days a week, there would be less retail work and fewer hours for that work. Utah is already an awful place for Joe and Mary Schlub to make a living on an hourly wage. With Utah being a right-to-work state, companies have leverage over their workers.

If you don’t like your menial job…quit!

3) Utah would lose a massive amount of political power. Currently, Utah has six votes in the Electoral College. That is the same amount as swing-state Nevada and powerful first caucus state Iowa. Cutting the population in half—because drinkers need to capitulate to pious laws or leave—would drop us from 4 members of the House of Representatives to one; the same number as Wyoming.

That’s relegation That is what you get when you tell half your population to suck on a law that relegates them to pariah. You become Wyoming.

4) The Utah Utes and Utah State Aggies would never win another football game. It is possible for both of these school to succeed in basketball with a team comprised solely of Mormons. Football is different. The Utes compete in the PAC-12 Conference. The quality of teams in that conference would make the Utes nothing more than lambs to a weekly slaughter.

And my beloved Utah State Aggies? Many of their players come from outside the state and are junior college transfers. I doubt they could field a team if the if-you-don’t-like-it-leave crowd was appeased.

You might have noticed I left out BYU. That is because most of its’ team is Mormon and they are currently limping with a record of 1-7. BYU might want to consider offering non-Mormon recruits a keg of beer to come to Provo; unless the Cougars are resigned to being the third best college football team in Utah.

5) Food servers in Utah would never experience the thrill of receiving a sizeable gratuity.

Beer exists. So does liquor. There is a burgeoning minority of people in Utah that wants to drink both without continuing to feel marginalized as Mad Max extras racing down Utah’s Main Streets looking for little kids to run over. These citizens—who pay taxes—deserve better than to live under threat of obtrusive, socialist-leaning laws inflicted by the state to implement a religious dogma that has no place in any form of government in the United States of America.

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