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Fallwell Jr supports ABC privatization plan

As the Lynchburg News-Advance reported earlier this week, Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr supports Virginia governor Bob McDonnell’s plan to privatize the state’s liquor stores [link].

Folks outside Virginia may not know this, but in Virginia beer and wine are sold in grocery stores, but hard liquor can only be purchased through state-run Alcohol Beverage Control Board (ABC) stores. The current governor is proposing to sell off these stores; as best I can tell this is entirely a search for revenue on the governor’s part and is being proposed without regard to any social impact the sale might have. My recollection growing up in Virginia was that there was some sort of stigma attached to entering an ABC store, and if that’s still the case I suppose this would remove that stigma.

Honestly I don’t understand Jerry Jr’s argument:

“In my view, Virginia’s private sector, its families, churches and businesses will be better served and protected by eliminating government-sanctioned monopolies.”

How Virginia’s families and churches would benefit from privately-run neighborhood package stores I can’t imagine. Unless of course they were the families running the stores. If there’s a silver lining for Virginia churches here I can’t imagine what it is; I can’t picture a preacher wanting a liquor store in his neighborhood. The same article quotes Jerry Jr’s brother Jonathan:

“I have no position on whether ABC sales in Virginia are private or public, my hope would be that we could shut all liquor sales down,” Jonathan Falwell said.

I suspect reporter Ray Reed took the right tack here, and this is just a political favor Falwell Jr is doing Governor McDonnell.

I really have no idea what other reason Jerry Jr would have to speak up regarding liquor stores; Liberty students aren’t supposed to be consuming alcohol at all. I suppose we’ll see this episode reach its moment of highest irony if ABC stores are privatized and one of the new private stores opens within easy walking distance of the proposed Canders Road walkover from the Liberty campus. Or when the university’s endowment invests in a chain of liquor stores.

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