In his article “Bars are about more than drinking,” Daniel Levin ponders Utah’s current private club laws. Which, he notes, “are most often derided because they are so inconvenient and so irrational as to be maddening. But,” he believes, ”they are most offensive for their chilling effect on Americans’ constitutional right of free association.” Mr. Levin makes a good point:
Drinking establishments have long served as incubators of America’s traditions of democratic self-government and our distinctive culture. There is no better place to find genuine political debate than a pub. The American rebellion against Great Britain was largely planned in taverns, and many of the most important discussions that led to drafting of the U.S. Constitution took place in City Tavern, across from Independence Hall, during the Constitutional Convention.
Speak-easies gave birth to jazz, Southern ‘juke joints’ spawned the blues and honky-tonks nurtured country music, all authentic expressions of America’s genius. American comedy, essential to our national sanity, is as much a product of nightclubs as it is of vaudeville.
People love people. And people love to talk, and sometimes listen. And people go to bars to talk, and sometimes listen. (Mr. Levin’s article appears in today’s edition of The Salt Lake Tribune.)