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I caught an episode of the show Moonshiners on Discovery, and though most of the show is obviously staged, it did feature actual law enforcement officers who hunt illegal moonshiners every day.

Government officials may claim that moonshine is illegal because they’re trying to protect the public from unsafe liquor, but let’s be honest. Alcohol is practically a poison, and if you drink too much in a sitting, it will kill you. If they were only concerned about safety, my state wouldn’t be selling it in their state-run liquor stores.

Moonshine is primarily illegal because it is untaxed, and in my home state of Virginia, the tax on alcohol is very lucrative. In 2011, Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control generated an estimated $324 million in liquor, beer, and wine taxes and liquor-store profits.

It irks me that people caught making moonshine are sent to prison for years, while General Electric earned $14.2 billion in 2010 but didn’t pay one dime in taxes. The government will hunt moonshiners for a few thousand in lost revenue but let multinational corporations defraud it of billions.

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