In an episode that could only be described as “2023: The Year We Ran Out of Normal,” Reason, the libertarian magazine that cut its teeth in the wild, psychedelic year of 1968, has been taking more shots at the Jones Act than a dartboard in a dive bar. Armed with a barrage of articles, social media posts, and videos, the Reason team has been bashing American Cabotage with fervor for decades.
Despite the relentless onslaught from Reason, Congress remains as unyielding as a granite monument in their support for the Jones Act. Most US Merchant Mariners raise a glass in gratitude to Senator Wesley Livsey Jones’ century-old law. Yet, for libertarian-loving entities like Reason and Cato, the Jones Act is akin to that obstinate shopping cart wheel, determined to veer you off course and land you smack in the middle of the canned goods aisle.
Reason has tried many tactics to sink the act, including video. They have even tried “funny” videos. Well, they certainly gave humor a whirl, but let’s just say their last anti-JA video was as funny as a lead balloon at a helium party. Industry insiders responded with all the hearty laughter you’d associate with a tax audit.
But like an infomercial salesman who won’t quit, Reason has come roaring back into the comedic fray. This time, they’ve pulled out all the stops and decided to impersonate the Beastie Boys in a slick – if not fully factual – music video targeted at younger voters. This time via a video title Cabotage, a spoof of the 1994 Beastie Boys chart-topper “Sabotage.”
Die-hard Jones Act supporters probably won’t crack a smile, likely seeing the Beastie Boys as some kind of subversive maritime insurgency. But for the rest of us mere mortals, it’s pretty darn funny. I think most will at least chuckle, much in the same way we do when a cat gets its head stuck in a tissue box.
But can humor sink a 100-year-old law that opponents have already poured millions into attacking? We doubt it.
What’s clear though, is that the anti-Jones Act brigade is pulling out the big guns, or in this case, the big boomboxes. They’re spending more money, innovating their tactics, and trying to appeal to a younger crowd. Who knows, maybe their next ploy will involve TikTok dances or skywriting over the Potomac? The Jones Act might be over a century old, but the status-quo seems about to get a makeover Senator Jones never asked for.
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