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Puritan Leftover

Why don't more bars have windows?

Maybe it's a stain from the Puritans.

Those guys were insufferable. They latched onto a few ideas like a burning marshmallow on a kid's forearm, substituted those ideas for complete reality, and self-righteously tried to force them down England's throat. We give thanksgiving once a year because the Puritans came to America; I hear the English do the same.
We're far removed from Cotton Mather these days, but the Puritan effects are still with us.

Consider the ways we restrict drinking. Where I live, no children are allowed in bars after certain hours, people can't bring their own food to a bar, a person is not allowed to run a monthly tab, charitable organizations can receive only five special (one-day) licenses per year, alcohol is not permitted on the streets (no walking across the street to your neighbor's with a beer in your hand), bartenders aren't allowed to "mingle" with customers (to hell with bending the bartender's ear), no dancing is allowed in a bar unless there's a well-defined 100-square-foot dance floor.

Drinking pinched; activities during drinking hampered.

But then our culture celebrates drinking. It's often seen as the key to letting off steam, to letting loose and getting wild. Those rowdy beer commercials call us to sex and outrageous living–if only we throw down a few beers first.

What would a Martian think if he read the laws then saw the commercials?

He'd think we're a fundamentally-bifurcated culture.

The bifurcation comes from Puritanism and the misguided notion that drinking is somehow bad.

If we eliminated that vestigial premise, drinking wouldn't be pinched and regulated like it is. Extreme drunkenness would be. So would drunk driving. But drinking itself would be welcomed, not restricted to the corners.

But with that Puritan leftover–the idea that drinking is somehow illegitimate or something to be a little (if only a teensy-weensy) embarrassed of–drinking is pushed a little bit to the side.

And into bars without windows where no one can see you drinking.

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