On the mark. :-)
Our current “2 am” laws are the last gasp of early 20th century Temperance Societies who were also behind Prohibition. As the 20th Amendment was passed and all state laws aligned to the 18th Amendment (aka Prohibition) were suddenly illegal, state legislatures were required to change laws to align with the new law of the land. The dying gasp of still-politically-connected Temperance Societies was to broadly insist on a 2 am closing time for bars in most US states which continues to this day.
Of course, when you travel outside of the US you discover this bizarreness of these 2 am laws by their noticeable absence everywhere else in the world and with the noticeable absence of ANY major problems caused by “no close times” as well.
There is no more drunkenness or deaths or other damage without the 2am close time. Just like the War of Drugs, the number of “addicts” aka alcoholics per capita is constant with and without prohibition. All that changes is the suffering and oppression of an unlucky minority while the majority does what would have always done anyway!
One thing that is also different: people binge drink before 2am in the US and end up drunker around 2am. And then they drive because they can’t stay longer. 2 am laws literally encourage more drunkenness AND force many to drive drunk. The lack of cheap late night mass transit on top of this only makes things worse.
You can claim that “you should stay sober anyway to avoid the whole problem” but this is about as realistic as insisting that abstinence is a workable and effective sex ed strategy! You have to make decisions based on what people really will do and what really works, not goofy wishful thinking and ideology!
I contrast this with when I lived in Taiwan, and countries in Europe, which have NO set closing time: people don’t binge-drink as much and yes parties can last until 6 am — which is when you take a cab to a breakfast place and then home. But it’s game that loses its attraction out of self-preservation over time. :-)
Honestly this is blood on the hands of the old Temperance Societies with over 100 years of excess and unnecessary deaths in the US for ignoring utilitarian realities in flavor of ideological purity and self-righteousness. Of course being typically “Puritan” in nature and philosophy, they’d probably say “Good, they deserve to die for their sins” which is complete idiocy! How would make the same silly excuse today?