Realities Created, Maintained and Destroyed, WHILE-U-WAIT!

Saturday, February 12, 2005

I have been feeling quite irritable for the last couple of days

And I couldn't for the life of me figure out why.

Usually I am a fairly mellow person. People often comment on my sunny, even Pollyanna-like demeanor, so when I spend more than fifteen minutes being in a bad mood it usually means something.

Then someone said something to me last night that put my mood in focus, it's time for my yearly rant.


Alcohol is basically an anti-evolutionary drug, I have always found it somewhat surprising that more people do not understand this.

While a threshold dose of this drug will produce a moderately positive effect, anything beyond that just makes you stupid. And dangerous. And irresponsible.

This is not anew idea, 1400 years ago the Quran stated
"In the matter of wine and gambling, there is some good in it for you and some harm in it, and the harm outweighs the good." (my translation)
Does this mean that I think that you should not dose yourself with alcohol if you want to?


Does it mean that I think that we should prohibit the consumption of this drug?

Hell no!

My position is that people have the right to alter their consciousness chemically if they want to, even if it has negative side effects such as those found with alcohol; brain damage, liver damage, building a tolerance to the drug, and addiction.

I sure don't want to see another "prohibition". All the "Nobel Experiment" accomplished was to put unusual power and wealth in the hands of the criminal underclass.

In the Twenties the Mafia was very much like the cocaine cartels are today, and for the very same reason. Each group was able to become incredibly rich and powerful by selling substances that are very cheap to manufacture but who's market value has been artificially inflated because of prohibition.

But I am not here on this blog today to talk about the profoundly stupid drug laws enacted in the US, I want to talk about our number one legal mind altering substance, the drug that is more American than apple pie, the drug that typifies us as a people, alcohol.

The thing is, even though it is Red, White and Blue, alcohol makes you stupid when used in any significant amount.

Now I am not saying that there is anything wrong per se with making yourself stupid for a while. Turning off those higher functions can be very relaxing, recreational even. Not to mention that the lowering of inhibitions (or the anesthesia of conscience) can allow people to do stupid things and then blame it on the alcohol, all of which can be very cathartic.

If people want to dose themselves with alcohol recreationally I really have no problem with them doing so, the problem is that for some people, alcohol doesn't just make them stupid, it makes them "Right-Wing Stupid". This is the kind of stupid that makes you think that you can do whatever you want, regardless of the consequences to other people. This is the kind of stupid that makes a person think that laws don't apply to them, that they can ignore the effect they have on the people who they come in contact with, because they are entitled.

The single best example of "Right-Wing Stupid" is the drunk driver. The guy who goes careening down the street with no regard at all for the fact that he may kill himself (no great loss) or kill other people. (Did you know that Texas leads the nation in alcohol related driving fatalities?)

I am told that there were something like 120 million drivers on the road in 2002 who were driving impaired. That is a lot of people.

Something like 40% of all traffic fatalities are caused by drunk drivers, maybe more.

And you know what? For the chronic drunk driver, nothing much seems to stop them. You can fine them huge amounts of money, take away their license, give them jail time, impound their car, and they will still be swerving down the road the first chance they get.

For years (though most of you reading this may be too young to remember) driving while drunk was seen as a thing of little consequence. The laws in most places were nothing more than a slap on the wrist, and the media took it as a joke most times. (Back in the fifties and early sixties the drunk was often portrayed as a comic character rather than someone who was ruining his life and the lives of his family)

The bottom line though is that drunk drivers kill people. Our society is so disassociated from what this means that we don't really understand what this means. Let me reframe it for you.

Think of the person you care most about in the world, you wife, husband, children, whatever. Now imagine that they have been killed today by some guy who had so little care for his fellow human beings that he is willing to drive down the road drunk out of his mind and beyond all possibility of safety.

imagine that you will never see this person who you care so much about again. You have had them ripped from your live because some drunk thought it was his right to get behind the wheel of a car.

There has been some progress in recent years, groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving have done a lot to bring attention to the problem.

But they have not been able to do enough. People still think that they have the right to drive drunk and kill whoever gets in their way.

We need something more. I think we need to get a little sterner with people who think they have privilege to do whatever they want to other people.

I think what we need is "Big Guys With Bad attitudes and Baseball Bats Against Drunk Driving".
It is obvious that the State governments and the national government will not ever do enough.



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