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Author Topic:   why is alcohol legal: the george best/opening hours thread
mick
Member (Idle past 3097 days)
Posts: 913
Joined: 02-17-2005


Message 1 of 136 (263003)
11-24-2005 8:50 PM


Britain has finally introduced 24 hour drinking. To celebrate, the leftwing Guardian (concerned with the wellbeing of society's worst off ;)) sent a junior reporter on a 24-hour drinking spree, blogged live with the intention that drukedness be portrayed as amusing and macho.

Meanwhile, the Guardian urges France to "snap out of its state of denial" and "denormalise drinking", noting that "drink is the third greatest cause of avoidable deaths in France."

It also chronicles in detail the death of the famous soccer player, Goerge Best:

Guardian writes:

Best, 59, has spent years battling alcoholism and underwent a liver transplant in 2002. But he ignored pleas to stay off the booze after the operation and was admitted to hospital on October 1 this year suffering from a flu-like infection.

As a long-term alcoholic, I find this all very depressing.

I'm not sure what to say about people's right to choose their own lifestyle. But it fills me with dread. I am a person who's life has been pretty screwed up by alcohol, and will probably die young because of it.

Don't know what to say. I feel let down by the Guardian, let down by supposed "lefties" pushing for easier access to alcohol. Don't know what to say.

Mick

in edit: I forgot to ask the significant question: WHY THE FUCK IS ALCOHOL LEGAL?

From the French report:

French report in the Guardian writes:

A third of all custodial sentences in this country, half of all domestic violence, a third of all handicaps are due to alcohol," he said. "One French person in 10 is ill as a result of alcohol, and every day five French people die after an accident linked to alcohol

This message has been edited by mick, 11-24-2005 09:12 PM


Replies to this message:
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nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 2 of 136 (263005)
11-24-2005 9:13 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by mick
11-24-2005 8:50 PM


No easy solution
There is no easy solution to alcohol problems. The USA tried prohibition, and that didn't work. At present there minimum drinking age restrictions (21 in most states), and the effect is a lot of binge drinking by college students, some of them below the legal age.

..., blogged live with the intention that drukedness be portrayed as amusing and macho.

That's part of why there is a problem. The media show this in a positive light. Cultural pressures can be difficult to resist.

I feel let down by the Guardian, let down by supposed "lefties" pushing for easier access to alcohol.

I've never pushed for easier access. And I have never pushed for harder access. I guess I have always been ambivalent.

I'm one of the lucky ones. I have never had a problem with alcohol. I can have a few drinks without getting out of control. And I can leave it alone without difficulty.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by mick, posted 11-24-2005 8:50 PM mick has responded

Replies to this message:
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mick
Member (Idle past 3097 days)
Posts: 913
Joined: 02-17-2005


Message 3 of 136 (263006)
11-24-2005 9:28 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by nwr
11-24-2005 9:13 PM


Re: No easy solution
nwr writes:

I've never pushed for easier access. And I have never pushed for harder access. I guess I have always been ambivalent.

Yes, I've ALWAYS agreed with that.

But...

A half of all domestic violence (in France) is caused by alcohol abuse.

That's a LOT of domestic violence. And I'm guessing that it's viollence perpetrated by men against their wives, partners, and children.

Is it possible that ambivalence is not the right attitude?

Mick

in edit: In the seventies, drunk driving was considered acceptable (amusing, macho, etc). But over the nineties, it became unacceptable by the vast majority of people. The same thing happened with not wearing safety belts, and lots of other things. In the UK, and much of Euopre, but not so much in America, if you drive a car while drunk, you are castigated by your entire community.

I'm just wondering whether there might be a way of having a similar change of mindset with regard to "getting pissed". Because it would help every single person in society if that came to pass.

MIck

This message has been edited by mick, 11-24-2005 09:38 PM


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Funkaloyd
Inactive Member


Message 4 of 136 (263007)
11-24-2005 9:35 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by mick
11-24-2005 8:50 PM


To answer your question: Because alcohol has always been legal. I'd go so far as to say that Western society has been shaped by the availibility of alcohol. Our brand of capitalism (including the 40 hour week, etc.) wouldn't go down so well without any psychoactive drugs, so alcohol fills that role.

I don't think that prohibition is the way to go. "Denormalizing" alcohol, as has been done with smoking, would work out better.


This message is a reply to:
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mick
Member (Idle past 3097 days)
Posts: 913
Joined: 02-17-2005


Message 5 of 136 (263008)
11-24-2005 9:39 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Funkaloyd
11-24-2005 9:35 PM


Hi funkaloyd,

Please see the "in edit" part of my previous post. I'm suggesting that an anti-"pissed" movement could achieve somthing like the "anti-drunk driving" movement.

No idea how it would be achieved, though.

Mick


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robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 136 (263009)
11-24-2005 9:48 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by mick
11-24-2005 9:39 PM


comment deleted--inappropriate.

This message has been edited by robinrohan, 11-25-2005 09:00 AM


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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 136 (263010)
11-24-2005 10:10 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by mick
11-24-2005 8:50 PM


in edit: I forgot to ask the significant question: WHY THE FUCK IS ALCOHOL LEGAL?

I think the better question is, why is only alcohol, and very few other intoxicants, legal? Why is it that you can get drugs to make you normal, but not better than normal? Why is it that you can take a drug for "anxiety" but not take drugs for boredom?

Some people probably don't need to be taking drugs, but some adults should be able to take whatever drugs they like. Maybe we should have a recreational drug license?


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Replies to this message:
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Modulous
Member (Idle past 215 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 8 of 136 (263012)
11-24-2005 10:23 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by mick
11-24-2005 8:50 PM


Why is alcohol legal?
Good question. Alcohol has been with civilization since its beginning, and probably before. We are blessed with intelligence and consiousness, but are cursed with being intelligent and aware enough to realize that the world is a dangerous and stressful place. Alcohol, and other drugs have been used to help mankind ease this psychological burden for a long time.

Is this a good thing?

In a great majority of cases: yes.

Sometimes it has tragic endings, and too often it can have disastrous consequences for families/friends. This is the curse, not of use, but of abuse.

I don't think the pub being open an extra hour, or the nightclub in town being open 5 extra hours is going to make alcohol 'easier' to obtain. I can go to my off licence at 11am, buy 4 bottles of scotch and be drinking till 11 the next morning, and licensing laws surrounding consumption of alcohol on a commercial premises aren't going to affect that.

Also, a greater emphasis is being placed on licensed premises' staff not serving people who are clearly drunk. Drinking at such a place is safer because there is, theoretically, somebody sobre there to tell you when you've had enough. A great deal more than one gets sat at home with a crate of whisky.

Hopefully, increasing the hours on-site business can sell alcohol will offset the profit loss from the possible extinction of happy hours, otherwise known as 'buy as many drinks in this time period as you can' promotions. Hopefully this will slow people down and allow a constant stream of punters rather than a rush of drink happy binge drinkers slavering at the chops.

Why is alcohol legal? Because we live in a democracy where the majority want it that way. Because making it illegal would be futile due to its ease to make, and the boom organised crime would get.

The violent drinking culture is bad. I believe licensed premises are facing too much leniency in allowing drunken behaviour on site, because it keeps the money flowing in.

The great majority of people drink in moderation and with responsibility.


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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19819
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 9 of 136 (263015)
11-24-2005 11:15 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by mick
11-24-2005 9:39 PM


MADD or SADD
Here in the US we have the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD). These are organisations that argue against over indulgence in general and having sober drivers (one in a crowd is a "designated driver" and doesn't drink -- presumably this alternates on different evenings) or that people take public transportation (buses, cabs, etc) or have an agreement with parents to shuttle them with no questions asked (I'd rather drive my son home safely than pick him up at the hospital or worse) - with a pre-agreed result (loss of privilages for a week). It puts responsibility on the shoulders of the drinkers to have a safe way home, one that does not endanger others.

This solves the problem of drunk driving while not being puritanical about drinking.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19819
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 10 of 136 (263016)
11-24-2005 11:16 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Modulous
11-24-2005 10:23 PM


Re: Why is alcohol legal?
Alcohol has been with civilization since its beginning, and probably before.
so has hemp and other stimulants.
This message is a reply to:
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Funkaloyd
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 136 (263024)
11-25-2005 2:43 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Modulous
11-24-2005 10:23 PM


Re: Why is alcohol legal?
Why is alcohol legal? Because we live in a democracy where the majority want it that way.

Which raises the question: If the majority wanted alcohol to be illegal, should it be?


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Replies to this message:
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Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 216 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 12 of 136 (263034)
11-25-2005 5:34 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by mick
11-24-2005 8:50 PM


Sadly, we haven't got 24 hour drinking; we've got some shambolic half-way house solution (as is New Labour's way). Which is a shame, because hisorically, every attempt to restrict drinking hours has backfired into causing greater problems with drunkeness; this is true across the world (see A Man Walks into a Pub). Now this doesn't, of course, prove that we will see the reverse, that de-restricting hours will reduce problems - but there is some evidence in this direction. When all day opening was allowed, there were predictions of widespread chaos and drunkeness but, in fact, the reverse happened: there were less problems and alcohol consumption actually fell in each of the next five years.

On a more anecdotal note: I have regularly drunk at a lock-in for the last year, often leaving at three or four in the morning - not once, in all that time, has there been any trouble at the pub.

Alcohol, for the majority of people who take it, is a positive part of their lives. In a free country the government should not be choosing how to live people's lives for them, that is a personal choice.

I do think, though, that the drinks industry should be expected to contribute more to the treatment of alcoholism, and the cost of policing in town centres (which, incidently, would push prices up - the only proven method of reducing alcohol consumption).


This message is a reply to:
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Silent H
Member (Idle past 3930 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 13 of 136 (263038)
11-25-2005 6:50 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by mick
11-24-2005 9:39 PM


tough love...
I'm suggesting that an anti-"pissed" movement could achieve somthing like the "anti-drunk driving" movement.

I agree that people getting violent while drunk, and driving while drunk is a question for the community.

Its also not really worthwhile for people to get blind falling down drunk. I mean I've been there on a few occassions and it never beat the times where I just had a few drinks and got buzzed. In fact some of those were great times.

So I think trying to encourage responsible drinking would be useful. Of course I don't know why it has to be done in such a lamentable moralistic tone. You don't over drink because you just shouldn't and its better for society, you shouldn't over drink because it is really fun when you are buzzed and remain conscious to enjoy it.

I don't believe alcohol causes violence, but it sure lets violent people act more violently by dropping inhibitions and giving them and excuse. The proper treatment for a violent drunk is to treat the violence and anger within them.

The point crash raised about other substances is valid, but he's leading that charge so I'll stay out of that subject.

As far as alcoholism is concerned, and I am sorry to hear that you suffer from it, is that that is not society's problem. If it is torture to see "everyone but you" able to have fun with something, that you cannot, that really is your individual problem. Though I guess the important thing to remember is EVERYONE has their own problem where they don't get to have fun while everyone else can.

The important thing is to move on and channel your energies into enjoying those other interests which you can handle, but some other poor slob cannot.

And this will really sound cold-hearted, but in a way allowing others to drink and suffer as they will, is what gives everyone (including that person) concrete examples of why moderation is important. Laws are not as useful as lessons in life.

Being told not to drink can make people seek it out just for that reason. Knowing or seeing someone suffering from overdrinking makes one reflect on their own behavior. Generally people don't go "hey now I wanna see what THAT's all about".

Okay, sorry if I offended you. Didn't mean to but that's honestly how I see suffering and society's attempts to end suffering through making morals laws. I hope you do not suffer as much from it now as you did, and will get even better. There are many other things in life to enjoy.


holmes
"...what a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away.."(D. Bros)
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Modulous
Member (Idle past 215 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 14 of 136 (263039)
11-25-2005 7:36 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Funkaloyd
11-25-2005 2:43 AM


Re: Why is alcohol legal?
Which raises the question: If the majority wanted alcohol to be illegal, should it be?

Yes, probably.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Funkaloyd
Inactive Member


Message 15 of 136 (263042)
11-25-2005 7:55 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by Modulous
11-25-2005 7:36 AM


Re: Why is alcohol legal?
I believe that there are certain individual rights which the majority should have no say over, and the right to drink is one of those... Maybe I'll elaborate tomorrow morning.
This message is a reply to:
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