The connections (for many people) between beverage alcohol (booze! – beer, wine, hard liquor, and all the other stuff) and liberty is close. Not so much for ALL lovers of liberty – including those of us here at The Price of Liberty. We are, basically tee-totallers: we don’t drink the stuff except maybe in medicine (and prefer not to then).
Just as we don’t do drugs – recreational in particular – but really try to also minimize all the other stuff the medi-crats and medi-technocrats try to get us to ingest, rub on, inject, and even breath in.
But NOT doing booze or drugs does NOT mean – as lovers of liberty – that we believe that people should be prevented from making their own decisions about doing this stuff. ESPECIALLY not when it is GOVERNMENT supposedly trying to prevent them.
God gave us all free will. Even if we are stupid about it. But as Heinlein once said, “Stupidity cannot be cured. Stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death. There is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.”
(This ties back into our recent discussion of free speech, silence, and similar topics, of course. Knowledge is power; spreading knowledge is therefore vital to the cause of liberty.)
Now along comes this article in Lancet about a massive 2020 study of the health effects of alcohol. The abstract is really a great example of how to weasel-word something. We won’t regurgitate all the jargon (read it for yourself if you like hardcore statistical wordiness), but the interpretation hints at something: “There is strong evidence to support recommendations on alcohol consumption varying by age and location. Stronger interventions, particularly those tailored towards younger individuals, are needed to reduce the substantial global health loss attributable to alcohol.”
Although the study is “scientific” and peer-reviewed and carefully planned, executed and documented, there is reason to be suspicious: it was FUNDED by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. For all lovers of liberty, that sets off alarm bells. One news aggregator was blunt: “Bombshell alcohol study funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation finds only risks, zero benefits for young adults.”
And the research, once you cut through the complex (and possibly intentional) obfuscation, does appear to be pretty damning. The “standard drinks” (developed by years of custom and pushed, of course, by manufacturers and marketers) are far in excess of the daily and weekly quantities of ethanol that should be consumed by anyone – male, female, young, old. For older people, there are health benefits, but for younger people (apparently under age 40) the negatives far far outweigh the benefits. Indeed, they go so far as to say there are NO benefits for younger people health-wise to ANY consumption of alcohol.
Or so the study says. Other, past studies sometimes rave about the wonderful health benefits of wine – and even beer. Even while they admit the benefits are relative. If your choice is drinking wine or beer – versus drinking cholera-contaminated drinking water? Alcohol is bad for the human body, but not as bad as the cholera bacterium! Risk is, after all, relative.
Of course, for some of us, this study simply confirms what we’ve seen and been taught all our lives. Many of us have seen the ravages of alcohol consumption (not just alcoholism) on our ancestors and relatives and our communities and institutions. My grandmothers taught me the fundamentals long ago: not just about “youth” but about some of the good effects on the older and elderly. And many studies over the years support the same conclusions.
Can we trust this study? Well, can we trust Bill and Melinda Gates? Yes, to be statists, to be government-worshippers (and manipulators). Yes, to have suspicious motives about what they pay for. And can we trust the government-funded and often government-controlled institutions (including universities) who did the research? Of course – they are from the government and they are here to HELP us! We MUST take this with the idea of not swallowing the camel while spitting out the gnat.
Because, like the long-ago studies that supported Carrie Nation’s crusade and the entire Prohibition (of alcohol, and then drugs), the motivation FOR the study and the way the conclusions are stated and understood screams for “government intervention.”
Consider one response: “Our message is simple: Young people should not drink, but older people may benefit from drinking small amounts,” Dr. Emmanuela Gakidou, a professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, said in a news release.
Then put this in the hands of the usual suspects: the uber-statists, the nanny-statists, the powers-that-be. As always (and that is a topic for another day) government leaders and apparatchiks take and run away with it: more excuse for more control, more taxation, more punishment in all segments of society. It has happened before – if we let it, it will happen again.
Liberty means that people can and will do stupid things. Government can’t prevent it – but government attempts to do so make life incredibly bad for most by taking away that liberty.