There’s something to that, don’t you know, and it makes the entire case sounds so plausible. There’s no point in denying that a host of drinkers purpose to go and get drunk, over and over again—they like the buzz and in that tipsy or drunken state they’re “brave” enough to do things, say things, risk things, wreck things that they’d wouldn’t attempt while sober. But between the mass of drinkers that never get drunk and the multitude that purposes to get drunk there’s the vast number who are in neither camp; people who slowly but surely spiral down into deeper self-hatred, violence, bitterness, social uselessness and a burden on their families and friends. Not one in this vast number ever intended any such thing. I believe in “choice”—I truly do—but there’s choice and choice. Courts recognize such a thing as “diminished responsibility” and impaired judgment. They hold that a nine year-old child is not to be judged as a normal adult and without apology they recognize the difference between a “crime” committed under great pressure and one committed gratuitously. A well-off woman under no pressure would never dream of selling one of her children or one of its kidneys but a desperate woman in a far-off land with half a dozen children in the direst need and abject poverty is offered the chance to feed and house her children by selling one of their kidneys. She has a “choice”. She really does! But don’t let’s pretend that her choice and the well-off lady’s choice is the same experience. Brothels exist to produce babies as sources of human organs. Those women who gladly engage in that enterprise [ “It beats 'working' fifteen hours a day scrubbing floors or taking in washing”] have a “choice” but we’re not to pretend their choice is the same as the “choice” of this desperate mother. I’m not offering an opinion here on such conduct! I’m saying that we shouldn’t use the glib declaration of “choice” as though it settled everything.
In their tens of millions in every generation the vulnerable, marginalised, poor, depressed and impressionable “choose” to abuse (?) a product that immediately begins to sedate; easing their pain, temporarily masking their troubles, at first a crutch and then an addiction. The “healthful” effects are lost after a while and in their place there’s physical, familial and societal pain on a level the governments are only now beginning to acknowledge. The most abused drug in the world to day (and it is a drug) is ethanol delivered to our nations by the booze industry. I’ve heard Mueller’s argument used in favour of illegal drugs like marijuana, methaphetamines, ecstasy and even cocaine. Recently one of the
There’s no point in denying some responsibility to drinkers but “choice” is one of those words that doesn’t always mean the same thing even while it always means the same thing. It’s never right to do the wrong thing but under ceaseless pressure we all blunder around and dig holes for ourselves. Drinkers have “choice” but the booze industry deliberately and consciously “chooses” to vigorously market a product that in every way you can assess it in practice damages society to a degree beyond estimation. And they aim at children! One of these days a full revelation of their board meetings is going to reveal what the whistle-blowing on the tobacco industry revealed. There’s less talk about it at present but the “pop-drinks” with low alcohol levels aimed for children were given a nice “moral” edge a little while back. The children, you see, must be taught to drink responsibly. Let’s educate them with alcohol in low doses and they will learn to drink responsibly. That was the marketing ploy. It doesn’t play quite as well today.
Look, imagine this. “Mortimer’s Bread” is enjoyed by millions who show no physical or social untoward affects but there are many millions, scattered here, there and everywhere who, for various reasons, have trouble when they eat it. MB insists that they produce a boon for society but they can’t deny that millions of their customers eat too much of the bread and become addicted and/or irresponsible. It isn’t one or two people that end up in trouble—it’s millions who in turn affect tens of millions. Everyone who has investigated the matter agrees that it’s the element X that is associated with the loss and ruin connected with the consumption of MB’s bread. Even MB agrees but they insist that element X doesn’t affect “the majority” of people; it affects only millions and it’s clear that those millions are not being responsible as they eat MB bread. They admit that element X has the power to undermine responsible behaviour and that in practice it does that very thing in millions but they continue to insist: “People have a choice to abuse or not to abuse.”
So speaks the college professor as though he had spoken the last word on the entire matter.
I have no illusions. None of this would or will make a whit of difference to those who make a living in the booze industry or to those who drink and who couldn’t care less about the wreck and ruin associated with the booze industry if it doesn't hurt them. But I often wish that believers could come to a united purpose and in every way be done with the modern booze industry no matter what the meaning of some disputed Bible words is.